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GOLD! Learning to Program is STUPID! (or SMART?!)

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I still don't understand why people here want to learn to code!

Spend that time learning to market and write sales copy. Spending 1000 hours to learn to code to spend 200 hours writing an app is STUPID.

Spend the 1000 hours learning to market and write copy, and you can use that skill for the life of the app, plus the life of the next app, and other peoples apps AND it makes you money. Writing code just means you have something, but it won't sell itself.

Here is how it will work if you learn to code:
1000 hours learning to code.
200 hours writing an app.
wait for a sale, wait some more, wait some more.
Spend 1000 hours learning to market and write copy.
sell some of your app
spend 150 hours fixing bugs and responding to support issues because your app is crap because it takes 5000 hours to really learn how to code.
get frustrated and yank your app because of the PITA factor and all the bad reviews of your app.


Learn to market and write copy:
1000 hours learning to market and write code, while that 1000 hours is going on, pay someone that has 10,000 hours of training on apps to write your app.
Start marketing your app immediately.
Sell lots of your app.
Pass any support issues to the developer
Sell lots more of your app.
Create 3 more apps and market the hell out of them
Go to the bank often to deposit checks.

Do you SEE the difference????
 

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theag

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Thanks for posting this, I can't agree more!

I always cringe when people write that they want to learn how to code. Its not worth it. It takes too long and as soon as you learned the basics there are 1000 things that changed on the technology side. Learn marketing and sales. Use your time to find a need. Don't learn to program if you want to be an entrepreneur. Even the great entrepreneurs in technology only coded the first prototype themselves and then let the specialists take over.

That said, I think every internet/technology entrepreneur should know about the basic technologies that his business is based on. The people wanting to start an ecommerce empire without knowing how to set up a site themselves are just as bad as the guys wanting to learn programming. This is also vital if you're eventually outsourcing/hiring for the technology/programming part, you won't get what you want/need if you don't have a clue what you are talking about.
 
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healthstatus

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People try and justify learning to code by saying they don't have enough money to pay for app development. (and when I say app I mean any computer/web/phone code). If you learn to write copy, you can sell an affiliate product, or just write good text ads and make enough to pay for your app development.

I made my living for 20 years writing code and managing programmers, I have made a MUCH better living now that I write good copy. I know what I am talking about.

I have a couple of trips coming up, and I already have my sales letters ready to go to sell three different products from my website, these will generate me several thousand dollars of spending money for my trips. Learning to write good sales copy is like turning your computer into an ATM.
 

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I have a couple of trips coming up, and I already have my sales letters ready to go to sell three different products from my website, these will generate me several thousand dollars of spending money for my trips. Learning to write good sales copy is like turning your computer into an ATM.
This is something I have been interested in for some time. I have been doing alot of reading but I find it hard to wade through the guru IM stuff and the real stuff. Do you recommend any resources to help learn good copywriting skills or is it just one of those trail and error things.

Thank you
 

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SOME of the books recommended to me by a pro copywriter.

However if you want to accelerate you'll need to pay for a mentor

"Scientific Advertising" Claude Hopkins

"Tested Advertising" Caples (4th edition or earlier only)

"How I Raised Myself from a Failure to Success in Selling" Betger

"How to Write a Good Advertisement" Schwab.

"How to Write Sales Letters That Sell" Drayton Bird

"The Robert Collier Letter Book" - by Robert Collier

"Tested Advertising Methods" -by John Caples

"The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - by Joe Karbo

"Break-Through Advertising" - by Eugene M. Schwartz

"Advertising Secrets of The Written Word" by Joe Sugarman

"Making Ads Pay" by John Caples

Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso

The Architecture of Persuasion by Michael Masterson

Influence The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman

"The Elements of Copywriting" by Gary Blake and Robert Bly

"The Ultimate Sales Letter" by Dan Kennedy

Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman

"Write to sell " it is written by Andy Maslen

"Influencing Human Behaviour" by H.A.

"Tested Sentences That Sell" by Elmer Wheeler

"Unlimited Selling Power" by Moine and Lloyd.

Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias

Bob Bly's "The Copywriter's Handbook"

How To Make Your Advertising Make Money - John Caples

The Copywriters Handbook - Bob Bly

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook - Joseph Sugarman

Sales Letters That Sizzle - Herschell Gordon Lewis

Cash Copy - Jeffrey Lant

Magic Words That Bring You Riches - Ted Nicholas

Ogilvy On Advertising

Method Marketing by Denny Hatch.

