When I was young, the first mentor I ever had taught me a valuable lesson about new vocabulary words.
She said that every time I learned a new word, from that point on I then owned that word. I could put it in my pocket for safekeeping, she said, to take out and then use whenever I wanted.
This weekend was the National Day of Civic Hacking. I spent Saturday morning in Arlington, VA, speaking with developers whose projects included making rescue missions safer for firefighters and decreasing the amount of homeless on the streets. Later, I ended up at Google in DC, where another #hackforchange event was taking place. One of the most memorable projects there came from a high school sophomore and his brother, who developed apps that ranged from finding a far-parked car to sending out texts to preset emergency contacts when one’s phone died.
As a child, my pockets had been used for words. But in these hackers I saw that they had pockets big enough to fit many words, strung together by inspiration to form ideas and projects. And not only could their pockets fit these ideas, but they took that innovation and used it ...