074 - Ryan Carson

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0 - 111 Jonathan Mendonsa Welcome to the ChooseFI radio podcast. We view the concept of financial independence as a life optimization strategy that helps you crush the game using a mixture of conventional and unconventional methods. My name is Jonathan Mendonsa a pharmacist pursuing financial independence and my cohost name is Brad Barrett a CPA turned entrepreneur who reach financial independence through diligent savings and online business ventures. We host a twice a week show on Mondays and Fridays. It focuses on Living Below Your Means creating multiple income streams straightforward investment strategies tax optimization hacks and travel rewards. This Is What Winning Looks Like. Welcome to the show your listening to choose FI radio the blueprint for financial independance Lives here if you're looking to unlock the secrets to financial independence and early retirement your in the right place. Stay tuned and join a community of like minded people who are getting off the hamsterwheel and taking control of their lives in the pursuit of financial independance ChooseFI your home for financial independance online. This is the choose FI radio podcast today we're going be sharing an episode that we had with Ryan Carson from treehouse that you can find over at Team tree house dot com highlighting the incredible value of coding as a skill and as a career path for someone in the fi community. Brad this particular episode it was shocking to me what a blindspot it was and how relevant it is to the audience that we're serving with this podcast.
career, savings, tax, travelrewards
111 - 218 Brad Barrett Yeah I really love this episode. It was an eye opener. It was a paradigm shifting episode where we know in the FI community that there are potential issues with the expense of college the opportunity costs of spending four years of your life there and coming out with potentially No Job or no real discernible skills to get a job. That is a major issue for second generation fire. So we went out and were lucky to get in touch with Ryan Carson and this work that they're doing at treehouse is they are looking at coding computer coding as a trade job and it's something that doesn't need a four year degree. It means skills that you can prove that you have accumulated right and then you stack them on top of each other and you have a base for a computer coding career going forward that you can literally prove to your potential companies that hey I can do this here's my portfolio in essence and that's really neat to me. And the beautiful part is they've taken this and cut off 98 percent of the cost of a college degree and they've really changed the game. They've made it so. Hey the proof is in the pudding. Sign up for this. You're only going to pay like twenty five dollars a month and you're going to learn and we're going to show you that this is legitimate that our graduates have gone on to significant coding jobs making 50 some odd thousand dollars right out of the gate from just getting these skills and to me again that is just such a cool way to look at a problem which is the expense and the time for college and actually doing something about it.
2ndgenfi, career, college, talentstack, trades
218 - 233 Jonathan Mendonsa And I think what's going to come through in this episode is that one we're going to identify a problem and then two Ryan has a solution and it's an extraordinarily affordable and viable option. So I'm incredibly excited to present this and yeah Ryan welcome to the show.
233 - 301 Ryan Carson Honored to be here. Thanks so much guys. So you know we kind of set this up ahead of time for our audience to tell them a little bit about Team Treehouse. But this came on my radar very recently and my mind was blown. And the more I find out about it the more excited I get in that this is what disrupted education actually looks like and taking it from a bloated model that has questionable financials when you actually dig into what it means for the person to make a 200000 dollar investment due to focusing directly on this idea of learning a valued skill. Yup I started it because I got a computer science degree and then I got a job and then realized I did not need the degree. So I just was frustrated that I got ripped off and I'm not anti college but I'm just pro person pro job. And I realized wow I really didn't need any student debt any college degree at all. I want to fix that. And I started a company and the whole purpose is to help people avoid student debt and get a job sooner so they can start saving for their 401k sooner. And I love every minute of it.
401k, college-loans, savings
301 - 332 Brad Barrett Ryan I'm curious as far as like real time updates on something like that then that's what I've always been struck by. With college degrees it seems like they're especially in coding and computer science there potentially years behind whereas I assume treehouse can update in real time like how much more effective even if you even if you argued they were the same cost. How much more effective does that make a product like treehouse as opposed to a traditional four year computer science degree.
college
332 - 457 Ryan Carson It's tremendously more effective. And this is what's wild. So I went to Colorado State, studied computer science, learned C++, and they are still teaching that today. That was 18 years ago. Then I walked into a job and I was asked to do something completely different. And so we're able to update our curriculum on a daily basis if we need to. A good example is Apple came out with a new programming language called Swift which you need to know to build iPhone apps. And we shipped the whole curriculum on the day they announced it, and so we're really nimble. And The overall message I want all the listeners to hear is that there are going to be 1.3 million new jobs in tech and only 400,000 of those are going to be filled by college graduates. And so there's a 900,000 hole, you know gap there. And those are trade jobs. and I don't know how much you know people are listening are when they hear the word trades or trade jobs how they feel about that. But I've become very bullish on this idea that most of the jobs in the future are going to be actually trade jobs which is basically a set of stackable skills. Right. You learn a skill you stack on top and other skill. You build a project with that skill and then you learn more. And this is what we do. This is what all of us actually do day to day. Now we don't use our college degrees unless we're you know doctors. Coding is a trade skill. It's a really creative one. Yeah. It's like writing a screenplay. It's not you know computer science or nerdery or engineering or math or anything really it's actually like reading a creative story and there's so many jobs and they pay crazy amounts of money. I mean you can get a job in tech with no degree and no experience for fifty five thousand dollars a year as an apprentice. And then within five years you'll be making 90 with zero student debt. So I just I'm a preacher of that message: hey don't go in and get student debt if you could actually be working a trade job right out of High School.
college, college-loans, debt, talentstack, trades
457 - 472 Jonathan Mendonsa This is the first time I've heard a conversation like this. You know this is what I have been looking for I knew it had to be out there but I didn't know how to get there. What you've created CODE schools have been around for a while thinking about companies like General Assembly and galvanized. How has treehouse different than those models.
