The training is a two and a quarter day intensive hands-on workshop designed for advanced beginner and intermediate programmers. The main goal is to take an idea to a functional prototype, known as Minimal Viable Product or just MVP in Lean Startup circles.
We’ve learned a great deal from our students. Here are some of the most important, in my opinion, things:
Reading blog posts is good, but watching video courses is even better because they are more engaging.
A lot of developers complained that there is a lack of affordable quality video material on Node. It's distracting to watch to YouTube videos and insane to pay $500 for a Node video course!
[End of sidenote]
- We still stayed competitive as a business venture even after reducing the discounts by $100 to $200, e.g., classes at Marakana are 1.5–2x more expensive; therefore rising prices don’t often affect the sales.
- Full refund policy didn’t turn out to be a disaster; in fact, it might have helped us to sell out the tickets. There was only one student who requested the refund simply because he didn’t expect that the training would be so intense and not suited for total beginners in web development.
- Examples usually are not interesting to some of the students. We had a more engaging class when the students worked on their own ideas rather than code examples from the manual. Because examples are boring, people copy/paste code instead of writing it. Which leads to…
- Copy/paste students complete assignments faster, but some of them have no idea how basic stuff works :-( It came to no-surprise that those trainees experienced barrage of difficulties when they tried to work on their own ideas or to implement additional functionality on top of the examples provided in the manual.
We concluded that with materials widely available in a form of books, screencasts, GitHub repositories, and other mediums, learning technical skills come down to motivation. And motivation comes mostly from self-identity. For example, if I self-identify myself as a developer (or engineer, programmer, hacker), I could stay up all night fixing bugs, hacking around an obscure platform limitation, or trying to meet a deadline; however, if I wear an entrepreneurial hat, I’m more inclined to look at the bigger picture and either to defer the issue or to delegate it to a more experienced person. Therefore, entrepreneurial types usually less motivated to solve pure technical problems.
- Extending the format from two days to three to four days;
- Accepting only those teams of two to three people or one-man-band-type individuals who already have an idea;
Students will work on their ideas while tapping into mentorship and experience of industry leading practices in both technical and Lean Startup methodologies. Exact dates and location of the next trainings will be announced on StartupMonthly website and on my blog — WebAppLog.com.
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