Ruben harris square

Ruben Harris

CEO Career Karma

Ruben is the CEO of Career Karma and Co-Host of the Breaking Into Startups Podcast. His mission is to help blue collar workers get white collar jobs in less than 12 months, starting with people that want to become software engineers through coding bootcamps. He shares the stories on the Breaking Into Startups Podcast and before this he worked in Admissions at AltSchool, building out two-sided marketplaces for vocational training (nurses) at Honor, and workforce development with government during his time at Hustle. Prior to his work in tech, he was an investment banker for 3 years and he has been playing the cello for more than 25 years.

Description

We chat with Ruben Harris, CEO of Career Karma, and a man with bit of an unconventional background. He’s worked as an event organizer for athletes and celebrities, an investment banker, and professional cellist. We chat with him about how he broke into the startup world, his advice for people trying to do the same, and his app, Career Karma, a resource for people trying to find a coding community and preparing themselves for bootcamps.

Show Notes

Transcript

[00:00:05] (Music) Welcome to the CodeNewbie Podcast where we talk to people on their coding journey in hopes of helping you on yours. I’m your host, Saron, and today, we’re talking about preparing yourself for bootcamps and breaking into the tech world with Ruben Harris, CEO of Career Karma.

[00:00:21] RH: But now we didn’t have a job and we’re forced to build something that was able to sustain ourselves.

[00:00:26] SY: Ruben has a bit of an unconventional background. He’s worked as an event organizer for athletes and celebrities, an investment banker and professional cellist. We chat with him about how he broke into the startup world, his advice for people trying to do the same and his app, Career Karma, a resource for people trying to find a coding community and preparing themselves for bootcamps after this.

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[00:01:45] If you like this podcast, there’s a good chance you’ll also like one of the other tech podcast that I host. It’s called Command Line Heroes and it’s produced by Red Hat. So if you’re looking for some really fun and informative tech podcast to fill your feed, check out Command Line Heroes at redhat.com/command-line-heroes. That’s redhat.com/command-line-heroes.

[00:02:15] SY: Thank you so much for being here.

[00:02:16] RH: Thank you for having me.

[00:02:18] SY: So I want to dig into your background a little bit because before you broke into startups in the tech world you had quite a number of careers. Can you tell us a little bit about the kind of things you were working on back then?

[00:02:29] RH: So I moved to the Bay Area five years ago. I’ve worked in education, healthcare, and politics. In education, I was focus on personalized education. In healthcare, I was focused on building out two-sided market places and vocational training for nurses. And after that, when I was in politics, I was helping workforce development leaders prepare people for the fourth Industrial Revolution. Before that, I was an investment banker for three years and my whole life I’ve been a cellist. So I’ve been playing the cello for 25 years. And at the end of the day, I’m an artist, and being an artist, I was able to understand how I learn and I was able to adapt with changes in the workforce.

[00:03:10] SY: Tell me about what drew you into tech in the first place. What got you excited about it?

[00:03:15] RH: You know, growing up when I was at school, the people that had the high-paying jobs were the bankers and the consultants and the people that did investment banking, they didn’t do it because they love investment banking, they did it for one to three years because it would position them well for something called “Exit Opportunities”. But what started to happen while we were investment banking is that technology started to take over things and then a lot of people that used to want to become investment bankers wanted to become tech leaders. And someone at the bank left our bank and moved to New York to do Flatiron School, which you did, and he was in the same cohort as another investment banker named Jack Altman who was the brother of Sam Altman from Y Combinator. And Jack now runs a company that’s also a YC company called Lattice, but that’s how we first discovered coding bootcamps while we were still in Atlanta, Georgia and this was when TechSquare Labs was still coming up. This was when 1871 in Chicago was still coming up. So we still didn’t know too much about technology, but Artur and Timur decided to do coding bootcamps so that they could become engineers and I was going to focus on distribution and CEO-level type things and we didn’t know what we wanted to build, but we knew that we needed to get skills. And so we decided to take investment banking approach to technology where we will learn for one to three years and really build our skill set and then when we’re ready we’re going to quit and our exit opportunity was going to be a company. So we’ve been planning this for like six years since Atlanta.

[00:04:52] SY: Wow! So you described the systematic process in which you use to get to where you are today, but I want to know how it felt. How did it feel to go through this process? How did it feel to switch gears from what you were doing and just slowly work your way into the tech world?

[00:05:08] RH: So like around March of last year, you know, I had moved my brother out here and he was at App Academy and I quit my job and I told my brother, “Yeah, you do App Academy. You’re going to be an engineer.” He was living in my same bedroom, like four people in the house, he was in my same room and I was like, “Yeah, I’m going to quit my job and I’m going to apply to Y Combinator. Watch us do this. We’ve been preparing for this moment.” And now we applied to Y Combinator and then we got an email, we got really excited about the email, and we got rejected. And my brother is like just watching me just late at night and like I can tell he’s like watching to see how we’re going to react and I just, yeah, definitely wanted to cry at the moment, but my co-founders, we all got in the room, we hunkered out, we came with the plan, and figured out what we had to do. And I’m not going to lie, like after that, there was definitely tears. That rejection was actually the right decision. We only had an idea. We hadn’t built anything. We hadn’t launched anything. We didn’t have traction and we moved to another place that was way more expensive than where we first were living in not because we wanted to like level up and thought that being at Y Combinator was going to be more bawler, we just needed a workspace, but now we didn’t have a job and we’re forced to build something that was able to sustain ourselves. And through the process of like building and sustaining ourselves and building something with traction, we’re able to get the confidence to apply again that December and get in. If you fast forward a few times to demo day that just happened, we successfully closed our seed round that I haven’t announced yet, but this is the first time we’ll about it and I’ll just say that even the strongest startups that are doing very well still have to work really hard, like it takes like 17 pitches for every yes. There’s a lot of noes. The majority of people that actually came in around are outside of the YC network because it was very important for me to talk to the right people and have the right foundation in there, and I remember the day before I didn’t have any big investors I was at a church and there was a choir in there that had just gotten into an accident the night before where the entire bus was blown up and somebody died and the next morning they sang a song. They were in their regular clothes because all their clothes burned up and they sing a song called “We Shall Overcome” and I just started bawling. I was just like in complete, utter surrender, and then I like wipe my tears away and I started to focus again that Sunday and then everything started clicking after that. So that’s the real will right there.

[00:08:05] SY: Thank you so much for sharing all that and congratulations on the seed round around by the way. That’s huge.

[00:08:09] RH: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You know, it feels good. It feels good.

[00:08:13] SY: So in 2015, you wrote a viral blog was I remember when this blog post went around called “Breaking Into Startups” which then led to your Breaking Into Startups Podcast, which we’ll talk to in a little bit. When you were writing that blog post and especially now reflecting back on that blog post, what are some of the most important things to know and consider if someone else is trying to break into the startup world?

[00:08:36] RH: The biggest piece in the Breaking Into Startups blog post that I talked about in the original one is learning how to manage your psychology. I think that it’s very hard for you to get a job if you haven’t convinced yourself that you are capable. If you would hire yourself, then you’re not ready. Just like if you’re pitching investors and you haven’t convinced yourself that you are a leader or that you have what it takes to build something big, nobody’s going to believe you. And being the first at anything, like a first-generation college student or the first person in your family to break into tech, often comes with people not believing that you are capable of doing that thing. And so if I’m building a company, the easiest way for me to crowdsource my self-esteem by social media is to talk to my users and continuously ask them if I’m solving their problem, and if they’re telling me yes, then I know that I’m doing the right thing. If they’re telling me no, then I got to fix it but at least I’m always talking to you just to understand what the issue is. If I am trying to be a software engineer and I’ve never been a software engineer, I go back to the analogy of the artist where a lot of people think that the moment that they get a job is the moment when they become an engineer. But I tell people, “the day that you’ve decided to become an engineer, you’re an engineer,” right? And think about it like an artist, right? It’s like it’s ludicrous to tell an artist that the first time that you get paid for a performance is the day that you are defined as an artist. No, like if you pick up an instrument and you play a note, you’re an artist. You’re obviously learning but just like Socrates said, “The reason why he’s so wise is because he knows nothing.” It’s like you would never know everything and you’re always in a constant state of growth and always state of learning and so managing your psychology and accepting yourself is probably one of the biggest pieces that I wrote in that piece. The second piece that’s important is like not just building a support system to help you manage your psychology, but also building a personal board of directors because the board of directors is going to compensate for areas where you aren’t skilled. And usually when people think about a board of directors, they think about someone that is extremely senior in a certain field that’s related to what they’re doing, but it’s totally fine to have people that are not in your space that are there that aren’t just mentors but they are active in helping you build your career or build your company or whatever that it is. The final thing that I really like a lot is acting on the advice that you’re given and knowing what you want. So in addition to accepting yourself and recognizing that once you’ve decided that you’re going to be something, whether that’s a podcaster or video person or audio person or an engineer that you act on the advice that you’re given. So if I’m trying to become an engineer and I’ve given this advice, don’t argue with the person that you had asked advice for. Act on it and then come back to them and I get so many people that come asking for advice and I give them the feedback based off of what they requested and it’s totally cool if you don’t agree with it, but take what works for you, take what does it works because everybody has different pathways, but return with progress because the worst thing is to go back to the same person with no progress and not acting on the advice.

[00:12:16] SY: Return with progress. I really like that. I like that as a general rule. No matter where you go back to, whether it’s a person, a place, a time, just making sure to return with the progress. I really like that.

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[00:13:59] SY: So you mentioned Career Karma briefly at the top of this interview. Tell me a little bit more about it, what it is and why you decided to start it.

[00:14:06] RH: Career Karma essentially is a social network for people that want to become software engineers through coding bootcamps. Our north star is helping people make the most important career decisions. And like I said before, the first decision that we’re helping people make is which coding bootcamp is better for them. So going back to our original story, my co-founders did coding bootcamps, Hack Reactor and App Academy. I worked in education and I worked with all these different people, we started this podcast, and over a few years, we were able to hear a lot of consistent issues that people had in this like minimum barrier level of social skills that people really needed and we were able to essentially help people go from preparing for bootcamps in one to three months to a three-week process that we started calling the 21DayCkChallenge that you can see on Twitter. That started going pretty viral. And every minute, people were tweeting about the company and we’re like, “Wow, that’s pretty interesting.” And it was an idea at the time. So then we’re like, “Why don’t we recruit some of the best software engineers and designers in the world to productize this experience and essentially how people get into the schools for three weeks and see if that would be helpful for the schools?” What we realize is that the people that weren’t getting in weren’t getting rejected because they weren’t competent, they just weren’t prepared, and a lot of schools were spending a lot of time and money trying to prepare them and talking to people that they didn’t want to talk to because they weren’t ready and they wanted to prioritize their time talking to people that were ready. So we kind of created this “Triplebyte/Hired” that common experience that would prequalify and nurture individuals before they got into a coding bootcamp and that way the schools could admit people without interviews and that’s essentially where we started everything. So during Y Combinator, they told us to focus on getting a hundred people into the app that will love us and we started off as trying to get a hundred people into the app turned into over a hundred people downloading the app every single day and us sending a ton of volume to the schools to the point where we realize that after Y Combinator we had to build software to help them handle the volume and the capacity. And the reason why this is extremely important is because if you think about college, college is only graduating 40 thousand people per year in computer science and coding bootcamps are graduating at about 30 to 40 thousand people per year, but there’s over a half of million open jobs and so there’s hundreds of thousands of jobs available and all this talent that wants these jobs but they don’t know how to prepare for the job. So we’re like, “Why don’t we point the people that didn’t go to college that want to do bootcamps to the right bootcamps and also prepare them for it and then essentially have trust with them to not just get them into the bootcamp but finish the bootcamp, but also get them into their first job and their next job for the rest of their life?” Because most staffing firms, they’ll just placed you in your first job and then they’ll forget about you. But if people are moving from job to job to job just like we all did, the lifetime value is way bigger and we’ll be able to navigate them for the rest of their life. And so once we get it right for software engineers, then we could expand to other skill sets and go from there. The biggest reason why we started with coding bootcamps is because they were the first institution to take income share agreements at scale. And for the people that don’t know what an income share agreement is, is essentially A, option to pursue a career without having to pay anything unless you get a job, and the school promises to get you a job above a certain salary. And if you get that job above a certain salary, then you agree to pay the teachers a certain amount that you always know and that you can always afford. It’s a very big difference than traditional student loans and they’re spreading not just to coding bootcamps, but to sales schools and to datacenters schools and even the colleges themselves. And so once we provide this for software engineers, we’ll expand to other skill sets and not just create the world’s largest community of people with immense skills, but also the most powerful staffing firm because we’re focused on the invisible workforce, meaning people that didn’t go to college versus the visible workforce and eventually our tool would be able to use by both sides.

