Friday, August 13, 2004

End of an Era

It's been a long time since I've taught a DevelopMentor class: something like 18 months. Well, today I got an email from management that (rightfully, in my opinion) pointed out that it was time to make a decision about whether my name would continue to be associated with their brand. Totally fair: until now I was deriving value from them by appearing on their website, being on their internal mailing lists, and so forth, without delivering any value back to them.

I stopped teaching back in March of 2003 because I was dead tired of it. Some guys can go on teaching the same material month in and month out. I guess they derive their satisfaction from seeing people “get it” for the first time. I think that sort of attitude is fantastic, and that devotion to the educational experience paired with technical excellence in the instructors is what drew me to DM in the first place. My problem was that I simply couldn't face presenting the same 400 slides one more time. I think I'd taught slight variations of their .NET curriculum 25 or 30 times by then. It was hard to get up and be energetic and enthusiastic at that point.

So I sort of slipped sideways into consulting. I got lucky and had a bunch of gigs come my way, and they paid well, and for a while I could simply and honestly say I was too busy when DM would call and ask me to teach a class. But as time passed, I realized that I was learning a lot consulting, and that the idea of having to teach a class was something that I didn't look forward to at all. So somewhere in the last 18 months, I left DM mentally.

Today I left it for real. I let them know that - while I consider having taught at DM equivalent in prestige and educational value to my Masters from MIT - I would not be continuing my business relationship with them.

In practical terms, this doesn't mean much beyond that my name comes off their website, stops working, and I don't get to be on their internal mailing lists any more. And coming as it does after such a long break, it's hardly traumatic. Or even surprising. Still, I can't help but feel a certain sense of...not loss...maybe “transition“ is the right word.

I don't know if I'll teach again in the future or not. I feel like I'm not done learning how to be a “real” developer yet, but I also know that my attention span is short enough that I'll have to do something different at some point. And I could see speaking in some form - classes, conferences, user groups, whatever - being a part of that.


  1. Thanks for sharing your very open and honest struggles with teaching vs. consulting. Your blog and writing has always been 1st rate, and I hope that you continue to keep sharing your discoveries. Best of luck in the next "phase".

  2. Thanks! I appreciate it.

  3. I'm surprised that DM would want to take you off it's roster - you're a well known and smart guy.

    At least now there won't be any conflict of interest should you ever want to teach a class with us here at Pluralsight!


  4. Lots of transitions going on out there. Good luck with the "real" development. It's a lot uglier than code samples. ;)

  5. Especially my code. :)

  6. Keith,

    I attended Guerilla .NET a few years ago in CA when you were teaching with Mike and Jason. You guys (and forgive me for lack of a better phrase) "rocked the house." I was an MCT for a few years training courses on the MCSD track, and could only dream of teaching at your level. I learned a ton, and paid for it myself since I work as an independent contractor. In short: it was totally worth it. Enjoy taking a nice long break and maybe eventually you'll get excited about it again. At least I hope so because there's a lot to be gleaned from your knowledge, experience, and quality training skills. I wish you the very best in your future endeavors!

  7. Thanks! I just hope you're talking about me, and not Keith, like it says at the top of your comment (although I think he rocks, too).


  8. OK, you and your blog rock too Craig. Maybe it was just all of the twizzlers, candy bars, and coffee at Guerilla, but Keith is a great instructor. And I'll have you know that I only yawned one time when he gave his security lecture. :-) j/k Keith