by Toni Shortsleeve

Sharing the Aloha Spirit with the Cloud


What comes to mind when you think of Hawaii? It could be: surfing the waves, walking sandy beaches, enjoying the lovely hula dance, sipping tropical drinks, or something even more personal to you.

Hawaii is widely known for it’s Aloha Spirit

This is one of my favorite songs — and I love the beautiful video:

The Hawaii State Legislature defines the Aloha Spirit as “The coordination of mind and heart … it’s within the individual — it brings you down to yourself. You must think and emote good feelings to others.”

It goes on to define each letter of the word “Aloha”:

The first A is “Akahai” —Kindness to be expressed with tenderness

L is “Lokahi” — Unity, to be expressed with harmony

O is “Oluolu” — Agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness

H is “Haahaa” — Humility, to be expressed with modesty

The final A is “Ahonui” — Patience, to be expressed with perseverance

It further states:

These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.
“Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.
“Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.
“Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
“Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.”
It then continues to state that any person in the public arena “may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the “Aloha Spirit”.

This is great for the people and visitors of Hawaii.

A Little About Me

In 2016, I left my island home and followed my husband to San Diego because the offer he was given was too good to pass up. Personally, I had a hard time adjusting to being cold, without my Ohana (island family), in a very different environment, and I had bronchitis for the first time in my life — twice in the first year. Needless to say, I was depressed and with No Aloha.

Then I found this article about FreeCodeCamp.

For those of you who don’t know FreeCodeCamp, it was founded in 2014 by Quincy Larson as a platform to learn coding and earn Front-End, Back-End and Data Visualization Certifications and open the door to a Full-Stack Development Certification. Originally, the final project for the Full Stack Certificate is to pair program and help a non-profit organization on the tech level.

The curriculum is open source. The program is free. To anyone. But it does take time and work to get through it.

Of course I signed up. As you can see from my Front-End Portfolio, I kept the tropical/KoniKodes theme through most of my front-end projects.

I passed through my HTML, CSS and Basic JavaScript curriculum fairly quickly, then I started to slow down on the Intermediate JavaScript challenges. So I hit the chat rooms, local slack channels, forums, YouTube videos and Stack Overflow.

At first, I found a mix of reactions. Some people were helpful, others were snide, and then there were those who were simply arrogant. Sometimes I felt that I wasn’t even in the same league, or on the same playing field that they were on.

Then I went to the Beginners chatrooms. It was incredible to watch others ask the same questions that I had previously asked, and to know that I might have the answers to help them.

My Aloha started to reawaken when I realized: We were all at the beginning stage at least once in our journey.

What does the Aloha Spirit have to do with tech?

None of us were born with the innate ability to answer the questions: What is the difference between a for-loop and a while-loop? And, when do we use which?


Kindness was simply recognizing that we all have been there before — and remembering what that felt like.

The beginners need someone who will answer their questions without angst or arrogance. Sometimes the intermediate and advanced students need it even more.


Unity and harmony helps the team create awesome works.

A good example of this is the growth of the freeCodeCamp platform. Thousands of volunteers made this possible.


Agreeable and pleasantness are needed to make your project a success.

The User Interface must be agreeable to the user needs. The User Experience must be pleasant for the user. Then they’ll come back wanting more.


Humility and modesty allows you to be open to constructive criticism and words of wisdom.

If you can step back and listen to your peers’ feedback, then you can improve your project.


Patience and perseverance has been used by everyone who has received a Front-End Certification.

On the Forums are many questions asking if it’s worth it or if they should continue. And the answer should be a resounding “Yes!”. Be patient with yourself and persevere to solve the challenge. If this is what you want, you can succeed.

Spread some Aloha

Remember that even though you are not in physical contact with someone, you can still tear them down or lift them up. Choose to Share your Aloha Spirit.

Be kind to those who are still learning.

Bring unity and harmony to your team projects.

Be agreeable and pleasant to your users.

Be modest when asking for feedback. It can be a humbling experience.

Be patient as you learn, and as you share.

Bring the Aloha Spirit into all of your projects.