5 Free Interactive Websites to Help You Learn to Code

The Exemplary ProgrammerHey everyone, it’s Matthew Alberto here, and today we’re going to be talking about free interactive websites that will help you to learn to code online. What’s the background of this and how will this help you? Well, I’ve noticed that a lot of entrepreneurship programs accelerators, incubator; they really focus on making sure that you have a technical cofounder. A lot of angel investors and venture capitalists also want to see if you’re writing up a more technical, or computer or website-oriented style that you do have at least one cofounder who has a technical background.

Learn to Code for Non-Technical Startup Co-Founders

Where does this leave entrepreneurs, and even social entrepreneurs, who want to get involved in the tech space? Where does this leave them, in terms of if they’re nontechnical? I think it’s often a challenge to figure out where your skills are and what you bring to the table. If you are a nontechnical cofounder, a nontechnical aspiring entrepreneur, and you do want to develop your skills in a technical area, in my opinion, you don’t need a formal degree.

Some people think that they need a slur of computer science, or some sort of technical engineering degree like that, but in my opinion, your experience of actually building products, making websites, and having your own portfolio, that’s speaks a lot more volumes to investors. If you can make a product a business, an online one that makes money and you didn’t have a degree, to me that’s more important than having the actual degree.

Free Websites That Teach You to Code Online

Let me share with you some of the interactive websites that have helped me, from my experience. I actually don’t have a degree in computer science, but ever since I was a kid, from primary school even, I would hack around with computers and different websites, creating my own websites, trying to make a few bits of money online. My degree later on was in actually the humanities area. I had an economics and international relations degree, and they do international law degree, and really didn’t have a computer science one. I really had to dig deep and figure out on my own how to program and here are five that could help you, if you’re in the same boat as me.

These resources really help you in certain programming languages that I think were really useful and helpful, such as html, CSS, JavaScript PHP, Python, and Objective-C, which helps you with apps on the iOS and Apple iPhone, and Apple iPad.

1. Codecademy.com

The five free websites, our first free is Codecademy. If you go to codecademy.com, it’s a really great website, really interactive. I‘ve actually used it myself. I finished pretty much all the tracks there. I finished the html, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Python. They also have a track, but I haven’t gotten into that because I’m not really focusing on ruby at the moment. I really recommend Codecademy; it’s great for movies and it’s actually quite quirk and fun. You can actually build some really cool stuff, and they have a community there where you can come share your code, and also work off the code of others. Codecademy, it’s a really popular website, and one that I really recommend.

2. CodePupil.com

The second free interactive website to help you learn to code is codepupil.com. On that website, you can learn html, and CSS. I actually tried it out, but I actually found it really annoying, and the reason why it was annoying was that, unlike Codecademy, where you could say, you’re profile is saved where you’re at, and go on different levels, with Code Pupil, I feel that it’s really for absolute newbies and total beginners. They only really focus on html and CSS, which aren’t really programming languages per se, in more mark-up languages.

I only tested Code Pupil during one of the first two pages, and I just had to stop. I just found it too annoying and too boring, but if you’re a total newbie, give it a go.

3. CodeAvengers.com

The third resource is codeavengers.com, and on that website, you can actually learn html and CSS, as well as JavaScript, and those are their two main tracks. They’ve got two levels in each of those tracks, in html, CSS, and in JavaScript, and from the last time that I saw, they’re actually making a third level for each of them, and that third level should be coming out early this year.

I’m actually in the process of going through Code Avengers, and I actually really like it. It’s quite similar to Codecademy, but one of the main differences that Code Avengers is that they really get into the theme of you being this hero, and bringing missions and doing coding in terms of actually fulfilling a mission, and so it’s very gamified.

One of the interesting themes is that after a certain amount of levels that you complete, they actually show you a pop-up game, a game that pops up, and you can actually play it. Sometimes is actually has nothing to do with coding at all which is a bit random. It’s fun, but after a while, it actually got a bit annoying as well. What I do really like is that gamified slant to Code Avengers, and how they really tried to make it fun.

One thing though, that I’d recommend for them to do in the future to improve it, is if they could make sure that all of the actual missions, in terms of coding, actually link to the kind of theme of trying to code. Sometimes they’re trying to put that theme on their site. It sometimes feels like there’s this disconnect in coding and then the whole hero theme. If they made it more integrated and the coding actually was useful and worked through the theme, it might be a lot more fun.

4. LearnStreet.com

The fourth interactive website to learn to code is learnstreet.com. I actually haven’t tried that myself yet, but on there you can JavaScript and Python, and that’s another great website in the likes of Codecademy and Code Avengers.

