Python Mentoring for Entrepreneurs

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Am I a fit for you?

I’m not a tutor for everyone. If you don’t like what I say here, maybe I’m not. Me teaching a student means I need to divert time away from working on other projects that could pan out. That includes actively filtering out people who wouldn’t like me or not get the results they want.

On the other hand, I’m happy to accomodate students who appreciate my frankness on this page.

If what I say here makes sense, let’s talk!

FAQ

  • What makes you better than other python tutors?

    See About me.

    You want someone who has worked at startups and brings experience to the table. You are entrepreurial-minded. You seek autonomy and to build your own product and vision. Specify your own deliverables and technical requirements. You’re ready and willing to make an investment in your future. You value raw insight and knowledge first and foremost.

  • Why Python?

    Python does everything.

    It’s fast enough.

    Strong standard library.

    Code standards and hygeine.

    It can be faster if you leverage the right libraries.

    Scales well to medium-sized codebases.

    Solid web frameworks.

    Solid ML/AI.

    Scraping.

    Cleaning data.

    Flagship third party libraries: requests

    Testing. unittest + pytest

  • Are you better than a code school?

    See above. Not to take a knock at code schools, many are great. But compare me side-by-side with instructors at an average code school. They’re often contractors (with no labor protections) paid less than 50k a year. Many were themselves students from a prior class - not open source practitioners or startup veterans.

    And then those teachers go around and tell you you’re going to make 80k-100k when they themselves aren’t. If they were so good at programming and the market is in such need for programmers (it’s already saturated), why wouldn’t they already be employed earning a higher wage?

    I serve a different type of student. You yourself want to be a founder. My ideal student already has a career and savings - and are trying to augment what they already have.

    Their teaching experience also sucks. They have little to no one-on-one time - cramming 10, 15, or 20 students into a class. They can’t teach street smarts, they haven’t been through the ups and downs of startups to give you candid advice. Take your normal McAcademy BootCamp instructor, put them one-on-one with me in a Hackathon, it’d be a slaughter.

    A big sticking point of bootcamps is some form of job afterwards, sometimes by the way of refunding if you don’t get employed within a certain amount of time. If you want a guarantee of employment, go to a camp, they can be a “safety net” for you. But then, if you’re risk averse and want job security, why are you doing startups?

    Want to work at Google? Study computer science, data structures and algorithms. Buy Cracking the Code Interview - a book that provides no useful skill outside interviewing. You can sit fantasizing you’ll be the token Google hire after learning Angular, but it’s more likely you’ll be working at Trader Joe’s with $16k down the drain.

    Don’t fall for these mills. Don’t become a programmer out of desperation! Bootcamps take advantage of your naivete through creating an illusion their flimsy accredition matters. Nobody cares. In fact, there are reports of interviewers throwing out resumes from code camps [1] [2].

    My approach kills three birds with one stone: Superior teacher, superior developer, and I don’t feed into systems that take advantage of people who don’t know better.

    [1]

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11874096

    [2]

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11872850

  • Why don’t you offer job positions / outcomes?

    1. You should be a founder.

    2. I don’t want students who are desperate, out of options, and see programming as a last ditch effort to find employment.

    3. The ideal student already has a career and is augmenting or improving what they already have.

    4. The job market is already saturated with boot camp graduates over the past years.

    5. It’s a risky career path an an employee. There are no unions. There are few protections to shield you from bad bosses, VC funding drying up, bad equity deals, and so on. Too much power on the side of the employer.

    6. (Lack of) respect for seniority

      Being a programmer as an employee isn’t the panacea it’s made to be on TV. After a few years of hard work, you’ll become a senior programmer.

      Startup route

      Sometimes, there can be downsides. Nobody talks about them. These are anecdotes of people I know:

      “There is such a thing as BAD STARTUPS. They are rare, but they exist!”

      “You’ll find, much to your shock, founders may view you as ‘just another programmer’.”

