I'm incredibly pleased to announce Switcher University! For over 20 years, the best and most satisfying part of my work has been teaching people how to do new, cool and useful things with their technology. And now technology allows me to create online courses that you can take anywhere, anytime, at your own pace, and keep going back to anytime you want to review.
I'm offering my first free course right now on Switcher University. If you register now you'll get permanent access to the course content and special updates and really good stuff from me that I typically charge hundreds of dollars for - but completely free for the first 100 who register. I love sharing how-tos that give you back more time, and make your life more fun! And as a thanks to everyone who's been so supportive of Switcher University, I've posted a fun how-to at the bottom of this blog post on how to sign any document on your Mac without a pen, printer or scanner. It's way cool and even won me major hubby points numerous times.
What's most special about Switcher University is that I'm going to teach more than just how-tos with technology, I'm going to teach how to learn new technology. I remember for years my father, a classical guitarist, telling me "I can't possibly become an expert at this..." as he was struggling with how to use Finale, a music transcription application, on the Mac. A lot hinged on his getting proficient with Finale: Warner Brothers had asked him to author "Star Wars for Classical Guitar", and if that book was successful, several other book opportunities would come his way.
So I wrote down how to do things. I explained why. We took the time to talk about how and why things work a certain way on a Mac, and not just what steps to do. Within weeks he was calling me up screaming in delight, asking me to come over (remote access was pretty weak back in the day... but I'd want to come over anyway... he was dad!). He'd show me what he did, and then he'd show me new things he learned how to do himself. He smiled ear-to-ear and told me how liberating it felt to learn how to learn. I remember smiling and telling him he "had graduated", and we both laughed together.
My father told me years ago that the reason for going to college or a university was primarily to learn how to think. Years later, I gave a lecture at the University of California at Irvine, to students in the top 1% who were getting ready to graduate. I was asked by the Dean of Students to help them understand how I went from a B.A. degree in Japanese Language and Literature to running an IT company. These students shared with me how frustrated they were: They had nearly finished four or five years in a world-class university, and most of them didn't want to get a job "doing what they had studied" or "doing what their parents wanted them to do".
I remember my father telling me it didn't matter what I studied. Don't get me wrong- for some technical jobs (brain surgeon) you have to study to prepare. But my father's point was: Learn what you love - in my case it's communication - and learning how to understand a foreign language, a foreign culture and way of thinking - helped me enter and become successful in the tech industry - helping be a "translator" of tech to business owners, entrepreneurs, executives and other people who care to learn what they need to know.
I used the white board to share with the students my process for learning, from deciding what will give me the impact and results I want, to my process for picking the 20% of information that will give me an 80% impact in the shortest period of time, to getting comfortable with making mistakes so I can practice, practice more, and practice more. Do it enough - and learn to do it well even if you're slower at first, and later you'll be able to do it like you're born to do it.
Then I walked into an Apple Store several months ago and noticed something. It had always been all around me but I hadn't noticed it before. Customers in the store are dying to learn new information. And what's being taught? What steps to do. It made sense to me: The largest tech company on the face of the planet is teaching the same way they've trained techs - including me: Steps and process flows. Which is why I have the hardest time finding techs who can think and get to what a customer wants, not just what the customer is asking for.
Apple's success is largely because they created an awesome game-changing phone and its ecosystem of apps and features. One would think that everyone using an iPhone would be using a Mac by now. But that's not the case, and switching - moving from a Windows PC to a Mac - is happening slowly. Way too slowly.
I believe it's because of one fact: A product company (Apple) is exactly that: A product company. Teaching is a service, not a product. Teaching requires going beyond the product. At Switcher University, I'm going to provide courses for Windows users how to make their Apple devices work and sync better, how to use all sorts of Apple technologies on their PCs, like iCloud and iTunes Match. I'm going to provide courses on how to use other technologies - like Google, Nest, Office 365, Meraki and more, with a Mac, Apple devices and even with Windows PCs.
And what I teach at Switcher University will be based on more than any company or its products, it will be based on you, your wishes, your desires and your interests. If there's one thing I've built as a personal reputation, it's a passion for service. At Switcher University, I'm going to have the ultimate opportunity to work with each and every student who registers for any class - free or otherwise - so I can help them succeed. Like how I felt when my dad told me that his life had changed when he became in control of his technology, helping you will be the most satisfying part of what I do.
Check out Switcher University here. And check and register for any of our courses here. When you register for any course, even a free one, you'll get my updates with some fun how-tos, like the one I posted this morning on how to sign any document on a Mac without a pen, printer or scanner (one of my favorite time-savers!):