This video was posted about ten days ago and is in the process of going viral. How do I measure “viral”? Do I have a yardstick? No, it’s simple. When my mom emails me a website or a YouTube clip, that’s my litmus test. (She’s not exactly an early adopter.) And, what’s more, it’s fairly unusual for TED Talks to go viral. At least this quickly, especially on the YouTubes. The video is already sneaking up on one million views.
For those of you who don’t know what TED Talks are, all you have to know is that if you want to teach yourself about the way the world works (and/or should work) and you only have time to visit two video sites, go to TED Talks and Khan Academy.
The reason for all this “virality” talk? The newest round of TED Talks features a 12-year-old app developer, named Thomas Suarez, talking about his life and what brought him to coding at a relatively young age. Sure, he’s not the youngest coder out there, nor probably the best for his age, but he’s remarkably confident for a young guy (and an impressive public speaker) — and he’s out there building things and educating his friends (and teachers) about technology in the process.
Inspired by Steve Jobs, his parents, and Apple’s release of its SDK, he started to code and learned Python, Java, and C “just to get the basics down”, he says. Suarez makes iPhone apps, notably an app called Bustin Jieber, which is a “whack-a-mole” game in which you pummel the Biebs. If you don’t think that’s awesome, then something may just be wrong with you. He also recently started his own company, called CarrotCorp.
In his talk, the young app developer discusses how students are becoming a valuable source of information about technology, especially for teachers, and should be allowed to assist in developing technology curricula in schools.
Hopefully talks like this inspire younger generations to take up coding and get involved in creating new technologies — not just new apps — but apps and tools that address those real, seemingly insurmountable problems. Bustin Jieber and Suarez prove that app development, coding, and design are, on the whole, becoming increasingly accessible both to young people and those without CS graduate degrees. Even if his apps aren’t gold-caliber, he’s 12-years-old. We talk a lot about the U.S. “no longer making anything”, but if more kids like Thomas take up the reins, the U.S. and the world at large will no doubt be better off.
So check it out: