197 FS Training

00:00 4275
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02:39 - Training Backgrounds

12:50 - Do I need to know training before I start training?

16:32 - Open-Enrollment Courses

19:57 - Getting and Incorporating Feedback

22:34 - Instructional Design

23:23 - Training: Best Practices

29:49 - Solo vs Teamwork; Metacognition

34:17 - Introductory vs Advanced-level Courses

36:38 - Getting Your First Training Gig Working For a Company

41:29 - Pricing Training Services

44:07 - Don’t Teach Too Much

  • Questionnaires and Surveys

50:09 - Problem Students

01:00:03 - Answering Questions

01:05:41 - Working AND Training

01:06:52 - Introverts and SpeakingPicks

LegalZoom (Philip) Standing Desks (Reuven)


[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you $1,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $2,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow.]**[If you're someone who runs your own service-based business, then spending less time on pesky admin tasks means having more time to focus on your clients’ work, which is why you need to give FreshBooks a try. FreshBooks is the invoicing solution that makes it incredibly simple to create and send invoices, track your time and manage your expenses. It allows you to quickly see and track the status of your invoice expenses and projects, and allows you to keep track of your expense receipts in FreshBooks. For your free 30-day trial, go to Freshbooks.com/freelancers and enter the Freelancers’ Show in the ‘How did you hear about us’ section when signing up.]**[This episode is sponsored by Nird.us. Do you wish that somebody else would handle all of those operation details when it comes to hosting your client’s web applications? Nird.us is a Ruby on Rails managed hosting designed to make your life easy. They migrate everything for you, and new sign ups referrals come with a $100 discount or referral fee. To sign up, go to freelancersshow.com/nird, and enter ‘freelancer’ into the contact form for a discount.]**[This week’s episode of the Freelancers’ Show is brought to you by Earth Class Mail. Earth Class Mail moves your snail mail into the cloud giving you instant access 24/7 and integrates with the tools and services you use everyday. It’s crazy that we’ve moved everything we do for the business over to the digital world but still need to pick up, sort and manage physical mail. With Earth Class Mail, you can get all of your mails scanned and accessible online 24/7. You can search your mail, send invoices over to your accounting software, sync important documents into cloud storage, deposit checks and really just make running your business a whole lot easier. You also get real professional address to share publicly with customers, business partners and investors, and you’ll never need to worry about someone showing up at your door if you run your business from home. Visit freelancersshow.com/mail and you’ll get your first month of service free when you sign up.] **REUVEN: Hi everyone and welcome to episode 197 of The Freelancers’ Show. I’m Reuven Lerner and this week I’m joined by Philip Morgan. PHILIP: Hello, hello. REUVEN: And we are going to talk about training. PHILIP: Awesome. I’m excited. I think regular listeners know that you are a trainer, right? Is that what you would say? I train? REUVEN: I’m a Lerner and a trainer. Ha ha. [Chuckles] PHILIP: I have a secret secret secret shameful background as a trainer. That’s actually how I got into the world of technology [chuckles]. In college, I majored in political science, and I loved my political science degree, but as soon as I got out of college in 1996, I went straight into the world of technology because I had always really been kind of a geek; always interested in computers, computer software. And so my first job out of college was working for an outfit called New Horizons Computer Learning Center. REUVEN: I've heard of them. Yeah. PHILIP: I don’t even know if they're still around. REUVEN: I don’t know if it’s around, but I remember hearing the name. I don’t know what they actually did. PHILIP: Well, during the first dot-com boom, they were a franchise computer training outfit, so they did primarily two things. You could go there and if you needed to learn how to use Microsoft Excel, you could take a day-long class on Microsoft Excel. And that’s not the only thing they – they did training around desktop software. And then when Microsoft and Novell and – I think that’s it – released their certification programs, they started doing training around that. So if you wanted to become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer or basically learn how to set up Windows NT server and that kind of thing, or set up a Novell server, you could take a week-long class or a 3-day class for a lot more money and learn how to do that and the get certified and – remember, this was the first dot-com boom – double your salary. You could literally, in a lot of cases, get certified, and if you are [inaudible] admin and had been uncertified, the certification would either allow you to get a job at a different place at a much higher salary or earn you a raise. So it was lucrative, it was hot, and that’s how I got into the kind of work I do now, which is not training, but has a technical component to it. So we are both trainers and I thought why not talk about training? REUVEN: Yeah. Look, I've told a story to some degree here in the show and elsewhere, but I've obviously been doing software development for many years. I graduated with a degree in Computer Science, and I worked for big companies. I worked for HP and I worked for Time Warner. When I came to Israel, I started my consulting outfit those 20 years ago already – 21 years ago – and basically, people started asking me “well, it’s nice that you can do this development for us, but we've got a new” – they started with Check Point, actually. I think they were the first company to say to me – they said “we’ve got a whole bunch of new programmers coming in and they need to know Perl. And you know Perl, so can you just put together a course for them?” And the answer, of course, is yes [chuckles]. So even though I had no idea what I was doing – I've always given lectures and helped out and done things especially with my work at Time Warner; I did a lot of demos for people. But [inaudible] an actual course, this was new to me. And I’m sure looking back if I would look at what I did, I would be just – my skin would crawl. And I enjoy it and I always saw it doing as mix of things. It was really just a few years ago, thanks in a small part to you and your influence and us giving advice about this on the show that you really should specialize, I kept saying to myself “I love the training, it’s highly in demand, it’s way more relaxing with fewer pitfalls than doing development projects for people, and I can build a pipeline months in advance. Why the heck am I not just doing this? Why am I fighting people on this?” And so it’s probably been a good, let’s say, year and a half at least that I’ve been doing mostly training now, like 80%. And I would guess – it was probably in October that I’ve [inaudible] the last course for this training company through which I’ve been going for the last few years. So I guess about 6 years ago, I went to a training company here in Israel and I said “I’d like you to market my trainings for me instead of me doing it myself”. It’s why I worked with them that I basically decided that I could double my income, I could get more freedom and they really weren’t contributing that much. So it was in October that I finally broke off with them after months of knowing this in advance. And since then I’ve been on my own and things are going like gangbusters. It’s really astonishing. And now I’m moving into helping other people try to do training and teach them what’s involved because I feel like I’ve gotten such a great deal out of this; other people should be able to enjoy it too. PHILIP: That’s awesome. So Check Point, is that the firewall software company? REUVEN: Yeah. PHILIP: Ok. REUVEN: I knew something about networks. And I was sure when I first went there that I was going to be working with their developers. But it turns out that the high level languages, what people called the scripting languages – it was then Perl and not a lot of Python – yes, they're used to development, but Israeli companies and big enterprise companies use it a ton on testing. So I was always working with the Check Point QA department. And QA departments tend to be – again, this might just be Israel, but might be elsewhere – they tend to be the entry level positions in a lot of high tech companies. So yeah, you could get – if you have a fancy CS degree – you can go work as a developer. But if you have a not-so-fancy CS degree or if you’ve just done one of those New Horizons type of courses – no, if you’ve just done [inaudible] course somewhere and you sort of kind of know programming, but don’t really know a lot, then you often come in as a QA person, work there for a handful of years, and then probably move up to the development. But they do programming and they need to know about technology and they need to choose a language in which to do it. PHILIP: Got it. [Inaudible] is one of those