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Tech Entrepreneur Offers Coding Lessons to Homeless Guy, Solves Poverty

A homeless man walks down the street on June 20, 2011 in New York City. According to an annual report on the city's homeless population conducted by the Coalition for the Homeless, a record 113,553 people turned to shelters last year. This was an eight percent increase over the previous year and is a 37 percent increase since 2002. While the reasons for the increase are numerous, the economy and the unemployment rate played a significant part in the numbers.
Brother, can you spare a debug? Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Patrick McConlogue, a New York–based tech entrepreneur who is affiliated with an outfit called “Kickass Capital,” passes a homeless man every day on his way to work. The other day, McConlogue had an idea: Why not release this man from his plight by showing him the wonderful world of computer programming?

Thus was born a truly ill-conceived social experiment.

McConlogue’s Medium post outlines his plan to restore this homeless man (“The Journeyman Hacker,” he calls him) to his rightful place in society:

Without disrespecting him, I will offer two options:

1. I will come back tomorrow and give you $100 in cash.

2. I will come back tomorrow and give you three JavaScript books, (beginner-advanced-expert) and a super cheap basic laptop. I will then come an hour early from work each day—when he feels prepared—and teach him to code.

How will the saga end? Will Journeyman Hacker get a job at Google? (No.) Will there be a laptop and three JavaScript books for sale on 58th Street tomorrow? (Probably.) Does McConlogue have a shred of self-awareness? (Surprisingly, sort of — earlier in the post he says, “I suck at empathy.”)

Check back soon for McConlogue’s next post: “How Ruby on Rails Fixes Racism.”

Update: McConlogue has posted a follow-up, in which he finds out the Journeyman Hacker’s real name (Leo), and says that Leo has, in fact, chosen the laptop and coding lessons over the $100 in cash.

Techie Offers Coding Lessons to Homeless Guy