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

Sharilli

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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.
I agree.
 

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Roli

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As I have said repeatedly in this thread, there is this theory that you can take an online course or read a book and be able to write professional level code in six months or less. You can't. If you could, you would then have to learn how to sell your application. You would be much better served to take those 6 months learn how to SELL and make some money, then pay to have a professional programmer do your MVP while you developed your sales funnel. A lot more people have the aptitude to be able to sell, than have the aptitude to write high quality code.
I've taken the long way round, but I finally agree with you. :)
 

Sharilli

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If you would have learned marketing and copywriting, then you would have presold the idea to a number of people and realized no one was going to buy your useless idea and not spent the money having it coded.


Why did you accept delivery and pay in full on a buggy untested app?


If you tested your idea in the marketplace first, you still have all your money and most of your time.

But let's go down this road, you spend 1000 hours and write an app, the app has two serious bugs in it, one allows hackers access to the devices your app resides on, the second causes random additional charges to the devices credit cards. You have to pay $300,000.00 defending yourself in court that you didn't do this intentionally.
Read the 48 laws of power, don't do everything yourself, you'll end up wearing yourself out.
Hire people, work with people, get shit done efficiently.
 

ilrein

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Read the 48 laws of power, don't do everything yourself, you'll end up wearing yourself out.
Hire people, work with people, get shit done efficiently.
Reread the chapter on Michaelangelo and how his patrons' had to beg him, not the other way around. That's a very real form of power.

And to other readers of philosophy -- don't make this grave mistake -- instead of allowing the wisdom of the legends seep into you, you instead impose your own confirmation bias. To read philosophy of the greats -- and only too see what you have already decided -- what a waste.

No writer accrues flexibility as a virtue more than Robert. To make binary statements and to justify yourself with his work is proof you have understood nothing.

Also, in his third book, one of his case studies is Paul Graham, whom he terms "A Living Master".
 
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applesack

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Hey all, I have not read the entire thread, but it is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I wrote my first code when I was 10 on an TI99 at school and an Apple ][e my dad bought me. Yeah, that makes me oldish ;). I wrote software all through high school and went to college for a Computer Science degree. I can create quality software in C/C++, PHP, Javascript and I even tried some weird stuff like Lisp for a while. But, you know what? I can always pay programmers that are better than I am.

I work a lot with a team of 7ish coders that are Magento specialists. They are freaking masters of the framework and know more about PHP than I will ever know about anything (probably). Some of the team are personal friends of some of the Magento core devs. You know what? When I am on a heavy project, I am not paying more than $4,000 a week. You read that right. I mean, seriously, they live in the Ukraine where the cost of living is like a third of Louisville, KY. For them, they are doing quite well. Their code is absolutely bulletproof and I never have to wait for them... they are the ones waiting for me.

The single most important aspect of having a CS background? Probably if you don't have my background, you would have to hire a team like mine through a person like me... and that would about double the cost. This might seem spendy, but it is still a fixed cost. It is still a cost coupled to work, it is still paying a slow-laner for your fast-lane idea.

Not dissing the idea of learning to code (I love to code)... just saying that it is not the most important thing.
 

Jav100

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I read this post two months ago from start to finish. I know basic web design (HTML, CSS), photoshop and basics of associated technologies needed to run a dynamic site and host it.

I am taking a complete web dev class on udemy to learn the other s such as PHP, JavaScript, Jquery and others.

My goal is to become familiar with them but not learn to how become a professional coder. I do not have the mind currently for it and as many have explained coders with way more skill can be hired cheaply. With that said I think it's help to take a basic web class and try to go through it.

Sort of like buying a house and not knowing ANYTHING.

I am interested in learning more about outsourcing effectively and building prototypes. Is that still being taught via insiders?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

thehighlander

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I want to get an airplane ride across the country. Should I become a pilot?

There is nothing wrong with learning to code but unless you seriously want to be a coder, you are better off learning just enough to be able to talk to the coder. Your time may be better spent learning what technologies were used to build platforms that are similar to your platform.
 

azntitan

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Hi guys. First post here..wanted to chime in with my story, hope it adds some value.

I was 22 fresh out of college, working at a job I hated, and saw the programmers on my team had more autonomy and in general took way less bullshit from anybody. Also around that time Facebook was becoming huge and I knew the internet was the way to go. i came up with this huge vision of a map that could track where people were at all times, and it was really poorly-thought out (i was a complete amateur) and I had zero hope of ever coding this thing. Anyways I started to learn and it was freaking hard. I started and stopped a few different books and courses but finally learned enough to get a full time software dev job. Did that for a year and realized i would never be in the top 5% of developers. You really do need a certain brain and while i can be above average at it, i wasn't the geek type coder whio could program all night and be happy with what i was doing.