other screen-out-the-newbies kind of jobs in the states [chuckles]. [Inaudible] was back when I was getting into this. So I have another question about your background before we move into the body of this. So you had a PhD of some sort, and that has something to do with education or learning theory? REUVEN: Yeah, so the story there is – so I started consulting in 95, 96. And things were going well and I was happy mostly, but I was sort of getting frustrated. The way software projects work is – someone told me this at some point; I think it’s true – they never end well. They never end with everyone saying “yes! We did this project. We are all happy. And you know what, let’s live happily ever after, but there’s no more work”. It’s usually “were out of budget, we’ve gone out of business; boy, we really didn’t like what you did, we’ve hired someone instead of you, you missed the deadline again” – whatever it was. And at a certain point, I felt like even if I was working on an interesting project, and I was working with cool people and they were paying me – I was able to pay the mortgage all the time or most of the time, which is nice – I was missing some satisfaction. And I spoke to a friend of mine, older friend of mine who’s a professor, and his advice was go get a PhD. He’s like “you are going to learn so much, you're going to meet such interesting people, it’ll give you a break from consulting”. Now, he was both very right and very wrong. He was very right in that I learned a ton. I opened my head and my mind to all sorts of new ideas. It probably influenced [inaudible] the direction of my work. At the same time, this was 11 years of incredible stress – financial, emotional, personal – that I never anticipated. And of course, in order to pay the bills during the time, I was consulting anyway on the side without telling my advisor. And I thought about doing a PhD in Computer Science and that just did not excite me at all. Let’s make databases faster. Let’s figure out a new programming language. Nowadays, maybe I’d be more interested. And my wife said to me “you’ve always been interested in education. You’ve taught at summer camps, you like teaching during the lecturing, why not look for a combination of technology and education?” And so I actually talked to friends of mine at the MIT Media Lab who do that sort of stuff, and I applied there and I did not get in. And that was the only place I applied. Then the next year, I tried there and a few more places, I [inaudible] back in the Media Lab – and by the way, I’m so so happy I didn’t because they would’ve destroyed me. The work they expect – they expect you to really really really do only research. In Northwest, they just say that. So I got into [inaudible], and I somehow managed to finish, and it’s a combination of technology and education. So my advisor is a professor of Computer Science and a professor of what they call Learning Sciences, and I did a huge software project to a web development project that was a collaborative learning environment online. And it’s definitely true that a lot of the principles from the course work and from my thesis work, I’m finding [inaudible] pull out strands from that and use that even thinking about how do I teach or helping other people think about how they want to teach. PHILIP: But to be clear, when you put together your first humble course in Postscripting, you did not have this background, right? REUVEN: Oh no, not at all. PHILIP: Nor did I have any particular background in teaching when I got employed to teach people. REUVEN: Do they [inaudible] you at New Horizons with the curriculum and the syllabus, or did you have to create that yourself? PHILIP: New Horizons had their own intellectual property in the form of courses that they developed – they had developed in-house and that was on the desktop training side of things. So there was definitely – I don’t know how you can apply the word curriculum to a 1-day class, but there was course material and they did give me a little bit of training in how to manage a classroom of adult learners and that kind of thing. So that was great. On the Microsoft side of things, Microsoft has a whole department called Microsoft Learning which I have always thought as a subsidiary of their marketing department [chuckles], or at least [inaudible] marketing budget because it does have a marketing function in that the more people who know how to use their software correctly, the better, theoretically, it’s going to do in the marketplace because there's an ecosystem of services. So they have that whole product thing going on. Anyway, that courseware was supplied by Microsoft. And I later worked for a company that did some work for Microsoft Learning producing courseware. That’s really interesting; that’s what got me into education based content marketing in the first place. But here's why I wanted to ask that question. Training doesn’t require any kind of special training; or does it? I imagine some of our listeners, now that we've hijacked the show, at least for one episode from Chuck and don’t have his moderating influence here, I imagine some of our listeners are saying “ok, if I wanted to do training, do I need to know anything before I start doing it?” And I think we should drift on that for a while. REUVEN: I do a ton of training for Cisco, and I love working with them. Cisco, do you hear that? I love you. Anyway [inaudible][chuckles]. So I met, when I was in Shanghai, with the head of training there to see if it would work out to do some training and [inaudible] for budget reasons mostly. But he said something which rang so true; he said “listen, most of my trainers are either really good programmers and bad – but they don’t know how to teach, or really good teachers who don’t know anything about programming”. And so I’m guessing that most people start in training in that first camp where they know the technology and they have an inclination and willingness to share and teach, but they don’t know necessarily how to bridge that gap. But that’s ok because you're only going to learn the hard way in many ways. And you're going to learn through people responding and reacting to what you're teaching, and then you changing. So if you're willing to improve on that, then I think you can totally pull it off. PHILIP: Yeah. Again, I majored in political science; I had no specialized training other than the one week of training I got from New Horizons in how to manage a classroom; no specialized training in how to do this, and I felt like it was the same dynamic for me. I was enthusiastic about all forms of technology and that enthusiasm was – gave me the confidence to feel like I could stand up in a room in front of 10, 15 people and teach them something. I didn’t feel like – my differentiator in that situation was some kind of superior teaching ability. It really was like “well, I think this is cool. I want to help other people understand it, and maybe I can figure the rest out on the fly”, which is what I did. Apologies to any of my students from back then who suffered through me figuring out the best way to explain something, but that’s one part of it, is you feel like you don’t know the best way to explain something until the first time you’ve had to teach it in a live situation. And you get better after that. You realize “oh, that was clunky, that doesn’t make sense”. In my experience, it’s very iterative. It’s like you – the first time you go through a subject, it’s not going to be your best effort no matter how much you’ve prepared beforehand. I wonder if you see the same thing, Reuven, with your teaching. REUVEN: Absolutely. I tell people even, it probably takes me 5 to 10 times of teaching a course before I feel it’s really smooth that I know how to pace it, I know what exercises to give, I know even sometimes what stories, what analogies to tell at what time. Just an example, I taught this course on database science with Python. Probably it’s about a month ago. And it was good, but it wasn’t fantastic, and the reviews reflected that. And to their credit, the company where I taught it wrote be back and said “wow, thanks for the great pilot course. We hope that it’ll get better next time”. They know; they know that’s how it works. And one of the nice things about having these long-term clients is they're willing to take risks. Now, of course it has to get better next time. I know there are things I have to improve on, but assuming they see a positive trend and the people are more satisfied [inaudible], they're willing to hold their breath and help me out because in the end, it’s in everyone’s interest. They get better courses and people learn more, and I then have something that I can sell to them more. PHILIP: Let me jump in here. Part of my secret agenda for having this conversation is hoping that I can – for those people who are maybe wavering; they have they have something they feel like they could teach and they see the teaching is a potential line of additional revenue for their freelance business, I’m hoping we can push them over the edge to try it. So you talked about the pilot course, the first – your first go around; do you feel like that also applies if you are not working for a company that’s paying you, but you're selling your