[00:18:24] SY: So let’s go back to the 21DayCkChallenge because I think that’s really interesting. That sounds like that’s been a large part of the growth that you’ve seen today. What is that challenge? What does that process look like?

[00:18:36] RH: The first day introduces them into like what code is and gets them to essentially declare that they want to become software engineer. And after they made that declaration, we encourage them to take a quiz so that they share what their goals are and what their needs are and then we match them with the right preparation material for the coding bootcamp or coding bootcamps that are relevant for them and they are interacting with people at their level one step above them. So every day we’re explaining to them not just what code is but different aspects about education, technology, and companies, and the admission process through a school, but I think most importantly what we do is we put them into a group of 5 to 20 people that we call “Squads” that essentially become accountability buddies that help them not just start the prep four our program but finish it and also to stay with them during the bootcamp and even after. And if you think about squads, it’s very similar to me, Artur, and Timur. We essentially have been with each other for the last six years and haven’t been apart from each other for more than 14 days and we’ve essentially been with each other through thick and thin. And if you think about college, college is where a lot of people make their best friends. But if you never went to college, how are you going to get those friends? It might be through playing music, it might be through sports, it might be through war as a veteran or whatever and so we essentially help people develop friendship through the acquisition of a skill that’s difficult so that they have essentially that support system to help them manage the psychology that came from the original blog post. And the reason why we chose 21 days is because it takes 21 days to make a habit and habits are really important when you’re trying to do something hard. After developing that good habit, we tell them it’s 90 days to make it sticky and the average person gets accepted into three to five bootcamps after 21 days.

[00:20:33] SY: Tell me a little bit more about this idea of having a squad? Because throughout this interview, it’s really clear that having the right people around you is important. Why is it important specifically when you’re learning to code?

[00:20:45] RH: The reason why it’s important is because like life in general is built through relationships. And so when you think about someone that’s learning to code on their own, right? So let’s say you learn how to code and you have all the skills in the world and you finish a bootcamp and you get to the job search and you never went to college, one of the biggest issues that you’re going to face is getting the shot to demonstrate that you actually have the skill because if you applied to the website, you’re going to get flagged naturally because our artificial intelligence is like naturally looking for degrees or GPA and things like that even though companies have dropped their college requirement. So what an individual normally has to do if they didn’t go to college is like identify other people that are like them that are willing to give them an interview and vouch for them and put their reputation on the line so that they could skip the normal recruiting process. And if you develop those relationships early on, you’re able to leverage those in the future and you can only get introductions like through other people. And so these squads that people are working through, they become friends for life. And once you get placed into your first company, everybody is not always going to get hired at the same company. They’ll be at different companies and they’ll be able to vouch for each other and introduce each other to different opportunities throughout their lifetime as these people are making different decisions about their career. And so it’s very organic. We encourage every single person to send messages and to reach out to each other and ideally when they form a squad to not just form it by interest but also to form it based off of location. So what’s starting to happen is the online and offline worlds are starting to connect where people aren’t just meeting up for happy hours, they’re meeting up with their Atlanta squad at a coffee shop and coding together and just like meeting in person and getting to know each other, which is like really awesome. We recently had a guy with eight kids that’s disabled through his prior job that just got accepted into Lambda School and he moved his entire family from Philly to Atlanta to be close to his squad members. So I guess pretty powerful stuff.