I still had ideas for websites i wanted to make though so I kind of kept at it. A year later i put out my first website, it was a shoe review website but I had zero idea how to market it. It probably could have done OK over time if I knew how to copywrite or drive users to the site but again i knew nothing and had no one to help me (millionaire fast lane didn't exist back then i don't think). So i gave that up.

This has gone on for ten years. Over that period i have learned many programming languages, put up a few websites, outsourced one, and finally invested 2 years of my life to learning iOS development after it had already gotten hot and the app store saturated. I took 4 months to make a dating app (cuz it was my passion. wish i had remembered the lessons from the Millionaire fast lane) with zero market research in an incredibly competitive dating app space dominated by tinder.

Once I released my app and then decided to take a look at my competition I knew i was toast. My idea was not original, the design was shit, and like 10 other competitors with basically similar idea had no users either, they also had way bigger pocketbooks than broke me.

So, yea failure. I read Rob carraway's story on instagif and lots of posts on indiehackers and then read MIllionaire Fast lane again for the second time (i'm a slow , stubborn learner) and now I think the ideas are finally starting to sink in.

This is what my opinion is about this thread's topic:

Learn enough to program ONE website or app (based on whatever idea you have).
invest only up to 3 months to do this if it's your first time programming.
The reason is like some other posters have said: you need to know enough to know s to the hell you are talking about when you hire programmers. You will be taken more seriously and you can better specify the product for them to build.
This is all you need IMO. All my time spent learning programming beyond that first 3 months hasn't been useful to me. I'm still broke and unemployed because i didn't learn to SELL and I didn't learn marketing.

BTW Zuck's first version of facebook was very bad , CODE-wise, but it succeeded because of product market fit and because he could throw out an MVP. Knowing enough to hack something together is a good skill to have but don't go overboard with learning computer science principles for 4 years unless you're sure that's what you want to do.

IMO the most important key to join the fastlane is finding markets. It's like finding a gold mine hidden in the mountains or learning to find where oil is hidden underground. Once you find that niche the money is practically yours. even if you screw up with the marketing and execution you will still end up a millionaire if you find a big enough mine or oil deposit.

So that's my story, maybe it should have been in the introduction section but i'll make a separate post there, hope it helps anyone out there still on the fence.

BTW I'm on the road, just hit Denver if anyone is willing to meet up and exchange ideas please let me know.
 

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Elijah

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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????
Sorry for the question but what exactly do you mean with "write copy"? I know nothing about technology and i considered to learn about it but what you said totally made sense.
 

Milos

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I am new to the forum and I didn't want to post anything until I read every single post in this thread, there is lots of useful info and I intend to read most of the books mentioned here.
This thread also convinced me to quit learning to code as I already know enough to understand how it all works. I am not too confident about my writing and sale abilities though, but I hope a few good books can help with that.
 

AustinS28

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I wanted to revisit this thread since I get notifications regularly and have a different perspective from almost a year ago when I last posted in here and just started teaching myself how to code.

I completely agree with the OP, if your sole goal is to get a business up and running, I'd spend much more time learning sales and marketing and leaving the coding to someone else.

I downsized my business drastically (it's almost non existent) this year to pursue software engineering. I saved up enough money to take a few months off of work so I can focus all of my time on programming.

I'm currently in a full time bootcamp. I code from 9am-6pm everyday, come home and do coding homework for 2-3 hours a night. My weekends are spent studying for tests. It's literally 80+ hours a week coding. One of the times in life it's been nice to be single.

I've spent the better part of the past year teaching myself the Ruby programming language. I am still learning something new everyday. I can code recursive search and sorting algorithms, make applications, make hash maps and tables, create an LRU cache etc etc....I know SQL, HTML, CSS and am learning more as the days go by.

My point -

If you want to learn to code just to make an app for your business, I wouldn't bother. The app will suck if you don't put the time in to properly learn coding. Properly doesn't mean a little shitty HTML and CSS and how to create a few basic ruby or python methods. I mean how to properly organize your app with respective classes. How to keep your code DRY. How to make your methods run faster with Big(O). What type of data structures to use to store your data etc etc.

I will play the other side of the coin though.

I encourage anyone that wants to learn coding to get out there and do it. Just make sure the end goal is the right one. If it's to make an app for your business, again, that's not a good reason to do it.

If you're entering into tech, you're entering into an industry that is growing more rapidly than any other; an industry filled with brilliant people who tend to be creative and do not fear launching new ideas regularly. An industry where you can take an idea (something that is just a thought) and in a few weeks have a workable product that can be manipulated daily to change based on consumer feedback....I think that's an amazing place to be positioned and I could definitely be biased since that's where I am heading, but I can't think of too many downsides.