training directly to the students, to the consumer – direct to consumer? Do you do anything different in that case because I know you’ve done a little bit of that too, haven’t you? REUVEN: Very little. I’ll tell you all the – so those are something called open enrollment courses. And the idea of an open enrollment course is – typically, what I do is I work with a company. Company X needs – they know that they have a bunch of people who need to know Python. My intro Python course is probably a good 60% of what I teach. PHILIP: You're like a contract trainer to them. REUVEN: Right, right. And in fact, it’s funny. On occasion, people will say to me “oh, do you work for our company and just fly around, do this training in different branches?” I’m like “no no no. I have my own business”. But they don’t know because some of these companies are so big; they have no way of knowing that. I've done some open enrollment training through this training company that I worked for, and quite frankly, one of the things that pushed me over the edge and convinced me to go back on my own and market my own courses was that I felt that they were making an enormous profit off of these open enrollment courses because they basically bring in about 4 times the revenue of an on-site course, and they were paying me the same. And I went to them and complained; they said “you know, our building has enormous overhead”. I was like “I need [inaudible] really high” [chuckles]. I’m really bad at finances and I’m really bad at all sorts of things, but I think I can do better than that. PHILIP: I’m going to keep that line for the next time someone complains about my prices [chuckles]. REUVEN: And by the way, it was that same week that someone said to me in that course “do you know how much we’re paying for this course?” And I said “wait a second, they're paying a lot, and I’m not getting paid a lot. Something is terribly wrong here”. And so I've toyed with the idea of doing open enrollment on my own, and I even started to look into finding a location, but then you have to go to market yourself to individuals; that’s harder. What I have basically planned to do is at some point in the coming months, start to do a short online open enrollment courses. I’ll do a 4-hour, 6-hour small slice of a topic and hope that people on my mailing list and elsewhere, like you, dear podcast listener, will sign up and come. But I don’t have any experience trying to do that yet, although I know it’s hard. PHILIP: Yeah. I’m thinking of someone like Paul Jarvis who has his Creative Class. It is a course; it’s structured like a course rather than – it’s not just a book that’s been stuck online. It’s a course. He sells it directly to freelancers or whoever wants to pay him to take his class, and it’s about running your freelance business as a creative professional. I know there's a lot of people who are thinking about “oh, maybe I could do something like that, and how do I get past that hump of it being terrible at first until I can work with live students then iterate until it’s better?” So is there some process used for getting feedback from your students or is it really just – do you have to it X number of times before you get better at it? REUVEN: I think it’s a combination of things. First of all, I used to sometimes give talks at user group meetings. And I definitely encourage people who are interested in training to go and do that. And that gives you a few things. First of all, it gets your name known. It’s good marketing. “So and so is a real expert at technology X. I saw them give a talk”. And sometimes, people come up to you if [inaudible] great talk and they’ll say “hey, I work for a company and we could use some help”, and so you can do marketing that way. A second thing is you get more comfortable speaking in front of people; and again, the timing, the pacing, the slides, live coding, that sort of stuff. And the third thing is you then go to try out the material. And so I've started doing that with my webinars. I do a webinar with probably once every month a half, two months or so now, and almost always, it’s a topic that I’m thinking of teaching better and I figure “what better way to do it than to offer it for free. I’ll get feedback” – and even if I get zero feedback, which is often the case, I know myself how it went. And I can feel “ah, I needed more examples on this”, or “this was just a terrible example”, or “well, what do you know? It actually – it was actually ok”. PHILIP: I remember I was so proud when I came up with – I used to teach a course on TCP/IP, and I was so proud when I came up with the example of an IP address is like an apartment building; it’s got one address for the building, and then the port number is like the apartment number that’s in the apartment building. So proud of that analogy. And you really do, as you face the challenge of explaining something that’s complex or difficult, you do improvise on the job and come up with these things that become part of your teaching toolkit. REUVEN: Oh, oh! Absolutely. Sometimes it’ll happen with stories, sometimes it’ll happen with exercises, sometimes [inaudible] inspiration; give them an exercise. And it worked really well, I’ll say “wow! I am using that with every one of my courses in the future”. And sometimes, by the way, it’ll go terribly. I've even given people impossible tasks sometimes for exercises. That is not recommended. PHILIP: Wait, you knew they were impossible? REUVEN: No, no. PHILIP: Oh, ok. [Chuckles] REUVEN: It’s like I’ll say “I want everyone to try to do X and Y and Z”. And more common case is they’ll say “but how do we do such and such?” I’ll say “oh right, we haven’t talked about that yet”. That’s that. But what's worse is “oh right, that’s not – that’s actually not possible with this technology”. [Inaudible] people are beating their heads against the wall for 10 minutes. So I try to avoid that. PHILIP: There's this whole discipline called instructional design that I think you know a lot more about now after your PhD travails than you did before. Do you feel like you need to be knowledgeable about instructional design to design effective training or just to teach a class well? REUVEN: You don’t need to. It’s like everything else. Can you pick up programming on your own? Absolutely. And many many people do it, and some of them are extraordinarily successful. Can you pick up instructional design teaching ideas on your own? Yeah, and some people are really great at it. Getting formal training basically, it’s like a – if it’s done well, it’s like a catalyst or a shortcut. It’s basically using someone else’s experience and travails and scars and allowing you to leap from that on your own. PHILIP: So on that note, I want to know what you’ve learned – we can take turns; I’ll share what I've learned also from – I have probably spent, not full time, but 5-7 years with a significant amount of time each month in front of a class. So I've got some experience to share there and I bet you do too. So what have you learned that is best practices about doing training? How do you present the content? What order do you go in; do you starts with concepts first and then go to details or the other way around? How do you do it? REUVEN: I haven’t thought of that. The last questions are really good. I’ll think about it a little bit. First of all, I always try to find a hook. For me, hooks are often stories. I come up with a – use a story for [inaudible], like your apartment analogy. Sometimes it’ll be a joke and sometimes it’ll be a story, and sometimes it’ll be just to get them into the idea of “what problem are we trying to solve. What is the issue here?” And by leading them to that way, they understand not just “oh, this is another aspect of the technology”, but “this is an aspect that is actually useful in the following way and it fits into my existing comprehension of things, if not totally far”. One of my favorite example – the farther it is from technology, the better, because then they can relate to it. So one example is when you have default argument values in Python functions. Basically, you have to be really careful not to have something that could be modified because it sticks around. When I say “oh, this function takes a default argument”, and the default is a list, that hangs around with the function. And people are always shocked by this. So the story I tell is – I tell them that in Saturday Night Live many years ago, they announced that in the city of New York, a man is mugged every 10 seconds; we have found that one man. And this guy is [inaudible] out every 10 seconds. “Oh no, not again!” And the moment you hear that analogy, “oh, I misunderstood what they meant. It was ambiguous, and in the same way I misunderstood what Python was thinking. It was ambiguous to me, but it was not ambiguous to the language”. PHILIP: Uh huh. That’s great. REUVEN: Alright, your turn. PHILIP: By incidentally, that’s one of the things I’m trying to get better at in my email marketing, which [inaudible] I always think of as super heavy duty training, but I’m always trying to provide some kind of value, some kind of way of thinking about something or some new insight, and I think stories are a great way to do that. I’m just scratching the surface of