[00:23:03] SY: I want to hear a little bit more about the people that you’re helping. So you describe them as people who may not have gone to college or maybe dropped out of college. Tell me a little bit more about them. Paint me a picture of what these people look like, where they’re from, what their interests are.

[00:23:17] RH: Yeah. So when you think about bootcamps, the majority of people, I think over 70% of people on bootcamps have bachelor’s degrees and similarly in Career Karma, there’s definitely people that did go to college that want to switch careers. With that said, the majority of people in Career Karma are I would say 25 to 40 years old, that are majority black and brown and majority women that have worked in fields like retail, construction, a lot of veterans. There’s people that have just been long-term unemployed and just live with their parents and are working on becoming big artists or actors and things like that. So I describe it kind of like if you think about the gig economy, we get a lot of Uber drivers and Lyft drivers and thumb-tech people, people that are in the gig economy that tend to be in these like temporary jobs forever that range between like minimum wage to maybe $25 an hour that want to level up but don’t know how or they want to go to college and have all the desires but circumstances don’t allow it, they already have issues with their loans, they might have to be taken care of a parent so they can’t go to school full-time so they need flexibility like a part-time or self-paced program. So all kinds of really awesome moves of people that you don’t normally think about.

[00:24:48] SY: Coming up next, we talk about stories of people who’ve used Career Karma, why it’s important to build a coding squad, and some resources to help you on your journey into the tech world after this.

[00:25:09] Command line Heroes, an original podcast from Red Hat that I host is back for its third season and it’s all about programming languages. Here’s a clip from the first episode, telling the tale of Python where I’m chatting with Emily Morehouse, one of five women currently working as a core developer on Python about how the language’s extensibility is the key to Python’s attractiveness.

[00:25:33] EM: When approaching software design, you often will have to take either existing software or other software systems and kind of get them all to work together. And one of the very true values of how you can design software is making sure that it’s extensible.

[00:25:54] SY: It sounds like a no-brainer but not every language has achieved the level of extensibility that Python had right from the start. And the truth is if a language doesn’t have extensibility baked into it, there’s a good chance it’ll end up collapsing under its own weight as it grows.

[00:26:12] EM: Python has been designed in a very interesting way that allows it to be kind of extensible at its core. You can actually like patch different pieces of the system at run time. So if you want to switch out how modules are imported or you want to switch out your string type or your integer types, Python allows you to do all of these things fairly easily. At the heart of Python’s extensibility is something called C extensions or C modules. And so Python has actually been designed to give you an entry point to other languages and essentially if you can write a C extension or C module that can then bridge to, I mean, hundreds of other languages. You can kind of hack Python.

[00:27:10] SY: You can find it wherever you get your podcast and make sure to check out the show at redhat.com/commandline.

[00:27:22] So I want to go back to the app itself that you all created because a lot of times we’ll see a problem, we’ll build a solution for it, and we realize that people use the solution a little bit differently than we imagined it. So I’m wondering, has anything surprised you about how people use your service and the response it’s gotten?

[00:27:39] RH: Yeah. I mean, the whole reason why we started calling teams “squads” is because the users did that on their own. We used to call them “Peer Circles” when we first started.

[00:27:48] SY: Oh, that’s not as good.

