Ryan is a serial entrepreneur. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Treehouse, an online school for coding. We explore building new ideas, management tips, and productivity.

United States


00:00:10Hello friends Kevin Rose here welcome back to another edition of the journal podcast if this is your first time here you just hit play you're here with me I got to tell you sign up for the newsletter the journal. Email it is what I call a newsletter for the Curious packed with all kinds of weird stuff productivity hacks new apps products that I love I'm I guarantee you this be something in each newsletter for everyone so it's going to 70% open rate in the only reason I tell you that it's cuz I'm pretty proud of it I mean it's it's a once-a-month newsletter so I put a lot of time and effort into finding the weird most interesting articles around the web and Distilling goes down into like five or six things that you should check out so sign up at the journal. Email today's guest Ryan Carson Ryan and I go way back to the Web 2.0 days where I used to speak at his conferences and he used to throw a series a whole different series of conference is the one that I would always give a good talks that was the future web apps
00:01:10these were massive they were talking like four thousand plus people attending these all over the world I'm he would have them in Florida and he eventually took this business grew it sold it off and now is the founder and CEO of Treehouse which is just a great place to learn how to code and he has some really kind of cool interactive coding challenges and you can learn all the most modern languages that are out there I'm also an investor in that company because I really love him as a sound or not when we get into that during this episode but we also talked about some really kind of cool things around how to set your your managers up to succeed and also how to manage the development process of your building new features when you decide to kill them off when he decide to keep them Ryan is just a deep thinker on so many different levels and you'll see that in this interview here so without further Ado mr. Ryan Carson
00:02:06Saran thanks for joining me no promise it's always fun to chat yeah I'm excited to talk about 1 or kind of crazy long history and then your path through technology in and is a builder sounds fun what did you win super skinny computers so I remember almost the moment I was in high school and I was in the hallway and I had this math teacher at the time I thought was super dorky you know she was this woman that that love calculus and and wasn't very stylish and and she said hate you know there's a class that I teach elective and it's it's called programming and I think you might like it and what you think that about you was or something
00:03:06I don't know why she singled me out not think about it's a bit weird but he was nice and so basically you know said I'll try it and she said to tell you teach that computer you tell a computer what to do and it's not that's that sounds crazy like some sort of super power and we learn to Pascal and I never heard of that and it was amazing and so that was the very beginning of my journey and you know now I'm going to let you know turn 42 Sierra and I and now running a school that teaches coding so I have a lot awesome to think Miss Bruce for Full Circle when we first met you were throwing conferences at the time and for people that don't know the future web apps was probably I would say without a doubt the most influential elenco biggest Tech conference back during Web 2.0 cash yeah you could really kind of know everybody on the internet and a way back then
00:04:06you know who it is weird that everyone knew each other was just like a small group of people and I remember I think we met for the first time at Future web app San Francisco and you walked on the stage and you know I was the MC an American Pony assigned to yeah you tell me about you and and you're like a study computer science and and and I think we figured out we were basically almost exactly the same age and and I slept well this is kind of weird parallel life you know all right you never really welcome Kevin Rose and and then you went on the speak and it's kind of fun to just end up friends after that yeah so what led you to get into conferences like what was your for actually one that might be one step back from there but what was your first kind of experience as an entrepreneur in college cuz it was really the only thing you could study has anything to do with internet I don't know if you felt like that went when you went to you went to UNLV I think right
00:05:06ounce to to Really study and so I thought I guess I'll do that and so got that degree and then I felt like I had lived in Colorado my whole life and I didn't know what I didn't know and so I thought I was going to move to a foreign country and really push my my personal limits of of comfort and talk to you I used to be a pretty strong Christian back in the day and or religious I thought I would say and move to England and got a job developer in a straight-up I went to a recruiter and said I don't know how to find jobs in England's we find me a coding job in and he did and basically being upset about writing code for about 4 years from 2000 and 2004
00:05:58mostly working for web design companies and probably like a lot of entrepreneurs out there I just remember kind of doing the mental math for how much my boss is making and for how little work he was doing and I just thought this is not a good deal you know he seems like he's not doing any work it doesn't look that hard you know how hard can it be you know I'm going to build a piece of software and I'm going to be no try to make it work and this is in 2004 and I don't know if you remember but Jason free then David heinemeier Hansson and Basecamp were and 37signals really becoming you know hot thing oh yeah for sure we all were sort of looking at them and going well you know they basically turn themselves from a from a client services company into a product company and I feel like they really launched that the SAS Revolution and
