• The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success
  1. Join 40,000+ entrepreneurs
    who are kicking butt and
    winning their dream life.

    Unscripted™ Entrepreneurship:
    A Business That Pays More Than Money, It Pays Time.

    "Fastlane" is an entrepreneur discussion forum based on The Unscripted Entrepreneurial Framework (TUNEF) outlined in the two best-selling books by MJ DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane and UNSCRIPTED™). From multimillionaires to digital nomads, the forum features real entrepreneurs creating real businesses.

    Download (Unscripted) Download (Millionaire Fastlane)  Register
    Registering for the forum removes this block!

EXECUTION Teach programming from scratch

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by fiola, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    Hi,
    5 months ago, I've started working together with my girlfriend on a platform for learning programming. We have several years of experience in private tutoring and we have some students which obtained good results at national competitions in the past years. Seeing that the demand for programming lessons is big, we decided to build the platform. The difference between us and the other sites like codecademy, udemy and others is that they focus on making their customers happy in terms of the difficulty of the assignments, and they focus less on teaching the principles and the hard things about programming. I haven't met a good programmer which hasn't struggled with understanding a notion or solving a hard problem.

    During summer we also had some former students work with us on implementing features and we paid them for each task performed. Right now they do some (very little) work for us for free, but they are busier since they are now students at the university.

    The platform is in romanian and we decided to focus on the romanian market first. Until now we offer our lessons for free and we have 12 000 users in 2 months after the launch, 8000 of them came after we appeared on national television. We have 200 active users per day, 870 likes and 540 members in our Facebook groups.

    In Romania, the education system is centralized so every student who learns computer science in high school, learns the same things. We adapted the curriculum on the platform to be based on what the students learn in school and started going to schools and talking to teachers and students. The feedback was good and the people encouraged us to continue and add more content.

    From the 8200 users who read the first lesson only 2000 solved the first problem and 1000 the second one. Only 51 users finished all the content on the platform which currently covers only basic stuff. We're trying to keep the quizzes difficult and the programming problems challenging in order to make the users think and understand the basics because once you truly understand how the basics work , you can learn faster the more advanced stuff. Do you think the drop in users is too big and that we should focus on engagement?

    One of our uncertainities is when should we start charging for our content? Because our platform is free, we can get media coverage and we can go into schools and hold presentations. If the whole platform is paid, then we could promote it only via ads. One way would be to have some free content and charge for the more advanced one. Another idea would be to create a private forum for the platform with paid access where students can get help and where employers post job offers (the demand for programmers in Romania is very high). Another dilemma is whether we should charge per time period (full access one month) or per chapter/module and once you buy the chapter, you have full access.

    When we began, we thought that if we have 10 000 users who pay us 25$ per month we can have a decent revenue and focus on expanding to other countries. However some folks with more experience (got accepted into y combinator and other accelerators) advised us to focus on moving to a "bigger market" and move to a bigger city like SF or London and try to get VC funding.

    We both got internship offers in the Bay Area for the next summer and now we're not sure if we should go to the internship or work on the project during the summer.
    The advantages for going to the internship would be:

    • money (we could each come back with over 15 000$)
    • we can research the market and see whether we could get people in the US to pay for our content
    • networking with other people who are building startups
    The disadvantage is that we would stop working or work very little during the internship (July - September).

    Until now we didn't invest a lot of money into the business. Should we hire 1 or 2 programmers and use our savings or should we keep working on the platform ourselves together with people who would work for free with us?

    Thanks for taking the time to read all of this
     
    ZF Lee, ruzara5, AfterWind and 2 others like this.
  2. Isaac Oh
    Offline

    Isaac Oh Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    37
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Rep Bank:
    $176
    Hey! That's awesome to hear and I'm looking to create a similar education sort of deal but, disclaimer, haven't gone as far as you.

