Meet Leo The Homeless Hacker, And Learn How His Life Changed

A few months ago, Patrick McConlogue, a New York software engineer, came across a homeless man exercising using boat chains and rocks as makeshift machinery. In the sorrowful tale of Leo Grand, homeless since he lost his job in 2011, McConlogue saw promise, and he acted upon it in a way that not many people would.

Leo Grand homeless hacker coder inspiring story with his chromebook by samsung

Patrick proposed an experiment online, hypothesizing that a homeless man would choose a cheap laptop and coding lessons over $100, and that with a little help, that homeless man’s life could be back on track. It was essentially a play on the old saying “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime”. He received widespread hate and criticism, but he pursued the idea anyway.

Five months later, Leo the homeless man was a coding whiz. He took his few hours of daily coding lessons, and spent the rest of his day practicing furiously. Using a $200 Chromebook laptop, a mobile Wifi hotspot, and the charger of an upscale apartment building – when he needed it – he learned to code. He even built and released a fascinating environmentally focussed transit app for Android.

Leo is on track to receive a coding job just based on merit, but with the major press coverage this story is getting, I doubt he’ll be homeless or jobless by the end of the week. Remember Ted “Golden Pipes” Williams?

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Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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