00:06:58are they were always very public opinion about talking about it and how they did it and and and so I thought you know if they can figure this out in a build a simple products bootstrap it and charge monthly for it maybe I can too and so I built a really simple web app for sending large files cuz you know back in 2004 that's right I remember this now and you can even send a file that was bigger than 2 Megs is insane what was the name of that product called dropsend drops and yes it was called Dropbox and and we launched it and then right afterwards the Dropbox launched and and I just thought I would never going to win this us in a trademark battle so let's just change the name inside busy built it you know is a simple PHP web app and and this was before the cloud was even a thought in someone's mind right so
00:07:58had this is no funding this is you just like okay I have the skills to code I'm just going to go and build something. Just literally try to figure out in fact not even really bootstrapping this is the way I was a developer in my attic and I worked you know at the nights in the weekends to try to build this thing and and bought a shared server on you know something like dreamhosters something at Bernie's and then you're on the server with like 10 other people running my tonight since I don't know I guess looking back I had the one thing that you need is an entrepreneur which is basically naive optimism know how hard can this be you know and what's the worst that can happen in and so they had to figure out how to build a server that could you know you can upload large files to and then and then once I did it like
00:08:58I sell this thing talk to me about the process of you know you were coding and I have always considered you kind of a creative mind in a very like in touch with good design so if you where did you get the designer to help you out with this did you do everything kind of Soup To Nuts here or out of that question so I do care about design a lot even though I myself am not Designer I think we're somewhere in that sense you know it was something in 8 in me and I just thought good design means good product so you know it's just like when you go to a nice venue the design matters right it really reflects the quality of of it so I did care about design and interesting enough when I was in London before I started my first company a buddy and I also named Ryan and Selena Fran Shelton
00:09:56we we decided to create a meet up and that he was very simple hate let's just get we called them web designers but really it kind of encompassed everybody who is Sino coating are designing you know that skit web designs together and have a beer and talk about our work and show our work and you know Network and have fun and this is before kids or or dating or anything so I had an infinite free time and so we met up and we did it and we call it by designers for designers and it was it was the nickname was creative Fight Club because you know you could you want to show up and you could anybody could run one of these and Ryan Shelton was really the design half of this you know I was the entrepreneurial developer and he was the one with amazing design sense and good user experience sense and so he died became just a dynamic duo founder on that product
00:10:56no she wasn't Albertsons idea but he was there from the get-go vital I mean neither of us back then were really Savvy around things like Equity or funding or it was it was really like I don't know how to say Dia and you know it if if you're too busy to work on it what kind of pay you to do it and I don't know if it'll work out so Ryan did all of the design
00:11:21for what became drops and you know for a straight-up client fee and he's good friend of mine and it said I can scrape together this amount of money you know you want to do and in like like everything you look back and it was messy and and confusing but it got the job done and reboot it up and and put it out there and you know what's funny is and everyone listen to this should know that a lot of things that we all do is entrepreneurs fail and we don't talk about it cuz it's kind of embarrassing but the first iteration of this product it was called Flight Deck before it was drops in and it totally failed it just way overpriced it I did not how to Market it I just have all that was wrong and it slowly died and and this goes all the way back to your original question okay where did this event stuff come from
00:12:21and what I realized as flightdeck was was dying a slow death is that you know what I care about is encouraging people empowering people making the world a little better and that's really what motivates me and I love technology so why don't we combine all these things and and try to teach people something you know technology or coding and I like a lot of good ideas I stole the original idea again from Basecamp they did a workshop called I think how we built base camp
00:13:01that was a one-day workshop and they they said you know it's like 400 bucks will just tell you everything we know and and I thought you know because the internet so small on that and I made so many friends do this by designers for designers meet up I could literally ask some of the smartest people in the internet to speak and we would charge a fee and let's do a workshop on how to build a website and so I wound down flight deck and launched our first workshop and it was it was called how to build Enterprise PHP web apps nice Workshop meteorite I mean you couldn't do any marketing except for emailing her friends and posting on websites and it's sold out and you and it was fun you know people at the end of day were smiling and and
00:14:01say thank you I thought that was so fun I learned so much and I thought well oh and I just got paid to do something else fun and people loved it let's do more of that and did more so we did another Workshop you know and then another workshop and then thought well that's not his do in London let's do one in Chicago and and again then to the networking piece that I built back when I did the Meet Up by designers for designers ended up paying off handsomely because I already knew people and they respected me because I had put in being a Sweat Equity into building a community for no pay that when I came back and said he would you teach a workshop Daly City by designs for designers inside didn't realize it all the network and and I would even fast forward that say well it was fast and look how we got funding for treehouse