My First 50 Years in Advertising by Maxwell Sackheim.

The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of all Time " by Richard Hodgson.

How To Write Advertising That Sells by Clyde Bedell

Ads That Sell by Bob Bly

Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich-- David Garfinkle

Magic Words-- Ted Nicholas

Robert Collier Letter Book-- Robert Collier

My Life In Advertising -- Claude Hopkins

Bird - Commonsense

The First Hundred Million by E. Haldeman-Julius

David Ogilvy's "Blood, Brains and Beer"

"Confessions of an advertising man"

"Million Dollar Mailings" by Denison Hatch

"The Wizard of Ads" trilogy by Roy H. Williams

Making Ads Pay by John Caples

Method Marketing - Denison Hatch

"How to Write Sales Letters that Sell" by Drayton Bird.

Hypnotic Writing -- Joe Vitale

"The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - by Joe Karbo

Denny Hatch's Million Dollar Mailings
 

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Whole Paradigm

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Love ya healthstatus but I disagree,

I'm learning how to code as we speak. Have been for a while now. I love learning this just as much as I enjoy learning about all other aspects of business. Instead of saying that learning something you want to learn is "stupid", perhaps you should say that it wasn't beneficial to YOU. To tell anyone that learning anything is stupid is in fact, stupid, and I know you're smarter than that.

I also enjoy learning how to cook, speak different languages, sew, and a million other things. I'm not stupid I'm enlightened and interested.



All the best,

Cory
 

AllenCrawley

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SOME of the books recommended to me by a pro copywriter.
Thanks Alty. This looks like a great list. I actually have a couple listed here but there are some that I didn't know about.
 

EastWind

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google guys? coded it themselves.
facebook guys? coded it themselves
ebay guys? coded it themselves
hotmail? coded it themselves
pinterest owners? coded it themselves
microsoft? coded it themselves.
reddit?
slashdot?
yahoo?
paypal?
and the list goes on.

the major owner's wrote the first version/prototypes themselves, before they started hiring programmers.

if you want to make billions upon billions, you better learn to code!
if you are shooting for 6, 7 figures, then programming is stupid.
 

deepestblue

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I would think that the CHANCES of having a super successful business are better if one learns copy vs. coding.

To expand on the initial posting, once a person learns copywriting/marketing/sales, they can outsource the development of as many products as they can write for (or pay other copywriters to write for once they learned what works).

Ty to Alty for the list of books above: With that list he has provided anyone with the time, inclination and effort the ability to have a very successful life. Coding standards change by the second. But as Claude Hopkins stated in the best copywriting book of all time, "the principles set down in this book are as enduring as the Alps."
 

theag

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google guys? coded it themselves.
facebook guys? coded it themselves
ebay guys? coded it themselves
hotmail? coded it themselves
pinterest owners? coded it themselves
microsoft? coded it themselves.
reddit?
slashdot?
yahoo?
paypal?
and the list goes on.

the major owner's wrote the first version/prototypes themselves, before they started hiring programmers.

if you want to make billions upon billions, you better learn to code!
if you are shooting for 6, 7 figures, then programming is stupid.
Thats absolutely right. But the fact that you and others who are pro-code-learning ignore is that all those famous technology founders who coded themselves were programmers BEFORE they even thought about starting a business. They were programmers and saw a need in the market to put their skills to use. Not the other way around as people on this board.

Don't get me wrong, I think programming/web development is a great skill to have as an entrepreneur. I started building websites etc when I was 10 or 11, back when the web was completely different. And this experience definitely helps me in my thinking today. But if I would start today I wouldn't learn how to program, because there are enough cheap programmers available to build a prototype for you. What I would learn though are the big picture concepts of web/app development, tools like mockup-creation, be familiar with the technologies out there (e.g. know what programming/scripting languages exist and what they are used for, understand different database concepts, sql vs. nosql etc). Don't learn programming, but learn how to work with programmers to achieve the results you want.
 

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I also enjoy learning how to cook, speak different languages, sew, and a million other things. I'm not stupid I'm enlightened and interested.
Speeeeeeed+++ :) Love it.