5. Programmr.com

The fifth one is programmr.com, and it is spelt P-R-O-G-R-A-M-M-R.com. They have been doing a lot of improvement on their website recently, because I think they also had another very good on their website. It was also programr.com, but with just one M, so you might get confused with that. I think they’re doing a lot of development, but on that website, you can learn PHP and Python. I think they were actually a major competitor to Codecademy, but Codecademy really has come up front. I haven’t tried Programmr yet. I’m going to try it soon, but that’s another free website that you could learn to code.

Other Ways to Learn to Code without a Formal Degree

Those are the five free websites. There are other ways to learn coding online or interactively, and away from a university or traditional college degree, such as watching online video tutorials or reading up on forums, such as Stack Overflow. When I talk about online videos, there are videos such as from Lynda, that’s what they’re called, and many others.

Bonus Website: CodeSchool.com (Paid)

One other bonus interactive website that I have for you is Code School. The difference with Code School and the other five that I mentioned, however, is that it’s not free; it’s actually paid, but it does follow the likes of Codecademy and I’m merely interested to try them out potentially in the future, once I’ve tried out some of the others. I feel I’m more in the intermediate to advanced level now, and I really am looking to advance my skills. I think Code School does into more of the advanced techniques of some of the languages like javascript, html and CSS, as well as iOS.

I think that’s another thing that Code School has above the others that it’s also got languages, such as the iOS language that you can learn, that some of the others don’t. I guess that’s an advantage of paid interactive websites learn to code, because they’re more on the cutting edge. They have an incentive to continue developing and getting more advanced topics, rather than just sticking to topics for newbies.

What Other websites are there? You tell me!

Those are the five, including the bonus paid one. It really depends on what language you want to learn, in terms of which one you’ll use, and what level you’re at, and yet, I wonder what websites you’re using. You can share them in the comments section, and hopefully, these websites will help you be a better programmer, or a technical entrepreneur.
Bye-bye for now.

photo by: illustir

Brilliant Earth Review: 3 Reasons Why I Bought My Fiancee’s Engagement Ring at Brilliant Earth Ethical Jewelry

Hey everybody. Matt Alberto here with today’s post. What we’ll be talking today about is three reasons why I bought my fiancé’s engagement ring at Brilliant Earth. As you know my last post, I talked about at just getting engaged. One of the unique things about the engagement was that I got the engagement ring which was an ethical engagement ring from brillinatearth.com. They’re an online retailer that sells conflict-free engagement rings and other conflict-free jewelry. It’s really fitting for this website which talks about social entrepreneurship and businesses that do good.

Here’s three reasons why I bought the engagement ring at Brilliant Earth.

1. Brilliant Earth Specializes in Ethical Jewelry

The first reason was my fiancé, she actually wanted the ring from Brilliant Earth. The reason why is Brilliant Earth provides ethical engagement rings. How it happened was that I knew for a while that she was going to be the one. Two years ago, I didn’t want to make it too complicated. I might heard other guys’ experiences about trying to figure out the engagement ring. Other family members who, other female family members like my female cousins trying to tell their boyfriends which engagement rings they wanted. It seems like there was a lot of confusion about what kind of engagement ring that women wanted. I felt I was little confused at that and I didn’t know what my girlfriend at that time wanted.

Two years ago, I just plainly just flatly asked her, “What kind of engagement ring would you want if ever I were to get you one?” Serious conversation and she had some time to think about it. She looked online and she stumbled across brillinatearth.com. The reason why was one of the major things she wanted in terms of an engagement ring was to ensure that it was conflict-free. Conflict-free means that the engagement ring or the jewelry involved aren’t linked to conflict or as they say blood diamonds.

Maybe you’ve seen the movie with Leo di Caprio about blood diamonds and how there’s this really unethical industry involving war and conflict and subjugation and all that related to diamonds. She wanted one that was certified to be conflict-free and she found Brilliant Earth to be one of the most reputable company. She showed me one and she wanted hers to be unique so the one she chose was a pink sapphire type ring which was pink sapphire with diamonds. Two diamonds next to them as well.

It was different from the usual diamond engagement ring. Even with the pink sapphire, she wanted it to be conflict-free and Brilliant Earth delivered on that. That was one reason why I bought the engagement ring there. The second reason was in the last couple of months, as I was trying to plan to get the ring, I looked up on the website. I had to do it secretly. She’s always around and I had to make sure that she didn’t see me going online.

2. You Can Get Free Ring Sizers for the Right Sized Engagement Ring

In [inaudible 00:03:29] one of the challenges to try to figure out which ring to get was the size of the ring. What I really liked about Brilliant Earth is that they’ve got a ring sizer. If you’re going to try and get and engagement ring for your girlfriend, they actually send you for free a ring sizer. What it is is it’s this plastic band that you put around her finger and with that you are able to see what kind of size she is. From there, you can order the right type of engagement ring size that’s right for her.