00:15:01and it was because of the strong relationship I built with you and not expecting any kind of payment or dividend or or outcome from that it was just a rebuilding a relationship here we actually like each other and then when I showed you the beginning of Treehouse as a business and I remember sitting in a cafe in Las Vegas and you said this is like this business you have you ever thought about raising money and you know I was like now and I'm against that fast forward you know a year you know you said Hey listen man you know I'll help you put together an angel rounds it's going to work out great and and it did and it goes to show that you know putting in that the sweat in the blood to build the network and not expecting to pay back is just something that that ends up rewarding you and crepe crazy ways
00:16:01set the network cuz I think it's it's fascinating because a lot of people you know would-be entrepreneurs when when you chat with them or they ask you questions about getting started they just don't know how they're going to Market their product I don't know how they're going to get that thing off the ground and they don't that you know that's a big hurdle for a lot of people so when you were when you were launching you know that you say any of these last three different proxy talked about her birthday different projects that you built how did you put together that initial group of people and get attention on these on these things yeah yeah that is a very good question first business which I failed at you know flight deck which they became drops and I didn't do that you know I basically I basically had built a B2B product and it didn't even know that and so I was you know trying to do sales versus marketing and basically failing and then and it didn't even I mean it's gosh you look back of your life and you think I didn't even know I was failing
00:17:01and you learned and then and then huh what's interesting is okay that's launch a training and in-person training business how do you Market that well word of mouth right I've worked really hard to build up some relationships and I'm just going to start telling people about it and hoping that they see the value trying to give them something in return and it just goes back to remember my mom made me read a book that has changed my life and it's called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie you know it's an old classic and and the reason why I change my life is it cuz it really helped me understand that I need to think first about what a what what are the other folks folks getting out of how can I add value for them before I ask for Value back and so is always about that okay cash what's in it for them and my dad is a drill me on this Ryan what's in it for them
00:18:01and so I had that mentality for the beginning okay if I'm going to ask a speaker to come and speak you know their time is very valuable everyone wants him to speak what's in it for them so I think okay they're going to want some nice things like a nice flight to know a nice hotel room that's all you know great but what's really in it for them well maybe they have a book that they're promoting maybe they have a web app they're promoting you know maybe I can help them do that to the event okay that kind of works and then knowing that these folks have big networks and that they would tell everybody that was following them or are cared about them I am speaking at the show and then that would help me do marketing and so is very hand to hand combat at the DIA you know it was literally just gosh you know how to resell two more seats or 10 more seats or that you grew this thing to gosh I'm never going to one of your your Converses in London that was I mean I must have been charged
00:19:01they got you judge and then this is that the the the the terrible truth behind all this is that it takes time you know we we are just just run over by stories of slack and Facebook and and Twitter and you know how they are these rocket ship businesses that just took off and we we believe the lie like oh a business a good business just gross you know it's just magical it's amazing but the reality that I've seen is every business that I worked on is basically five you know plus years of work and you start literally you know being excited that one person signed up and then they to it's like three people signed up and and it's just like brutal hustle at first and you just can't go from 0 to you know viral success it just I just don't think it's real
00:20:02how do you gauge success than in the in the short-term I mean what what are you I'm curious like let's say you know for treehouse for example you launch a new feature and it's a new feature that I don't know just the new way to teach someone how to code what do you look at or what do you look for so that you know you're not just putting you know good effort after masterbastion Geneva invest in something that's not going to work out yes and so we now do some a tree house which I've adopted personally which is pretty straightforward there's a book called 4 disciplines of execution are 4dx and the concept is pretty simple so you basically say okay we need this big thing to happen you know we need to get to you know a million dollars in Revenue recorded save in a thousand or a thousand users now that it is impossible to make happen daily you know you basically can't really affect that numb
00:21:02consistently daily so but what you can affect that's called your your lag scoreboard this is the big thing we do need to do you know we got to get a thousand users by this date okay so my theory is the way I can do that is by doing 10 of these things per day in as long as I do 10 of those things per day it should affect the lag scoreboard and so what you do is you basically place bets you say okay I believe this feature or this marketing campaign or this piece of content is going to drive you know that 25 sign ups but I don't know until I get it out there so the the lead scoreboard which is the one that should affect the lag scoreboard is I did my 10 things today I did my 10 things again today and do it again and you basically hit this lead scoreboard daily
