Aaron Skonnard is the CEO and co-founder of Pluralsight, an online library of courses for developers. With 600 expert authors and thousands of courses, it has become a port of call for ambitious techies looking to upskill.
I sat down with Aaron for a quick chat about entrepreneurship, learning and his upcoming Web Summit appearance.
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
What gets me out of bed every morning is the fact that we make an impact on people and organisations around the world every day.
Half of what a developer knows needs to be replaced every two years, so success for them is all about keeping up with the pace of change, and I think we make a big difference to our customers.
More poignant still are the stories of our Pluralsight learners and content creators. For example, our learning platform has helped mums turbo-charge their careers while raising their families.
Have you ever taken a Pluralsight course? What did you learn?
I’m an avid learner and have taken courses recently in programming, big data, dev ops, virtualisation, mobile, and web APIs.
One really fun course I’ve taken is on programming the Sphero robot. I find the idea of hackable toys compelling and I’m using the course to teach my kids how to code.
Give us a taste of what you’ll be discussing at Web Summit.
On November 4 I’m taking part in a panel discussion looking at learning for millennials – people in their late teens and twenties.
People in this age group view learning and development as a career priority, but they do so in a bitesize, non-linear way. They far prefer gleaning the information they need to following whole courses from beginning to end. This has huge implications for mainstream education and workplace learning.
The following day, I’ll be discussing the major lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur, including why company culture is so important.
Today there is a level of excitement and momentum around startups that just didn’t exist when we founded Pluralsight back in 2004. However, there are more headwinds, too, especially when it comes to developing skills and talent.
I hope the Web Summit attendees can learn from my personal journey and walk away with tips on how to build a successful business.
Name three speakers you’re excited to see at Web Summit.
- Ed Catmull, President of Pixar: I love his thoughts on culture and how it can influence innovation and creativity.
- Stuart Butterfield, Founder of Slack: Stuart has brilliant ideas about pricing and transparency, and they are leading to amazing scale for them.
- Palmer Luckey, Founder of Oculus VR: I think VR is likely to be a hugely disruptive force in the future – so I’m looking forward to hearing about his vision.
Make sure you catch Aaron Skonnard and other tech leaders that inspire you. Download the app to see the schedule.