I’ve written in the past about Ali Abdaal, who is one of my favorite YouTubers. He mentions fairly often that he thinks everyone should learn the basics of code because it allows you to know what’s possible in terms of tech and business. I also heard him mention last week that learning to code teaches you that everything is “figure-outable.”
I couldn’t agree more. Learning to code has given me the sense that everything is learnable, that any complicated thing can be broken down into approachable constituent parts. Here’s an example from this last week:
My wife, Catherine, was trying do download some software, and she was getting the Mac beach ball spinner from the installer and also wasn’t able to close it. I noticed the OS requirements were beyond her current system and figured her older OS version was probably the reason the install wasn’t working.
As for the beach ball, I googled “how to kill process Mac” because I couldn’t remember how to close a program via the command-line. The first thing I came across walked me through using the Activity Monitor app to manually stop the process and I followed the steps, which worked. Catherine asked, “How did you know how to do that?!” The truth is, I didn’t. But I had the feeling I could figure it out, a feeling that has been honed by several years of doing such things in my job.
So, maybe think about learning to code. Not to be a software engineer, not to be a startup founder, but to know some of how things work and feel confident about finding fixes to your problems. (And for automating boring stuff, which we may cover in the future.) The problem-solving mindset that coding gives you is the true reason to put up with learning it.
Pete’s Picks ✅
App: I just started using Speechify, but I can already tell it’s going to be a game-changer. Speechify is an app that can turn essentially any text (PDF, articles, textbook) into an audio book via text-to-voice technology. I am a really slow reader, so I’m looking forward to knocking out more material this way.
Interview: I discovered Speechify through an interview Ali did with the founder, Cliff. It’s fairly long, but I found it very inspiring (Cliff has dyslexia, which was his reason for building the app) and motivating. They cover productivity, health, goal setting, and more. Give it a chance—it’ll be worth it.
Coding Platform: In my opinion, the best place to start learning to code online is freeCodeCamp, which, you might guess, is completely free. I first learned the basics via fCC and recommend it whenever anyone asks where the best place is to get started. Since learning code was today’s topic, I figured I’d give you a good way to begin.