    I think engagement is very important. Of course, you want to teach them the more difficult concepts and not sugar coat stuff but if no one is getting to that point, you aren't putting yourself in a position where you are able to help them. If it's possible that you can teach the same concepts while still upping engagement, that'll mean more value transferred to the customers.

    As for monetizing, I'm thinking of making my contents free and possibly having higher level or more obscure stuff accessible through payment. Or, like MJ did, offer an ad-free or more tailored experience for your customers for membership. I'm also playing with the idea of a low cost subscription that will give them access to everything.
     
    fiola likes this.
  3. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to provide feedback. Obviously we want to raise engagement and make the platform as pleasant to use as possible while teaching what we want to teach in a way that makes the users smarter.

    We've decided to go to the internship and do a vlog about the experience of being an intern at google and show the kids that it's possible to go from an almost 3rd world country (this is the opinion romanians have about Romania) to working at one of the best companies in the industry (I'm still thinking about how to tell them about the script and how to get unscripted :smile2:). We've already started the vlog, and we're filming a new video each week.

    Moreover we'll start a subscription based paid module for people who want to pass the admission exam for a CS university in the country. There are around 4500 participants in the exam each year and the popularity of the domain is growing. Moreover you need to be pretty good at programming in order to promote the exam so the content needed for this module is also needed in general. In Romania if you get a good grade at the exam, you'll get free college. We'll advertise the module using this fact (the cost of college is higher than the cost for a subscription for 3 or 4 months in which you'll learn everything you need in order to get a good grade) and also we'll talk about our results with kids which got good results at programming contests.
     
    ZF Lee and Kingmaker like this.
  4. AfterWind
    Offline

    AfterWind Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    121
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Romania
    Rep Bank:
    $613
    Nice to see someone is trying to improve education here in Cluj Napoca.

    Maybe a combination of both? Charge per time period to motivate people to continue using, and continue learning through your app and charge once for some of the more advanced courses for them to be able to commit to them.

    Vlogs are a good start, a good way to keep the people you've only partially convinced of this mentality. To get new people thinking like this, public speeches are probably the best.
     
    fiola and ZF Lee like this.
  5. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    Some updates regarding our work (all content on external links is in romanian):
    • we'll teach a "learn programming from scratch" course for another company in our city. The students will be people who finished school and college and want to change their domain of activity. This way we'll explore the market for non-students without putting much effort into it. We will use the content on our platform as a base for our course
    • Launched 5 videos on our vlog
    • Almost finished writing the content of the paid course.
    • We've built a landing page for our course Fii pregătit pentru admitere - the video will be changed
    • Implemented a feature showing consecutive days logins which rose our engagement. We have around 150 daily users
    • Reached 550 youtube subscribers, 1300 fb likes, 100 users who finished the course, 14500 registered users
    Our goals for the next 3 months are:
    • Launch the paid course and get at least 10 clients
    • Reach 1000 youtube subscribers, 5 000 fb likes
    • Get 200 daily active users and 20 000 registered users
    • Get 2 000 people in our fb group
     
    Kingmaker and AfterWind like this.
  6. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    I'm coming back with updates.
    We've just launched the first paid module and I've decided that I won't post any updates until we have a product. Today we've launched and got the first client who's a student I've previously taught privately. This is the landing page for the premium course.

    First of all we decided to change our target for the paid course so we've built a paid module for students who are taking the graduation exam in computer science. There are over 10 000 around the country who take the exam each year and the only ways to prepare for the exam are private tutoring or learning from old outdated books. There is also the possibility to learn on your own on the internet, but I assume that people will prefer paying for our course.

    Before launching our product we focused on growing our youtube channel because in order to have a successful career in CS you need to work hard and don't get discouraged when you're not able to solve all the tasks you're supposed to do. We're doing a lot of motivational videos in which we tell our viewers some healthy life principles and we're receiving good feedback and encouragements from our viewers. We did collaborations with 3 other youtubers who are also doing programming stuff. When we hit 1000 subscribers, we did a facebook giveaway in which we offered private tutoring lessons and a 3 months subscription for the module we've just launched.