472 - 518 Ryan Carson So we are 100 percent online which means we can be massively affordable so we have a product called the tech degree which is an online bootcamp. So it takes about nine months. You learn one hour a day. Usually you know when your kids are sleeping or on your lunch break because we're all busy and we all have jobs. And it it only costs 200 bucks a month. So instead of you know that 10 to 15 to 20 thousand dollars of a boot camp or the 50 to 100 thousand dollars of a computer science degree you can get through our tech degree in nine months for about 1800 bucks. you pay monthly. You can pause. You can cancel. there's no contract. I think it's the future of education and I'm so excited that people are using it to change their lives and reskill. I love it.
IT
518 - 532 Brad Barrett Hey Ryan I'm curious about the apprenticeship that you just talked about. I'm not familiar with how that works at all. So just slow down like you know aside from tree house just like talk to us about that apprenticeship and how that works in coding jobs.
532 - 730 Ryan Carson You bet. And I'll go even higher and talk about apprenticeship and in just in any tech job period and then I'll zoom into to code a little bit so here's what's happening. You know I'm 40 now. Anyone that's coming up in tech or already has a job in tech actually got that job by building things; building projects, you know learning marketing, learning sales, and then they build projects and then I got a job and then got a raise and then you know moved to another company and then got another raise. So we've actually all built our skills like trades people, because the skills change so often you can't learn them in a four year degree because they go out of date too fast. So what's happening is that people are entering the industry by building basic projects and this is where we'll talk about coding so in our tech degree you build 12 projects that are real world projects that you can then actually take to an employer and say Look what I built not not where I went to school or or not where I'm from but look what I built. And this is exactly like a carpenter or an electrician or a florist who can say hey look I built this deck you know I built this house. I created these flower arrangements. People don't care where you learned how to do that. They just look at what you did. And if you're a nice person. So a apprentiship works perfectly for that and the specific way that we're creating apprenticeships now is through a program that we're going to launch on Monday. It will be live by the time this podcast comes out. It's called Talent path and talent path is a specific apprenticeship program for tech and it's really straightforward. We partner with the boys and girls club and the Boys and Girls Club gives the good news. Hey there are amazing jobs in tech for you. Tech companies want to invest in you. All you have to do is put up your hand and try coding and if you like it then you go into the program. And then on the other end we have an employer MailChimp just installed telepath. And at the end of this nine month journey MailChimp hires them as apprentices. They get mentors for three months through that apprenticeship. There's a very specific apprenticeship playbook so that that's successful because you can't just throw someone into a company and hope they survive. At the end of that three months then they graduate to a salaried position of at least fifty five thousand dollars a year. That's without a college degree. That's without any experience and this is possible today. Now regardless of if you know it's treehouse or towel path or coding I want everyone listening to start to consider the idea that every job they or their kids want to get in the future is actually some sort of technical trade skill. You know it's learning a tool. it's learning a method. it's building a project. and you're going to learn that probably online for a massively affordable price versus going to college. and then you're going to apply for jobs and show your projects and that's how you're going to get in, without student debt. So I'm really excited about this idea of apprenticeships coming back because it's how humans got jobs for thousands and thousands of years until we started all going to college.
IT, college, debt, talentstack, trades
730 - 758 Jonathan Mendonsa I have a friend that I was talking to at a recent event that we went to that works for SpaceX and I was asking him what does it look like for someone to get a job with SpaceX. I mean this is kind of one of these sexy companies that has brand name appeal and you would love to be there what does it actually look like. Does it look like the degree is it the skill set. And he said the exact same thing it's being able to show something that you built maybe that's stored in a place like git hub or something along those lines. But that's what it comes down to can you do the work.
758 - 780 Ryan Carson Right. And Elon has even gone on record on videos saying that he just doesn't care about where you went to school. It literally doesn't matter. And I think we're going to see more and more people thinking this way. So it's really exciting time to be alive. It's also exciting because you can save all that money and invest it. So it's it's a win win win.
780 - 803 Jonathan Mendonsa You know I'd love to hear you break down the economics of something like this and not necessarily with treehouse but basically this idea of going to school and following a traditional path versus what it might look like hypothetically for someone to land on this idea of building a technical trade early on the difference in the economy. Have you ever taken the time to do the math on that.
803 - 913 Ryan Carson Yes and it's bonkers. I thought I want to actually do the math. So I have a simple retirement planning tool. Here is the way I think about it. You have a person A who's an apprentice and person B who's a college student. The apprentice gets out of high school and they have learned a technical trade in high school so they immediately get a job but that job doesn't pay super well at first. You know you're talking about around fifteen dollars an hour. You know you're working hard and then you have college student. I mean it goes on to college. They don't earn any income for four years and they're accruing student debt. And then college student graduates and earns more immediately. Usually 70,000 dollars or more. Meanwhile the apprentice has gone from fifteen dollars an hour to about 55 K year which is still significantly less than the 70 k but they have zero student debt and they are immediately saving into their 401k. The college student is not going to save into their 401K and this is a fact and I bet you have talked about this a lot in your show. People are waiting to save for their retirement because they have around three to four hundred dollars of student debt to pay per month. So they hold off on putting that money into their 401K until their student loans are repaid which is usually not until their late 30s. You literally plug this into a retirement planner tool. And it's so astounding the result. And the net difference in your net worth the difference in your net worth from apprentice to a college graduate is millions of dollars. So you are literally spending millions of dollars to get a degree you didn't need which is insane.