00:21:58and then we could you measure are we is undies lead lead scoreboard which shows that I'm winning by doing one of these 10 things I said I would do is it actually affecting the lag scoreboard answer it's a way of keeping you from being paralyzed and saying oh my God I got I don't know how to get a thousand users where do I start it sounds like you said overarching goal in the and Define little things that will roll up into achieving at overarching goals I got Instinct like okay if I post four times on Instagram per day you know and I you know make it compelling and I have a certain amount of Engagement the belief in you know I'll be able to drive x amount of sign-ups you know from that and then you continue to refine that's longer list of things that were left to the lag so if like posting Instagram a few times a day is now
00:22:58working you can cut it and then got you is that you're you're iterating and experimenting very quickly and this is what you do internally it is and I even my personal life how do you track all this is there I mean you actually delay nnn procrastinate actually doing the work by train instrumental of it I can talk to this amazing co-coach called Marshall Goldsmith and his is actually one of the leading Co countries in the world and he said I do something that's almost embarrassing to talk about and I was like what's that Marshall and he said I pay somebody to call me once a day and they asked me the same question every day that is a little odd
00:23:58I know that your lunch things every day in order to have success heated chair they were but you would be things like posting on his blog or you know tweeting five times or it's it's those the lead measures it's the doing it's the boring shitt basically that that you have to do over and over and over everyday to see the result in my someone asking him if it was embarrassing if he's kept saying no every day and I think there's something there you know one thing I've realized recently and I think we talked about this in the Cop Shop in her hanging out the day is at because I was religious when I was growing up I believed in almost like a manifest destiny that if if I'm working on something that truly matters and I believe Treehouse truly matters
00:24:58forgiving people practical trade skills so that they can get a job so they can change their life I believe that matters like on some sort of you know spiritual level I believe that the Universe would be success that you know as long as I you know you know kind of showed up that that it would happen I just realized you know I think over the past couple years nope still need to make it happen is is brutally boring daily grinding work and and only way to keep up in a boring grinding work and it's all boring I love my job at the surgeon boring part of it is that I have a deep why that I believe in that drives me to that he had let's let's talk about that cuz I understand your Instagram feed you talk about your why quite a bit so
00:25:58my name is Ryan Carson nice and easy yeah I I just connected the dots that at some point that understanding my why the deep deep reason that I started Treehouse was the key will it tell people the elevator pitch on Treehouse as it exists today like what exactly does it do in in full disclosure I obviously didn't best many years ago but there's reasons I was awesome and so tell me a little bit about it so I got the job and it started nodding on me that that the computer science degree was just totally disconnected from the job and I thought weird you know I don't use any of my degree in my day today work so what was that about you know and I was really privileged and lucky to have my parents pay for my degree but I could have gone you know $50 thousand dollars in debt for that
00:26:58and start to eat at me and and eventually I thought you know what there's got to be a better way that you know let's launch and online school that teaches coding because you know we can decorate the cop the content very fast we can we can teach quickly we can make it affordable and then we started working on that and what I realized is that coding you know making apps technology is a trade skill and that you don't need to go to college for this I'm not anti college at all I'm just Pro person and really treehouses is the trade school of the future you know the trade who teaches coding we teach you how to do it and then we help you get a job and we do it for 2% of cost of a college degree online so I'm curious if I love to even though this is like you know I admit you before I meant I'm an investor I want to play Devil's Advocate be like in time
00:27:58Esther just be friends but I want to talk about whole slew different stuff but on the Treehouse front like why why not just go on the free coding cuz there's a lot of free different coding sites out there now there's a ton and that been serious competition for you guys in like how do you handle that how do you set yourself apart from from all the free stuff there has and I think the theme will be useful to anyone listen to the show regardless of whether you care about 3 hours or not is that from the very beginning I believed in charging for the product I felt strongly that by asking people to pay it signals very important things that signals intent it signals quality it allows us to invest you know if you're paying us up front then we can meet at take that cash flow and we can reinvest into the product until from day one we charged $25 a month
00:28:58and it was scary and gosh you know the thing I want people to hear me say is that I don't know the right answer you know I don't know if this strategy is going to win and everything that we do is on spinners is a bat right but deep down I think I should know it good schools cost money and they should be really affordable that I believe that that by asking people to pay their going to be more committed see a higher value but it's been brutal you know it's been a hand hand to hand combat you know if they are our competitors they want on some things we want another things but you know 7 years later we're still doing this and I think that's evidence that in a building a business you know that that you ask people to pay for the product you scale with cash flow you know deep down like that's actually what we were all trying to do here
