Going back to school... Kinda.

Wait what? Shahzil is really going back to school? Bullshit. He doesn’t believe in the whole college thing like those other know-it-all assholes.

Yes, you’re right. I am an asshole. 

No, you’re wrong. I don’t not believe in the whole college thing. But before I get into that let me first touch base on how I’m going back to school… kinda.

This summer I will be taking a 10 week course at General Assembly on a topic that I’m very interested in because I know it will help me run my companies better. The class I’ll be taking is Front-End Web Development taught by Kevin Bluer, a successful and current entrepreneur, where I’ll be learning how to code in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. 

I hate to admit it, but I have a weakness. That weakness is trying to figure out if my developer is speaking English or Klingon. I just sometimes don’t understand what the hell he’s telling me! All I know is if something works or if it’s broken. But that’s not good enough for me. This is MY company and I’m nosy as hell when it comes to my company. I want to know how exactly things work, but what good is knowing if I don’t understand? I want to be able to effectively communicate with my developers so I know how to plan ahead for the growth of my company. I can’t tell you how many times our servers have gone down and I have no idea why. It’s a huge deal if my servers are down for even a second, that’s a lot of money being lost for our company and our clients. And that’s just the start of problems I encounter. How am I suppose to get it these problems fixed for good if I don’t understand them?

I also love to dive deep into code and try to figure out how to improve it or fix it by myself. I mean look, I know the basics of HTML, it’s not hard so don’t you dare sit here and link me to the w3c HTML tutorial website. I might seriously hurt you. When you’re running a fairly big adtech company, you really need to know more than the lines <b>, a href=, <font color=000000>, etc. My company generates millions of dollars in revenue on a proprietary platform that we built from the ground up, yet my knowledge of our back end processes is zero to none. 

You might say that I’m wasting my time learning these things when I can just hire employees or a CTO to take care of them, but people highly underestimate how important it is to have a working knowledge of your own product. I need to understand it’s limitations and strengths so I can be prepared for any software or hardware issues I face in the future as the company grows. I also believe that developers respect the CEO much more when he is able to understand their language. Developers  aren’t always the best at communicating what’s exactly happening, they live in a world of their own.

Here are the things that I hope to get out of this class:

  1. Learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript
  2. Ability to wire frame projects correctly
  3. Effectively tinker with front-end code by myself without breaking shit.

I’ll be sacrificing my Tuesday and Thursday nights to learn. That’s right, to learn. You’re being left behind If you’re not constantly learning. Learning doesn’t end with college, it’s forever. I’ve always had a passion for learning, I just never had a passion for the subjects I was forced to learn.

Now to quickly touch base on this whole college misconception so it can finally be laid to rest.

My problem with college has always been that they made me take classes that I was never really interested in and never prepared me for the “real world.”  I was already living in the real world at that time, and nothing I learned in college helped me with it. Looking back, all the experiences I faced with running my company better prepared me for the real world.

I barely went to class because I was too busy working (and they were mostly boring with teachers who think real life is textbooks). And when I did attend class for the review sessions right before the exam, I was on my laptop zoned in on work. I never understood why I had to take Biology or Oceanography. I went into Oceanography thinking it would be like the Discovery Channel or the Planet Earth series that I’m obsessed with. GOD DAMMIT THIS CLASS DEDICATED TO OCEANS WAS THE HARDEST CLASS I’VE TAKEN IN MY LIFE AND I HAD TO TAKE IT TWICE BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT A C-. OH AND IT WAS WHAT, $1500? SERIOUSLY WTF!? 

That basically summarize why I’m so against college for certain degrees like Business. I got a finance degree, and it was complete bullshit. The only professions college makes sense for is law, medical, accounting, and engineering. If you go to school for business, you’re wasting your money. Use Google or Khan Academy to learn about business. Put that money towards these types of classes at education companies like General Assembly because you’ll probably get a job much quicker with less debt.

I’m very excited to take this class, and I hope that this is just the start. I hope to take other classes that will help me grow my companies.  I can’t explain how excited I am for it, I’ll finally be taking a class that will show me direct results, which I’ll happily post about after it’s finished.

I’m happily going back to school… kinda.