that. REUVEN: My father’s a Rabbi, and so he keeps sermons all the time. He’s [inaudible] stories, and I see – I got that directly from him. PHILIP: Yeah, we’re hard wired that way, aren’t we? We, meaning people [chuckles]. REUVEN: Yeah. PHILIP: One of the things that I always felt was critical was to explain something at a conceptual level before I got into a bunch of details about it, which I think is exactly what you're doing with your story. You're setting it up with a story, is you're creating a conceptual framework or a container. I used to think of it like mental hooks. You have to have a hook in your mind to hang all the details on; otherwise, the details become confusing always, I think, from the perspective of trying to help somebody understand something new. So I would always – whenever I was introducing some new module of content or what-have-you, I would always start with a conceptual preamble. And I know that’s very hand wave-y – I guess the best thing I can do is reference back to that analogy I was so proud of: an apartment building address is like an IP address, and then the apartment numbers are like a port number. And you have to have both of those pieces of information to deliver mail to someone in the apartment just like a packet can’t get to where it needs to go without both an IP address and a port number. So I would try to find ways like that to, in one story or one concept, convey the broad idea of what it was. And then we could drill into the details, like how the IP address is constructed and the range of port numbers that’s used for server side stuff versus client side stuff, et cetera. I felt like if I've started with those details, they just would not go over people’s head; they just wouldn’t have any context for it. I guess I've become kind of rigid about that; if someone starts explaining something from the perspective of the details, I get frustrated instantly. I’m like “what are you doing? You're doing this wrong”. [Chuckles] REUVEN: [Inaudible] I see where you're going also. The details are useful, but also I’m going to guess most people are not going to remember most details. I’m ok with the fact that some large proportion of what I say in my course is people just never remember. And it’s just human nature. It’s not me, it’s not them. And so if you have those broad strokes, then even if they forget the details, then they can at least reference it somewhere in their memory or they’ll know what direction to look in. PHILIP: Right. Here's another thing I think is critical. Adult learners need to understand why you are spending more than a millisecond of their life on anything. They're very – what's the word – just utilitarian in their approach to acquiring information because here in the US anyway, we've all been through a public school system that doesn’t do a particularly great job of this. And so as adults we’re like “look, I spent X years of my life doing that. You need to explain why I need to know this; otherwise, it’s probably not going to – I’m not going to retain it or do the work that’s necessary to retain it. So why is this important?” REUVEN: A lot of people had such bad experiences with school and they don’t want school [chuckles]. PHILIP: Right. REUVEN: My kids said to me – it’s probably 2 years ago, “so how much do you yell at the participants in your classes?” I was like “oh, no” [chuckles]. And they were shocked that I don’t yell at them. They were shocked that people can get up and go to the bathroom whenever they want. Now obviously, to tell adults you're not allowed to get up is not going to go over well. But people with such rigid terrible thoughts about how school works, and I want people to be there because they want to be there and want to be interested. PHILIP: What's the ratio – is there some ideal ratio between – in a live class, it would be lecture, but maybe in an online course it would be pre-recorded videos or text content or something like that. What’s the ideal ratio between that stuff and something where you have to apply it and work independently and do it on your own? In a Microsoft Learning class, that would be lab time where they have these pre-written out instructions that you follow on your own to better retain the information and to practice problem solving and so forth. What do you think, Reuven? What's the ratio there? REUVEN: I actually challenged part what you just said which is working on your own, so I strongly encourage people in my courses to work in pairs on their assignments. And almost no one does this. PHILIP: Wait, what? So they say – you tell them to do it and they're like “uh, no thanks”? REUVEN: I say to them, basically, “I really think you should do this. People who do this learn more and get more out of it first”, and I say “but I’m not going to force you. I just think it’s a really smart idea whether you are experienced or inexperienced, and whoever the person with whom you hooked up”. And programmers who have done pair programming recognize this as a marvelous thing, but even in the education biz, it’s known that working in pairs, because you have to communicate and so you have to express the ideas so you have to engage in with what's known as metacognition: you're thinking about your thinking; and that triggers a ton of educational work. And working with someone else, there's tons of educational theory about working with someone else. And I see it. I see when people work in pairs, they get it better; they get frustrated, and they get frustrated with the other person, they get frustrated with themselves, but they tend to learn more and more deeply. PHILIP: Really? I don’t disbelieve this one bit. It’s just this is the first time I’m hearing it and I’m fascinated. REUVEN: And it’s, I think, in many ways, the fault of schools that assume that everyone should work on their own on most projects, and “don’t cheat, don’t copy”, it’s considered to be not the norm. PHILIP: I have a mentoring program where I help people identify a good market position validated and then do the marketing work they need to get that marketing position to own it. And at first, it was something where I felt like I was not embarrassed, but I just felt like it was a drawback that it was a group thing, and it is a group thing. I've come to see that that group thing is very good because people see other perspectives on the same thing they're dealing with. They see other people going through the same process and finding it challenging, and all that is really positive from a learning perspective, I think. I’m right there with you that I’m just not a big team player myself in my own life and business, so I’m not naturally inclined to pull somebody alongside me and work through a problem together, but I sure do see the advantage of it. REUVEN: Now to answer your actual question, the number I usually throw out at people is about 30%; 30% labs work exercises. And it probably depends on the day, it probably depends on the group, it depends on the course, but it’s probably not a bad ballpark. I’m guessing depending on the course, somewhere between 20 and 40%. PHILIP: Ok. REUVEN: And someone actually came up to me after a recent course that that was actually like a – what was the course? I don’t remember – I think it was in regular expressions. And he had been in a few of my other courses before – and by the way, one of the nice things about doing courses at the same company is you develop these groupies. I can say they're an amazing feeling. I’m in the cafeteria, and someone says “oh, what's the next thing you're teaching that I have not taken?” [Inaudible] It’s great. It’s great. So he said to me “listen, this is what you need. I took your basic Python course, it was fine. I took your advanced course” – and an advanced course always have issues and we talked about it a little bit, but he said “what I really need is a day of just exercises, almost a mini hack-athon where we come in in the morning and we have a clear thing we have to do and a hundred percent exercises or 90% exercises for the day”. And I was like “wow! That is a fantastic idea”. I haven’t tried that yet. I haven’t even had time to propose it yet because I’m so busy, but I’m definitely thinking of doing that, and I really think of doing different levels, like the intro hack-athon and the advanced hack-athon as it were. PHILIP: Yeah, right. You mentioned issues with the advanced level courses. What were you hinting out there? REUVEN: It’s very easy to offer an intro course because the assumption in the intro course is you know nothing. We can say you must come in with programming experience; and even that, we've had some issues, but not too many. You know what you're getting there. With an advanced course, even if you say in the syllabus or the outline – what I typically say in my advanced Python course is “you must have been using Python for the last 6 months on an almost daily basis”. And the number of people who actually fit that criterion is approaching zero. What you have is someone who took the basic course a year ago and they want to take the next one; or even better, someone who says “I’m really good at programming, so I can pick up the advanced stuff”. PHILIP: Oh, I see. REUVEN: So what happens is – and it’s even worse when I've been in abroad