00:29:58yeah and so I've been struggling with this myself on a couple different projects I've been working on one I launch that fasting app you know that it was telling you about and I decide to give it away for free on a person for free and it's funny it's it's interesting in that what are the things that actually my wife is big into this as well cuz of the whole psychology side of things you know she has his cooking course if she charges $99 for and I was just give it away for free you know like Bob and weave weave give it away like you know real test account still like friends and other people that you know are just like want that I can't you don't hit me up in okay once you take a free account here you go Paul all this of that right and it's like you noticed that you know people don't have the same level of commitment to something unless they pay for it you know I've ever heard that and other businesses as well and thought you know what was wondering I'm looking or daily active users on on the fasting app you know who took over half million fast and things like that but I'm curious
00:30:58I seen a few other things where attention goes up if people believe if if they're investing their own money yep and it did it does make sense you're basically asking them to do the mental arithmetic before they sign up you know is this actually something I want to invest my time in and my money right now but yeah I think I think of the meditation side eventually in the figure out the pricing model that works because like you said you take those dollars and you roll it right back into additional content like for me I'm going to be going out in licensing different speaking of speakers like around meditation and just like wisdom and spirituality and things like that General and those does costing of thousands of dollars per little audio track right and so I'm thinking if you charge something you can then roll it back in and create a even better experience for everyone right it just trying to find that balance you know of how much is too little or too much
00:31:58it is an 18 of the Silicon Valley culture and you've been right inside it and I've always been outside of it and I start my business in the UK crazy cuz I I married a wonderful woman that was British in and then I moved to Portland instead of Silicon Valley so I've always been outside of the growth at all costs mentality and I'm not saying that's what you believe but you either you been there physically and seen all that from the inside and what hat what was really interesting to see what happened in early 2016 because basically the money train stopped yeah and you know everybody was raising money on on Cross members and and then my Siri is it it it it started when LinkedIn stock you know dropped massively in the public markets and it caused this Whiplash you know all the way through the private markets where people said whoa we have to cross the chasm here between you know
00:32:58the profitability otherwise there isn't an actual business here and the public markets aren't going to recognize this valuation and so everybody can clean tree house I was out raising money you know I took that punch in the face and we realized oh okay you know we really do need to build a profitable business here and and I that and that put a ton of businesses you know out of business it caused a bunch of m&a to happen and it's just interesting to see that you know when the the the when the money is really on the table and and investors are are being realistic what they're saying is you got to build a real business in as Founders not prayers we should be saying that to ourselves but it's hard to know it's hard not to chase growth at all cost
00:33:54I know it's true especially when your competitors are raising a ton of money in their billing you know millions of dollars into ads and to just chased growth it's hard not to want the same having a long-term Marathon mentality is is the only way to survive a hundred percent agree I've also change to your way of thinking here in the last couple years like I think about the rolling out the meditation app you know I did it's obviously some massive players now in the space like no that's headspace or, more others and like I'm not even for me I just want to build a really high quality product that changes people's lives that we can get to break even at in terms of just you know paying the software engineers and that and just let this be something that is a part of your life for the next 10 15 20 years there's nothing wrong with that that's awesome you know that is the point I mean that that's actually what we're supposed to be doing here and this is why I said it's so confusing cuz you look at Facebook and Stockton and any high growth
00:34:54company in and you get confused about what you're doing right and the reality is you know if you have a why that matters if you're building a business that you truly believe the world needs then you can have a long-term perspective on it and actually build a business me of course yes you want to maximize growth and and yes you want to maximize cash flow and yes of course but the Y has to come first and then the long-term mentality has to come first and everything people find their why I get asked that a lot actually since I started talk about you know what people when they're at their most vulnerable at talked about Adam go to because they realize you know I wake up at
00:35:54today and I need a purpose why am I literally on this planet and so it goes back to you know a primal important reason so it's a good question that the the the terrible part is that there doesn't seem to be a straightforward way of finding her why and and the reason I say that is because you know my wife I was originally about God and I was I was a Christian I was religious and it was like okay I've been I've been put on Earth cuz I was created and you know on my my why is making sure everybody knows how to find Salvation like that's really important and and then when I transition out of that you know I went through a deep sense of confusion like wow okay it's out of my why what is it and that's a big thing there's a brutal thing you and I both were raised very religious it's it's a really high
