We are going to make some assertions. This means we are going to “declare that something is the case.” Sometimes you just need to have some shared truths. Consider the following to be our first assertion:

It is impossible to determine if a design is successful, without a goal.

These lessons are each “designed” with specific goals in mind. If they were not – then we would have no way confirm when they are successful. So, this is an appropriate time to outline the goals of this lesson.

The Goals

  1. It's our first day! Feel welcome! Get Excited!

    We will start off slow and get used to a new daily schedule.

  2. Get a feel for the flow of the lessons

    This is meta (self-aware) in the fact that it’s a lesson plan about learning how to read this lesson plan.

  3. Start getting used to writing

    You aren’t going to have to write any long school papers, but you’ll need to get used to showing your thought process. We’ll start off easy.

Should you read the article or watch the video first?

It would be best if you read the article AND watched the video. Some people like to read and then watch as a roundup – and other people like to watch the video – and then follow the text as they work on the challenges.



It is imperative that we work through each concept in the right order. Each day, a new lesson will arrive. We’ll have a short meeting where we’ll talk about what we did yesterday, what we’ll do today, and discuss any blockers (that starts a few lessons from now). You’ll read the lesson, watch the video – and then maybe you’ll take a break and think if over. At some point, you’ll start tackling the day’s challenges. We’ll all have access to a shared space where we can talk about everything – any time of day.

Note: Some of you are working full-time – and some of you are studying fulltime. If you have a pretty full schedule, take a look at this article about how to find the time and use it best.

Some traps people fall into

It’s really great that we are confident. I want to harness that power. The problem is – that this Dunning-Kruger Effect – really bums us out! Our powerful feelings and our optimism are distorted. It’s not logical to expect to be the best at anything right out of the gate (or ever). That shouldn’t be the goal. MOST PEOPLE ARE AVERAGE – AND THAT IS OK! “Average” is definitely good enough. BUT – let’s reframe this whole thing. The “Valley of dispair” is TERRIBLE and is 100% avoidable. This red line is ‘confidence.’ Why should your confidence jump around like that? I mean… you can do it. I know you can do it. It’s a fact. Your confidence can be steady.


This is how most many people seem to feel when they try and learn to program. Yikes! I mean… dealing with ego and depression and elation is hard enough in normal daily life. Our ‘likes’ and texts and FOMO and beeps and boops have really messed up our body’s systems. If you’ve been feeling like this… we need to reprogram you a bit before you can go on. We’ll sort you out. It won’t hurt… but you’ll have to fight.


If you’re reading this on a small screen / you’ll notice that the graphs aren’t very easy to read at that size. While we’ve tried to ensure that everything is legible – and that you can read on the bus/train etc. – we want you to be viewing these lessons on a larger screen – as the norm. Use your laptop or an iPad so that we can be sure that the figures are legible – and our examples are clear.

Confidence is good!

You should be confident. You aren’t trying to be the best programmer in the world. You aren’t trying to win the tennis tournament.

You are going to learn a new set of skills and everything about this industry. We already know you can do it.  Will you do it? That’s up to you. That’s a choice. Set your expectations. You are capable. Be confident. Don’t be unreasonable. You can’t gain 10 years of experience and make ‘a new Facebook” by watching some tutorials and pulling an all-nighter… right? Be realistic. Then you don’t have to jump up and down.

The reasonable path

When you are new to something – the first thing to do – is get comfortable with that fact. Say to yourself: “I am new to this. How exciting!” Of course, you don’t know about it… you just started learning. We’ll build concept by concept.


Time boxing

If you give yourself until tomorrow… it often takes – until tomorrow. Time-boxing is the act of setting a limit to your timeframe. If you spend 10 or 20 or 40 minutes, doing something – with the knowledge that you can’t work on it after that… you’ll get the most out of that time.

In the case of this lesson – you’re going to “time-box” the challenges. I would much rather you spend 20 minutes – totally focused – then 3 hours meandering around the subject. You will get more out of it – and you’ll get more time to do the other things in your life. It will also help combat our distracting phones and stuff. Put distractions away – and set a timer. It’s not a race. When you’re done – you’re done! Won’t that feel nice??

Steady pacing

Each part of the process will build on all previous bits. If you’ve already taken a stab at programming or visual design, you might feel the urge to speed through – or even skip areas.

Part of our process is learning to fight that urge. If you feel anxious, let’s talk about it. Learning to be comfortable with the pacing is very important to the process. Ensuring that you spend the right amount of time on each step is crucial to success.

In conclusion

This is an example lesson. You read it, watch it, and then do the challenges – and make sure the lesson (and you) are meeting the goals.

I’ll always go over the entire lesson, intro, title, lecture, conclusion, and challenges. It’s your job to go over the check list.

The Challenges:

  1. Start thinking about papers and pencils

    If you aren’t already a journaler, that’s fine! But – I want you to get some paper. Maybe it’s in your printer – or it’s at the store. Get a pencil and an eraser too!

    20 minutes suggested
  2. Write about the things you know most well.

    You have a bunch of skills already. What are your most valuable skills to date? How did you learn those skills? What were the steps you took – or what situations occurred to get you in a position to learn those skills? What was hard? What was easy? Why do you think that skill stuck with you? Was it repetition? Did it just feel natural? Write it all down.

    30 minutes suggested

Lesson checklist

  1. Read the entire lesson

  2. Watch the video

  3. Do the challenges

  4. Check the goals at the top of the page

  5. Go through this checklist

  6. Feel confident that all goals for this lesson have been met – or reach out for help