Today's thought

Online courses

I have a love/hate relationship with paid online courses.

On the whole, I’m a fan of creative people doing whatever they can to make their living online. Being a solo entrepreneur can be insanely challenging (especially on the bank account), so finding stability through teaching or sharing what you know can be huge.

However… the situation that gets me riled up is when the course material is more or less “How to get rich doing XYZ, like me!” — instead of going technically deeper into the area of expertise they made their name on. I’m totally down for sharing the journey and giving hindsight knowledge… but packaging it up as The Way to Succeed™ and neglecting to acknowledge the immense role of luck, timing, and unique advantages in your particular situation just doesn’t sit right with me.

My favorite excuse for behavior like this is “I’m just trying to give back and help others out, know?” — if that were true, you’d just give your profound knowledge away in a free course or a single YouTube video. Being perceived as generous is a really convenient way to get away with opportune greed.

The more I keep writing, I guess I’m more like 25% love / 75% hate paid online courses because of just how many times I see the same kinds of scammy actions played out. I know they’re not all lame — I mean no harm if you make your living selling knowledge! I just really wish the concept of sharing ideas and helping people wasn’t so laced with ulterior motives.

/rant

I have a love/hate relationship with paid online courses.

On the whole, I’m a fan of creative people doing whatever they can to make their living online. Being a solo entrepreneur can be insanely challenging (especially on the bank account), so finding stability through teaching or sharing what you know can be huge.

However… the situation that gets me riled up is when the course material is more or less “How to get rich doing XYZ, like me!” — instead of going technically deeper into the area of expertise they made their name on. I’m totally down for sharing the journey and giving hindsight knowledge… but packaging it up as The Way to Succeed™ and neglecting to acknowledge the immense role of luck, timing, and unique advantages in your particular situation just doesn’t sit right with me.

My favorite excuse for behavior like this is “I’m just trying to give back and help others out, know?” — if that were true, you’d just give your profound knowledge away in a free course or a single YouTube video. Being perceived as generous is a really convenient way to get away with opportune greed.

The more I keep writing, I guess I’m more like 25% love / 75% hate paid online courses because of just how many times I see the same kinds of scammy actions played out. I know they’re not all lame — I mean no harm if you make your living selling knowledge! I just really wish the concept of sharing ideas and helping people wasn’t so laced with ulterior motives.

/rant

Hundred Daily™ is a 100-day writing challenge by Aaron Rolston. The goal is to publish 100(ish) words daily & send them out via email. Consider subscribing if you'd like to receive daily broadcasts from me.

Aaron Rolston © 2099

Aaron Rolston © 2099