Mike McGee, co-founder of The Starter League, a software school that gives students from all over the world a three month long opportunity to learn and network with the best Chicago developers and entrepreneurs, will be speaking Friday at SoMe’s October Insight event.
We love The Starter League for many reasons, but the fact that they launched and grew their business using Twitter especially warms our social media hearts.
Mike will reveal all his best social media tactics on Friday. But as a teaser to his talk, SoMe sat down with Mike for a quick chat on the Mac Classic, DJing, and the best question a student has ever asked.
SoMe: What is your earliest memory of working with computers?
Mike McGee: I remember when my dad got us a Mac Classic computer. It was pretty awesome at the time, but my iPhone is like 5,000x more powerful than it now. And that actually might be an understatement. I don’t remember much else about it besides that fact that I played a lot of Tetris on it.
SM: Many people are intimidated by coding. What’s the secret to getting people comfortable with the subject?
MM: There are things in our lives that come easy or hard to us. When you think about the things you can do now that were initially hard, think back on how that happened. For me, I got good at coding because I worked hard and was really passionate about getting to a level of proficiency.
You can apply this thinking to coding. It’s not easy to learn, but it’s easier than you think. The best way to get to that level of proficiency is to have a website or web app that you want to make real. The desire to make something real will help you learn how to code.
SM: I know Twitter has played a huge role in growing The Starter League. What’s one thing people get wrong when trying to grow their brand on Twitter?
MM: It’s important to share your story, but that can’t be 100% of what you do with social media. What we love way more than sharing our story is sharing the successes of our current students, alumni, and friends.
So basically, share and care about others instead of yourself.
SM: How do you start your day?
MM: I’m a morning person, so I wake up between 4:30-5:15 AM (usually closer to 5:15 AM) and go through some emails. After that, I go play basketball and workout at a local gym, then come back and make breakfast. Then I go to sleep because I’m still really tired (just kidding); I go into The Starter League HQ and get more work done.
SM: What is the best question a student has ever asked you?
MM: “I’m having problems with my code, can you help?” Since I help run a coding and design school, this obviously comes up a lot. The reason why I chose this question is because when a student asks this question we as staff or mentors don’t just give them the answer, instead we teach them how to troubleshoot for the answer themselves. We do this because when they leave our school, we are not going to be around every time they run into a problem, so the most important skill we teach is how to troubleshoot problems.
SM: What’s one skill you’d still like to learn?
MM: I’m very passionate about music so one of my early dream jobs was to be a music producer. I also would love to become a DJ because my dad was a DJ (my mom is pretty good too at a party) so I want to follow in their footsteps one day.
SM: What’s one thing that never fails to motivate you?
MM: Since I’m a morning person I have always loved this quote by the designer and overall badass James Victore:
“We’re like the army. We get more work done by 9am than most people do in a full day.”
My world is quiet in the morning and gives me the best time to get work done, so I like to take advantage of it.
Don’t miss Mike’s Insight talk about growing a brand on social this Friday, October 25 at Bin36 Wine Bar. Enjoy a delicious meal and network with industry professionals. Tickets are going fast, register through Eventbrite today!