From hacker spaces to Hackster.io: Alex Glow owes her career in hardware to communities
A chance meeting turned into a job creating the tech she loves
Exposure to engineering as a kid helped Alex Glow fall in love with hardware. But it was communities that gave her confidence to turn her hobby into a career—one that led her into becoming the face of one of the world’s largest engineering communities.
Alex views the experiences that lead her to Hackster.io as steps on the path toward continually creating beautiful things. As a child, she had boundless creativity, pursuing poetry as well as robotics, drawing as well as creating fantasy worlds with their own languages. However, her dad planted the seeds toward hardware as her future.
“When I was a little kid, my dad showed me soldering,” Alex said. That’s what got her in to the controls part of robotics and truly grew her love of hardware. “I wanted the tactile experience of building things.”
She nurtured that love at a hacker space, a community of hardware creators in Ann Arbor, Michigan that gave her the ability to take the ideas in her head and turn them into real life action. But when three of her friends from the space moved across the country to San Francisco, Alex decided to move too.
Once in California, she ended up on the board of a new hacker space, which introduced her to future Hackster.io co-founder Cedric Honnet.
The two paired up to create Ukebot, a punky ukulele robot, during a 24-hour hackathon.
That became Alex’s first project on Hackster.io in 2013. She’s done 95 more since then, including her latest: an animatronic AI owl robot built on the Google AIY platform.
“By building stuff that I love, I get to produce content and build value,” Alex said.
The team at Hackster.io saw that same value and encouraged Alex to keep up the momentum—this time as a community builder for the online startup.
“At first, I didn’t really get why we needed another community. But then I saw how focused Hackster is,” Alex said. “I started out part time in 2014, and then I just grew with the company as we ended up flourishing.”
Now, she heads projects like the Women In Hardware series, which highlights impactful female engineers building physical products. She’s also still building creative products with the new components Hackster receives from suppliers to explore. Through its contests and in-person meetups, Hackster even merges online and offline experiences, allowing people to get up close and personal with the latest tech and the knowledgeable people in the community.
“We want to help bring stuff to everyone who wants to use it,” Alex said.
For Alex, though, the main thing she wants to ensure is that every person can become the creator they want to be—and that Hackster as a community is here to provide the platform to help them do it.
“The key of how I ended up doing my dream job? Being visible. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro yet. People will see your attitude, enthusiasm and the ability to learn,” Alex said, noting that on Hackster.io people are always willing to help.
“There’s an exchange, a beautiful thing where people learn from each other.”