      “If it’s a startup, you may have more experience than your own founder.” If this causes friction, you’ll always lose that one.

      “You could be stuck on the ride of some bigheaded loudmouth, who wouldn’t even hire themself if they had the chance to.”

      “… manager from hell with unchecked Dunning-Kruger, anyone who challenges the soundness of their ideas is canned.” Will refuse take your input. They could, like any other place, fail to treat you as a team member.

      So, there are non-startup startups. Because these sound a lot like Dilbert to me.

      Large organizations

      In good cases, the environment is professional, has a work-life balance, they have extensive support for employees having hardship, and if (in the unlikely event) you’re having poor performance, they give you a clear indication and a chance to rebound.

      In other words, there are fair employers. But I feel they’re getting harder to find. That’s why I don’t guarantee outcomes.

      More and more often, in the USA:

      Larger organizations tell you to go to the back of the line and do brainteasers, code golf, and so on. No respect for seniority. Do you think you can be a better programmer than me? Will people at Google, Uber, and so on use your software? Because even if you’re demonstrably elite, these companies still force you to do dog tricks to let you know you’re no snowflake.

      What was once a test of merit to harvest computer science chops has devolved into a draconian filter that serves as a passport protecting an entrenched system of careerists and bozos, not finding the best, or even minimally viable candidate to perform a role.

      This fundamentally prohibits you from reaching your potential.

      Areas where I’m optimistic

      Entrepreneurs, founders, DIY-types. Building your own portfolio of intellectual property and attaining customers is the ultimate validation of yourself. I did it myself when I wrote my book. I’m doing it again now with my SAAS tools.

      Those currently employed augmenting their career with awesome Python skills is another type of student I could be a match with.

    1. The nature of personalized instruction

      I run a small shop where I give individualized instruction to gifted students. Not a year round operation. It’s not tenable to offer guarantees with this model.

      Code camps are able to because they have 30 students in a class. If they have one drop out, they’re shielded in case someone fails.

  • Will you be my reference?

    I will be a reference and reliable witness to your ability, as well as your strengths learning.

    Also, as a reminder, I support my students through follow-ups included in the worshops and expect you to attend all of them. This is important for reflecting on your improvements over time.

    I look highly on students that exhibit:

    • Improved / Good code quality
    • Live website, service, product in staging, or better yet, production quality
    • Open source contributions

    These are areas of expertise where I can vouch.

  • Mobile development?

    Unfortunately, I don’t provide that. Here’s why:

    • It’s a specialty. It’s hard to pick up iOS or Android without going all-in.

    • For a student, it’s much harder.

      • I estimate it taking you a year or longer to master it. That’s not including backend stuff, which is a missing piece for many app developers I’ve seen.
      • There are already mobile developers that have been doing this for 8+ years. You’re competing against seasoned pros that were around since there early days. It’s hard to tie that in to a career or your own enterprise.

      Meanwhile, my workshop teaches responsive CSS media queries. So users can view your website on the browser without you even needing to waste time building an app.

    • It’s much more effort to develop something meaningful in it. It requires learning new programming languages, huge API’s, clunky IDE’s, and slow build times and emulators.

      Compare that to instant feedback loops in web products. You’re out to market faster.

    • The market is very picky

      There are already elite mobile applications for basically every business idea.

      Let’s say you try to create a competitor. Mobile users do not like lag or bad UI’s. They can review your application and leave negative reviews for something just not being their taste. If (heaven forbid) you have an actual glitch, they can be far less forgiving.

    • Even if you create a sweet app - you will still likely fail. Most people who sign up as Apple developers never even earn their $99 back:

      “I wonder if I count as a nonprofit since I’ve spent way more in Apple developer fees than I have made from any of my apps?”

      —invalidusernam3 (source)

    My courses teach you how to create database driven REST API’s that serve as a backend.

    There’s also another option if you need to build a first-class mobile app down the road. My workshops cover ECMAScript (JavaScript). You could take what you’ve learned and use react-native.

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