[00:27:50] RH: Squad is way better. There was a lady. She created this group called the FFTSquad. One of the words is expletive so I won’t say that, that word, but it’s Fantastic Squad and the middle word is the expletive. That started to be a really awesome thing and everybody kept asking her like how could they become a part of that squad, the FFTSquad. And the reason why they want to be part of that squad is because she has an MBA and she still wants to learn how to code and she created a mission statement and bylaws and all these requirements about how to be part of her group and the other people were like, “Oh, I want to be a part of that,” and because there’s a cap to the groups because once you have too many people, it kind of loses that intimate feel, more people wanted to create their own squads. And so because we listened to them, we started to host Zoom video calls that we called “The Sunday Draft” and different people that want to be squad leaders would literally pitch their squads and then we will put them into little groups inside of the app and then recently we launched the squad feature so you can now search through squads and people can put a little badge and it’ll show up in their profile. So people are repping their flag and that’s a great example of something that surprised us. Early on when we first started the company before Y Combinator, we were focused across stages and we realized that we couldn’t focus on people applying, people enrolled, people in the job search, and people that are employed. We had to focus on one stage first and get that perfect and then move to the next stages because there’s plenty of work in this first date. And when you look at our MVP that we built before we’ve encoded in the app using Bubble, it was just kind of like a hodgepodge of everything. And because it wasn’t perfect for one group of people, it was just like people would join and leave. But once we got focused, then people joined and stayed and started telling their friends.

[00:29:55] SY: I’d love to hear some more stories about people who’ve used the app and really got something out of it. Do you have a couple more to share with us?

[00:30:01] RH: Yeah. So there’s someone that, I won’t say her name, that reached out to me today. She listened to a story on the podcast of a guy that was formerly incarcerated and his son got killed at 18 years old.

[00:30:18] SY: Oh, no.

[00:30:19] RH: And she essentially told me the story of her child that got murdered by his father and that’s story got to me and like why she’s fighting for him and the rest of her kids. I hear dark stories like this every single day. And that’s the type of things that really drive me and motivate me to do what I do because like I can’t lose, like these people literally see Career Karma as hope and see it as their future and the community as their future. So it’s not like Career Karma is even a company, it’s like it’s an idea, it’s a philosophy, it’s like we all help each other. We tell people, “The app is free for you to use as long as you’re willing to help people behind you in the future.” The internet is best at helping people help people. And so if we bring people together to help each other out that have been through what they’ve been through, like if you think about a mother that’s been through something as tragic as that, it’s hard for her to listen to anybody else’s advice because they don’t know what pain she’s going through. But the fact that she was able to connect with someone in her first week that had been through a similar experience to her and then during that same week, she applied to a bootcamp, leveraged her prior experience and went through some other prep and got accepted into a bootcamp and got a part-time job working at Apple during the same week, that like lit up her world and that’s probably the highlight of my week so far.

[00:31:48] SY: Wow.

[00:31:49] RH: Outside of that, I was at Twitter headquarters today and one of the guys that we helped get a job at Twitter was from the Air Force and the story that he shared was when he was trying to become a software engineer while he was in the Air Force, people would try to encourage him to pursue like HR or sales or things like that, and essentially like they doubted his ability to become a software engineer, and when he finally got in, he looked back at him and in his mind he didn’t tell this to him in his face, he said, “Protect your dreams. You got to protect your dreams out here because people are going to try to kill your dreams.” And he said that on a call to people, in Career Karma on a Zoom call because we have workshops that are featured in the spotlight, you were actually in a workshop and people loved your workshop. Let me tell you like after you did the Codeland Workshop and talked about Codeland and everything, people wanted to go to your conference but like the burnout stuff, like everything like it really resonates and my inbox was blowing up, but the protect your dreams thing is so powerful is because protecting is like something very active on a very tough journey when obstacles are going to be present at your way that you can control or can’t control and it was so powerful that we put it on a shirt inside of the app and we have something called the Karma Store where you can’t buy anything. You could only earn it by doing positive things for the community. And it’s a shirt that we even wore on demo day when we were at Y Combinator because it’s a great reminder for our self that no matter what you’re trying to pursue, if it’s something great, it’s going to be hard. So you have to actively protect that thing. And so I think that story is powerful because he also has a little daughter. He’s married and there’s not a lot of black men that really share their emotions and I thought it was really powerful. So I think those two stories are good, but you could bring up literally any demographic, any hard story, I’ve probably seen it already through this experience because we try to make ourselves available to everybody. I think those are the freshest ones in my mind.