401k, college, college-loans, debt, savings
913 - 946 Brad Barrett Yeah that is absolutely incredible. And we talk about opportunity costs here all the time and that's that's really what you're highlighting right. Someone is going to a four year college and not only are they not earning so there's opportunity cause there but they're spending whoknows 10 15 20000 all the way up to 60000 for elite colleges. Thousand dollars per year. Right so a quarter of a million dollars like in that hole plus then you're arguing they're not investing because they're having to pay back money and not earning all that time. So it literally adds up to millions of dollars potentially.
college
946 - 960 Ryan Carson It does. It's crazy actually pulled up the the math that I did. And the difference in net worth is going to be two million eleven thousand seven hundred ninety two dollars.
networth
960 - 964 Jonathan Mendonsa And I love that you're a spreadsheet geek like the rest of us here in the FI community
964 - 966 Ryan Carson I can't help it.
966 - 1003 Jonathan Mendonsa That's awesome. Yeah we were constantly again it's this second generation fire. That's the term we've coined here which is people Jonathan and I and people our age are kind of first generation in this fied community financial independence. And we're trying it to lay the groundwork for this second generation. And sounds like like an idea like this online learning treehouse in particular. It just is brilliant because as you said I've heard you say before you guys cut out something like 98 percent of the cost of college and you're giving people skills that they can walk into a job and walk into these apprenticeships and get rolling immediately.
2ndgenfi, college
1003 - 1091 Ryan Carson Right. And the reason why is we don't have expensive climbing walls, or pools, or tracks, or we don't have a football team here. I mean we don't have any of the frankly stupid things that universities are spending money on to attract students in order to get them to spend the student debt dollars. I mean it really feels like a racket. And I know that there are a lot of colleges that are morally not like that and there are there are thousands of moral amazing people working in colleges, but the system has become corrupt. I just want to open people's minds to that that what you've been told by generations and generations of parents that you have to go to college because that's the path. And that's just not true. So the more that people internalize that and accept it the better. And it's hard. You know there is a there's almost a kind of moral attachment in America to the college story right. You know you go to college it's where opportunity happens you graduate. I mean it's a really good investment right. No it's not. If you do the math that actually cost you two million dollars. So hopefully more people will listen and we're already starting to see people understand that. And I think the next generation fires are going to are going to actually acceptance. Yeah it's crazy. Parents you know racked up sixty thousand dollars. That was bonkers.
college, college-loans
1091 - 1131 Brad Barrett Yeah it's funny that my wife Laura and I were having having this exact conversation yesterday. We had no idea. I was chatting with you today but we were talking about college and we have we have young daughters. My oldest is 9. And it's not going to be that far in the future when we have to consider this. Is there any college degree that you would trade for one year of on the job experience. And we're both CPA is like we went to great colleges. We learned a nice amount. But still it essentially was worthless because we learned more that first year in on the job experience than we did in four years of a degree and it didn't matter where you went to college right.
college
1131 - 1173 Ryan Carson Which is yeah I mean it is great. So it's the opportunity cost that you are that you're always talking about it is really real because not only are you missing out on your retirement income that you should be saving but you're missing out on what you're learning which is holding back your career which is holding back your future earnings. I mean it's I haven't even modeled that into this number but it's going to make it worse right. Because you would be going up the ladder faster because you have more. I mean think about it. Holy cow. You have a person a who's an apprentice and person B who's a college grad. The Apprentice has four four years of experience before the college grad even finishes school. I mean four years is a lifetime today right.
career, savings
1173 - 1196 Brad Barrett Yeah it's an amazing night. It's funny because when you were going through I again I listened to you on another podcast when you're going through your number. I'm like I think he's under representing it. I think that's concern. I think you're right because you are factoring like student loan debt but I'm not sure that you necessarily refectory and dollar for dollar how much you're paying for that plus you're going to have four years of experience and obviously your salary is going to be significantly higher.
college-loans, debt
1196 - 1211 Ryan Carson Exactly. So I'm excited we're going to see the change. You know a lot of our kids are growing up with parents who are crippled by student debt. So I think they're going to be really wary of kind of buying into this story we've been told. I'm excited about that.
college-loans
1211 - 1244 Jonathan Mendonsa I have chills down my spine just thinking about it. I know you're right and your passion comes through for this which means to me that it must be very easy for you to go present this not just to the people that maybe are going to be using tree house directly for themselves as a consumer I would imagine that as the founder of this company you're also taking this to businesses as well. And I'm curious. Like who are you talking to. Not maybe specifically but this is this is much more than just Google and Facebook and SpaceX looking for employees right. I mean that doesn't make up 900000 jobs that are available in America alone.
1244 - 1307 Ryan Carson Exactly. So this is what's so exciting. I'm glad you asked. Actually all the jobs are at these really big really stable really interesting companies you know not necessarily Tesla or SpaceX although those are fun. The majority of them are at companies that you might never have heard of or are things you kind of take for granted likeG.E. or IBM or as a company I just found called Bidi they are hiring thousands and thousands of developers and they can't hire them fast enough out of colleges so it's exciting to realize that every company is a tech company now and every company is going to need people who are able to stack digital skills very quickly on top of each other versus a college degree. So it's going to be a fun time to be alive if you are open to this idea of my success and the future is going to require me to stack skills as fast as I can versus get degrees and then the door is open to anything.
college, talentstack
1307 - 1391 Brad Barrett Ryan it's funny you keep using that terminology stacked skills I constantly am talking about the phrase talent stack. If you've ever been a nice fellow I think yes Scott Evans book How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. You should definitely pick that up it's needed to read that. Absolutely yeah it's brilliant. And I totally hear it's about just reading. It's about learning. It's about being open to new information. It's not about one particular path or career. I mean I could have never envisioned frankly that I'd be standing here talking to you on a podcast when four years ago I was sitting in an office as a tax manager doing dopey State tax returns for corporations. I couldn't have envisioned that. )But because you are yeah here we are.) And because I was open to learning how to create a wordpress site then a dropships site after I read the 4 hour workweek you know all these kind of crazy things led me to this point where here we are as you said and I'm curious just going back to college for a second so you've been involved in multiple startups obviously through treehouse you're a liaison to many different companies. Are there ever instances in the coding world where someone coming out of a four year degree has a benefit over someone coming out of your program or a comparable one. Are there tangible things that jump out to you right away.
college, talentstack, tax
1391 - 1442 Ryan Carson Yes. You bet if you can get into Stanford, GO. as long as you don't get any student debt right. So this is the problem is that for the elite few who can afford that degree and can get in, of course it's going to help them. But that doesn't apply to 99 percent of us. And so it almost doesn't matter. Right. There's so many jobs that that girl who goes to Stanford and gets that computer science degree is going to instantly get a job. But there are 900,000 other jobs. So yeah it's you know there's great schools out there. They're definitely worth the money if you can afford without student debt. But but that's going to be 1 percent of us. So you know why really worry or try to pursue that when you can get you know almost all the benefit faster without pursuing that period.
college-loans, debt
1442 - 1452 Brad Barrett What about for argument's sake that same girl who would have went to Stanford and would have went through treehouse instead using the same background the same intelligenceetc.
1452 - 1457 Ryan Carson I think she'll be better off because of the opportunity cost that we talked about.
1457 - 1458 Brad Barrett OK. Very interesting.
1458 - 1490 Jonathan Mendonsa So Ryan you know we talk about these 900000 jobs and we just explicitly stated that's not necessarily Facebook Google and Tesla. I mean they may be in there but I would imagine GE for the very reasons we just stated would have difficulty competing with a Facebook type company one of these companies that are just on people's minds and so when we talk about people that are going to Stanford those elite 1 percent view versus the rest of us which I would put myself in that group from their perspective what's the incentive for them to align with a treehouse like company.
1490 - 1654 Ryan Carson So if you take a good old fashioned high quality company likeG.E. you're right they can't recruit talent away from Google. They can't win the talent war and they won't win the talent war so every time you know a computer scientist pops out of Stanford they immediately get gobbled up by Apple Facebook Amazon Google et cetera. So they can't get those folks. That's going to stop them. And then when they try to recruit new developers all those developers are being recruited by the sexy companies so they can't win that either. If they have any developers at the company now they're going to get recruited away by those companies. So they're going to get crushed. And every CTO andV.P. of engineering and I've talked to is terrified of this that deep down they know they can't win the talent war and what are they going to do about it. And so we come in and say hey you don't actually have to fight that battle at all. You actually have to go to a totally different battlefield and you can actually create your own talent. This is where apprenticeship comes in if you actually have a little bit longer of a timeline you know hey I'm going to create talent over a year instead of I need to hire someone. Today you actually can create a talent pipeline that sustainable. And here's how it works. You have apprentices come in they get mentored by yours by your senior level folks and those senior level folks actually stay a little bit longer because they're meeting their human need of helping another human right. So they have all this knowledge. They're really smart but they can't give that to anybody which is frustrating. But now they have someone they can mentor they have an apprentice and they can actually pass that knowledge on. So the average length of stay in a tech company now for developers ten point eight months believe or not. And so someone comes in a month one and they're gone by ten point eight. But this idea that person mentoring allows them to extend that stay they're probably going to I mean that's be conservative and say they stay an extra four months. Well that's a 40 percent uplift on retention. So that's a win. And the thing about cycles so that person is mentoring that Apprentice then that Apprentice eventually becomes a senior and then they mentor the next Apprentice and so they're pulling each other up the ladder and staying at the company longer. That's how companies that aren't going to win the talent war can continue to succeed. And it's just so much fun. That's basically what we help companies do.
IT, talentstack
1654 - 1679 Brad Barrett Ryan I'm curious and this is my own just lack of knowledge of the coding world. How do you quantify the level of skill in the coding world. Are there ways to explicitly say hey I know these 14 skills and I'm working on programs for these three like are there baseline amounts of knowledge that you need to know to even get a job or an apprenticeship. How does that even work just on the ground level.
1679 - 1766 Ryan Carson You bet. So let's talk about carpentry. If you're trying to hire a carpenter what would you do. Well you would look at their work. So you know Carpenter a is brand new and they show you a little stool they built you know it's kind of rough. It's not quite straight it looks concerning. You know you're not going to sit on it. It's pretty clear this person isn't quite where I need him to be. And then you have a carpenter show you a house they built. It's pretty clear OK this person has skills do the job. Going hire you know the second Carpenter programming is very similar. So you basically show people your work as you mentioned all your work is on a site like git hub. Usually it's a site where you put your code in so you can actually see people's work. And it's really clear if they have enough knowledge to do the job and the work and then you just have to check their people skills. OK. Are they good at working with the team. They seem friendly they seem proactive. And that's pretty much it. You know as a technical school we have a very long list of very technical things and technical words that we know our students are going to learn when they come out of our tech degree and we can guarantee that they know them because all the projects are checked and graded and then we have a final proctored exam that you just can't pass unless you are at a certain level. So it's actually more straight forward than you think.
IT
1766 - 1771 Jonathan Mendonsa So what as a developer what development language right now is the most in demand.
1771 - 1818 Ryan Carson JavaScript's. It is so hot it's it's the thing. But you know what's funny about that question is in two years it will be something different. In fact probably in a year it will be different. This is another one of those skills stacking opportunities as soon as soon as you learn how to program. It's like learning spanish as you know you learn Spanish you can pick up French pretty quickly because it's similar and coding's the same way you're going to learn JavaScript probably and then two years from now you're going to be asked to learn Go which is something totally different and you're going to say this is kind of similar. I can figure this out. And then two years later 18 months later we're going to learn something new so you just keep stacking those skills and you keep updating your your resume.
talentstack
1818 - 1869 Brad Barrett Ryan I'm curious like a hypothetical so let's say I'm a 17 year old kid right. I'm trying to decide do I go to a four year college or do I do something else and maybe I listen to this podcast or I hear something else about treehouse and I head over and say you know nice looking site obviously but how do I know how do we know that I'm going to learn anything or if this is just going to be some other random like. I don't know if I'm going to learn anything at the University of Phoenix or if I'm going to learn anything at my local community college even or my local 4 year school. Are there companies that you show people like hey we have a direct pipeline into this or you know these companies look at our certifications or our program and and they consider them valuable or you can show them you're git hub. What's the elevator pitch of like hey this is this is a great option.
college
1869 - 2001 Ryan Carson You bet. That's a really good question and I'm going to reverse it on you by saying the most important thing here is that a student can come along and try a school for as little money as possible. So think about this. If I could of tried Colorado State for 200 dollars. Actually if I could could have tried it for free for seven days I would quickly be able to see. Does this feel quality. Am I actually being pointed in a very clear direction towards a job. Do I seem like I'm learning things that I actually need in a job. OK I think so. So I'm gonna end my free trial and I'm going to pay 200 dollars for the first month and then you go through the first month. It feels great. You're learning. It seems like you're on the right path but again you're trusting us a lot. Like you said I mean you very much placing your life in our hands that we're teaching you the right thing for the job but you still spent 200 bucks which is a lot of money but it's nothing compared to a college experience or even a boot camp right. So again the idea is try these things for as affordable price as you can so that you can stop doing it if it's not working versus committing to this crazy idea of a four year degree. Number one or even a three month boot camp which costs 15000 dollars. We're trying to reduce that trial cost down to as little as possible. That's one thing I'd say. But the second thing is and I can only speak for treehouse but I've been breathing this and bleeding for this and you know sweating for this for 8 years. Right. So we started tree house in 2010 with the sole goal of we can take anyone with grit and we can turn them into a developer that can be hired. That's our whole job. That's all we do. And we've learned how to do it really well so there's an element of trust but we're also saying hey you know worst case scenario if you decide we're not right for you and you're not going away you need the worst cases is you spent 200 dollars on our Tech Degree per month. The best case is that you end up getting a job. So we're really trying to make that transparent and clear as best we can.
college
2001 - 2031 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah that's not opportunity cost. My 168 thousand dollars from my pharmacy degree that I then decided I wasn't interested in. You know eight years after I got done with that that that's opportunity cost. Let's go back. You know you've been working on this for eight years but this is not your first startup. I mean you are early days in the startup culture and you have a couple of ventures that were successful before this under your belt and maybe one that wasn't. What inspired you to move from what you were working on before to tree house specifically.
2031 - 2353 Ryan Carson So like I said I got my first job straight out of college I was a developer just kind of did that for a while and then I thought you know I think I'm going to startup a company. I was really influenced by a guy named Jason Fried who started a company called they're called base camp now but they were called 37 Signals. And I encourage anyone listening to Google Base Camp or Jason Fried and read their writings because they think different. They're a great company but they basically said hey anybody can build a web app that you can then launch and then charge people monthly for anybody can do this. If you have a problem solve. You can build something and you can earn a living. So it was very much about you know financial independence. Hey if I can learn a skill and I can solve a problem I can charge people money to solve that problem and then I can actually make a living out of that. So I had a problem that I couldn't send large files. This is back in 2004. You couldn't email anything over to mb and so I thought gosh this is kind of a silly thing like I can't believe someone hasn't solved this so I build a simple web app called dropsend and booted up and you know I coded it. And we launched it and it was a mild success. I would say it earned about 25000 dollars a month. After about a year of work and that was exciting and clearly good money it was basically me running the company by myself and my wife is still working as a journalist. But something deep inside me just kind of said you know what I don't think we're really making the world better. I don't think this really matters on some sort of existential level. And I don't know if I'm okay with that. You know I'm one of those lucky people that is able to think about stuff like that like not only do I have a job it is my job meaningful to me and I just decided you know I feel like I should be doing something more. I was raised in a very religious home and I'm not particularly religious now but my principles are very strong you know treat other people like you want to be treated have integrity serve people help people. And so I decided sending large files just doesn't isn't right for me. So funny story I actually tried to sell the business publicly on the Internet by blogging about it. So if you ever want to sell a business don't do that until it does not work. And so you know Amazon drops and who want to buy it. You know we're going to do like a public auction will be really fun and it failed. Not fun not a fun thing. Not at all. And almost killed me and we end up selling it to no one person and you know got half of what I wanted and that's a whole another. We need to have that conversation over tequila. So you know moved on from that. So then I decided you know what it seems like you can't really learn these technical skills in college you know. I learned this out-of-date stuff. I'm learning this stuff by you know reading O'Reilley books which are amazing or googling but there isn't a way to learn these things. This is weird you know. And so I thought out maybe we could teach people how to code like that would fulfill my need to help people and to empower them. And so we basically thought let's let's try to just do a in person workshop like literally let's get 30 people in a room let's get a smart person and have them teach people how to build a website we found a smart person and we emailed as many people as we could. This was 2005 and we got 30 people to pay us for that. And they had an amazing day and they thanked us and they were shaking our hands and telling us how great the workshop was. And I realized this is fun. I'm actually helping people and I'm empowering them by giving them technological power. So let's do more of that. So we did another one and it sold out and another one it sold out and then I said to my wife you know hey jill will you join me in this company let's do it together like we could we could build this company together. And she was a successful journalist. So that was a big you know risky move for her. But she did it and we had a really fun time we traveled the world doing these workshops and I met a lot of interesting people. And then it was interesting what I realized in 2010 was I was helping people but I seemed to be only helping people that could afford you know a thousand dollars to come to this conference or workshop and I'm not sure I'm actually really moving the needle again you know. It's great to help wealthy people. It's not a immoral thing but I don't know if that's why I want to get out of bed every day. So we thought how can we take this teaching thing that really is working and helpful and needed. But how do we make it more affordable and how do we make it more accessible. My wife is smart and direct and she said to me while we were brush our teeth one day to get ready for work. She said Well why don't we just hire a teacher you know film them and put the videos on the internet and charge people 25 bucks a month. So that's how treehouse was born. And that was way back in 2010.
blogger, college, teacher, travel
2353 - 2394 Jonathan Mendonsa It's amazing that this is now eight years later and you know many people are hearing about this for the first time. But I have a feeling that it's kind of one of those things that once you hear it once you start seeing it pop up everywhere has you guys are blowing up. And I think it really is the future. I mean it strikes me that when my siblings graduated when I graduated in pharmacy and I would Bradd graduated as with his accounting degree like we had jobs waiting for us. But so many people are graduating from college and then asking the question huh I wonder what job I can get. That's crazy! But I had at least three people in my family that can make that statement and that you know they figured it out you landed somewhere but it didn't have anything to do with your degree.
college, families
2394 - 2400 Ryan Carson All right. I mean that doesn't that sound broken to everybody. If you just say it like it is bonkers.
2400 - 2416 Jonathan Mendonsa For my mom it was actually this past year and now everybody is gainfully employed that she just breathed this giant sigh of relief. We're talking about the field where there are 900000 jobs. So let's bring this back to treehouse like how does it. What are the options that are available for people that are interested in looking into this.
2416 - 2496 Ryan Carson So it's really easy to try. So I would recommend you come on tree house and you sign up for our free trial for our twenty five dollar month product that's our most affordable product. It gives you access to all of our videos and just try a very basic course for free for seven days right. Don't even pay us. And if you think gosh this is kind of fun. You know I feel like I'm solving puzzles. I'm intrigued by what I'm learning then upgrade to that twenty dollars month product really affordable. You can cancel any time and learn a little bit more. And then if you decide who I like this this is exciting. I want a job in this. Then upgrade to our tech degree which is 200 dollars a month and that's a very you know specific program where we guide you step by step. Here's the project you got to do first. You know here's how we create it. We had a slack channel for you which has a chat app so that you can talk to other students. You know it's very guided and it will give you the skills for a job. So just follow that path and at any time if you decide you know what this isn't for me I like coding but I don't see myself getting a job. You've spent a fraction of a fraction of the cost of making that mistake in college.
college
2496 - 2517 Brad Barrett I wanted to go back to a couple of things you said because they just jumped out jumped out at me. I wrote them down immediately. You said something before about anyone with grit. That was your quote Anyone with grit is like kind of a table stakes for you like someone how someone can succeed. What is grit mean to you and how do you how do you look at that.