a few times, both in China and in Romania when I talked there, two-thirds of the course said – I was going around and this [inaudible] start the class, I would say “what's your background”, and two-thirds of them say “I’m here because I heard Python is a great language”. I’m thinking “oh my god” [chuckles]. [Inaudible] advanced course. But this happened so often, I’m just used to it now. The problem is you have a handful of people who show up who are advanced and are infuriated that, basically, after I rationed it down and not [inaudible] advanced – because what am I supposed to do? It’s an impossible situation to be in and I've tried to work with companies to avoid these issues, and I still haven’t managed to solve it completely. PHILIP: Yeah, that makes sense. You’d feel like a monster if you're like “I need to ask you to leave” [chuckles] to anybody, right? REUVEN: Right. And they’ve paid for it. Their division has paid for it. Their bosses paid for it. And they are there. And to basically say to them either – basically, I can’t say no to either group, so I dance between the raindrops. I had that actually in my advanced Python course – I think it was about 2 weeks ago or 3 weeks ago – there was 7 participants, 3 who had never touched Python before or done it years ago, 3 who did use it everyday and were very advanced, and one who had never used it before and kept belittling the fact that I was going so slowly. [Chuckles] PHILIP: Oh, that’s funny. REUVEN: That was a fun class, I would tell you. [Chuckles] PHILIP: How do you get your first training gig if you're going to come at this from the perspective of “I’m going to be a contract trainer. I have some expertise, I think I’m good enough to teach a class on whatever Python basics or Ruby basics or what-have-you”? How did you get your first gig working for a company? REUVEN: I would say two different ways to approach this. One is the easier faster way, which is go to a training company. Training is in such demand. If you are not interested in dealing with the business side of things, if you're not interested in building up your portfolio – and it takes time; it’ll probably take many months to be able to get into a company, and if you say “I just want money, and I want to try this out”, go to a training company. They're all desperate for high [inaudible] people. They’ll probably have you do a screen test of some sort, either in-person or online. And if they like you, then you're in and they’ll start calling you and say “how soon can you teach X, Y, Z?” PHILIP: Alas. So you don’t have to have any kind of credentials or –? REUVEN: They might like it, but if you can convince them that you know your stuff, either in the screen test or from your blog or from other talks you’ve given – if they are convinced that you know what you're doing, then sure, go for it. And there's no small number of such training companies available. The downside of doing that is they take the lion’s share of the money, and you sign a non-compete clause almost always. How enforceable is that, is an open question. PHILIP: Are those usually open-ended like “2 years after we’re done with you, that’s when the non-compete ends” or –? REUVEN: It depends on the company. PHILIP: Ok, ok. REUVEN: In my case, the training company that I worked with here in Israel went through some mergers, and they never signed me on anything. So when I told them I’m leaving, they said “so tell us, where did we sign you on in terms of non-compete?” I said “nothing”. And the phones went silent for [inaudible]. And they said “oh”, and they realized what that meant. But even if they had, someone told me that their non-compete says “you will not work for another training company”. It never dawns on them that you might do it individually. PHILIP: Interesting. Ok. REUVEN: So that’s the fast track route. And by the way, if you're in the US, which has a ton of companies, then you might say “you know what, I’m going to do that. I’m willing even to not compete with my old employer, get some experience of training for the first year or two, and then hang out my own shingle”. PHILIP: Yeah. I just want to encourage people you should push back on that crap. [Chuckles] REUVEN: Yeah. I also – it’s ridiculous. I think it’s very [inaudible] if they're treating you well and if they're paying you well, then they should have nothing to worry about. PHILIP: And I can see a non-compete that’s limited to the time that you're actively working for them. That might be acceptable, and that’s what you should push back to if it’s one that’s like “X years after your employment, you can’t do any training for anybody”, that is outrageous. REUVEN: I agree. I've never quite understood the – even the morality of doing that, let alone the legality. PHILIP: Yeah, exactly. Anyway, onwards. REUVEN: And the other way to do it is to – let’s assume you want to do it at companies; start approaching them. And again, there's two ways to do it. One is to contact their training manager. And the training manager is your go-to person – they're basically your client. They are the person you have to satisfy. If the training manager is happy regardless of how the course went – the course could’ve gone great, the course could’ve gone terribly, if the training manager is happy, you will be invited back. So one way is to call them up and say “listen” – and Jonathan actually suggests this a number of months ago – call them up even when you're in the beginning stages and say “I’m putting together a course in such and such. I’d like to get your feedback on it so that I can make it really appropriate for your needs”. Now, the training manager is never a technical person, so they might need to have a conference call and bring in someone else. They might forward it to someone else. So it’s often a three-way conversation until you decide that this will happen. But the other way that is through the backdoor where if you give talks at conferences, if you give talks at meetups, if you blog a lot, if you're well-known in your area, then what you can do is have one of the engineers contact you or you contact one of the engineers, and they then go to the training manager and say “wow, we need training in blah blah blah technology, and Joe Schmoe is an expert in blah blah blah, can you contact them and have them come in and do training?” PHILIP: Oh, that’s awesome. REUVEN: And so you sort of play both sides of it trying to get people interested in what you're doing, and eventually – and as you build up a reputation both in training in general and for just being the go-to person in that subject for training in that subject – because here's the other thing: there are definitely people who know these technologies way better than I do, even in Israel. And there are probably people who teach it better than I do in Israel. Are they available during the day? No, they are not. And so by making yourself available, you already head and shoulders ahead of your potential competition who has full time jobs. PHILIP: Interesting. How do you price training services? Are they done on a day rate, a week rate, per student, something else? REUVEN: Yes. PHILIP: All of the above? REUVEN: Yeah, all of the above. [Inaudible] The two basic models for in-house training are per day and per student. And so per day, you just multiply that. When I do a course for Cisco, Apple [inaudible] and whatever it is, I say “ok, it’s a 4-day course. That will cost blah”. So they're actually seeing a package price, but I’m pricing it per day. I do that in Israel and in Europe and even in China. I have not yet – the only training I did in the US, or pricing in the US, it didn’t work out recently. But there, I was encouraged to a per student rate. They basically say “it’s X per person per day”. And then again it becomes a package price, but they see that as “ok” – and they always want to know and it’s super important to say what is the maximum. PHILIP: Maximum number of students, right? REUVEN: Maximum number of students, which is topically, for me, 20 or even a little less if I can get away with it. If you're pricing per student, 20 is probably pretty good. You're pricing per day, then 16 is probably better; 15, 16. Then they scramble, but every company has its own internal mechanism for who has to pay, who has to get approval. So in some companies – in all companies, they’re all working on a profit center model now. So your boss has a training budget or you personally have a training budget assigned to you if you're an employee there. And so what will happen is you give this proposal to the training manager with a syllabus and they then market around internally, sometimes electronically, sometimes in person, sometimes just sending email. But the pricing basically works on that basis. If you need to travel, at least some companies add a fixed budget on top of that and some of them will just let them you invoice them for it. PHILIP: So you tend to not wrap in travel expenses with the cost of the training or you do? REUVEN: When I went to Europe about a month or two ago, that was for Cisco, and they basically have a very standard rate. If your training is X days long, you get Y amount of money, and that’s just on top of whatever you charge for the training. And you can then – I talked