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Sunday, August 26, 2012

General Assembly: Learn To Talk Like A Mobile App Genius In Just One Hour (Or Less)

Photo: Anthony Wing Kosner
Anthony Wing Kosner, content strategist, designer and developer writes, "These days, everybody’s got an idea for an app, and every app is a potential startup business. And yet, for the 755 apps that get submitted to the Apple app store a day, there are probably thousands that never get built.
And even for apps that get built, most never become actual businesses. Why not?"

That is the question that General Assembly was designed to address. Based in New York City, GA defines itself as “a campus for technology, design, and entrepreneurship, [that provides] educational programming, space, and support to facilitate collaborative practices and learning opportunities across a community inspired by the entrepreneurial experience.” GA has active campuses, as well, in London, Sydney, San Francisco and Melbourne with upcoming locations in Toronto, Berlin, Philadelphia and Boston and more to be added in the future.

How to Build a Mobile App

What GA has done is to create a truly flexible, responsive—and affordable—professional education platform that supports all aspects of tech startups. The free-form curriculum itself clues you into all of the things you need to consider to make a startup work (there are no degrees, or at least, not yet). But beyond learning what you need to know, students also learn about the startup community of their own city (each location has a course dedicated to the subject) and meet others with similar or complementary skills. Similar to a co-working space, the General Assembly campuses are like co-learning spaces.

I had heard that Alexis Ohanian was an early investor, so I interrupted his work on his upcoming book, Without Your Permission, to ask him about the uniqueness of GA:

It was clear from everything going on that they were on to something and the timing couldn’t have been better — more and more people are seeing the opportunity a tech education provides for employment (or entrepreneurship!) and there aren’t many campuses that deliver both the actionable education and vibrant community that General Assembly does. 
I went to a pretty great school, UVA, but even there you have a normal distribution of people where a standard deviation or two from the mean you get the overachievers (guilty as charged) spending a ton of time researching, studying, really trying to get the most out of their four years. A bunch are just having a good time and making sure to pass in four years.
On a campus like GA, there is a much higher concentration of people who are there not just to learn, but to make something people want (love) with others who do, too. That density of ambition and camaraderie isn’t just good for the education, but it builds a network and a community that continues to thrive long after “graduation.”
The learning opportunities are structured by commitment level, 60-90 minute classes, 2 hour–2 day hands on workshops, 8–16 week, twice weekly courses plus various events and online classes.

If you happen to live in any of the cities that General Assembly has campuses in, show up and take classes. The single classes are generally $30, workshops $50-200 and full courses $3,000-5,000. The flexibility, quality and relevance of instruction can’t be beat. And, even better, they have a roster of eight upcoming online classes (including the mobile app class described here) coming up in the next month FOR FREE!

Related link
Lean Startup Pitch - General Assembly - Peter Bell (Vimeo)

Source: Forbes and General Assembly (Vimeo)