Annual Founders' Letter

Cedric and I believe that exceptional talent exists everywhere, even in the least expected places, as evidenced by our journeys. We are committed to empowering people around the world to change the world using the power of their imagination and the power of computing.

A digital world
Technology is interwoven into all aspects of our society. In many cases, it has dramatically improved the lives of billions, redefined how we perform certain tasks, and extended the horizon of what we can achieve as human beings. However, it has also brought negative results, threatened our safety and wellbeing and that of the environment. Some of these problems are caused by the underrepresentation of certain groups in the tech industry.

Bringing new voices into tech
We need new voices in tech to contribute towards developing technology that works better for all. Diversity and inclusion in tech remain to be a big problem that we all need to solve. Women, Africans, people of color, people living with disabilities, and people from marginalized communities all need to influence the development of the technology that we use. Like Ellen Ullman says,

When you leave out the possible contributions, the creativity of a whole class of people, you don’t know what you’re missing. You’re losing talent in the industry.
We are determined to go out into the world and find this talent, develop it, and channel their creativity into building innovative and equitable digital solutions to pertinent global challenges.

Open [Innovation, Source, Education, Systems]
Cedric and I, just like millions of other people, have primarily benefited from the free access to information on the open web. The internet was and continues to be, a considerable part of our computer science training. I remember how excited I was when I discovered that I could take computer science classes at UC Berkeley for free by only going to their website. Acknowledging that if it were not for the generous people who openly share their knowledge, skills, and software has prompted us to continue this tradition. We will encourage all members of the InfinitLoop Developers community to contribute to open source projects and share their knowledge and skills to those who are less fortunate. Open innovation is the key to the success of our world, and it will continue to be so as the world progresses. We are all indebted to the great heroes that have driven technology to its prominent status. For example, Henry Chesbrough, Tim Berners-Lee, Aaron Swartz, Linus Torvalds, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and many others. How else can we thank them, except by continuing their legacy?

A beautiful infinite loop
InfinitLoop Devs hopes to attract people who are driven by curiosity, creativity, grit and resilience, a collaborative spirit, a genuine love for learning, and a strong ethos of giving back. We hope to create a culture (a beautiful infinite loop) of learning, sharing, and creating amazing things.

Beyond the code
The InfinitLoop Developer Program is not just for software developers and computer programmers. It is for everyone who dreams of leveraging technology to make the world a better place to live, as suggested by our mantra- “better people, better tech, better world.” People in the humanities and any other field can help build better technology and a better world for all.

Catch them young
To help more and more people to gain exceptional technical skills and become leaders of technology, we need to expose them to technology at a very young age. Just like a mere compass pointed Albert Einstein to the deep treasures of science, teaching kids how to code will help us to solve the world’s toughest challenges in the future. We need to spare a little bit of our time. Maybe a little bit of our money to ensure that we implement early computer science education in all schools. This is important because not all kids are born to software engineers and tech entrepreneurs. Many children are born poor parents in villages, and they only discover the computer beyond nineteen. To enable everyone to compete fairly in the tech industry, we need to cast our nets wider and identify tech talent early.

To infinity and beyond
This is only the beginning of the InfinitLoop Developer Program. I have dreamt of democratizing computer science education ever since I wrote my first line of code, about three years ago. My struggles to learn computing (that Cedric also shares) in a small village with no electricity and the internet combined with my glimpse of the culture of innovation in Silicon Valley (at Make School Summer Academy) have led me down this path. We have high hopes that our developer program will bring many innovations to Africa and the rest of the world. We want to help as many people as we can to develop their technical skills to their full potential. We obviously can’t predict the future, but we have built InfinitLoop with a long term perspective. We will continue to find innovative ways to make computer science education more accessible and to use technology to make the world a better place.

We are excited that you are willing to learn more about our work. Every year we’ll be writing you letters like this one, to reflect on the previous year, let you know where we are, and the direction we are taking in the coming years. We encourage you to support us by joining our program, volunteering to speak at our events or mentoring our student developers, or funding us to take our work further.

Mthabisi Ndlovu,
Co-Founder, InfinitLoop

This letter was inspired by Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s annual letters to Google investors. We also thought it would be great to send a personal message to everyone who supports our work. Cedric and I will write these letters in rotation, every year.

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