How To Teach Yourself To Code | Dan Martell

How do you learn to code? Right now you probably feel overwhelmed with the options. In this video, I want to share how programming literally saved my life and helped me become a better entrepreneur.

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The first thing I ever built that I charged for was an MP3 burning app.

I had just learned Visual Basic in one of my elective programming classes in highschool, and I wanted to see what I could create.

The problem I wanted to solve was simple…

As one of the few people at the time with a CD burner, I would always have my friends come over to my house and spend hours going through all of the MP3’s I had downloaded from Napster to create the ultimate playlist for themselves or their girlfriend…

(K-Ci and JoJo was always a crowd pleaser)

So after a few weeks of this, I built a simple app that anyone could install at their house.

It would connect to my computer using FTP, download a file of all the MP3’s I had on my computer, let them create the playlist at their house, and when they were ready, they could “order” the CD (pay me $20 bucks) and I would burn it overnight while I slept.

So technically, that’s the first time coding made me money, even before (a vacation rental site I started in 1999).

I share that story because learning to code is not hard.

It just requires a strong enough motivation and some resources.

That’s what I cover in this week’s video.

The crazy part is learning to code literally saved my life.

As the world evolves, I believe learning to code is going to be a powerful skill to have…

It’s why I’ve been teaching my two little boys to code ever since they were 2 years old.

But how do you learn while sidestepping overwhelm?

Here are 5 tips to get you (or your kid) started:

1. Use your weekends: block out some time, schedule it, and commit to start when the clock hits that time!
2. Wireframe a simple app: keep it simple. Blank printer paper and a marker works to outlining the apps interface.
3. Front-end, backend, database: understanding these 3 specific pieces will make the whole process way easier!
4. Pick a language: Ruby, Python, Php, Javascript… now this one can be debated and I’d love to have that below in the comments.
5. Consume tutorials: there are sooooo many free online training videos to help you get going, but there’s also next level training by folks likes

If you want some feedback on your app idea, just leave a comment and I’ll provide some thoughts on the best way to build it.

Excited to hear how your first app comes along… something simple can take less than a couple hours!

Do it. Get coding 🙂

Dan “paying for my music today” Martell

Don’t forget to share this entrepreneurial advice with your friends, so they can learn too:


“You can only keep what you give away.” That’s the mantra that’s shaped Dan Martell from a struggling 20-something business owner in the Canadian Maritimes (which is waaay out east) to a successful startup founder who’s raised more than $3 million in venture funding and exited not one… not two… but three tech businesses:, Spheric and Flowtown.

You can only keep what you give away. That philosophy has led Dan to invest in 33+ early stage startups such as Udemy, Intercom, Unbounce and Foodspotting. It’s also helped him shape the future of Hootsuite as an advisor to the social media tour de force.

An activator, a tech geek, an adrenaline junkie and, yes, a romantic (ask his wife Renee), Dan has recently turned his attention to teaching startups a fundamental, little-discussed lesson that directly impacts their growth: how to scale. You’ll find not only incredible insights in every moment of every talk Dan gives – but also highly actionable takeaways that will propel your business forward. Because Dan gives freely of all that he knows. After all, you can only keep what you give away.

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7 thoughts on “How To Teach Yourself To Code | Dan Martell”

  1. Should you learn to code? I say yes. As the world moves towards rewarding productive creatives, I think it’s one of those skills. Here’s how you can teach yourself.

  2. Hii Dan . Love ur videos. Can u make a video on how the tech startups operate in a big picture, what r the roles of the employees, for example, let us take Pinterest. I love that app. Please explain it from an idea to forming an unicorn, I'm a non technical guy having an idea to make it big in the tech world. I'm learning to code now. Please help me or refer a book that explains me the working of Facebook, Instagram,Uber – technical side, Pinterest n Snapchat. I found little employees working there but don't know their roles. Please reply me about your help down.

  3. Awesome stuff Dan and Happy New Year. It's been almost a decade since I started coding, this just brings back memories of how I fell in love with the idea of creating something in the physical world just from an idea, its the most fulfilling skill I have acquired 😀. I'm a C#/MVC guy, I have been working with the Microsoft stack for quite some time, it's just so easy and yet powerful. I would recommend though to really get good at programming it's really not about the language you choose, it's just how you navigate tough challenges and apply logic, doing mockups and workflows is a great way to start thinking through challenges then applying code to solve it can follow once that's done. At this stage I can learn any language in a few hours, because I have the fundamentals and the process in solving challenges. Cheers Dan and thanks for giving back in this way, it's really appreciated.

  4. You want to code something? Start coding it. Download similar software and see how they did it, search for solutions when you're stuck, ask for help on forums/stack exchange. Do a little every day. No point in learning something irrelevant when all you want is the result.

  5. Happy New Year Dan. Looking for some feedback on my app idea, BFF – (Rewarding for sharing contacts, it’s a put me in touch with feed) What do you think about this ?

  6. I'm considering learning to code. But how much should I learn?
    Not sure if i should just look for a technical cofounder instead and learn surface coding knowledge.
    Then maybe learn slowly moving forward.
    Or just hire a great outsourced team. Already have a few.

  7. I'm 23 years old & want to create a saas company. I dont have any knowledge on programming. So I'm going to learnt and built this by scratch learning by tutorials. Language I'm going to go about was python. Thanks for the amazing content Dan! I hope you can do a video about how you would give advice for someone like me if you would start all over again to accelerate the learning curve and avoid the unnecessary mistakes you been through. That would be awesome! Also it would be great if you can talk about how to avoid the shining object syndrome and stick to the one thing until it become a success. Merry Christmas to you & family Dan!!

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