NYC Programmer Turns Homeless Man into Startup Experiment

To you, the average homeless person might just be a nuisance—an uncomfortable sidewalk encounter. But to the enterprising entrepreneur of today, the homeless are an opportunity, a way to test out your app, or maybe—just maybe—the next great software engineer.

Medium, quickly becoming a sort of online mass grave for hasty thoughts of the moronic, is where we find Patrick McConlogue. He's a New Yorker, and he has a story. Unlike his counterpart in San Francisco, Patrick McConlogue isn't so much disgusted as fascinated by the homeless:

NYC Programmer Turns Homeless Man into Startup ExperimentS

Every day walking to work in New York City you will see the homeless. Some mentally gone, some drunk, some just making a wage begging.

However, I like to think I can see the few times when it’s a wayward puzzle piece. It’s that feeling you get when you know the waiter, the cashier, the janitor is in the wrong place—they are smart, brilliant even. This is my attempt to fix one of those lost pieces.

"Move Fast and Break Things" doesn't really apply when someone's life has already been destroyed by poverty, but McConlogue has a wager for himself, like a 21st century asshole Henry Higgins:

I am going to head over and talk to the guy with a puzzle. You need to know, I am a software engineer working in what is basically a tech bubble, the skill is in high demand.

The idea is simple. Without disrespecting him, I will offer two options:

1. I will come back tomorrow and give you $100 in cash.

2. I will come back tomorrow and give you three JavaScript books, (beginner-advanced-expert) and a super cheap basic laptop. I will then come an hour early from work each day—when he feels prepared—and teach him to code.

What will the man choose? Money, or the opportunity to be some startup guy's insane vanity project? Stay tuned (for more social myopia)! We'll have to wait for the next update, which I hope won't occur because surely Patrick will realize this is degrading and horrible.

Update: Here is an absolutely perfect video introduction to our friend Patrick: