Ryan Irelan

is building Mijingo and doing limited consulting.

Crossing the Chasm to Profitability

“Every venture-funded company has to cross the chasm to profitability, and we decided the time was now,” Carson wrote in an email to EdSurge. After today’s layoff, he expects the company to be “very close to profitable [as year-over-year] revenue growth for the last six years has been climbing.”

When you have to use terms like “crossing the chasm to profitability” things are most likely not good.

Back to School Sale at Mijingo

The annual Back to School sale is going on over at Mijingo. I’ve discounted a bunch of courses by 35% even my popular Git version control courses. Yes, that’s right.

More on Constants While Indie

A couple weeks ago I linked to Manton’s post about his first year indie and I noted that establishing as many constants as possible helps ease stress. The example I gave was establishing a payroll to pay myself. Of course, I still have to generate the revenue to support the payroll but you’d be surprised how much simpler that is if you know that payroll will hit on a certain day. There’s no “maybe” or “I’ll pay myself late”; you have to hit your mark every month (I pay myself monthly). That’ll keep things lined up and running smoothly.

The "Netflix for Education" Vision

Jay Lynch of Pearson:

But despite the compelling nature of this “Netflix of Education” vision, it can encourage a misleading view of personalized learning. Examining several key areas where the educational Netflix analogy breaks down can help us better understand the qualities of an effective personalized learning solution. Failure to appreciate these points will result in personalized learning products more likely to hinder than help students.

The Worst Ants in the World

L. humile isn’t your stereotypical ant, with one queen and many workers laboring in a single nest. Argentine ants have multiple queens per colony, and there can be as many as 300 queens for every 1,000 workers. This makes them virtually impossible to kill with poison bait traps, which work on the principle that workers bring the tasty toxins back to the queen, whose death destroys the colony. When you have a lot of queens, that’s not an effective strategy.

An excellent article by Annalee Newitz on Argentine ants.

Taking Away the Ambiguity

Shawn Blanc on writing his Focus Course using good planning and index cards:

Lastly, the constraints of the notecards themselves — a single topic with a pre-defined outline — took away much of the ambiguity involved in the writing process. All I had left to do was expound on the ideas I had already written down.

Index cards, solid outline, or mindmap. Don’t write without a plan!

Proper Index Cards

I’m not sure what happened with index cards. Most of the cards you can buy now are not cut from card stock but instead a heavyweight paper stock.1

You do not want those. You want these. Oxford 3x5 Heavy weight index card (I’ll leave lined or unlined up to you–I prefer lined).

My local office supply didn’t have them the last time I ordered, so I used Amazon. I just looked and even Amazon isn’t carrying them (third party sellers were but I don’t use them because they’re price gougers). You might want to stock up.

An alternative is the excellent looking DotDash notecard by Nock Co. They are quite a bit more expensive but you will get quality.

My video on how I create courses for Mijingo explains how I use notecards:

  1. I’m not a paper expert so if I’m confusing the terms “card stock” and “heavy weight paper” please correct me. Let’s just one is too thin and the other is a proper index card, deal?

Obama on Feminism

But I also have to admit that when you’re the father of two daughters, you become even more aware of how gender stereotypes pervade our society. You see the subtle and not-so-subtle social cues transmitted through culture. You feel the enormous pressure girls are under to look and behave and even think a certain way.

This sums up my biggest challenge as the father of a daugther.

Manton Reece on 1 Year Indie

And I made a few decisions early on with how to manage the business that have proven useful to smooth over the bumps. For example, I pay myself a fixed salary on the 1st day of each month, and for 12 months straight I’ve always met that goal. This month, I gave myself a small raise.

A key to staying sane while on the indie bootstrapping path is to create as many constants as possible. For me, setting up automatic payroll has been one of those constants that reduces worry. It’s like automatically paying your monthlty bills; you have to do it, so make it automatic and then focus on other stuff.

Going back to zero

Giving up mastery involves a series of humiliations, some of which hit you when you think you’re on solid ground.

A wonderful essay by Hanna Rosin on her experience switching careers (writer to NPR reporter) and the vulnerability of going going back to zero.

Finally back in a regular running routine. I’m still taking it easier than usual as a precaution. The first few runs were a struggle but I’ve found my pace again. No races scheduled until September at the earliest so there’s no pressure.

Ben Brooks' Traveling Light Series

Ben Brooks has been doing a series of articles covering his preferred setup for traveling light. This is mostly aimed at business travel (because we all know that traveling light with kids is LOL) but there are things here you can pull into any travel kit, whether business or pleasure.

See all his articles on the topic.

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