2517 - 2748 Ryan Carson That's a great question and I've really only realized this as I've gotten older in life. There's a book I recommend everybody. It's called Grit by Angela Duckworth. It's pretty straightforward. And it's this success in life is not connected directly to natural ability. It's mostly connected to something called grit and grit is the internal ability to keep going when something is hard. And so you take natural ability which can be from zero to one maybe to me to maybe have zero natural ability at something or maybe have one you know you are just the best in the world at it naturally because of your genetics and then you have to multiply it by your grit and most of success in life ends up being determined by grit because you just don't give up. And so I would encourage everyone thinking about coding in particular. But just life is that most folks are going to quit because they're internal why their internal reason isn't strong enough. You know this is like me in basketball I had natural ability in basketball but I didn't really want to play professionally and I kind of ended up quitting my why wasn't very strong. But I'm never going to quit treehouse like you would literally have to kill me to get me to stop working on treehouse. So why. Why do I have grit. For one thing but not the other. And it's because my internal why is so strong it drives that. So folks will think OK you know maybe I should try coding coding is hard. I just want to be honest with everybody. It's not something that you will learn you know with just it's happiness all the time you have a smile on your face every day it's you know it's kind of going the gym right. It's great but it's going to be hard. So what's going to keep you from quitting on that. It will be something that's totally outside of coding it will be I want to prove everybody wrong that said that I couldn't you know make a certain amount of money or I want to build a company that solves problem X you know or I want to provide for my family. I want my kids to have a better roof over their head so that why is really where grit comes from. I believe anybody can attain Grit by figuring out what their why is and it's almost like a learned behavior. Once you do that and I speak from experience. I for a while I believed that what we were doing on treehouse mattered on almost a spiritual level. You know hey we're really giving people skills to get jobs which will change our lives. I think the world is going to bring us success somehow. You know and this is probably a connection to my spiritual roots. I don't know why I just thought I was going to happen. And then I had to look at myself in the mirror pretty hard. A couple of years ago and say that's just not true. I am going to have to work really hard to help treehouse succeed. It might not happen if I don't do that. Ironically literally being on this podcast is an example that worked. So I started to realize you know what people don't know about treehouse a lot of times. I actually have to get out there and actually have to make sure people hear about it and when they hear about it they're going to love it but they're not going to wake up and say gosh we should get that Ryan guy on a podcast because he runs treehouse right. And so this all comes back to grit. I hope everyone's listening can can start to connect their why and how it's connected to their daily work. And if it's not connected then they can start looking for that and then that will drive gritty behavior. Yeah that's great.
families
2748 - 2823 Brad Barrett I love the focus on your why and I think you said a couple of minutes ago. You realizing how fortunate you are and to take a step back. Right. And we talk about that a lot with people pursuing FI. We're we're in such fortunate positions where we're saving you know 50 plus percent of our income and we're going to have potentially decades back of our lives that really everybody else doesn't have. And that enables you to focus on those higher level things like happiness and what you get out of life how you can impact the world in a positive way. And it reminds me actually of a quote that you said on a podcast I listen to when you're talking about the book How to Win Friends and Influence People and you said the reason why it changed my life is it helped me to understand that I need to think first about what the other folks are getting out of this how can I add value for them. Before I ask for value back and I just thought that was brilliant. Yeah it was really really great. I mean that's what you're doing a treehouse you've found the passion of your life. Just like Jonathan I have found the passion of our lives trying to spread this word of FI and this understanding of a life that can be just a little bit more optimized.
savings
2823 - 2905 Ryan Carson Right. And obviously you're not going to stop you're passionate about it. Just like I'm passionate about treehouse and once you find that the grit comes and that's so exciting and I have kind of a funny story I want to share real quick about my mom. You had mentioned your mom and I was thinking about mine. And again I was lucky that my parents paid for my college degrees. I literally didn't have student debt. So that's another thing I'm grateful for. And I had a conversation my mom one time I said mom you know I'm kind of realizing we don't need college degrees and I'm really focusing a lot on the fact that people don't need college degrees to win anymore. Would you be ok as like a PR stunt if I burned my college degree. She said she kind of got quiet you know and she said Ryan you can do that if you pay me back for it. And I was hoping she was going to say I'm a very nice home. I'm glad you're out. I'm not going to burn it myself. I love my parents. I mean again I'm lucky I'm lucky that they loved me and cared for me and I just want people to have a chance to get a job they love that pays a living wage without having to go through the mistake of student debt. So that's one thing that people walk away from this podcast today is that there is another path and I think we will have succeeded today.
college, college-loans, debt
2905 - 2934 Jonathan Mendonsa Ryan this entire conversation it's just chills down my spine because this is a different way of looking at the problem and honestly you are the person we've been trying to find and people like you that have tackled the problem differently. It changes the entire world view that all of us have just thought that we're subject to and it gives you a way to have some level of control over the outcome. It's incredibly empowering. So normally when most shows this would be the end of the episode we'd love to give you the chance to tackle the hot seat. Are you ready for this.
2934 - 2936 Ryan Carson Let's do it.
2936 - 2964 Speaker In a world drowning in debt and rampant consumption trapped by the chains of lifestyle inflation these questions highlight the secrets of those who are broken free. Welcome to the choose FI. hot seat.
debt
2964 - 2968 Jonathan Mendonsa Question number one your favorite blog of all time.
hotseat-blog
2968 - 2970 Ryan Carson Wait. But why.
2970 - 2973 Brad Barrett Tim Urban. Very nice. That's a brilliant blog.
2973 - 2982 Ryan Carson It's life changing and it's a long read. It's so much fun. You'll love it. Just open it up on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and dig in. It's great.
2982 - 2986 Jonathan Mendonsa All right Ryan question number two your favorite article of all time.
hotseat-post
2986 - 3002 Ryan Carson Sadly it's going to come from. Wait but why. And it is about the rise of SpaceX and what Elon Musk is doing. I think it's like a four part series. And it is amazing. You have to read it.
3002 - 3009 Jonathan Mendonsa We'll definitely link to it in the shownotes. Now this will be an interesting one from you. Question number three your favorite life hack.
hotseat-lifehack
3009 - 3042 Ryan Carson Oh gosh it is waking up early. Number one so I get up at 430 every day. And the reason I do that is because I have used a gamma chart for my year. So I break my year down and two clear buckets. And what I want to accomplish at a high level and then I open that every day and then I translate what i should be doing into a bullet journal which is a written to do list and that allows me to focus not get distracted by all the screens in my life on what is truly important for me this year.
