Kenny Polcari wrote off coding as unique to his daughter’s generation, and inaccessible to his. Working at the New York Stock Exchange for 35 years, he’s seen 180 tech companies go public, watching software development from a far. The morning Kenny was set to witness his 181st tech company IPO, he wrote his first line of code — on a livestream, from the floor of the NYSE, during an IPO. Ten minutes into his first crack at coding, he was finished building his first Twilio app.
“It’s not nearly as —what’s the word— scary or intimidating as I thought,” said Kenny shortly after completing his app. “On a certain level it was — thrilling. For me, I’ll say the word thrilling. Here I am sitting, writing code. At this point in my life, that’s the last thing I was gonna do. It was a really, really neat experience.”
He assumed that “world” would never be available to him because of a generational gap (albeit real or imagined). “I’m the generation ahead of you guys that never had the exposure or the opportunity to learn,” Kenny remarked.
On the morning of Twilio’s IPO, that changed. Kenny swung by Twilio’s table as Rob Spectre was setting up a livestream. Being the attentive stock trader he is, Kenny asked about Twilio’s investment thesis, the IPO plan, and what Twilio does.
Instead of rattling off a canned company description, Rob offered to show Kenny what Twilio does. Later on that day, Kenny stopped by and wrote his first app in front of hundreds of Twilio developers on a livestream.
In ten minutes, Kenny vaulted over the chasm that separated him from coding for decades. Now that he’s on the other side, he realizes that gap wasn’t real, but imagined. “I figured I was going to be there for two hours writing this app since I had no idea what to expect. Meanwhile, in ten minutes, I had the whole thing done. It’s ignited a fire that’s making me want to not only do it again, but understand it better and figure out – ‘Okay, now what do I do with it?’”
Kenny is uncertain of the answer to that question, as nearly any builder is. The question of “what do I build?” that Kenny’s getting at, is never really answered. Even at the end of completing a project, it’s still there in the form of “what do I build next?” We can’t wait to see what you (and Kenny) build next.