From Toronto – Community-builder pushes development through technology
From the article by Deena Douara Karim at Toronto:
Shaharris Beh doesn’t want to hear about following your passion. More important, he says, is what is your purpose?
Beh reveals his purpose is long-term — enable local tech communities to create sustainable paths to development in impoverished parts of the world: “Economic development through technological proliferation,” as they put it.
“Passion is largely emotional . . . I’m not sure having a passionate job is something you can maintain over a long period of time.”
After trying stints in everything from copywriting to private equity, cartoon voiceovers to development work, Beh has finally found his purpose in HackerNest, the small startup nonprofit that’s bringing local tech communities together in a sort of vehemently-anti-networking network. (He’s also trying to tackle dementia, but more on that later.)
“If I were going for a PhD, HackerNest would be my thesis,” declares Beh, “it’s how to save the world . . . The gap between rich and poor is massive, and the difference is technology.”
HackerNest serves three functions: Tech Socials draw like-minded individuals together for no explicit goal other than to enjoy “nerdy” conversations and to make friends. Beh acknowledges that employment or funding opportunities may result, but he is insistent that agenda-free attentiveness is just a better way to interact. So successfully crafted are the events that they’ve been replicated in 24 cities (14 countries across five continents), from Manchester to Manila to Melbourne. Beh and his team (which includes co-founding brother JJ Beh) train new chapters’ community-builders on event management, branding and “tricks” they adopt to make the experience comfortable. The goal is to have the socials’ success be mirrored in more and more developing cities.
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