We offer a money back guarantee on our workshops:
For a one-time, expensive (hundreds or thousands of dollars) purchase of a service like training, a money back guarantee makes a lot of sense.
It’s simple and has a positive effect on our motivations:
We have to be willing to say “you shouldn’t take this workshop” when we sense a potential student is too advanced or too beginner for the content. The money back guarantee makes that decision easier because it’s not really rejecting revenue if they won’t be happy with the workshop.
It also helps us understand if we’ve priced the workshop correctly.
For the few individuals who have asked for their money back, they don’t say “this workshop was worth $0”, they say things like “for me, it was more like a $900, not a $1,100 course.” So, we refund a portion of the registration and note that we either need to improve the workshop or drop the price a little.
We don’t offer a money back guarantee on our SaaS apps for these reasons:
We recently tweeted that this was the “summer of backbone.js”. 75% of our client projects are now using Backbone.js and Trajectory is using it heavily now as well.
We’re loving Backbone.js, but as we got started with Backbone.js we realized that there was definitely a learning curve. As we got more familiar with it, we realized that the standardization we were familiar with from Rails was lacking and there were quite a few tricks and tips to make Backbone.js work well, especially with a Rails backend.
So we’re pleased to announce that we’re now writing a new book, Backbone.js on Rails.
But this more than just an ebook. We’re using git-scribe and github to manage the writing of the book. When you purchase access to the book, you’re going to get pull access to the repo. As we write, you’ll be able to follow along, view diffs, comment on individual lines of the work, and use Github issues to provide feedback and issues.
Because we’re using git-scribe, the book will able to be generated in different formats: HTML, PDF, ePub (iBooks, Nook), and Mobi (Kindle). We’re supporting HTML out of the gate, and other formats as soon as they’re ready to go down smooth.
Along with the book, the git repo will contain working Backbone.js and Ruby on Rails examples to help your understanding and be really useful.
You can get access now for $39. This early access price is for a limited time, and will go up to $49 on August 1st, 2011. We also have a special group price of $199 for up to 10 readers.
You can see our working table of contents and purchase access on the Backbone.js on Rails web page.
We’ve got a full schedule of awesome workshops running in the next few months, including a few special offerings.
Chad Pytel will be teaching a new workshop aimed at experienced developers on Rails Antipatterns, following up on the Rails Antipatterns book that he wrote with Tammer Saleh. The workshop will run first in our Boston office on June 6 and 7, and then again a week later at the Engine Yard office in San Francisco. A big thanks to the folks at Engine Yard for helping to make this workshop a reality.
Another workshop aimed at experienced developers is our Scaling Rails workshop. We’ll be covering architecture, front-end performance, making SQL fast, background processes, caching, load testing, and debugging. In other words, how to make your app go “vrrrrroooom!” If you’re interested in attending this workshop, fill our your email address on the workshop page and we’ll notify you when we schedule a date.
We’ll also be running an Intro to iOS workshop on June 20 & 21. It will be taught by Marshall Huss — winner of the the 2009 Railsconf Poker Tournament — from Two Guys, who we previously teamed up with to bring the iOS notifer to Hoptoad. We contacted Marshall because we wanted internal iOS training for developers at thoughtbot. That conversation led to us opening the workshop to others who want top quality training.
June will also see our next session of Design for Developers on June 13 and 14. The feedback we received from the first two sessions was that students wanted more time in class to learn and work on their projects. In response, we’re now running this workshop for two full days, from 9am to 5pm.
We hope to see you at one of our workshops soon!
A blog reader asks…
I am nearing completion on my first web site, which I am creating alone. However, it is lacking a crucial part—a beautiful user interface. I am trying to learn how to create one using some of your web sites as guide, but am having trouble doing so (probably related to my lack of stying skills). Are there any tips/pointers you could share on what tools or processes you use in designing?
Thanks for the question….which I’ve realized is actually at least three questions. Why don’t I give you some sections of answers.
The process described here is fundamentally different from how we actually work — we start with design first, and everything else builds from that. The idea of being “near completion” and only then thinking about design is a little foreign (and, we think, wrong). So, if you’ve been building things from the database up towards the UI - I’d say put that all aside and just start over working in the other direction.
All that being said about design-first, I certainly sympathize with the plight of having created a usable prototype of an application, only to arrive at a point where you feel it’s more or less complete, but clearly lacks visual polish and well executed design. I think any solution here requires some “back to the drawing board” approach: it’s very hard to retroactively “add design” to something. The design is the thing, it should be there from day one.
I would suggest that you don’t actually try to do this work yourself. Try to meet a designer who can do it for you. Especially if this is something you are trying to “productize” — take advantage of skill specialization and find someone you can borrow or hire to help you out with design. Maybe help this person out with some development tasks on a project of theirs in return.
In regard to longer term learning and picking up design skill, I think it’s really something you will only get from experience. Kevin Burg says…
10,000 hours is probably the best advice – no one with zero experience can expect to make something beautiful on their first time out. All designers’ work should be a progression of increasing quality and sophistication, so by that reasoning a designer’s first design will likely be his least successful one, but it could be the one he learns the most from.
…which I think is accurate in that your work will get better over time. Fred Yates says…
I get this question a lot. I don’t even know where to start, it’s like asking a mechanic how to build a car.
…which I think reflects the large task that you have in front of you.
Short term — I’d suggest finding a designer who is interested in your project, and working with them to make it happen. Longer term — there are tons of classes in most cities that are perfectly legitimate for people with little design experience to wet their toes and see what things are all about.
Quick plug: we are offering a design for developers course in a few weeks, right here in Boston.
Thoughtbot held its first training over 2 years ago at the Lone Star Ruby conference in Austin, TX where participants worked on the Umbrella Today application and learned about thoughtbot’s best practices for Rails development. Using that material, we created our training sessions where hundreds of developers from around the world have gotten a chance to come to our office and learn about how we develop on a day to day basis.
As we were redesigning the thoughtbot training website to match our current site, we realized that our training courses were more like workshops. Our courses have always involved the development of some application and the experience has largely been hands-on. In order to reflect this we decided to rename thoughbot training to thoughtbot workshops:
Our next workshop will be Test-Driven Rails on October 12th and 13th. The Test-Driven Rails course is a brand new course written from scratch for Rails 3 that will teach the fundamentals of test driven development. We are reviewing all of our previous courses and updating them for Rails 3. Stayed tuned for scheduled dates.