Neal Sales-Griffin of The Starter League on Working Your Passion and Recent 37signals Funding

September 13, 2012

11:00 am

It’s fitting that “sales” is built into his name, because Neal Sales-Griffin’s passion is infectious, and evidently I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Earlier this month, Sales-Griffin’s Chicago-based classroom coding school, The Starter League (formerly known as Code Academy), received an undisclosed amount of funding from the Jason Fried’s 37signals.

After a year of trying to teach himself how to code by way of e-books and online tutorials, Sales-Griffin grew frustrated with not having a more hands-on alternative. This frustration culminated into The Starter League, a Chicago-based, three-month program that teaches people how to build software and web applications in a classroom setting.

In an announcement from the 37signals blog, company cofounder and CEO Jason Fried, explains why he’s taking a bet on the Chicago coding classroom, citing 37signals’s commitment to education as playing a significant role:

Teaching is core to 37signals – from our books REWORK and Getting Real, to our blog Signal vs. Noise, to our many speaking engagements at conferences and universities around the world. We even dedicated about 20% of our office space to a classroom.

Fried continues:

I’ve been watching Neal and his crew build this thing from the sidelines. I love their opinions about teaching, their point of view, their philosophy about requiring commitment to learn something new, their hustle and hard work, their focus, and their genuine interest in making something that matters. These guys are doing something amazing, and they’ve only just begun.

Sales-Griffin recently spoke at Tech Cocktail Chicago Sessions. Before his presentation on “Turning Ideas into Action,” we caught up with The Starter League CEO to learn more about his program, what learning lessons he’s acquired so far, and his top advice to entrepreneurs.

Watch the interview with Neal Sales-Griffin below.  You can get this interview (and many more) as part of the Tech Cocktail Conversations podcast – subscribe on iTunes.

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When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail’s Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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