- What Problem He's Solving: Helping high school art students sell their work online.
- First job: Coaching 4th grade basketball
- Next bucket list item: Going to New Zealand and climbing to the top of the mountain they filmed as Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings films.
- Mike in three words: Empathetic, smart-ass, perfectionist
What's one thing that you have been surprised by at Starter School?
The pacing. Primarily because it manages to be engaging, not intimidating. I was concerned, coming in a quarter behind, that I would constantly be having to play catch-up. But the organization of the classes is such that everyone is learning on their own all the time anyway, which made me feel much more on board coming in late.
Is there one experience that stands out for you at Starter School?
The photo shoot we did for our profile pictures. Spending half an hour jumping around and generally being goofy, with the intermittent serious shot, was a perfect encapsulation of Starter School so far.
How do you explain Starter School to your friends, family, and/or significant others?
Something like, "it's like a graduate class for web development, but it's not at a university and it's very hands-on, and the instructors are area professionals, and there aren't any grades, and it's not really anything like grad school."
Were you intimidated to learn anything that ended up coming easy to you?
I think Ruby falls into this category. I had to learn it mostly on my own before starting school in January, and the references and help that Mike McGee gave me made the entire learning process dramatically simpler than it was for friends who have attempted the same experience.
What makes Starter School different than other classes/schools you've been to?
Friday afternoon retrospectives. Being able to give feedback on the structure and content of Starter School, and have that feedback impact the very next class session is unlike any other program I've been in.
What are you building right now?
A site for high school AP Art students to display and sell their work. It will allow buyers to find and follow budding artists, and for artists to make a name for themselves without having to put a lot of effort into self-promotion.
Who or what inspires you and why?
My father. As cliche as that is, my dad grew up with almost nothing and just by working very hard at something that he loved immensely, he was able to make a name for himself and become extremely successful (in spite of, I should add, overwhelming criticism).
What's something you've done in your life that you're most proud of?
I coached a basketball team in Wilmette, Illinois from the 4th grade through the 12th grade while I attended Northwestern University. Watching the boys on my team grow from 9-year-olds into high school students was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I am incredibly proud to have been able to have an impact on them as they grew up.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Starter School?
You want to make sure you're interested, because if you aren't willing to put in the time, or you won't get the full experience.