That was really useful because brilliantearth.com, they’re based in Canada but they’ve got an office as well in the US. They’ve got contact numbers and people as well in Australia. They’re doing deals here in Australia but being an online store that was one of my concerns and so my family as well. When we’re planning that was one of the concerns that because it’s an online one, will we get the right size?

With their ring sizer, it was really helpful to get the right size. After some failed attempts to get her ring size involving some of her friends, I also just asked her, “Could you just try this one?” From there we got an estimated ring size. That was useful also because since I’m based in Australia, Australian ring sizes for engagement rings are actually different from North American, US, and Canadian ring sizes. It’s useful to get that ring sizer to get the American sizes.

3. Free Shipping Both Ways for Your Engagement Ring

Lastly, one of the reasons why I got it there was just because of their free shipping policy. If you have any problem, you’re able to send the ring back free of charge and get it resized or even refunded. In our case, even with the ring sizer, I actually ordered just a little bit about a size bigger just so that to get a leeway but it ended up being slightly too big. I sent it back just recently and now just waiting for the ring to come back. That was all done for free. That was great and that was great service. I was really happy with that. They’re being in contact with me via e-mail saying that they’ve received it and should be back with us soon.

Final Thoughts on Brilliant Earth Ethical Jewellers

Those are three reasons why I got the engagement ring from Brilliant Earth. I really recommend it. One of the challenges, I suppose, with dealing with the online store is lack of a face to face communication. There isn’t a storefront but because they’ve been so efficient in terms of their e-mail communication, the phone communication, and the free shipping deal, it’s been really great. I recommend it especially if you like to support ethical jewelry. Check it out. Okay, bye bye.

What the World Would Look Like If There Were No More Entrepreneurs

I came across a unique thought today:

What if there were no entrepreneurs in the world today? What would the world look like?

As I began thinking of an apocalyptic earth where entrepreneurs disappeared off the face of the planet, the very qualities of entrepreneurs began to go missing along with them too. This though experiment highlighted for me the value of entrepreneurs in modern society today.

So here are 3 features that I think would be in an entrepreneur-less world:

1. The World Would Be Boring

The very first thought that came into mind was that the world would be a dull and lifeless place. Sure we would exist, but I think a large part of the human experience is the process of creation. Humans love to create things, and entrepreneurship is all about creating new products and services as well as building businesses.

Entrepreneurs, like myself, LOVE to create. They are creative.

Not only that, entrepreneurs enjoy pushing the boundaries of what’s already in existence. They innovate and many entrepreneurs really do change the world with their inventions and ideas.

A world without entrepreneurs would be dead boring in my opinion.

2. The Economy Would NOT Function

On a more practical level too, I think that the entire global economy (and even local economies) are built upon entrepreneurs and their spirit. The economy relies on businesses, which create jobs and which give people opportunities to live a productive life.

However, businesses are started up by entrepreneurs, and new businesses are consistently required in any economy. As the world unceasingly changes, new opporunities to create meaningful and worthwhile businesses are formed, and entrepreneurs are required to take advantage of these opportunities.

Without entrepreneurs, I see a world where the current mode of economy is defunct. Capitalism relies on entrepreneurs who are the total epitome of today’s modern capitalist – people who use capital to invest it in worthwhile goods and services for a profit.

3. More of the World’s Problems Would Remain Unsolved

The very reason why entrepreneurs are able to generate a profit is because they do provide value. Entrepreneurs who do not provide economic value will fail.

The value that entrepreneurs provide can be found in the way that their business must solve some human problem, whether great or small. Human beings will always face some problems. Some problems are basic necessities of human existence such as the need for shelter, food, clothing. Other problems are not so fundamental but the perceived problem can be enough for a person to want to find a solution. These sort of problems could be the need to be entertained or the desire to have a better lifestyle.

I see entrepreneurs as essentially problem-solvers. Entrepreneurs provide value through the solutions that they come up with via their business.

In a world without entrepreneurs, I envision a world where there are more human problems that are left unsolved. More people will be frustrated, bored, annoyed, or struggling to survive because entrepreneurs have not been there to come up with an adequate solution to the problem.

What Do You Think Would be Missing in an Entrepreneur-Less World?

These are the big 3 things that I think would be missing in a world without entrepreneurs. It seems like a sad, grim picture. Share your thoughts about how the world would look without entrepreneurs. Would the world be better or worse?

photo by: mikelehen

3 Top Social Enterprise Journals

If you’re keen to totally immerse yourself in the ideas and paradigms that are developing the theory and practice of social enterprise today, then why not check out these 3 top social enterprise journals from around the world that can help you with your business strategy!