Btw. I was a programmer way before I even knew about fastlane, so I somehow don't feel competent to give opinions in this thread. Just love the post.
 

theag

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I also enjoy learning how to cook, speak different languages, sew, and a million other things. I'm not stupid I'm enlightened and interested.
The difference is, as you say yourself, that you learn coding as an aspect of business. You learn how to code to make money, you learn how to code because you think it will help you in business. This is completely different from learning how to cook or speak other languages. Nobody says that learning is stupid. But to learn programming up to a level where it really helps you, you have to pursue this will 100% time committment, because things are changing everyday in technology and you have to be on top of everything. And if you do that you don't have time to build a business. But it seems like its pointless to discuss this. You have to decide for yourself: do you want to be an entrepreneur or a programmer?

Take a look at this guy who was on here some months ago and now isn't active anymore. Don't remember his name. He learned how to code in Ruby on Rails and built a website for freelancers which looked nice, worked fine etc. Did everything himself and took him a few months to launch. As far as I remember it didnt really work out for him (no updates from him and on his blog for half a year), because not enough people were using the site (big surprise, because there are enough freelancer sites). So he ended up taking a job as a programmer with his new skills. Great. All this learning to get a job. If he had focussed on doing proper research if theres a need for the 100th freelancer site instead of learning how to code he would be in a different situation now, maybe with a successful business. If you want to go that route, sure, go on.
 

CryptO

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Learn advertising and team up or pay programmers, it will save you a ton of time and headaches

I am a builder of property in real life (offline world).

Every millionaire property developer that I shake hands with, has never got their hands dirty on a site.

Why do people think building websites should be any different?

The person who owns the property makes the money, not the builder
 

Pat

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Take a look at this guy who was on here some months ago and now isn't active anymore. Don't remember his name. He learned how to code in Ruby on Rails and built a website for freelancers which looked nice, worked fine etc. Did everything himself and took him a few months to launch. As far as I remember it didnt really work out for him (no updates from him and on his blog for half a year), because not enough people were using the site (big surprise, because there are enough freelancer sites). So he ended up taking a job as a programmer with his new skills. Great. All this learning to get a job. If he had focussed on doing proper research if theres a need for the 100th freelancer site instead of learning how to code he would be in a different situation now, maybe with a successful business. If you want to go that route, sure, go on.
I am pretty sure he learned to code because the coder he had hired did not deliver.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that everyone should learn to program. It took me years to get good at it and I still have a lot to learn. But outsourcing is also not as easy as it sounds (unless you get really lucky).

If your business requires advanced programming and it's not something you want to learn, then you better have a lot of money to pay your programmer and/or are prepared to give up equity. If not, then you are in the wrong business and you should look for something more suitable for your situation.

Thinking about it, too many people want to succeed online nowadays. I am not going to open up a bakery without any experience in the field. Same should apply to all the wanna be online entrepreneurs on here.

If you really wanna succeed online, you better get some experience in affiliate marketing or somewhere similar before diving in deep without any clue about anything.
 

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healthstatus

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google guys? coded it themselves.
facebook guys? coded it themselves
ebay guys? coded it themselves
hotmail? coded it themselves
pinterest owners? coded it themselves
microsoft? coded it themselves.
reddit?
slashdot?
yahoo?
paypal?
and the list goes on.

the major owner's wrote the first version/prototypes themselves, before they started hiring programmers.

if you want to make billions upon billions, you better learn to code!
if you are shooting for 6, 7 figures, then programming is stupid.
and EVERYONE on your list had YEARS of programming experience when they wrote their code. Nobody on the list learned to code their app 3 months ahead of time, then they ALL struggled until they got hooked up with someone that helped them market, either an incubator, VC or marketing partner. I would also highly discount any of your companies over 6 years old, that was the wild west days of the Internet and you could have crappy stuff and people would tolerate it.

BTW Microsoft modified code they bought from someone else, Gates did not write all that code.

For those that are yapping that learning is not stupid but fulfilling, why are you here? This is the FASTLANE forum, if you want to get ahead faster and quicker I am telling you how to save yourself a BUNCH of time and heartache by informing you where to concentrate your time. The odds of anybody over the age of twenty that doesn't know how to code right now, will learn enough code to create a successful app by themselves are huge.

