I have always believed in the notion that there’s a creator in all of us, and that includes those in engineering, coding, and literally every other discipline. Today I’m bringing you another exciting guest from the technology field, Ryan Carson. Not only is Ryan “in technology”, but Ryan is the Founder and CEO of Treehouse, whose mission is to help people get great jobs by teaching them how to code.
Ryan and I talk about how he got started, and like many of us it has been a path of exploration, failure, and self-discovery. His grassroots efforts started with small actions in community building which grew to a worldwide network all while working as a developer. He shares how he’s used skills learned and earned along the way and has some great mindset shifts and tactical advice for your creative career – all the way from how to find your WHY to getting your first sale.
A few of my favorite takeaways:
- Nothing is big right away. If you want to start a movement or create a successful product, start by solving a problem you care about and help people who care about the same thing. This will make the sales process a lot easier.
- If you’re afraid to start because you think your first attempts won’t be good, just go back and watch anyone’s first YouTube videos. They are sure to be awful. Let yourself be awful, especially in the beginning while nobody is watching.
- If you’re not sure if you’re on the right path, ask yourself “what if I died doing this right now. Would it feel like my life was worth living?” If the answer is no, it’s time to shift gears.
If you care about something, it matters.
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Watch the Episode
- Give me a recap on how you think about coding as creative and why you consider yourself more of a creative than a coder. [2:00]
- What’s your background and how did you come to teach people how to code? [3:30]
- Did your light bulb for Treehouse go off the same night that you realized you were going to fail with your original idea? [14:20]
- How did you go about building your community before social media? [18:35]
- Talk to me about how you went from hating “sales” to being 8 years into a successful startup, leading the company’s sales. [30:00]
- How do you figure out that this was your calling? [46:30]
- Talk to me about betting the farm and going all in. [52:55]
- How have you managed the pressure to go big? [54:15]
- What’s your self care routine? [56:30]
- What do you eat for breakfast? [59:50]
- How do you think about your life in seasons? [61:40]
- What’s your superpower leadership skill and what have you learned from leadership? [62:37]
- What’s something that people don’t know about you? [64:03]
- How would you like to be remembered, both on this show and in life? [66:00]
In This Episode, You Will Learn:
- How Ryan combined his interests in helping others with computers. [3:35]
- How the rom-com, Notting Hill, inspired Ryan to move away from Colorado to London. [5:52]
- Ryan started a “creative fight club” unders his movement By Designers, For Designers, connecting creative designers around the world. [7:00]
- How the idea for Treehouse was born from a failure in Ryan’s first entrepreneurial endeavor. [12:00]
- “The best ideas happen in water.” Take note! [15:40]
- 50% of your time is making and shipping, the other 50% is building your community. [17:40]
- Nothing is big right away. If you want to start a movement, start with a problem you care about and help people who care about the same thing. [19:08]
- The reason that By Designers, For Designers was successful was that it was purposefully built to be small. [20:40]
- Why you shouldn’t drink “compare-schlager”. [22:00]
- Why you need to let yourself be bad! [23:50]
- How I try to remind myself that my biggest failure was one of the most awesome things that ever happened to me. [27:00]
- Selling isn’t dirty. It’s helpful. [31:00]
- Why you might want to try to sell to companies rather than individuals. [40:00]
- Ryan’s formula to land your first sale. [43:47]
- If you’re not sure if you’re on the right path, ask yourself “what if I died doing this right now. Would it feel like my life was worth living?” If the answer is no, it’s time to shift gears. [50:00]
- You don’t need a master plan to live a great life. Just keep moving toward the things you care about, closer and closer each day. [52:12]
- Why Ryan’s morning routine includes crazy dance music, a workout and connective time with his wife. [57:01]
- Ryan stays close with his sisters by having a weekly conference call and a yearly sibling retreat. [65:00]
This podcast is brought to you by CreativeLive. CreativeLive is the world’s largest hub for online creative education in photo/video, art/design, music/audio, craft/maker, money/life and the ability to make a living in any of those disciplines. They are high quality, highly curated classes taught by the world’s top experts — Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy Award winners, New York Times best selling authors and the best entrepreneurs of our times.