146500048 Founders: Learning should be your top 2013 New Year’s resolution

As we get closer to the New Year, the ritual of making resolutions begins and we all flock to the usual patterns: we want to to eat healthier, work out more, get promoted, or spend more time with our kids and family.

These are with no doubt worthwhile goals, but I’d like to pose an important challenge for founders: Make learning and development your key resolution in 2013.

If you’re a startup, you are by definition competing with the smartest people in the world – either large companies with more resources than yours or fellow entrepreneurs who are hoping to disrupt large companies.

Your knowledge can make the difference between failure and success. Learning a new skill can also increase the chance of serendipity, the “magic” moment when seemingly unrelated concepts form an orignal thought in your head.

Considering picking up new skills? I’ve gathered a comprehensive list of resources for startup learning. Let’s get started!

Udacity

Udacity offers a range of free online courses from top University professors. A few of the top courses include:

  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (CS271): Includes machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, robotics, and natural language processing.
  • How to Build a Startup (EP245) by Steve Blank: You’ll learn the key steps of the Customer Development process. How to identify and engage the first customers for your product, and how to gather, evaluate and use their feedback to make your product, marketing and business model far stronger.
  • Also worth subscribing to is Venture Lab – a series of startup courses online from Stanford University, for free.

Udemy

Startup courses from Udemy, a crowdsourced platform for learning:

  • Learn how to raise money for your startup: The most popular course on Udemy, gathering advice from 7 founder CEOs including Naval (founder of AngelList), Dave McLure (founder of 500 Startups) and others. Learn how to raise capital from angel investors and venture capitalists (and how to decide who you should target).
  • Social media marketing for startups: How to use social to launch, position your messaging and get distribution.
  • Startup Hiring: How to attract, hire and retain the best people.
  • How to Bootstrap Your Startup: Everything you need to start your business – how to take an idea on paper and bring it to life.
  • Strategy Mapping Selling: Business-to-business sales and marketing – advanced selling and marketing strategies for major and key account sales.

Technical courses from Udemy:

Coursera

Coursera also offers free online courses given by professors in top universities:

  • Programming Languages by Dan Grossman of University of Washington: Investigate the basic concepts behind programming languages, with a strong emphasis on the techniques and benefits of functional programming.
  • Cryptography II by Dan Boneh, Stanford University Professor: Learn about the inner workings of cryptographic primitives and protocols and how to apply this knowledge in real-world applications.

Coursera is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

edX

Harvard and MIT created edX, an online learning platform with great content. edX currently offers HarvardX, MITx and BerkeleyX classes online for free.

Skillshare

Skillshare lets you learn skills from other people. Really interactive way of learning:

Codecademy

Pick up your programming skills from Codecademy. Interactive way to learn how to code :

YouTube

YouTube has its own channel dedicated to educational content at YouTube EDU. It contains a broad set of educational videos that range from academic lectures to inspirational speeches and everything in between.

Lore

Lore (Learn + More), formerly known as CourseKit, has some great courses on deck. It’s also beautifully designed.

Khan Academy

 Khan Academy has a huge range of free educational videos. A few selections:

It is essential that you take steps like these in order to be prepared for the challenges and competition ahead. And there’s no better time to get started than the coming year. As Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry, stay foolish!”

Image Credit: Frederick Florin/Getty Images