Teaching people how to build web sites in one month
What we do: One Month Rails teaches total beginners how to build a Ruby on Rails app in 30 days. Our first product teaches Rails using a proven curriculum of on-demand classes and exercises.. After creating the top-selling classes at Skillshare and General Assembly, we have literally taught thousands of people how to code.Why it's a big deal: Developers are getting paid $120k+ at new companies. The demand is there, but there is a major lack of people who have the required technical expertise. Learning to code takes time and financial resources that most people feel they don't have. Enter One Month Rails. Users can access lessons and a student community for as little as $49 a month. They reeled in 15,000 users in their first 8 months and have only grown since. With a class completion rate 3x that of competing services and enterprise clients that include Google and J.P. Morgan, One Month Rails is setting the standard for online programming instruction.
One Month Rails teaches Ruby On Rails in less than a month, with a webbed structure so that you learn to build what you want without learning every single lesson under the sun. This way, you can have a functional web app up and running in no time.
Whoever said, “those who can’t, teach,” never met One Month Rails co-founders Mattan Griffel and Chris Castiglione. The men behind the top two classes at both Skillshare and General Assembly aren’t just talented teachers — they’re talented programmers, too.
“The pinnacle of learning is teaching,” Griffel says. “You really have to understand something if you want to explain it to a beginner.”
Griffel’s One Month Rail class is the most popular course to hit Skillshare, and he’s teamed up with Castiglione to take it to the next level.
Castiglione is an e-learning superstar in his own right, with more than a decade of programming experience and 60+ code-related General Assembly courses under his belt. (He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Amsterdam, and SXSW, too.)
"I've spent tons of money and hours trying to learn how to code. This was the first class that actually gave me the foundation I needed," says One Month Rails grad Keisha Manning. “This class is invaluable.”
Castiglione realized the real monetary value in what he was doing when he discovered GA was making $100,000 from the classes he designed for $10,000.
How One Month Rails Works
Support is available via email and live chat, and everyone gets lifetime access to the course material, so you don’t have to finish One Month Rails in one month.
The clock was ticking when Griffel decided to learn to teach himself how to code — the Y Combinator application deadline was 30 days away, and he had a month to take his idea from concept to reality, which meant learning how to code ASAP.
Determined, he spent 8 hours a day pouring over whatever teach-yourself-to-code resources he could find.
He spent a week completing his first online tutorial, but couldn’t remember a thing when he was done. Later, it took him three days to fix a bug — “I almost cried,” he says — and he almost cried again when he fixed it.
“It was that amazing,” he says of his feeling of accomplishment.
Despite all odds, Griffel persevered, and met his deadline, but ultimately had his first application to Y Combinator turned down. It was an excruciating process, but Griffel realized something: There was a massive void in the teach-yourself-to-code market — and he knew just how to fill it.
“I was amazed at how easy it was to actually code, but also how hard it was to learn using most of the online guides I found,” he recalls. “In a way, One Month Rails is me teaching people to code the way I wish I could have learned it myself.”
Too Big To Fail
When Griffel made his Skillshare debut in November 2013, his class broke several records — most sign-ups for a single class; most successful class overall, etc. — and broke the site altogether.
The Skillshare servers were overloaded when 2,000 students enrolled in the first One Month Rails class. “They hadn’t planned for that level of scale,” Griffel says with a laugh.
Still, the course was a smashing success.
“Even though everything broke, students still loved it,” he says.
But as the class became more and more successful, Griffel found himself wanting to do things beyond Skillshare’s capabilities. He started talking to other e-teachers, and met his match — Castiglione — across the digital aisle at General Assembly.
Together, Griffel and Castiglione have helped One Month Rails grow 120% month-over-month, from $1,160 in April to $50,000 in August.
“folks are super willing to pay for Classes that teach actual skills they need for their jobs,” Griffel observes. “This is the future of learning.”
What's the size of the market?
In the online education space alone companies like Lynda.com have been able to generate over $100+ million in revenue per year (and that's growing at over 40% every year). Down the line, we're interested in building tools that would allow anyone to build their own web apps with the click of a button (like Wordpress, but with more functionality). In that case, we would charge for hosting, plugins, and other support services. The potential market here is upwards of $3 billion in revenue for year – if Salesforce or Windows Azure are any indication.
Why is it innovative / new?
We get a lot of students who have tried to learn how to code before but have never succeeded. From my own experience and talking to my students I'm convinced that the way we teach people how to code is wrong – we should start with really practical stuff about building web applications (like getting an app live on Heroku) that delivers an immediate result before going into all the boring syntax. Most books and informational resources are incredibly dry and unapproachable.
Even the "innovative" startups in the education space tend to teach coding the same way. With a program like Codecademy, students get discouraged when they haven't made any progress towards building their own web app over the course of a few weeks. Even if you finish every lesson on Codecademy, you still won't know how to build a web application. That's because building web applications is a totally different and unique set of skills – and that's what we focus on that no one else has done before.
Who is the competition?
Competitors include Lynda.com, Codecademy, Treehouse, Code School, Khan Academy, General Assembly, Skillshare, Flatiron School, Starter League, Dev Bootcamp, and Code.org.
Why this idea?
I started One Month because I had an idea for a product. I waited for years hoping to find that magical person who would build it for me. But I never found that person. So finally I took a friend's advice and started learning Ruby on Rails, one of the hottest new programming frameworks for building websites.
I was amazed at how easy it was to actually code, but also how hard it was to learn using most of the online guides I found. In a way, One Month is me teaching people to code the way I wish I could have learned it myself.
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