00:36:54everything to to wrap your head around all of it but I probably transition tomorrow kind of an agnostic and so because I didn't think okay my job is to not tell people about salvation you know what do I get up for every day and I realize you know what even if there isn't an eternity after this I believe there's something sacred and important about human life that everyone's life matters and I don't know why I just feel it deeply and so it's like okay I also love technology I think it's really cool because that I totally believe you and in that not that I wouldn't believe you would remember I remember watching you from the outside and we weren't talking much here like a couple years ago and say hi every wants to
00:37:54but it wasn't like we were seeing each other and you know you I've never seen your post on on Instagram like all the black lives matter stuff you can bring on the teachings of a dime like me and he's going hardcore like I was like I believe I mean that's all there's one thing to believe I think I like it you know all of our friends and that's what we all believe that obviously but to go and represent like you did I thought was really impressive thanks man it's just something deep down you know an end and so I truly believe okay humans are equal all of us are we all deserve a chance like it's not fair that you know I was born into this amazing White Privilege the background and I may like I just won the lottery of life right and I was born in America you know and I was born to parents who you know didn't get divorced like that mean it's just I'm in like that the tenth of 1% of luckiness as far as setting me up for happiness
00:38:54it's not fair that that other people pay prices that are not their fault and so it's like okay how do we give people a chance and and so I believe that where this amazing pointed human history where because software is eating everything it's going to create a massive amount of jobs and because of that it well paying jobs that you like they're well paying but because they're actually trade skills they're not a skill that you need a computer science degree for you can actually apply those skills for a tremendously affordable price so we actually have the chance to change millions of people's lives for real and it's not bullshit you know it's not a marketing campaign it's it's something unique that happens to be real right now in human history and I was lucky to literally stumble into that I was born in nineteen seventy seven
00:39:54no I meant I was raised in a place where there's enough money for computers I had a teacher say you should try coating I was able to afford college and then I stumbled into being a developer and then I realized holy cow this opportunity is something that maybe I could actually build something that would truly change the world right now because I'm some genius entrepreneur or cuz I have seen a beast like capabilities it it's all about being the right spot at the right time and noticing an opportunity and so it all for you just fine I disagree I think you have bees like everybody's that I seriously I want to talk about that too I want to touch on that for a second because I think that
00:40:43you have a drive unlike anyone I've ever seen it's kind of insane in that know but like to so we were grabbing coffee like it's 4 days ago and you were like I want to learn how to climb a rope and sell you know I got up if I get up at 4 a.m. to put a headlamp on like to like see because it's dark outside and your wife were sleeping inside you went you hung the Rope on your tree and then for like multiple days in a row you're learning how to climb a rope at 4 a.m. this is what are you doing something's wrong with me come from like to like in really successful people and honestly it's one of the reasons I really want it back you back using founder is because I I see this is just insane drive and it's funny you mentioned a few the first start up that you had and how like oh this one fail Bobby you just moved on to the next one it was like no big deal next one here we go you know it's like
00:41:43where where does that come from it's a good question and I think about a lot cuz I have two sons as you know another 9 and 6 and I am constantly thinking about how do I instill in them this capability so that they can be happy right cuz I I'm I'm very happy and I sort of settled on to one theme and I owe just my life to my parents for this day consistently said to me
00:42:14I believe you can do whatever you want to do and is stupid and cheesy as that sounds having an adult say those things to me and mean it when I was when I was impressionable I believe gave me this Foundation of safety you know I'm able to fail a lot because I can fall back to a safe place and say okay you know yet what is the worst that can happen you know I'm not going to die and so a little bit comes from that but that that isn't that would be enough that's not enough to get me up at 4 a.m. doctors is that deep why that that crazy dyn and so it's like why am I climbing a rope that's got nothing to do it with teaching code Ray but the theme is okay I am
00:43:14turning 40 and what will keep me from succeeding at treehouse is is getting weak getting old and and I won't be able to perform at a high level and so really my workouts and I'm training for a Spartan super it's literally about pushing myself physically so that I can perform better on on this deep why and it's kind of flows from this is why it's frustrating to say hi I wish that you could apply for me that to find your why but I didn't even really understand mine too I was 32 years old and so I'll just wandering around and and in the dark and and trying things and having them some fail some succeed was this wandering path that the only guiding principle was that I believe that human life had value
00:44:14a deep level and that I love technology and so I would encourage anyone anyone listening