to my wife about if I could swim there and pitch a tent, I get to pocket all the money. And if I get a gold-plated [inaudible]  jet, then I’m out. But that’s up to me. PHILIP: Ok. So is that per diem model? REUVEN: Yeah. When I go to China, they actually pay for my travel and hotel so they get more say in terms of how I fly and when and so forth, but I don’t charge them on top of that. PHILIP: Yeah. Got it. Ok. Wow. Ok, so what have we not touched on? What's going to be like a surprise for someone who has never done this, who’s interested in getting into it, that’s going to surprise them? Or what are some pro tips that you’ve picked up along the way? REUVEN: Oh. Here’s one big thing that’s taken me years to figure out that I’m still getting better at: don’t teach too much. It’s so tempting to say – and I did this now – I was talking before we started recording I just finished this 4-day PostgreSQL course. And I think it was good, but it could’ve been better and would have been better if I taught less, let’s say fewer topics. Because there's this tendency to say “wow, they want a course in subject X. I’m just going to do a brain dump and teach them everything I know on subject X”. PHILIP: Right. You think that – I can speak to this personally – you think the value gets higher and higher the more content you can dump in there, right? REUVEN: Right. Right. [Chuckles] REUVEN: I even say this explicitly to my students. Every year, I reduce the content in every one of my courses and increase the number of exercises, and satisfaction goes up. PHILIP: Ok. I think that’s huge, because that would apply probably both to online courses and in-person training. REUVEN: Yes, yes, absolutely. PHILIP: Because I can tell you as someone who is shifting his business more and more to providing valuable content to people and providing support in various ways that look a lot like training, there's anxiety of like “oh gosh, is it worth the price? Maybe I should add more stuff to increase the value”. REUVEN: Right. That’s exactly right. PHILIP: So you're saying doing that does not increase satisfaction or makes for worse student results. What's the problem with dumping in more content? REUVEN: First of all, you just can’t – you find – everything is infinitely deep. Every subject, more or less, you want to teach. And so it’s better to, I think, get more depth, get more experience, get more exercises and labs in there on fewer subjects than to throw the kitchen sink at them and then come away and say “yeah, but do I really remember it well?” PHILIP: Right, right. Retention is an issue when you're covering a lot of content at high speed. [Chuckles] REUVEN: Right, right. I sometimes make the joke if we’re coming close at the end of the day and I see I have a lot of content still to go through, I say to people “that’s ok, I’ll just talk faster” [chuckles]. And then some people’s eyes bug out of their heads a little bit, especially if I’m not in an English-speaking country. We’re not speaking in their native language, and they’ll be like “oh no! Oh no!” But we all know you just can’t – it can’t work that way. PHILIP: Right. Because this is something that I guess I would call a pro tip. Adult learners, you’ve got to deal with their mind, but just have to deal with their ego [chuckles], which is they don’t want to be perceived by their co-workers as slow or “oh this guy just doesn’t get it” or “she doesn’t – she’s not as good as whatever”, right? That’s an additional factor when you get a group of adults together. Half of their energy is going to protecting their other people’s perception of them. REUVEN: Right. My intro to Python course which I alluded to earlier, it’s basic – anyone could come – I discovered actually that was not the case. I discovered that people who did not have a programming background, but really – as I got deeper and as I added more labs and harder content to less stuff to the less [inaudible], the people who had no programming background were really getting stuck. So I made a new course which was Python for non-programmers; definitely one of, I think, one of my most inspired upsells ever. It’s basically – no one comes to these big companies and offers programming courses to non-programmers. PHILIP: That’s genius. REUVEN: I was like “whoa, how did no one think of this before?” The thing is, and I said explicitly in the beginning of the course I just taught a few weeks ago, I said “look, if you are embarrassed” – and there were a few people had tried my regular intro course and it didn’t work out; they just pulled out after a day or two saying “forget it”, so I just said to them “this is your chance to ask tons of questions and not be embarrassed because you're among your peers and no one here knows how it works. And if it’s too fast, tell me. And if it’s not obvious, tell me”. At several points, it was clear I was just going way too fast for them, but they stopped me. Thankfully, it’s an Israeli group which has no problems with doing that, and they pulled me back and they stopped me and we dwelled on things and it was great for everyone. PHILIP: Yeah. That’s awesome. So that seems like a pro tip just to, again, you see all of the disparities between professional learning where you don’t get paid if you don’t perform and – or professional training where you don’t get paid, or you don’t get invited back if you don’t perform – you see the differences between that and a more institutional form of learning where the teacher has the job no matter what. REUVEN: That’s right. PHILIP: You're saying additional sensitivity to where the students are and their needs is really going to go a long way. It’s what we say in the world of consulting: if you're not listening twice as much as you're talking, there's a problem [chuckles]. REUVEN: Right. And these questionnaires after the surveys after the courses are invaluable, because sometimes they’ll put things there that they wouldn’t say to you in person, both good and bad. So one of the things that people keep saying is – [inaudible] too much, but “Reuven always treats our questions seriously and is very sympathetic and patient in answering them”. And so that’s something that really – and I see that in every course just about someone somewhere mentions that. So that’s really striking a cord with them like they feel “ok, I’m not being made to feel stupid. I’m being treated like an adult who just wants to learn and doesn’t get it”. PHILIP: Yeah. In some ways, adults are more fragile, I think, than young children when it comes to that; to the ego part of it. That’s so important. I’m curious if you’ve had problem students ever that you have to deal with. REUVEN: Yes, yes. I had problem students in various ways. Sometimes it’s just like they're in the wrong class especially like they're just not up to speed to do especially advance things, and they pull everyone back and they're maybe [inaudible] programmer thing. They don’t see it. That’s difficult and that’s – there's basically no way to solve that problem. I had this one guy who came into my class – I think it was also intro to Python, and I basically opened the class, I said “hi, welcome to into to Python. My name is Reuven”. And the guy’s response already to that was “what is this crap? What is this language? Why aren’t we learning a real language like C#?” PHILIP: So he had a bad attitude about the whole premise of the course. REUVEN: Absolutely. I was like “why are you here?” [Chuckles] And everyone else, you could see their jaws dropping, and every other sentence out of his mouth was just “what a joke of a language and who would use this thing”. Somehow, somehow – first of all, he had enough of sense of humor about himself, thankfully, that I was able to use him as bit of a punching bag, like “even someone like you could appreciate this” [chuckles]. So at least the rest I figure [inaudible] a few laughs out of the rest of the group. He actually sent me an email after the course and said “I want to thank you for the course. Python is so cool. I’m teaching it to my daughter based on your materials”, and I was like “wow!” [Chuckles] I never expected that. PHILIP: Don’t it feel great when you convert someone from that hostile position to being a champion of what it is you're doing. REUVEN: Absolutely. But most of the time, it’s just – oh, here’s another fun one. This extremely nice guy who’s taken several of my classes; really good guy; he has the same MO in every class. He shows up from maybe a quarter of it, runs out to meetings, runs out to do whatever, shows up at 5 when I finish teaching and says “do you mind? I have a few questions about what you did today”, and then holds me there for half an hour, an hour, with questions that I’d covered with the rest of the group. And part of is my fear of offending people because then he’s going to write in my questionnaire, in the feedback, “boy, what a jerk. He didn’t take the time and answer my questions”. PHILIP: I was going to say in my experience, I think I found 3 categories. That category of someone who they’ve paid for the training so they feel like that was the work of it, and so attending and participating and having the discipline to block out interruptions from their cellphone or what-have-you, that doesn’t seem like the work of