Startup Advice from Michael Hartl
Friday at App Academy we had a surprise visit from Michael Hartl, author of the now-famous Ruby on Rails Tutorial. Interestingly, the conversation tracked a wide range of topics that leaned more to the entrepreneurial than the development side of things. Michael himself admitted that he's probably not the right person to ask many beginner questions to, since he has very little personal experience being a beginner or dealing directly with their issues.
Instead, we tried to get a better sense of the steps that led to the tutorial's creation and his advice for the day when we might put our newfound skills to use in startups of our own. Michael, after a narrow miss with a lifetime in academia, got into programming and landed in Y Combinator working on an open-source social network called Insoshi. As he put it, they just kind of pulled it together at the last minute to get something ready for Demo Day and it was surprisingly well received before the financial world ground to a halt in fall of 2008 and they couldn't secure funding to continue.