1. London Social Enterprise Journal

Smoking [Photo by pedrosimoes7] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The London-based Social Enterprise Journal (SEJ) is published in association with Social Enterprise London. SEJ is the first journal to focus specifically on this aspect of entrepreneurial activity.

It seeks to address the void in knowledge of this sector by inviting scholars and practitioners to present their theories and frameworks for understanding social enterprise. The journal also features research on a wide range of topics related to this developing sector of the social economy.

The editorial team has chosen not to restrict the subject areas for the journal, but rather to leave the door wide open to publishing in social enterprise. This means that the journal will accept both rigorous research papers as well as shorter case study submissions at a global, national and social enterprise level. The goal is to contribute to the development of knowledge in the field and providing useful information.

2. Social Enterprise Journal at Purdue

Purdue University Calumet produces a social enterprise journal called The Journal of Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (JSEE). This peer-reviewed, online journal seeks to promote the development of the science and practice of the emerging field of social enterprise.

JSEE tries to strike a balance in the works it publishes and encourages contributions from academics and practitioners alike. JSEE publishes both empirical and theoretical works, and case studies as well. The Journal is meant to be a platform and a forum for the exchange of ideas on how managerial skills can advance the social benefit of communities around the world.

The journal accepts submissions in electronic form of no more than 20 pages on topics that include strategic management applications to social entrepreneurship and enterprises, marketing of social ventures, and nonprofit management.

3. Social Enterprise Journal at Stanford

On the platform, reading [Photo by moriza] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Stanford University publishes a social enterprise journal called the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR). It is intended to be a provocative, practical and powerful resource for the social enterprise community.

As party of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford, the journal’s mission is to share substantive insights and practical experiences that will benefit those doing important work in the field. The work of SSIR is guided by the value of social innovation, as the journal puts a focus on the search for new and better ways of improving the world.

SSIR looks to strike a balance between pragmatic and intellectual articles to help with your business strategy, and eschews predefined political ideology in favor of brokering conversations, asking hard questions, disseminating the results of rigorous research and presenting real-life case studies. Contributors range from world-class faculty to thought leaders and executives world wide.

Risks of Social Entrepreneurship 101

Successful entrepreneurs are constantly balancing the risks and rewards of their decisions. If you haven’t thought and understood the risks of your startup venture yet, then discover the 101 basics of social entrepreneurship risks here.

Navigating the Risks of Social Entrepreneurship

Lodge 441 / Old School - Festival of Ideas courtyard painting [Photo by Madilworth] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Today’s organizational leaders and young social entrepreneurs are facing economic hardship and uncertainties which increase the risks of social entrepreneurship at a time when it’s needed most.

The ability to understand when to take a risk and when to manage risk is a critical component to success. When the opportunity to uproot injustice and inequality is in front of you, but the great risks involved are standing in the way, how can you best navigate your way to become the change you wish to see in the world?

It’s good to recognize that no matter how well you plan your campaign, there will always be unforeseen challenges along the way. There fore, the key to managing risk is less about what you plan and more about who your plan includes. Finding the right people who are patient and determined will create the flexibility to alter course when necessary and remain strong.

Risks of Social Entrepreneurship Compared to Traditional Enterprise

The risks of social entrepreneurship compared with traditional enterprise can be greater, and certainly different in some key respects. Social entrepreneurs must assess risk at any number of levels, from enterprise to managerial, market to financial.

They must also be able to evaluate potential reward and position their own resources to most effectively decrease the possibility that a risk becomes a reality. On top of this, social entrepreneurs must contend with the fact that they may carry a larger universe of risk than a traditional entrepreneur. For example, those businesses committed to hiring the majority of their employees from the ranks of the homeless certainly face issues that their traditional competitors don’t have to deal with.

In addition to traditional aspects of competition, the social entrepreneur must also contend with the fact that their performance indicators are different and more complex than a traditional enterprise.

Risks of Social Entrepreneurship Investment

From the perspective of a social enterprise investor, the risks of social entrepreneurship funding can be high. The higher risk, unconventional and cutting edge ideas that these investors support are viewed within a framework that looks at the potential of the whole enterprise, and takes into account the positive impacts that go beyond just monetary profit potential.

To stay relevant as a philanthropy that operates on a large scale, these investors must be devoted to the exploration of new ideas and concepts, and open to working with different people and supporting unconventional ideas. This kind of work helps social impact investing to stay fresh, and bring in new ideas and new grantees.

Ultimately this risk pays off in continued growth and keeps them ahead of the curve. When they find real winners, they benefit along with the sectors and communities these successful entrepreneurs impact.