Rambles

Technical Fluency Course for Non-Engineers

By July 12, 2020 August 2nd, 2020 No Comments

This is a new project/business idea about teaching non-technical people about modern computing technologies in a rapid fashion without learning to code, to build systems thinking and technical fluency which is way more valuable than writing your first 5000 lines of code.

Inspiration:
Was talking to Taylor Kennon in the gym at 1040 about him getting ripped off by a developer, and offered to explain to him the overall tech ecosystem etc. Prepared a talk about it and gave it in the gym itself a few days later – my first talk was terrible because there wasn’t enough time, but it showed me that this knowledge is actually not easily available anywhere.

Discussions: Dan Frysinger, Derek Pankaew, Vardhan

User Interviews/Advice: Lee Hansen, John Brandes, Garrett Gibbs, Sampath Mallidi

Notes

Lee:

  • Large teams already have dedicated teams to train employees immersively. But small/mid-sized teams could definitely use something like this.
  • The Challenger Sale was quite popular, and its authors created their own practice, selling seminars and training.
  • Sales people aren’t the only people that need it.
  • For sales training, companies simply ask “will this help my chaps make more sales?” And if the answer is “not really” or “indirectly”, then they won’t spend a single dime on it.
  • A lot of university professors are also trying to get into consulting/executive training.

Sampath:

  • Idea definitely has legs.
  • Needs a lot of content marketing.
  • What you predict will rarely happen. You’ll have to adjust and figure out as you go along.
  • Can add other services like Intandemly etc to build a more complete package.
  • Sell to IT services firms etc.
  • There’s a large market and having a high-ticket micro-volume business will leave a lot of opportunity on the table.

Garrett:

  • Validates the idea, thinks it is terrific.
  • Datadog has an extensive immersion program for exactly this training.
  • Smaller companies (<500 people) will benefit much more from this training.
  • Become the trusted engineer, teacher and resource for non-engineers. À la Seth Godin.
  • Create 3 personas of buyers
    • Super niche content
    • Build a following
    • Freemium
  • Start with a very niche field like ML. Nail the entire AI ecosystem – from ML to data pipelines to labeling and infrastructure.

John Brandes:

  • Validates the idea
  • Again, Amazon AWS has an enablement team with online courses and trainings for all sales people.
  • 90 minute cloud practitioner “generalist” certification exam (CloudGuru.com, and other certifications)
  • How Amazon sells: courses like working backwards 101, cost optimization, how to create business case, walk through POC etc, how to use salesforce.
  • You need to be equipped and proficient enough to answer questions to the TOP leadership (the first meeting is all yours). DO NO HARM. Some of those big customers probably know Amazon’s services better than the non-technical account executives. Second meeting you get a team of solutions architects etc.
  • Not gonna have complete mastery for all 174 services. Tech is evolving just too rapidly and non-technical people are falling behind.
  • “The Fuzzy and the Techie” by Scott Hartley. A potential influencer.
  • The rise of “No Code” – Unqork, Airtable etc. (Addendum: Ryan Hoover)

My Thoughts

  • Crystal clear, visualizable learning outcomes are essential. If they can’t see the result already, they won’t spend time and money.
  • There is a clear divide between fuzzys and techies.
  • People don’t want to learn to code.
  • Build credibility through great content and branding.
  • Companies like Rakuten have launched an initiative so that all employees learn to code. So the trend is there – and I have the best solution to the problem.
  • You attract the type of client that you are. If you want a certain type of customer, then be that kind of person yourself.
  • Your customers won’t buy something that you wouldn’t buy for yourself.

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