    2 months have passed since the last post and in terms of goals this is where we are:
    • 1/10 paying customers:xx:
    • 1888/1000 youtube subscribers :check: 2400/5000 fb likes :xx:
    • 260/200 daily active users :check:19000/20000 registered users:greenx:
    • 1600/2000 users in our facebook group :xx:
    We participated in women startup competition semifinals and we've won the first place and are going to the finals to pitch in London. We've got the local startup accelerators interested in us and I think we'll meet them in the following weeks. We will also apply to Y Combinator a second time.

    In the next months we'll improve the course, hire a programmer to build an achievement system in order to raise engagement, hire a designer in order to add drawings to the lessons and draw some badges for the achievements.

    We'll also start going to parent meetings (classes here do this thing at least once a semester) to present our paid course. Maybe we'll also travel to some big cities in the country to promote the course to students and parents. We are also thinking about doing an affiliate program with the teachers and give them 25-33% discount for each subscription bought by their students. We're also thinking about giving one month free subscription for each user referred by another user.

    The goals for the next 3 months are:
    • get at least 30 paying customers
    • 4000 youtube subscribers
    • 7000 fb likes
    • 400 daily active users
    • 40 000 registered users
    • 4000 members in our fb group
    • stay below 10 github issues
    I've forgot that our SEO is horrible, so our last goal is to hit the first page of google for the relevant keywords
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    itsemdub and Kingmaker like this.
  7. Daniel...D
    Offline

    Daniel...D Contributor

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    39
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    US
    Rep Bank:
    $206
    I hope you will achieve all your goals
     
    Kingmaker and fiola like this.
  8. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    The last month wasn't that great, but I'll post the updates while there are still fresh in my mind.
    We paid a communication company $130 to write a press release about our premium module and got featured in some online publications.

    We also held presentations in 7 schools and presented to around 500 students in total. We talked about how you can get to work at big IT companies like Facebook and what they can do in high school to increase their odds of getting a good job. Because rules here forbid advertising in schools, we couldn't present the premium subscriptions and get customers there, but at the end we talked about what we do and what they can learn on the platform and encouraged them to subscribe to our youtube channel. At the end of each presentation there were around 10 students who remained to talk to us. This is above 10%, which is good.

    The press release and the presentation helped us get 1500 new users and one paying customer so the impact wasn't that great.

    Some people who are involved in startup accelerators tell us that we should make the experience easier for the users, but we believe that if we hide the hard parts about programming, users won't be able to get a good job and we're trying to make something different than codecademy and other mainstream websites. It's like the millionaire fastlane which doesn't tell you the things you want to hear, but the harsh reality. Doing things this way we hope to get fans, not only users even if the number of active users is smaller.

    We also applied a second time to Y Combinator.
     
    Kingmaker likes this.
  9. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    3 months have passed and here are the updates
    We weren't good in achieving our goals
    • get at least 30 paying customers :xx:- only 17
    • 4000 youtube subscribers :greenx: - 3600
    • 7000 fb likes :xx:- 3600
    • 400 daily active users :xx:- 200 - we got worse
    • 40 000 registered users :xx:- 25 000
    • 4000 members in our fb group :xx: - 2 500
    • stay below 10 github issues :xx:- 42 - we got worse
    Since my last post we discovered that a lot of users quit a short time after they register on the website. We think this happens because learning how to code is hard and we don't make it easy enough in the beginning. I've started improving the lessons. We also created a list of features which will raise user engagement. We included things like gamification, sharing your results on facebook, reward system for being active in the comment areas etc.