Think about the network you'll develop of people that can help you with your projects, or you with theres. Tech has an amazing community. People love to help other people. It's refreshing. You also have the flexibility to work from anywhere in many cases.

The more I code the more amazing it becomes. Everything under the hood of what we rely on everyday for our convenience. All the stuff we take for granted. It's brilliant.
 
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Chromozone

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You don't need to learn code to be a successful entrepreneur.

One of my mentors makes 5 MVPs (spending about 5000 bucks each) at a time and when something has traction he gets sales. Then he makes the full app with the money he gets from pre-sales. On one app he spent a total of £25,000 and now makes £2,000,000 a year passively.

He hasn't written a single line of code.

I personally did learn basic front end and back end development. This was mainly due to my own insecurities as I wanted to have a better understanding of how tech works and be able to communicate better with developers. Learning the basics doesn't take very long at all and is quite enjoyable if you're that way inclined.

In my opinion non-tech people should learn code the same way as hospital managers approach healthcare. They understand what needs to happen and what is involved in managing patients, but they can't do it themselves. They need healthcare professionals to do the actual hands on work.

Also, just as an after thought: It seems that entrepreneurs understand that you have to create a system that generates cash to become rich. Innovation and creating new tech doesn't inherently mean that the person creating new tech will capture any value. Einstein and Tesla died poor. It seems like a massive trap if you become side tracked with tech when you should be building a business. Your business ≠ your code.
 

ApeRunner

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I find everything that @healthstatus stated in this thread is 100% true. BUT, learning to program is AWESOME for entrepreneurs. Not because of the programs itself. But because you shift your mind to understand SYSTEMS.

Building a successful company is creating a value adding system. Whether technological or human operated. If you learn to code, you will have a better understanding of system creation. And that itself justifies learning to code.

Happy system designing!
 

PatrickWho

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I'm new here, and this thread caught my eye immediately.

A few years ago I began my own programming journey because I love to program. I'm glad it has now put me in a position where I can create anything I want, so it's much easier for me to launch a business.

Not to say that marketing is easier than programming, but consider this:

If you have an idea for an app, you'll have an easier time if you can build it yourself. I'm guessing marketing site templates, copy frameworks/templates, etc. can be readily found online, so you can at least get started with that stuff. Without the actual application, though, you have nothing. Marketing can all be done (even poorly at first) and learned as you go. Coding a fully functional app - not so much.

I would imagine that most people bootstrapping a business don't have the option of hiring a developer or convincing one to work for equity. A skilled programmer doesn't need equity, and honestly we hear about that next great thing ALL the time. In fact, landing a gig at a hot startup that offers salary, benefits and equity isn't too difficult. If you've got nothing but an idea, good luck convincing a skilled dev to build it for you for nothing. That is why I say learning to program, at least enough to get a working MVP (minimally viable product) built is well worth the effort.

Now keep in mind I'm talking about programming, not creating websites using HTML / CSS and a bit of JavaScript. I'm talking about the skillset required to build full applications whether native mobile apps, desktop or web applications. If all you need is a nice website, you don't need to learn to code. There are many options available.

But if you choose to learn to program, you had better love it. Learning to code is a huge commitment (as I'm sure learning to market is). If you have the drive to learn, go for it. You certainly won't regret it or find that you've wasted time.

From my own experience, learning to code is very rewarding. I'm sure I will learn enough about marketing to get me started, too.

Again, this isn't a value statement; I'm not giving a skilled marketer more value than a skilled programmer. Without either you don't have much of a business. But I am saying you'll get more mileage at first if you can program.
 

SquatchMan

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“I think everybody in this country (USA) should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” ~ Steve Jobs
I'm gonna agree with Jobs on this one.

Programming teaches you to think in a very logical way and it involves lots of problem solving.

Should you learn to program at 25 so you can build the next Uber?

Probably not.

Should you take some programming classes in high school or college?

Great idea.
 

• nikita •

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I learned to program because with programming you can find a job that doesn't require a degree, just your portfolio, and you can learn enough in just a few months to land one. I didn't want to go to university, so that's what I did. And I wanted the option to work remote (I know there are other ways to achieve this though).

It's a brilliant skill, and it's helped me a ton in every business idea I've tried. It's great being able to edit your site, make small adjustments, and know your way around an application.

Though I 100% agree that you don't need advanced skills to make money with coding. Fox's thread on starting a web design business is proof. Basic HTML, CSS and a little JS is enough. I thought I needed to be an expert, and his thread reminded me that I didn't. I'll still carry on improving my programming skills to hold down my current slowlane job, but after that... I don't know. I do this thing where with everything I do I ask myself "if I didn't have to worry about career or money, would I be doing this?" and the answer is often no.
 