If you want to learn to make money, you focus on the things that make you money, learning to code and writing code is not money making.
 

theag

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I am pretty sure he learned to code because the coder he had hired did not deliver.
Yea, I think you're right. But thats not really a reason to learn coding. It just shows that you need a certain level of high level technology knowledge to judge who you are hiring.

Pat said:
Now don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that everyone should learn to program. It took me years to get good at it and I still have a lot to learn.
Very happy to finally hear this from somebody who is actually a TRAINED programmer.

Pat said:
But outsourcing is also not as easy as it sounds (unless you get really lucky).

If your business requires advanced programming and it's not something you want to learn, then you better have a lot of money to pay your programmer and/or are prepared to give up equity. If not, then you are in the wrong business and you should look for something more suitable for your situation.
Absolutely right. The way it should be is: Idea -> High level technology knowledge -> Cheap MVP prototype -> Proof rough product/market-fit-> Hire programmer for equity (unrealistic) or get investment based on prototype and hire programmer (more realistic)

Pat said:
Thinking about it, too many people want to succeed online nowadays. I am not going to open up a bakery without any experience in the field. Same should apply to all the wanna be online entrepreneurs on here.

If you really wanna succeed online, you better get some experience in affiliate marketing or somewhere similar before diving in deep without any clue about anything.
I completely agree. Most people on here that want to start a web or app business have absolutely no idea what it involves and start with the wrong things. They read about outsourcing in some success-story or book and quickly hire somebody and send them a few instructions about their idea. Sometimes this works, most times it doesn't and they give up.
 

theag

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and EVERYONE on your list had YEARS of programming experience when they wrote their code. Nobody on the list learned to code their app 3 months ahead of time, then they ALL struggled until they got hooked up with someone that helped them market, either an incubator, VC or marketing partner. I would also highly discount any of your companies over 6 years old, that was the wild west days of the Internet and you could have crappy stuff and people would tolerate it.

BTW Microsoft modified code they bought from someone else, Gates did not write all that code.

For those that are yapping that learning is not stupid but fulfilling, why are you here? This is the FASTLANE forum, if you want to get ahead faster and quicker I am telling you how to save yourself a BUNCH of time and heartache by informing you where to concentrate your time. The odds of anybody over the age of twenty that doesn't know how to code right now, will learn enough code to create a successful app by themselves are huge.

If you want to learn to make money, you focus on the things that make you money, learning to code and writing code is not money making.
Great post! speed++

But I think you mistyped: "The odds of anybody over the age of twenty that doesn't know how to code right now, will learn enough code to create a successful app by themselves are very slim."
 

bigtamale

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But if I would start today I wouldn't learn how to program, because there are enough cheap programmers available to build a prototype for you. What I would learn though are the big picture concepts of web/app development, tools like mockup-creation, be familiar with the technologies out there (e.g. know what programming/scripting languages exist and what they are used for, understand different database concepts, sql vs. nosql etc). Don't learn programming, but learn how to work with programmers to achieve the results you want.
Pretty decent advice here.

I'm new and have no cred but have been in the software as a service business for years. I'd say that I was an entrepreneur before hack but that's only because I believe I was born one. My earliest thoughts were of hustle.

If you some guys are straight up who entrepreneurs think you can survive without technical knowledge just by throwing money at problems, you'd be wrong. Unless you've got a best friend that fills the nerd vacuum inside your soul.

You'll always have faulty (not buggy) code that doesn't do what you originally intended.
You'll always feel like programmers are stupid, and the feeling will be reciprocated (great atmosphere)
You'll have major problems changing gears and replacing this "disposable" commodity.
You'll never have quick bug turnarounds in a live environment.
... and worst of all, you'll always delay shipping code. Which is what gets everyone paid.

Good advice would be to take a weekend and pay a really, really good programmer to give you an intensive training on a LAMP stack (normal hosting environment) and some kind of overview on basic concepts of programming (database connection & interraction, arrays, loops & scraping).

It's completely possible and understandable that you'd leave that training session with a headache in need of a vacation ... but the truth is, you'll have seen inside the black box and will have a MUCH better idea of what all is possible. You'll also be able to communicate better with the people who are building the software that builds your bank account.

