As we hustle towards preparing our biggest content launch in history, I thought it more important than ever to talk with the team about why we do what we do. Just a few months ago we’ve grown to over 100 team members, so we got together as a team and asked ourselves what it really means to be part of Linux Academy. We came up with 5 mission statement values that are core to Linux Academy’s DNA since we launched in 2012:

  1. We support others in their mission to learn and grow
  2. We are committed to changing the world by changing lives
  3. We believe in the curiosity to learn, the vulnerability to try, the persistence to succeed, and the strength of community
  4. We put our students’ futures first
  5. We dedicate ourselves to pushing the boundaries of online learning

But coming up with these values alone is a useless exercise. What matters is living and breathing these values, and embedding these in everything we do. So I was curious to know how our team members relate these values to their day-to-day and what those values mean to them.

I was amazed by the responses! Each team member’s reason was so personal and genuine, that as I was reading them, I kept thinking “I need to share this with the rest of our team!” Then I thought, everyone should see this! Our students should see this!

So here it is…some of these have typos that I left in there on purpose. These are the raw responses — responses that each teammate thought would stay in Slack. They had no idea these would be shared with the world, and that’s probably why they are so genuine. We started with “we are committed to changing the world by changing lives” … take a look:

We are committed to changing the world by changing lives.

Christophe: I’m back with another QOTD featuring another mission value! How do you think we’re committed to changing the world by changing lives, and what does that really mean to you?

I’ll start: When I was a kid, I was trying to learn Visual Basic to build bots for a video game called Starcraft 1. I built this thing from the ground up and everything worked really well except for the most critical part — actually connecting to the servers so it could interact with people. I was stuck, and I couldn’t figure out how to do it. At the time, my only programming mentors were people online who were around my age or a little bit older, and they had no intentions of helping me. Frustrated, I dropped the project and took a long break from programming. Looking back, if I had found a helpful resource and powered through, I’d be light years ahead with my programming skills. What does this have to do with the QOTD? Well, this weekend we held a Linux trivia at TXLF, and one of the questions was very easy to anyone who has a little bit of experience with Linux, but a beginner would have no idea how to answer it. When Terry asked it, someone in the back of the room said something like “if you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to leave.” That is the exact mentality that held me back when I needed help, and that made me think this would be too hard for me and that I wasn’t smart enough — and that is the *exact opposite* of what we do at Linux Academy. Everyone is welcome here. Everyone, no matter their skill set, can jump in and learn something new without being judged on our platform. If I had Linux Academy as a resource when I ran into that roadblock, I could have powered through and it would have changed my life…now think of all the people who’s lives we are changing and the impact it could have — we could be training someone who will create a technology that changes society as a whole, whereas otherwise they might have given up.

Starcraft 1

Starcraft 1 screenshot – good times

pzona [9:57 AM]

this is an interesting question because it ties back to what technology means, in my opinion. we’re obviously changing lives by enabling people to get better jobs, get promotions, and things like that – but even with all the awesome stories of changing careers and things like that (there are a LOT), i don’t see that as the most important part of our mission. we’re teaching people real skills, and linux/cloud computing is just a tool in accomplishing some larger goal. say we have a student who’s studying for a cert exam to get a promotion at work – awesome, but the effects are deeper than that. maybe he or she picks up some tricks along the way that allow him to develop that side project they’ve wanted to do to contribute to social good. maybe they are able to get their work done faster so they can spend more time doing work in their community. i see individual potential, not business efficiency, as the biggest force for good and i love the fact that we are able to provide such high quality training at a price that regular people can afford. so i guess that’s how i see us making a difference in the world

olivia [10:03 AM]

It’s awesome to see our notifications and tags on social media about how our courses helped someone get certified or get a new career! Going to Interop and talking to our students/future students first-hand was even better because you really got to hear about people’s need for our training in their lives/work/business and see their faces light up when we told them about our hands-on labs and training/new content. I love that we offer so many different ways to learn because everyone learns in a different way!

Davis Engeler [10:08 AM]

That’s awesome. I’m with @pzona, especially with that particular quote. LA definitely offers the potential to change a person’s life by changing/upping their career, but to me the implications of putting these extremely powerful tools in the hands of more and more people will quite literally help shape the future of the world. Enabling thousands and thousands of people to ~manifest~ actually build something from an idea that might otherwise be a “wouldn’t that be cool if this existed” kinda thing. It has huge implications. Love it. (edited)
Also understanding _how to think or talk about it_ and what its capabilities are. Once you learn a new tool, your mind starts thinking of how it can apply it and sparks new ideas you wouldn’t have had before knowing the tool.

