Ten years. That's how long I was a member of the SketchUp team. I spent that time starting this blog, teaching classes, writing the For Dummies book, hosting 3D Basecamps, and a thousand other things. But the thing I'm most proud of is helping to establish the SketchUp for Education program: working with kids, parents and teachers to make 3D modeling a part of their lives.
|The @Last Software team on July 6th, 2004, the day we launched SketchUp 4|
When Scott Lininger (the co-inventor of Dynamic Components and lots more) approached me about leaving SketchUp with him to start a company that teaches little kids to code, I knew I'd found my (next) calling. I've been trying to learn how to program for years—what if I'd had the chance to learn when I was six? As a creative person, there's no single skill I've spent more time wishing I had. I don't want to be programmer; I want to be a person who can code. I want my kid to be a person who can code. What parent doesn't?
So I talked it over with my wife Sandra (you know her as the LayOut Product Manager), and we decided I should go for it. It wasn't an easy decision: The SketchUp team is my extended family, and this community has been the kindest, most generous and humble mob of people I've ever had the pleasure to know. And I love SketchUp. I LOVE it. (I still dream in SketchUp sometimes.) It's part of my DNA.
|About 10% of the SketchUp shirts I've collected over the years|
Scott and I left the team to work together full-time in June. In the time since then, we've created Bitsbox: A free website where kids can build apps that work on real devices (like phones and iPads), and a box full of app projects that gets delivered to our subscribers' kids every month. The video we made for our Kickstarter campaign explains it:
Other good news: Last week was Computer Science Education Week, and over 200,000 kids built apps with Bitsbox online. You can, too. We were featured in very nice articles in TechCrunch and GeekDad, and we were the Kickstarter Project of the Day on the 11th. And we're just getting started.
|Aidan and Scott at Bitsbox World Headquarters in Boulder|
If you'd like to support a couple of ex-SketchUppers in our effort to make coding less scary, or you'd like to pre-order Bitsbox for some kids you know, please do. At the end of the campaign, when we ask you if you know any Super-Secret Codewords, put in "SketchUp" and we'll include something special in your first box. Maybe a hair from John Bacus's magical beard. Maybe something even better.
THANK YOU for ten amazing years. It was a pleasure. Maybe we'll see each other at the next 3D Basecamp. Reach out if you like: I'm firstname.lastname@example.org. Onwards!
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Posted by Aidan Chopra, SketchUp Evangelist (Emeritus)