LiveEntrepreneur

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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????
Great damn post didn't even think of it like that but glad this post exists this part here " Spending 1000 hours to learn to code to spend 200 hours writing an app is STUPID. " is a real eye opener, makes no sense to learn to code. I was going to go back to do it, but somethings have changed but I will spend my time elsewhere. Though one thing I know people who are marketers should I see if they could do it so I spend time learning something else or should I learn this aswell?
 

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Van Halen

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A fun fact is Steve Jobs couldn't code
edit: Thats false, he just never did any of the coding. Which follows suit to this thread
 

A1roller

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Interesting thread, good to see the debate from people on both sides of the coin too.

I've been considering learning UX/UI or coding recently. While I acknowledge that learning these skills will not make you a millionaire, they're good, in demand, and useful skills to have.

I've really struggled to come up with a Fastlane business idea, and don't really know where to start with building a fastlane business. I put a lot of pressure on myself because I'm stuck in a job I really hate and I often feel lots of anxiety and urgency to escape it.

I figure at least with coding or UI/UX I could learn a skill which would be appealing to businesses and may allow me to freelance which would give me the ability to at least get me out of what I'm doing now doing which is completely unskilled and would give me some autonomy which would stave off some of my anxiety.

I've then got the funds to start with some small property projects on the side which I can eventually build into a full time thing.
 

Longinus

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Great damn post didn't even think of it like that but glad this post exists this part here " Spending 1000 hours to learn to code to spend 200 hours writing an app is STUPID. " is a real eye opener, makes no sense to learn to code. I was going to go back to do it, but somethings have changed but I will spend my time elsewhere. Though one thing I know people who are marketers should I see if they could do it so I spend time learning something else or should I learn this aswell?
This sounds more like a justification of your laziness.

If you are young and you have no clue what to do and not money to start with ecommerce, coding is a great skill to learn. At least do something instead of finding reasons not to do something.

I'm learning to code now and I wish I started this 20 years ago.
 

• nikita •

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This sounds more like a justification of your laziness.

If you are young and you have no clue what to do and not money to start with ecommerce, coding is a great skill to learn. At least do something instead of finding reasons not to do something.

I'm learning to code now and I wish I started this 20 years ago.
Coding is a great skill to learn because you can find a job without needing any qualifications. Out of all the slowlane jobs, I think coding is one of the best and most flexible. You can work remotely, easily get into freelancing, etc. Barrier of entry is very low. I started learning a year ago and I also wish I started younger. But I think getting *deep* into programming (not just html/css) for entrepreneurs isn't that useful unless you enjoy it. To learn all you need to develop e.g a SaaS yourself takes years.
 

lowtek

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Both arguments carry an inherent risk:

Learning to do it yourself is an opportunity cost - could your time be better spent on other things? How long it will take you is directly proportional to your inherent ability to think like a machine. If you are good at math, learning to program will be much easier. If you're not good at math, it will be more challenging. If you're terrible at math, but great with words and persuasion, your time may be better spent on the marketing.

Outsourcing gives up control of your product to an outside entity that may never value the business as much as you do. I've heard horror stories of people partnering up with developers, only for the business (i.e. the code base) to be yanked out from under them when the relationship soured. You may counter that such a situation is lawsuit worthy, which is possibly true, but that ties up the situation in the courts for years, costs tens of thousands, and has uncertain payout.

You're all adults - you can assess risk and rewards. Act accordingly.
 

404profound

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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
Thanks for the detailed list, CryptO. Curious which ones have proven the most valuable in the learning process.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

LiveEntrepreneur

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Coding is a great skill to learn because you can find a job without needing any qualifications. Out of all the slowlane jobs, I think coding is one of the best and most flexible. You can work remotely, easily get into freelancing, etc. Barrier of entry is very low. I started learning a year ago and I also wish I started younger. But I think getting *deep* into programming (not just html/css) for entrepreneurs isn't that useful unless you enjoy it. To learn all you need to develop e.g a SaaS yourself takes years.
No, I've just had it with coding. I will be spending years getting good at it, then being a single man team would take quite a while just to do it my self. I think spending years on something like marketing or sales is a better idea.
 

Longinus

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No, I've just had it with coding. I will be spending years getting good at it, then being a single man team would take quite a while just to do it my self. I think spending years on something like marketing or sales is a better idea.
So what you will be spending years?
You think you will be the marketing & sales KING in a few months?
While you have nothing to market or sell?

"I don't want to do so much work, I'll just choose something else."

It's exactly because of this "shortcut mentality" that I had so many failures.
 

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