Linux Academy team at Ronald McDonald house

Part of the team at the Ronald McDonald House Charities

mollison [10:32 AM]
These are all so awesome! To me, this value means not only changing lives professionally by getting a better job and/or promotion, but on a much more personal level. We’re teaching people that they CAN succeed, even if they think their goals are too farfetched, or they aren’t smart enough. I’m in a masters program right now, and there have been times I’ve felt the same, and I so wish my program had a strong community for students like we do at LA. Through our community and all of the words of encouragement, we’re showing that we believe in our students and we’re encouraging them to believe in themselves. With our self-paced learning platform, even the busiest students are able to achieve their goals, and hopefully seeing the success and support through LA will give them the confidence to pursue and accomplish other goals they have in life. I have always been a huge believer of “you can do anything you set your mind to”, and I think we do a great job of helping our students do just that.

ingrid [10:18 AM]
I am committed to changing the world by changing lives through storytelling. I created an animation this week for the “150+ new content” campaign to give life to the objects and elements to connect to the student in a more effective way. I have started animating a few course banners as well so the student can experience animation through storytelling. (edited)

150+ Linux Academy July Content Launch

150+ July Content Launch – Our Biggest in History

typefasterjoel [10:27 AM]
This is probably one of my favorite ones from our mission statements. It’s mainly the reason I got into the field that I am. It’s also one of the big reasons why we started introducing some of the new graphical elements (inspiring photography, brighter colors, etc) onto all of our designs and on the new landing pages that we’ve created for the external site. Our goal should serve to be an inspiration. Just like you said, Christophe, we invite everyone no matter who they are or what skill level and for any new student that might not have any experience in doing that the first step to changing their live can be extremely difficult. With the small changes we’ve done and the ones that we’re coming up next through the animations nate and ingrid have been doing and paying more attention to provoke a feeling of empowerment to all of our students externally and internally to know that we’re here to give them that much needed help at the beginning of their journey.

Nate Koehler [10:38 AM]
I think of the changing the world through changing lives as a trickle-down effect. Starting with the positive attitudes of the product team. That attitude allows for more encouragement of each other, leading to the desire to make good work on behalf of ourselves and the team, (and in theory) leading to success in marketing, eventually creating success for the company through the success of our students, by creating the live-changing moments for our students. It’s like that expression “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Success for us means success for our students and the cycle continues back and forth, as our product gets better our students get better.

chazzledazzle [12:28 PM]
This is my favorite core value. Since I was a child, I’ve always known that my mission in life is to help others. This actually came from a vision I had in a dream when I was five, but that is a whole other story.. (thought I was destined to be a clown, which I embarked on for awhile. Lol) when I found Linux Academy, I was 100% confident this was the job for based on the mission to change people’s lives. When someone learns a new skill to advance their career, that bonus could pay for a little girls dance lessons, college fund, or the ability to keep a love one comforted in a dark time. Our training could be helping someone working on an application to help reduce individuals considering suicide. Heck, our community shows people that others genuinely care – that can impact someone in ways you could never imagine. One smile can change someone’s day, or even life. That’s dramatic, I know, but it’s true! For all these reasons and more, we are making a difference in the world. Yesterday, I had a meeting with the [redacted for our partner’s privacy] team, and they told me about how a school district is using cloud technology to detect red flags for children considering suicide. They saved 15 lives this year!

Want to have an impactful and challenging career?

We’re hiring! Come join a team that’s passionate about pushing the boundaries of online learning and contributing back to the community. Every life that we touch will change the world. Who knows, we might be training the next person that will cure cancer, solve world hunger, or end war.

Ronald McDonald House Volunteering

Helping kids in need – it’s not all about technology

One response to “How our students are changing the world”

  1. David Lowe says:

    Christophe,

    Thanks for sharing the values and the personal stories from the staff. I was gratified to see so many folks are on the same journey that I am on, which you have put wonderfully, “the curiosity to learn, the vulnerability to try, and the persistence to succeed.”

    I am a fan of the famous author, Seth Godin, and Seth once wrote…
    “The path forward, it seems, is to connect. To earn enrollment in having others join you in a journey of education. If you can teach something, find someone who will benefit and teach them. And if you can connect and make education accessible, it creates a new standard for the people you care about.”

    So, keep up the great work and keep connecting and enrolling people for this community. We are all rooting for each other.

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