the class to them, but it is. That’s really the work of it is participating. Let’s see. People who challenge your authority who are a little bit hostile is maybe the second category. And then all the funny stories I have are in the third category. People who are like have hygiene problems, or like when I was working for New Horizons, they had a contract with the state of Tennessee, so they would get a lot of state workers and that’s where all the – this is not hopefully going to be received as a slur against all state workers; it’s not meant that way, but that’s where all the weirdos came from. The most awkward conversation I ever had to have with a student was when somebody else complained about this guy passing gas in class, just farting in the classroom. That goes down in my record as the most awkward conversation I've ever had to have with someone who was in one of my classes. But you just don’t get a lot – I've found with adult learners, the discipline problems you would have teaching high school students just don’t exist at that level. It’s a different category of problems. And they're much more easily mitigated if you set expectations properly and just – this would probably be a whole another hour of conversation with how do you start a course or a class that’s an in-person training class. And if you just do the expectations setting very clearly, very systematically upfront at the beginning of every class, a lot of those problems just don’t happen. If you tell people how to ask questions, for instance; “here’s how you ask questions in this class”, I think that would take care of half of the potential problems. REUVEN: I never thought of that. Yeah. PHILIP: It probably depends on the culture. Some cultures are more assertive, as you pointed out. REUVEN: Right. I really enjoy teaching in Israel because people have no hesitation about asking questions or saying what they think or challenging authority, and I’m ok with that. I think if someone from the US would’ve come here and teach, they'd be a little taken aback like “oh my god, these people have no deference. And yeah, that’s the whole country was founded on that to some degree. PHILIP: Yeah. REUVEN: But then, the opposite is the case when I go to China where in Chinese schools, if you ask questions, something is terribly wrong with you, because you're challenged – you should just understand it from what the teacher says. So I really actively try to encourage them to ask questions and participate, and there are usually a handful of people who go along with that, and they drag the rest of the group with them. PHILIP: And it’s interesting you see a microcosm of that if your training – because different companies have different cultures. There's probably some training clients you have where it’s totally normal for people to answer their cellphone in the class and then walk out, and in another companies that would be really rude. REUVEN: Right. And then there are people who think that we don’t hear them on their phones in the back row. PHILIP: Right. Like somewhat, physics doesn’t apply to them. [Laughter] REUVEN: There was just this guy – I remember I was teaching a few weeks ago, and I could swear I heard someone on their phone, and looking around, I didn’t see them. And I saw them; they were ducked under the desk. And I said “you know, it really does not bother me if you go out to talk on your phone, but you're really interrupting things here”. And the guy was so embarrassed, but what was he thinking? PHILIP: And sometimes, that is the – with kids, they're exposed to that all the time. They're called out in front of their peers by the teacher, but you do that with an adult, that’s a nuclear option is to call somebody out in front of the class and make an example of them. I’m telling you as someone who’s done that only once or twice, that that is the nuclear option. They do not appreciate it. It’s incredibly embarrassing to do that and sometimes warranted, but very rarely warranted. You generally want to have a one-on-one conversation with someone who’s been disruptive. You know the square law rule of attenuating sound applies to you just like it does everybody else. REUVEN: You need a bigger room. PHILIP: Yeah. REUVEN: By the way, to just [inaudible] opening – I just want to say how I wrapped things around with the beginning and the end. And I've gotten better with this just in the last few months, I think. So first of all, I try to send an email a few days in advance to all the participants welcoming them, giving them the slides in PDF. I thought I had to print them out; that turned out to be unnecessary from anyone’s perspective and expensive for me and then logistical going to the printer and so forth. So I just email people the PDFs of my lecture notes and a few additional things, and I say “I really hope – I’m looking forward to having you here, and I really encourage participation. I hope you'll come with a lot of questions”. Set the stage for them. When we open the course in person, I always go around and get everyone’s name and I hope to remember them. I usually remember a good 20%. PHILIP: Do you have them a little name card on their desk? REUVEN: I wish I remember to do that more. I should. In fact, thank you for reminding me; I want to do that – I’ll be in Shanghai next week [inaudible] also. When I do that, it’s great, because then I can – I have more of a connection, and I always ask “why are you here” and I even joke sometimes the size of the boss sending you here. “What languages do you know? What technologies? How are you going to use this?” And that allows me to refer back to it during the course. “Oh you used to use Perl. So you got to watch out here because it’s different”. And I also open up by saying “look, here's roughly the schedule. We’re going to start at this hour, end at that hour, take a lunch here”. At the end of each day, I will email you a zip file with all of my demos with all the slides with the updates. So you don’t have to” – people like to take pictures of me with my slides. People sometimes are madly copying things down. I say “you don’t have to do that. I will send you everything. You can just concentrate”. And after the course is done, then I send them a summary. In the case of courses that have an online, I say – I remind them to do the survey. I try to send them the link. Sometimes, I point them to some of the other things I do. I've got a little pushback on that. Yes, I might be offering a coupon to produce people in my class, but it’s seen as a little crass by a few people. They just paid for my course and now I also talking about my book, so I've stopped doing that. PHILIP: Yeah. REUVEN: And yeah. And so they hear from me before, during and after, and I then have their email address. I can connect them on Linkedin, which people almost always accept, so they see the additional updates from me, and sometimes even join my mailing list. PHILIP: Nice. That’s awesome. I really hope that people who – listeners who have been wondering if training is for them are more enlightened about the ins and outs of it and feeling comfortable about trying it out. I will say, maybe a little bit by way of closing, that I don’t know of a better way to learn a subject than to try to teach it to someone else. REUVEN: A hundred percent. PHILIP: You will understand the gaps in your own knowledge and you will have one of the best incentives I've ever found to fill those gaps, which is the embarrassment of not being able to explain something. REUVEN: It’s funny. I was in a meeting – I guess this was close to a year ago of a bunch of lecturers, and someone said – I’m sure he didn’t come up with it himself, but he said there are two – he tells his students, and I've used this sometimes – there are two kinds of questions you can ask: good questions and great questions. Good questions, you don’t the answer; great questions, I don’t know the answer. And so I often in my courses, I’ll say “I’m going to write that down and I’m going to get back to you with an answer”. And sometimes it’s my homework for the next day and sometimes I’ll email it to them a week or two after class. And I hope they don’t think that I’m pandering to them because I really enjoy finding the answers to these questions, and they often inspire me to give full segments or modules in my talks or in my courses. Sometimes interesting questions can lead to great learning on my part, and then great learning on other people’s parts. PHILIP: Yeah, absolutely. And I remember the one or two times when I tried to BS my way into an answer to a question that I really didn’t know the answer to, and it was awful. So I learned to never do that. I know Jonathan has said this before and I agree. If you don’t know the answer to a question, even if you're the guy the paid $50,000 to do the training, you say “I don’t know, but if you’d like, I’d find out for you”. REUVEN: People appreciate that. They appreciate the honesty. And they realize you can’t possibly know everything. PHILIP: Exactly, exactly. REUVEN: Yeah. As I mentioned before as probably obvious if only through my enthusiasm, moving into doing training has been the best career move I ever ever ever could have made in terms of satisfaction, in terms of pipeline, and in terms of payment. I