... or you can keep spinning your wheels thinking you know better. Your call.
 

theag

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Thanks for letting your experience speak here bigtamale, great advice there! Its simply not a black and white decision of learning programming vs. not learning. The right choice is, as often, in the middle.
 

qhead

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Hehe, this thread made me lol a bit but then I realized that it's pretty obvious that you would think that learning to program is only about learning how to write code. Knowing how to program changes your way of thinking. You start to understand how things actually work nowadays. I would go even further and say that those who know how programming concepts work and are entrepreneurs (important) have it so much easier when it comes to going fastlane. For example, I didn't find a business intelligence platform that is priced in the sane level and at the same time does what I want. So guess what I did. I took few days, took some open-source components, glued them together and now I have BI system that measures EVERYTHING in my business and provides me tools to slice & dice that data to answer any business questions I have. Those few days are worth at least ~35000 euros a year if I compare it to the cost of proper BI system. And you have count the support fees on top of that because you don't know how to use the system. Of course I can hear people say that it can't possibly do everything that for example IBM's BI platforms do and yes, it can't. However it does exactly what I need it to do and when I need it to do something more, I will make it so.

So I would say that you know how to market? Good for you, how many hours you spent on learning to do that? Must have took you a quite few hours to read all those classic books. Great, let me hire a copywriter for few thousand bucks, let him deliver Good Enough copy and then keep optimizing the funnel where it loses the prospect by the numbers. Sorry but I have been in the internet marketing scene for the past 15 years and I can say from experience that there's 13 marketers in dozen that know all the tricks and can provide you Good Enough copy that you can tweak to be perfect - if you know where to look for.

Oh and let's not even talk about how much you can save with SEO and SEM when you know how to automate.

Learning to market is just another skill that you can either use to "drive in the fastlane" or to sell by hourly units, or even better, words. Most people choose the latter option. If you are learning to program just to write iOS app, good for you but keep in mind that producing an awesome app takes a lot more than knowing the basics of programming. You have to understand how to maintain a proper structure to make maintenance possible and all the other stuff that comes when you write something bigger than Hello World. You better have interest of using the programming for other things as well and not just for that one app.
 

theag

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So where exactly do you stand with your opinion?
Of course its the best possible situation if you know both the technical and marketing side. But thats not feasible for those starting out. So for somebody new its best to learn the high level concepts of both (what you call the new way of thinking) and hire specialists for the nitty-gritty stuff.

But hey, maybe thats too easy to say for those of us who already have this high level knowledge of both. I still stand by my opinion and recommend this way of approaching it.
 

theag

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best possible situation if you know both the technical and marketing side
Oh and it certainly wouldn't hurt if you're a superstar sales guy, too ;). Thats where I have to learn a lot but I think is even the most critical skill for an entrepreneur. You can have the best product in the world, but if you can't make those first sales yourself, its no good.
 

qhead

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So where exactly do you stand with your opinion?
Of course its the best possible situation if you know both the technical and marketing side. But thats not feasible for those starting out. So for somebody new its best to learn the high level concepts of both (what you call the new way of thinking) and hire specialists for the nitty-gritty stuff.

But hey, maybe thats too easy to say for those of us who already have this high level knowledge of both. I still stand by my opinion and recommend this way of approaching it.
I say it depends on what your intentions are. If you are planning to run software based business, you really have no other choice than to learn programming. You don't have to be a great programmer but you have to be able to provide clear specifications. Nothing is more annoying and ridiculous than a business man who can barely use his laptop telling what he wants app to do. I know this from experience because once I worked closely with a programmer who had to deal with those people every day. Then those same guys curse that the programmer delivered "shit" and it doesn't work like he imagined. Well no shit, the programmers are not mind readers. Sorry about the rant but that's the way it works with people ordering software who have no idea what they are talking about except that they have this awesome idea about an app that is a mix of Angry Birds, Wikipedia and Facebook.

If you are planning to run a marketing company that deals only with planning marketing, then you need to learn about marketing obviously. However exception to this rule are affiliate marketers and so called internet marketers. They need to know a bit of programming or they will be scammed to death in the outsourcing markets.

The bottom line is that you need to know what you are asking your system to do. How can you ever expect to run a system that generates this mystical wealth if you don't even understand your own product? Personally I decided a long time ago to dump the hope and guess game so I run all my businesses by numbers. For example in my content business my BI solution provides me KPI per contractor based on how the content was received by the readers based on outsourcer's salary, hours spent and search engine rankings achieved with the target keyword. There's more metrics in that KPI but I think you get the point. The system automatically drops contractors that provide content that doesn't work at any level.
 
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