GeekDad’s 2nd 3rd Anniversary: Why I started GeekDad by Chris Anderson

Geek Culture


Img_4093Img_4093This picture is why I started GeekDad. It was taken about two years ago on our back patio and shows my then 9-year-old Daniel and me with our Lego UAV, which we had just built together. He was into Lego, and I was into robotics. I’d been given a RC plane and had got the idea that the three could go together: a Lego Mindstorms NXT autopilot robotically flying an RC plane. And thus was born the Lego UAV!

Daniel and I had worked on the code all weekend. It had turned out to be a perfect father-son project: fun for him and fun for me. Not fun for him and boring for me, like so many other projects aimed at kids. And not fun for me but boring for him, like so many adult projects fathers try to get their kids interested in. But instead a meeting of kid and grown-up interests, turned into a fantastic weekend activity.

The search for similar geeky projects that cut across generational appeal led me to start GeekDad. My jokey early motto was “Permission to play with cool toys isn’t the only reason to have kids, but it’s up there.” The point was to focus on the Venn intersection of geek interest and parenting: to find cool science/tech/culture things that are fun for us and equally fun for our kids.

I bought the domain for not much from a nice guy who wasn’t using it, and then started blogging intermittently. Then I invited friends to join me, and then put out an open call for other geek dads to participate.

The rest is history: I had the good fortune to have Ken Denmead respond to the call, and the wisdom to realize that he was the perfect leader to take GeekDad to the next level. Ken, in turn, recruited most of the amazing geekdads (and a few geekmoms) who you’ve been reading here every day and have been introducing themselves today, our anniversary. They are awesome; every day I read the posts and marvel at what this site has become, thanks to the energy, creativity and passion of these inspiring parents.

I’m now happily emeritus, contributing when I can but mostly cheering from the sidelines. As for my UAV projects, well, they eventually failed the GeekDad test: they got too geeky for the kids. Now I have to bribe the tribe with ice cream to come to flight testing sessions with me and man the cameras, and the technology has gone way over their head.

But I haven’t given up on looking for the Venn ideal of GeekDad projects. We’ve started painting models and Warhammer figures together, and we’re playing lots of Settlers of Catan. I’m gently introducing the geek canon of movies and books (from The Matrix to Ender’s Game). And then there’s always videogames, the ultimate father-child role reversal (they can’t believe how slow I am).

What’s next? Probably some cool project or activity I learn about here. Lego’s just released Mindstorms 2.0!

[This post originally ran last year for GeekDad’s 2nd Anniversary]

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