00:44:22to go back to these themes in your life and whether it's cool or whether it's interesting or whether it's profitable and other people think you're dumb or cool doesn't matter go back to this place where you feel deeply about something and just kind of starts it rating on that somehow it cuz it that's it the way I did I can only speak from experience right like I guess I found this why because I I loved people and I believe they matter and then I I I think technology is exciting and then I know and stumble around for you know literally from when I graduated college when I was 32 and even when I start it so funny I remember one of our investors is tomorrow from social capital
00:45:15and you're either you introduce me to him yeah you got me this guy's you know he could be a great investor got the phone with them I didn't even understand how deep that while I was in and how Treehouse could be a part of that until he said to me I don't you get it you know you are empowering people for the Next Generation to be able to be middle-class and afford their life and and succeed like you are literally changing humanity and I was like oh my God you're right I didn't even get that so I think I'm just trying courage everybody listening to say you don't even have to it doesn't have to be clear to you if you just start working on something that you're passionate about I believe somehow it'll connect the dots right I think it's right for me I've been trying to figure this out of
00:46:15you know I think we all are in terms of what that kind of deep Everlasting why isn't I'm sure that way I can change over time since that run through your life you know and I had trouble it verbalizing what they were but I can see them from the outside and I think anyone could probably ask someone that let that loves them and cares about who you one of these things that you think are things in my life to get an outside perspective on that special someone that knows you well except for me I think about is just like you know if if money weren't a desire so you're not chasing the almighty dollar like what would you be working on so you know what what what does that thing be that bass thing that you would be working on as a guy on even if you had a billion dollars in the bank or whatever it may be you know
00:47:15exactly and I just keep coming back to the I think the reason I do audio podcast like this in the video in the foundation series and things like that is like you I like to to go out and hopefully help Inspire other people and get them excited about the opportunities that are out there and let them know it was a big thing for me is like I've seen this so many times where people will come to you and expect you to have all the answers because you like done it or Solar Company or work to Google or whatever it might be right they like they're like oh I mean you got it figured out and like help me I'm like no I don't have it figured out either like I'm just trying to like you know we're all figuring this out in real time right now and I'm hoping the other people once they realize that we're all just human I like oh god well I'll go try something I could do that to you know I can learn how to code whatever it maybe yes so you know one of the things I want to touch on
00:48:15before we wrap this up you know I've always really enjoyed chatting with you about your crazy ideas are always into something like really nuts like I've been taking notes as we've been chatting like you know I obviously I got to go back and reread How to Win Friends and Influence People and I also want to read 4 disciplines of execution so I've been writing stuff down another thing that you try when I think it just batshit crazy is this whole talk or see stuff and I know it was a can of worms for you so you know I think it's cuz it's crazy and it just it speaks to how you are not afraid of anything and you'll try anything and I love it but basically you know Treehouse was was hitting kind of puberty as a company and now I think we were at about 50 people this is what for 4 years ago was 2013
00:49:15and so I didn't know why you know okay wait why are people you know saying bad things about managers and and and what really is your managers or were they just okay so people your employer like I do not like my new manager writing my manager you start hearing you know things to the Grapevine like so I'm so sad that's what you know you that you're that size where all the sudden not everyone is on the same page it's a hard transition for companies to make good by the way like 20 plus People Source to happen yes we were hitting that big time and and unfortunately because I never been trained as a manager myself I didn't know what was wrong and then it turns out in hindsight that a promise or a simple we don't we didn't rain are managers how to be good at managing people don't know how to be good managers unless you teach them it's not an innate human scale and so and so
00:50:15I need yogurt and thought well let's just remove the managers do you correct I'm sort upset so I just it was kind of based off of being kind of basic gut instinct okay managers you know if people are smart and people are well-informed and they and they work hard I didn't need managers if I literally don't understand I don't think I get in the way and and don't the idle sensor Crofton and so I did some research okay that's that's we got this is crazy or not so I did research and found out that valve if you know the the game company was supposedly flat you know I found like Gore Associates which apparently had like 9000 employees was flat so when you say flight you mean just new hierarchy mostly everyone is on the same level so everything from an executive assistant to
00:51:15yo are have the same power correct yeah they can propose projects that they can start projects they can do really whatever until I started that and I found a HBS serve study in Harvard Business School and supposedly it was working until we really put a lot of thought into it like trying to make the system work we built some software so that people could essentially say I want to propose a project here's the idea is how to measure it you know here's how to know if it's successful hear the types of people I need on the project I need a designer and developer you know and market a marketer and then they would hit propose and then once a day I run the company would receive an email digest of all the proposed projects and you could click into them and then if you wanted to join them then you would join one of those spots to say your developer and it was an open developer spot you would feel