3042 - 3060 Jonathan Mendonsa Now Brad is a productivity nut and right now is flipping out. He has like eight follow up questions I guarantee you he's going to have to ask you off the line because we're going to move into question number four your biggest big job. your biggest financial mistake.
hotseat-mistake
3060 - 3068 Ryan Carson Boy my biggest financial mistake was going to college because I wasn't getting a job right away and learning.
college, hotseat-mistake
3068 - 3072 Brad Barrett All right. Question number five the advice you would give your younger self.
hotseat-advice
3072 - 3097 Ryan Carson Work hard work hard work hard work hard. I just didn't get that early that the way I was going to win was by putting in the work. And I don't mean sacrificing my family. So I squeeze in work early in the morning and then I you know spend time with my wife. We have breakfast and then I work real hard. And then I come home at 6 so I'm just really disciplined about working very hard in the time that I should be working.
family
3097 - 3107 Jonathan Mendonsa Do you do a good job shutting off treehouse like at the Carvell times maybe the weekends maybe the evening or do you feel like you give yourself a solid A on your ability to check out when you need to.
3107 - 3127 Ryan Carson No I don't technically work I don't have meetings and I don't check e-mail but my brain is always thinking about treehouse. I wish I was a little better at that. Sometimes I feel like I go into a dreamy mode or I'm thinking about treehouse instead of listening to my amazing nine year old tell me about is rocket drawing. So I'm working on that.
3127 - 3135 Jonathan Mendonsa Same here. We do have a bonus question for you. Let's do it. Favorite purchase made onAmazon.com last year or if not Amazon favorite purchase made in general.
hotseat-purchase
3135 - 3143 Ryan Carson I bought a large rubber ducky about two days ago and I'm really happy about that.
3143 - 3151 Jonathan Mendonsa Just add that to the list of answers I did not expect. Hi buddy thank you so much for coming on the show. This has been a total blast.
3151 - 3157 Ryan Carson It's been so fun and keep up the good work you are doing amazing work and I just want to tell you that. Keep going. It's so important.
3157 - 3210 Jonathan Mendonsa Onward. All right. Brad. This was it. Man this is the missing piece of the puzzle. You know I think it's so easy to complain about the state of economy, to complain about where jobs are going, to complain about just how difficult life seems. But I think so many of us get stuck in this. Identifying the problem but not going out of our way to look for solutions and the FI community more so than any other community that I've met has had this eternally optimistic perspective of how do we solve the problem. And in my mind the second generation FI problem is the one that I've had the most trouble with is that college is broken and if you can solve that first step you go back to the episode that we have a Scott trench talking about that first piece is getting the fifty thousand dollar job. Everything gets easier once you can get to there. This episode solves that in my mind definitively.
2ndgenfi, college
3210 - 3314 Brad Barrett Yeah I hear you Jonathan. It definitely was an eye opener for me too. I think like you. College is the thing that vexes me the most for the fi community per second generation fire from my own family. I mean I have a 4th grader and these years fly by really quickly. We're talking eight years from now she's going to be heading off to college and that scares the heck out of me. I mean it is a huge financial burden for something that I'm not sure what kind of value it has dubious value at best. Like I said in the episode we've literally just had this conversation Laura and I about what is a college degree worth what does it look like. What is this going to look like for our kids. And it really does scare me. But knowing that there are companies like treehouse out there they may be one of the first but I assure you they won't be the last. And that's what's cool about this. This is while this is an amazing thing for people who are looking for coding jobs. For me it's more like the paradigm shifts and that's what I always want to bring to this podcast is larger issues right. So the larger issue is from our perspective. College is broken and it's absurdly expensive. As Ryan said there's this ridiculous opportunity costs of years of your life and potentially a quarter of a million dollars plus debt that you're paying off for years to come. So that's the problem. And how do we fix that. How do we get people jobs without taking years and going into debt. And a solution like this is a really brilliant one and it teaches you skills that you can stack on top of each other so. So I love the paradigm shift. That's the big takeaway for me.
2ndgenfi, college, debt, families, talentstack
3314 - 3379 Jonathan Mendonsa To our audience if you got a kick out of this episode stay tuned on Friday Brad and I are breaking an awesome announcement. If you enjoyed the show if you've been getting value from the episodes and you want to support us in what we're doing here at choose FI. here are four easy ways 1 leave us an itunes review if you want to do that just get to chooseFI dot com slash iTunes two use our page to sign up for travel credit cards. If you want to travel the world with miles and points instead of your hard earned dollars then just go to chooseF.I. dot com slash cards and get started today. 3 If you're working on the milestones EFY set up a personal capital account to track your progress and use our affiliate link. It's completely free and just get to chooseF.I. dot com slash PC P as in Paul and C as in Cat and four and most importantly find your friends co-workers and family members who might be open to this message and tell them about the podcast. Have them start with episode 38 the Why of Fi and right behind that have them go Listen to Episode 21. The pillars of FI. It is a fantastic starting place. I have my friends the fire spreading. We'll see you nextime as we continue to go down the less traveled. You've been listening to choose a radio broadcast where we help middle class America build well one life hack at a time.
Jonathan_Catchphrases, families, travel

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