<mchua> I love working with open source communities because they’re where the passion is – these are people who are in a project for the love of it, for the most part – not because they’re being forced to do it for a living; it’s wonderful to work with people who love what they do and really believe in it.
<polyachka> and how long did you work for OLPC?
<mchua> … complicated question. :) As a full-timer, just under 4 months. Combined full-timer and intern, maybe… 8-9 months? It wasn’t continuous.
<polyachka> and after that?
<mchua> I think I still hold the record for “person who’s held the most number of official titles at OLPC.” I was a content intern, then a grassroots intern, then a QA/Support engineer…(but I also worked other places in-between my OLPC internships – I wanted to see more of the world.)
<polyachka> did you go to Red Hast right after?
<mchua> My next job after OLPC was Red Hat, yes.
<polyachka> what is grassroots intern?
<mchua> Grassroots was community-building, basically. Encouraging groups in different areas of the world to start their own little OLPC projects. You’re a student? Great, start a campus club and get some classmates to help you repair broken XO’s, that sort of thing.
<polyachka> was it hard?
<mchua> Oh, it was hard work – but again, easiest thing in the world to get people who want to do work, to do work.
<mchua> Getting things out of their way so they could do that work – that’s challenging sometimes, but everyone’s always so excited that it always feels worthwhile.
<polyachka> in what cities/countries did you do it?
<mchua> For OLPC… let’s see. A lot more happened remotely than I was able to travel to in person – I did almost all of it online.
<mchua> But physically, within the US… Bellingham and Seattle, WA – Aurora and Chicago, IL (where myself and a number of other students started up an actual office downtown – that was an adventure)
<mchua> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/ILXO was the Chicago office, and if you imagine a bunch of 13-22 year old kids getting together an office on their own, running community events from it, and such – that’s what we did all summer.
<polyachka> what was it?
<mchua> That was the Chicago grassroots office.
<mchua> Well, there were all these teachers and parents who were interested – all these adults who wanted to learn about OLPC and Sugar and the XO …and we’d show up, and – for instance, once we were asked to do a workshop at a library, and Mia and Melanie volunteered to do that. So I dropped them off at the library, and they walked into the middle of this room of parents, and they started presenting.
<mchua> “Wait, how old are you?”
<mchua> “I’m 13, she’s 12.”
<mchua> It was a big role reversal for most of us, since we were used to being students taught by adults like that.
<polyachka> so right now your connection to OLPC/Sugar is projects that you get professors involved into, right?
<mchua> And yes, right now my main contribution to these projects is getting professors and their students involved in them.