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.
- Free Programming Books – a list on GitHub.
- E-Books Directory – a listing of free e-books.
- Academic Earth
- The Open University of West Africa
- Computer Science for Everyone
These links will take you to open courses made available by universities in the United States, and elsewhere.
- MIT Open Courseware
- 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.
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:
- Startup Blog List – A list from Startup Management, also you should bookmark that website.
- 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.
- Kellogg School of Management – Blog posts by faculty of the business school at Kellogg University.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Digital Tonto – A blog about media, marketing and technology by Greg Satell.
- Signal vs. Noise – A blog about the web by the folks at 37 Signals.
- Farnam Street – A blog about thinking about how to think, by Shane Parrish. You should follow him on Twitter.
- 25iq – A blog by Tren Griffin. He writes about markets, technology and everything else.
- 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.
- Brain Pickings – Fertilizer for your brain, even if most of the posts here are not directly related to technology or entrepreneurship.
- Barking Up The Wrong Tree – A blog dedicated to helping you become “awesome at life” by Eric Barker.
- Customer Development Labs – Tips for running Lean Startup Experiments while building your startup.