Software Development

Why it’s more important than ever to hack at Apps for Philly Transportation

“With a bit of ingenuity, time and computing power, we, the people, can provide patches to the system,” wrote Code for Philly co-organizer Lloyd Emelle. That's especially salient in light of this month's deadly Amtrak crash.

With a newsletter, Kari Clark offers productivity tips and reflections that fit into working moms' lives.

In a daily newsletter, Kari Clark chronicles experiences with a robotic vacuum and an experiment with marshmallows. A mom hack fits alongside reflections on failing while building a business. With Uplift, Clark is looking to help working moms thrive, both in raising kids and in careers. She's also looking to do so in a way that fits their busy schedule, as each email newsletter is designed to be read in about a minute. Clark is looking to "rewrite the script" about being a working mom to reach everyone. "The story isn't told," she said, as focusing on growing a career and having kids are often considered separate conversations. Clark, who moved to D.C. after working as an executive at Google for eight years as an executive in marketing and product management, is drawing from her own experience. "Each time I had a kid I got much better at my job," said. After the birth of Chloe (pictured above), she made the switch from marketing to product management. She thought about the big shift this way: "If I'm going to leave my daughter at home, I want to make sure I'm really challenged at work and really love what I'm doing, and make sure I'm using my best strengths." When Rowan was born, Clark focused on her own well-being. She adopted healthier habits, gave away half of her possessions as she looked to de-clutter and began meditating. She said the amount of change brought a chance to reflect. "Anytime you have a big life change...It's a really good time to adapt new habits," she said. In building her business, she spoke with more than 70 women with a variety of similar experiences. Along with the way, she's picked up lots of strategies. There's lots of tactical advice, like making a list of accomplishments to celebrate too-often overlooked wins. Equally, there are reflections about sustaining relationships. The goal, she said, is to "parse all of that into something you can digest and do in a minute." Saving time is also a big theme for Uplift's coaching program, which Clark is also piloting as part of Uplift. Clark said she is looking to break down sessions into shorter check-ins that don't necessarily have to happen in person, and offer strategies for tasks that can be accomplished in shorter increments, supplemented with check-ins. "The real magic will be in the coaching program that helps you bring these insights to life," she said.

Code for Philly is hosting its fourth annual Apps for Philly Transportation hackathon next month, inviting developers and other civic-minded Philadelphians to develop projects that could improve transportation in the city.
In light of the tragic Amtrak derailment earlier this month, Code for Philly co-organizer Lloyd Emelle wrote in a blog post that it’s more important than ever to participate in this kind of event.
Read the full post
“Sadly, it seems, our aging infrastructure is not keeping pace with demand for, what seems like, simple technological improvements to certain things,” he wrote. “The cost of keeping things running safely, alone, is more than we can afford.”
But, he said: “It turns out the power to improve things isn’t all in the hands of the transit companies or big government. With a bit of ingenuity, time and computing power, we, the people, can provide patches to the system.”
The hackathon will be held June 5-7 at SEPTA headquarters, with a brainstorming session at 30th Street Station on Friday.
One of the projects that came out of Apps for Philly Transportation was Unlock Philly, the Philly Geek Awards-nominated app that helps users locate wheelchair accessible stations, trains and buses.

People: Lloyd Emelle
Projects: Code for Philly
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