Following is the full text of Kano cofounder Alex Klein’s talk titled “Codes We Live By” at TEDxTeen 2014 conference.
A lot of us didn’t know what we wanted to be when we grew up.
You wanted to be a dinosaur, and then, the next day, you wanted to be a doctor. And then you wanted to be a doctor that operates on dinosaurs, and it all starts swirling around, and that’s what’s so fun about being a kid.
But then, what happens is that some lines start to be drawn: “Oh, she’s creative!”, “He’s mathy,” left-brain, right-brain, and then, the educational system and our parents tend to arrive at the party with some code names and some code words that we live through.
Our GD, our BA, our MA, our MBA, maybe you’ll be GOP one day. And then you’ll go down the road exchanging code names for each other until eventually, you know, RIP.
So, a year ago I was a writer, and I was writing about things like Occupy Wall Street, and Mitt Romney, and Scientology, and the tech industry, and the connections therein, and I dropped it all.
I dropped all of those codes as instruction booklets and I started working with a group of amazing people in London on a different kind of computer, on a PC you make yourself, like Lego. Something that you can build and code with the simplicity and fun of a game.
And here’s one I made earlier, as they say on the cooking shows.
Now, the original idea for this project came from a conversation with my 7-year-old cousin, Micah. Like me, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he goes, “Pff!”