These websites provide classes online for the self-motivated learner. If I were a non-technical founder, I’d acquire the knowledge I need in order to communicate effectively with engineers and designers by using one or more of these resources. I have taken courses from MIT at Academic Earth in order to be better able to conduct due diligence on startups working on problems that I was not familiar with when I met them for the first time. I expect to take more, in fact I plan to learn to code in python as soon as I complete the CFA exams using one or more of these sites. They are not arranged in any particular order.

Let me know if there’s anything I should add. Send me a tweet, or a note through LinkedIn, or leave a post on the Innovation Footprints Facebook wall.

  1. Free Programming Books – a list on GitHub.
  2. E-Books Directory – a listing of free e-books.
  3. Udacity
  4. Coursera
  5. Udemy
  6. edX
  7. Academic Earth
  8. Codecademy
  9. The Open University of West Africa
  10. Computer Science for Everyone
  11. NovoED
  12. HackerRank

These links will take you to open courses made available by universities in the United States, and elsewhere.

  1. MIT Open Courseware
  2. Open Courseware Consortium – listings by country

As you progress in learning to code you might want a place to store your code. Here are some options to get you started.

  1. GitHub
  2. JavaForge
  3. SourceForge

As your programming chops become more and more sophisticated you might want to practice with a larger number of problems than you can find on the websites I have listed above. Project Euler is a collection of problems that require some mathematics and computer programming to solve. Have fun.

I generally try to avoid reinventing the wheel if I can help it. To that end I read quite a few blogs and newsletters written by other people. Here are some ideas you should consider:

  1. Startup Blog List – A list from Startup Management, also you should bookmark that website.
  2. Status Code – A weekly roundup of news from the world of programming. I don’t know how to code yet (There’s a funny story about my brief flirtation with computer science in college I can tell you if we ever meet.), but I read this every week just to stay in the know about the issues programmers are discussing.
  3. Kellogg School of Management – Blog posts by faculty of the business school at Kellogg University.
  4. The Accelerators – The folks at the Wall Street Journal gather and distill the wisdom of investors, entrepreneurs, and technologists discussing the strategies and challenges of creating a new business.
  5. The Management Innovation Exchange – An open innovation project to reinvent management, started by Gary Hamel who authored a Wall Street Journal column I used to read religiously.
  6. Coaching Ourselves – A low cost way to gain the essential tools you’ll need as your responsibilities as a manager grow. It brings Henry Mintzberg’s approach to management into the real world for startup founders and other small business people at a nominal cost.
  7. Digital Tonto – A blog about media, marketing and technology by Greg Satell.
  8. Signal vs. Noise – A blog about the web by the folks at 37 Signals.
  9. Farnam Street – A blog about thinking about how to think, by Shane Parrish. You should follow him on Twitter.
  10. 25iq – A blog by Tren Griffin. He writes about markets, technology and everything else.
  11. 5 Books – They ask experts in a field to recommend 5 books in their subject that are important, and then to explain why in an interview.
  12. Brain Pickings – Fertilizer for your brain, even if most of the posts here are not directly related to technology or entrepreneurship.
  13. Barking Up The Wrong Tree – A blog dedicated to helping you become “awesome at life” by Eric Barker.
  14. Customer Development Labs – Tips for running Lean Startup Experiments while building your startup.


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