00:52:15and then as soon as all the spots are filled the proposer could hit begin project right Empower people to truly do what they think is best you know get totally out of their way and I I believe if if humans were perfect it would work. Unfortunately we we are not I think we we should have involved to not be able to work like that you know we're sort of pack animals and we really start to look for leaders and and not everybody wants to lead and really I made the mistake of believing everybody is essentially an entrepreneur
00:53:02and the reality is a lot of people aren't they don't want to do that you know that they would be they would much rather fit into a bigger vision and I'll be a part of a team instead of constantly trying to to be an entrepreneur and a basic B to C L and we cranked on it for a year-and-a-half and then sadly it just degraded overtime you know if you start to see some of the same unfortunate you know political situations developing where it turns out only certain types of people were proposing projects you know and those projects were getting kind of funded if you will because they were popular you know and it's it just it just kind of broke down and so it was tough cuz you know I did the medial of this like I got interviewed so many times about this and I just had to come in eat my own shit and basically say gosh you know this was an experiment in it it just didn't work
00:54:02and it's okay if I was to go back in time I would slap myself and say don't do it. Because our people are wonderful and I am thankful for them and they put in hard work and it's not their fault you know it's it's my fault for for not really training them as a manager and and skillet rainbows as a manager what's your process it's free and I would highly recommend it's called Manager Tools it's a podcast it's almost like car talk radio for management and it's awesome so if you just Google Manager Tools it's a free podcast there is a specific ongoing or a set number of episodes so there's something called the Trinity which is the Three core elements of being a manager that's out there and it's at and it's a playlist basically so if you listen to the manager tools Trinity I think it's called it's just out there and then you can also pay them if you want ongoing training and
00:55:00honestly just the basics in management is way more than you know most people are Ever Getting anyway and it's awesome so I thought I'd highly recommend it and now you know we transitioned into a normal company with great management tank and you know a healthy culture and and Rich kind of cranking it's awesome lot of pain to get there but here we are so tell me about the before you wrap up I guess we're wrapping up now tell me about the latest stuff you been up to like what's the product offering look like now I know you launch Tech degrees right yeah you know as I explained my goal is to get someone all the way from 0 to job ready and then actually help them get a job as a developer and so we weave concert evolving and the latest product that we have I think that really does that cover text agree and it's is only a hundred ninety nine bucks a month and it takes about 6 12
00:56:00wants to be looking at you know 1224 box at 2 to go from 0 to job ready and then actually get a job and that is going wonderfully well if it's an online boot camp without you know this used cost on that three months you know chunk out of your time so I haven't had a chance to play with the product yet but is it do you do like mentoring as well or I thought I heard something about mentoring from a buddy of mine that was going to help you guys basically they do you know which were really good at we do great video content plus you know coding challenges in and work spaces and all the all the interactive all my stuff and then we supplement it with required projects that you build and then those projects are graded and then we attach a slack channel so that you can talk tell your peers and get support and encouragement and unblock yourself and then at the end we have a final proctored exam which really insured
00:57:00let you know you have a skill set and then all throughout that we have created curriculum to help you understand how to go find the job right cuz it's you don't have a computer science degree it's it's it's not straightforward you know you have do you know where to look for the jobs you have to know how to apply for them you have to know how to be no survive a technical interview I may have to know all these extra things so we wrapped it up into a product and I really think something like that is the future of Education yeah it's awesome I'm a big fan I jump in there this is just to see what you guys have rolled out you know when you have intercourse if they come out at night I don't know if you see my profile activity but I always take the first few if any like hot new thing cuz I just am curious though, want to get an overview of what's going on you know and as a former developer back in the day coding and you know much different languages that no longer exist when you mentioned yet Pascal of the beginning I was like I'm over those two days exactly but yeah so awesome product
00:58:00Instagrams I know you put up with a lot of great stuff up there I'm just riding Carson Ryan Carson and I would I'm also on Twitter same name so love to connect with you all sweet and let's let's get together and do some more podcast if you guys be fun would love to man thanks so much using some more kind of variety of of stuff I think it be fun that we talked about doing a show for those that are listening to a little variety show would be funny to cover all things that sounds good well thanks for letting me be on the show was a lot of fun alright thanks brother talk to you soon thanks so much for listening hope you enjoyed the episode also want to remind you once again if you haven't signed up for the newsletter www. The journal. Email once a month newsletter check it out I knew you would enjoy it

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