[00:33:58] SY: So outside of Career Karma, what are some resources that helped you in the past and ones that you might recommend to folks who are looking to break into whether it’s startups or tech in general?

[00:34:08] RH: I’m a big fan of podcasts and newsletters and getting a fresh perspective on things. So like obviously like I love the CodeNewbie Podcast. That’s not just the plug because I’m on the show, like I’ve been a big fan of what you’re doing for a long time not just because of your success, but because you’ve done it before so you personally know the problems that people go through. You do a great job of interviewing.

[00:34:33] SY: Thank you.

[00:34:33] RH: So like whenever you listen to someone’s podcast or watch someone show or read someone’s book, ideally the best ones are going to be people that have been through that experience and the same thing goes for a CEO. You usually want to be working at companies with CEOs that have the problem solved, which is something that I talked about in my first blog post as well. So the podcast that I’ve been listening to the most recently is the [inaudible 00:34:58] Podcast. That podcast is really powerful because it doesn’t just talk about technology, but it just like goes very deeply into philosophy and I’m a big fan of philosophy. The podcast that I listened to that are outside of technology are the Jocko Podcasts. He’s a Navy SEAL. I really like the Jocko Podcast, but there’s like Software Engineering Daily, there’s The freeCodeCamp Podcast, there’s Learn to Code With Me, there’s Powder Keg, the list goes on because there are so many. Sorry if I didn’t shout out all the people that are in our network that we support. But outside of podcasting, I really like newsletters. So newsletters are really good way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on. So for mobile news, I like Benedict Evans’ Newsletter. I really like Social Capital’s Snippets, the StrictlyVC. If you want to be aware of the internet trends, I would check out Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends. That one just dropped like two days ago. So check that out. Honestly, you really just got to break your routine sometime.

[00:36:08] SY: So now at the end of every episode, we ask our guests to fill in the blanks of three very important questions. Ruben, are you ready to fill in the blanks?

[00:36:16] RH: I’m ready.

[00:36:17] SY: Number one, worst advice I’ve ever received is?

[00:36:20] RH: The worst advice that I’ve ever received is to quit doing something that I knew I was meant to do. I think that there’s definitely moments to no one to quit on something. But if you have established the right mechanisms to know whether you are on the right path, don’t quit and the key thing that I’ve seen from successful people and unsuccessful people is not that they’re born geniuses or naturally talented or even privileged, it’s just the fact that they kept their vision in mind and they never quit. So don’t quit.

[00:36:52] SY: Number two, my first coding project was about?

[00:36:55] RH: My first coding project was working with Stanford and that Stanford had a CS101 program and it was just like something sales-related, which is more like creating like a lead scraping thing because I really like connecting with people. And so that’s about it.

[00:37:13] SY: Number three, one thing I wish I knew when I first started to code is?

[00:37:18] RH: The importance of time management. To be very clear, I actually am not a software engineer. So, you know, when I first started learning how to code when I first moved to Silicon Valley, I had every intention of going deeper and becoming a great software engineering but then I got that first job and I wasn’t able to put in the time to make it work and things started taking off with everything else and I think that if you are becoming a software engineer, becoming an artist or becoming anything, you’re going to have to dedicate time to it. So don’t sleep on the importance of time management and understand that there’s actually time available like if I really, really, really wanted to focus on learning how to code, I could right now, but it’s probably not the best use of my time right now as I’m going to Career Karma, but there’s a 168 hours in a week. So learn time management.

[00:38:10] SY: Thank you so much Ruben for sharing all your information about Career Karma and the wonderful work that you’re doing. Thank you so much.

[00:38:15] RH: Thank you for having me.

[00:38:25] SY: This episode was edited and mixed by Levi Sharpe. You can reach out to us on Twitter at CodeNewbies or send me an email, hello@codenewbie.org. Join us for our weekly Twitter chats. We’ve got our Wednesday chats at 9 P.M. Eastern Time and our weekly coding check-in every Sunday at 2 P.M. Eastern Time. For more info on the podcast, check out www.codenewbie.org/podcast. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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