    One month ago we started doing daily (Mon-Fri) livestreams on Youtube and this brought us some more subscribers. The livestreams grew and sometimes we have 50-60 viewers at the same time. However the growth is slower than expected: WellCode

    In Romania there's a graduation exam at the end of high school. There is an optional exam in CS as part of the graduation exam. We held an online preparation exam where we had 400 registered users, but only 260 actually participated. We got some press coverage and some teachers used our subject in their classes so we got some exposure, but we realized too late that the timing was bad, we set it right before romanian labor day, in the 3-day holiday. We tried getting sponsorship from some companies who may be interested in promoting themselves among senior high school students, but no company showed interest.

    There were some good things: we organized a paid live online course where 3 people enrolled. The money earned/hour was way better than by doing private tutoring. We're thinking of organizing a web development course or a game development course and earn money through them in order to hire a programmer to help us implement features to raise the user engagement. I know that time in exchange for money is bad, but we don't have better ideas on how to earn more money.

    For the next 3 months we'll be in the US for internships so we won't be able to implement too many features, but our main goal is to improve the platform and the lessons on the platform and until we do that, we won't try to release an international version.

    Since the graduation exam is close, we'll do a 50% price cut for the basic packages in the premium module in the next month.

    Our goals for the next 3 months are
    • Film a course for non-technical people explaining what it means to write code, and explaining the process of becoming a programmer: beginning with the mindset and ending with how to write a resume and do good at an interview
    • Implement 10 new features from our engagement raising list
    • Release 24 videos from our internship in the US
    • Add details on the platform showing users what the benefits are if they finish each course
    • Make a curriculum for a course for people who want to get hired as programmers. This will be targeted at people who are not students anymore.
    • Get on the first page of google for the keywords programming courses and cs courses (in romanian)
     
    AfterWind likes this.
  10. fiola
    Offline

    fiola Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cluj Napoca
    Rep Bank:
    $166
    I'm back with updates about our platform,
    The 50% price cut was successful and we had $300 in sales each month.
    I'm 2/3 done with my internship, it's busy, but I'm very motivated and doing a lot of work after work. We decided to go international. In order to build a great product we need more resources and the market in Romania is too small to allow us decent earnings in the first years.

    For doing this we started releasing videos in english on our YouTube channel and trying to build an international audience (currently most of the viewers are still romanians). Here is our channel (any feedback is appreciated): WellCode

    We'll build 4 types of content:
    • coding tutorials
    • interviews
    • advice videos (how to focus, how to write your resume, ...)
    • vlogs showing how's it like working at a big tech company
    We are experimenting now with a facebook ads campaign for youtube, but it doesn't get good results yet.

    We got some volunteers who help us with video editing and with translation of the platform and hopefully we'll be able to launch the English platform in October. We're also thinking of releasing the content on udemy as well in order to get more users from there.

    We also came to the conclusion that we need funding in order to be able to grow quicker so we wrote a short business plan: Business plan However, we don't have a lot of revenue, so we may need to wait in order to get money on favorable terms.

    I've kept the past goals for the end because they have changed since we decided to go international
    • Film a course for non-technical people explaining what it means to write code, and explaining the process of becoming a programmer: beginning with the mindset and ending with how to write a resume and do good at an interview :checkbox: 50% done - will be a youtube playlist
    • Implement 10 new features from our engagement raising list:xx:
    • Release 24 videos from our internship in the US :check:26/24
    • Add details on the platform showing users what the benefits are if they finish each course:xx:
    • Make a curriculum for a course for people who want to get hired as programmers. This will be targeted at people who are not students anymore. :xx: - First we need to launch the basics in english
    • Get on the first page of google for the keywords programming courses and cs courses (in romanian) :xx: this is still relevant, but we didn't put time into it
    For the next 3 months we want to:
    • Launch the english version or at least publish a landing page and allow people to put their email for getting updates
    • Get to 10k youtube subscribers (I don't know how we can do this, but we need to have an international audience which is at least as big as the Romanian one)
    • Implement some gamification mechanisms
    • Give a diploma at the end of the course
     
    lowtek and 404profound like this.

Share This Page