think I mentioned previously in the podcast, I bumped into this friend of mine on the train a number of months ago, and he mentioned what I’m up to, I said “yeah, I’m doing mostly training now”. He said “yeah, that’s great. It’s just too bad it doesn’t pay as well as programming” [chuckles]. And I didn’t have the heart to tell it pays way better than programming. Because basically, if you are doing development work, and there are people who have figured out how to market themselves doing high-powered development work for lots of money, but they see you as a programmer in many ways. But if you're doing training, you're working with budgets that have been pre-allocated with people who are used to working for these vendors, you're competing with the other trainers and with – even with other trainers in your field and with just what the market demand is for the technology your selling, and people are willing to pay – companies are willing to pay, especially in the US or in Europe, crazy amounts of money. PHILIP: Yeah. You just reminded me that I could probably count at least one handful of clients that I've had personally who list investing in their people as a competitive advantage of their business. And if you can connect your services with something that a business perceives as a competitive advantage, you're in a different category of business need than someone who perceives “well, we got to have somebody to maintain this crappy old system and we’re going to chop for the lowest price we can because we don’t perceive that as a competitive advantage”. Not every company sees training that way, but a number of them do. And I think that’s why you're seeing that Reuven, is seeing healthy budgets. REUVEN: Right. I’ll even connect the dots and a few of these things here. So I mentioned that I did a data science course about a month ago. That came from talking to – that came from my intro to the course. And so I go around and ask people what they're doing, and in every one of my Python courses, there would be a handful of people who said “yeah, I’m using this for data analytics and data science”. And I thought about that and I realize “in every course, someone’s doing data science. I should probably do a separate data science course”. So I basically pitched it to a company, and they said “yeah, that sounds great”, and I happen to mention the next day – I was doing a different course at that company, and I mentioned “oh yeah, I've got this new course that I’d be doing in a few months” – the one I did last month in data science, and they said “how did you know?” I said “know what?” and they said “our CEO just said that everyone in the company needs to learn data science”. And so basically, by having my ear to the ground and talking to people and being just slightly into the pack, I just got email from their training manager saying how many data science courses can you propose between now and at the end of the year? I am happy to make you our chief data science trainer”. PHILIP: Wow. REUVEN: It was like – right, right. PHILIP: Amazing. REUVEN: So basically, I need to hit the next one out of the park, but it’s all these things that you could chuck up to a coincidence, but it’s just talking to people, hearing what they have to say and playing the game in just the right way. PHILIP: Yeah, yeah. That’s amazing. I feel like the message to someone who is a freelancer who has some expertise that they think is valuable but does not want to do corporate training, is you should know that there's a very nice virtuous cycle when you become the provider of a training. Same thing when you self-publish a really good book, it’s from a marketing perspective, it’s wonderful. I think it’s similar with what we've been talking about here. There's just a really nice virtuous cycle of “oh, this person has created the course on X” – an acquaintance of mine [inaudible] has got a course on doing data analysis with R, and it’s the same thing he gets consulting work because he’s the person who put together a course on this. No one anointed him the one guy who needs to put together a course on this; he just built up some expertise, did it, and it’s created opportunity outside the world of training. So I guess the message there is you don’t have to become a full-time trainer to benefit from training. I think it could be just a wonderful complement to a freelancing or consulting business. REUVEN: Absolutely. That’s one of the nice things also. You can do with much little as you want. PHILIP: Can I ask, have you gotten offers to do programming work on the back of training engagements or do you try to keep those separate now? REUVEN: Rarely. And it’s funny because for a long time, I was shocked. “Why are they not asking me?” And a few times, even a short period, people came up to me after class and would say “tell me, do you also do development work?” and I’d be like “yeah, I mentioned that on my introduction about myself”, but if you're interested in using one to feed the other, you should be really clear about it. You should say – and I even would sometimes say this at the end of the course “by the way, I do development work”. It never actually led to anything, but maybe it’s just the nature of companies that I was working with that they're not interested in hiring outside developers. I have to assume that most places, most people could figure out a way to do that. PHILIP: Yeah, makes sense. REUVEN: We should probably – this is fun and great and hopefully interesting, but I’m just looking at the time; we should probably wrap this up at some point. [Crosstalk] PHILIP: Fine. Fine. [Chuckles] REUVEN: You have next week. Don’t worry. Do you have any more ideas, closing thoughts about this? PHILIP: If you are introverted, if you're shy, if you're terrified by the idea of speaking in front of a group, there's so many ways you can basically take what we've talked about here, which is training, which has inherently as a one-to-many revenue model because anything else would basically be coaching or mentoring. So it’s just very attractive from that business perspective, but maybe you're held back by thinking “well, I’m not good in front of a group. I can’t hold the interest of a group for a long period of time”, there's other ways to do it. It doesn’t have to be you teach a 5-day class that does from 9AM to 5PM every one of those 5 days. There are other ways to do it and I just would encourage people to think – hmm, think about it from a business perspective rather than “this is hard and I've never done it before and I don’t want to try it”. I guess that would be my closing thought, is just think about ways this could benefit your business. It’s a really powerful way to do a number of really great things and maybe it’s for you. Maybe it’s not, and that’s fine, but maybe it is. REUVEN: Yeah. It’s worth giving it a shot somehow, even if it’s just a talk at a conference or a local meetup just to test the waters, see how you like it and see how others like it. PHILIP: Yeah. REUVEN: Alright, well, do you have any picks for us this week? PHILIP: I have a pick. I am at that wonderful somewhat costly moment where moving from a self-proprietor to a S-corp seems to make sense from a business, so I’m doing that and I’m using a service called LegalZoom to do so. You just pay them some money and they file documents for you, and it’s basically a webinar face like an API between me, a person who doesn’t really want to pay a lawyer to do this for me, and the state of California and the IRS, who need paperwork filed. There are cheaper ways, I’m sure, to do it. You could DIY something like this, but so far, I've been really pleased with their service; great communication, stuff seems to be happening quickly, and so it seems pick-worthy to mention LegalZoom for things like incorporation. They do some other stuff too, which is not top of mind for me right now, but other things maybe do not require an attorney, worth checking out: LegalZoom. REUVEN: Great. And I guess I've also got one pick. We went to Ikea I guess about two months ago or so to get some things for my kids, and my 13-year old daughter was with me, and we saw a desk there. And I've been talking about getting a new desk. I was honestly using this card table for quite some time. And she said “look, there's a desk. And you've even been talking about getting a standing desk. Why don’t you get this?” and I got it – I wish I remember the name of it – it’ll try to look it up. It starts something with a K and the rest is in Swedish. I guess K is what we use too, right? Anyway, I have been extremely extremely pleased with it. I’ll admit that about maybe a third of the time, I’m actually sitting at it instead of standing at it, so I probably [inaudible] or something. But standing at the desk, it’s much more lasting and fun than I ever expected. So it’s definitely worth giving it a shot, and not as weird as I would’ve thought. PHILIP: Nice. REUVEN: Anyway, so that is it. Philip, thank you so much. This was a lot of fun. PHILIP: Likewise. REUVEN: And thanks to all of you for listening, and we will be back next week on The Freelancers’ Show.[Hosting and bandwidth is provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more.]**

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