As an immigrant, entrepreneur, and self-taught coder, I feel like I’ve been hustling my whole life.
I prefer learning, creating, and innovating at a fast pace. Though I led software engineering teams on behalf of Microsoft, Accenture and others, settling for a safe job at a big company never appealed to me. I’ve always been a little too ambitious with too many ideas floating in my head, too many people to network with, and so much more to learn.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, millions of people lost jobs and those who managed to hold on to them had to learn how to be productive working remotely. Kids were sent home from school, forcing parents to readjust their entire lives.
Yes, the pandemic is a huge challenge for the world, for my old neighborhood in South Central LA and the LatinX community that has been hit especially hard. But, challenges also spark innovation and ideas. So, early on during this global crisis, the extremely talented team at Koder and I started asking each other deeper questions about how we can leverage our expertise and knowledge to help people.
- What could we do as a team to help talented individuals who would like to earn money from home?
- What could we do to help laid-off workers learn new skills and prepare for a new career?
- What about those who have already moved their classes to Zoom? How can we improve their experience and help them make more income?
- And, what about stay-at-home moms and dads who are looking for a side hustle while trying to keep their kids engaged with their education?
Teaching and Taking Live Classes Safely During the Pandemic
As millions of students begin school during a deadly pandemic and global recession, we thought now would be the best time to introduce U, a new live class platform that enables anyone to teach a live class or a series of classes, pass along their expertise, and earn money for doing so. For participants, it’s a safe way to build skills, learn something new, or start looking at changing careers.
Working with an extreme sense of urgency to meet this challenge, we put together a team of coders and built the first version of the U platform in just two months. Today, we’re introducing a technical preview which is available at https://u.camp.
Everything You Need in One Platform
I have a friend who is teaching classes online. Her process for interacting with students during the pandemic is something like, “I’ll send out a Zoom link, we’ll all connect there. But, can you PayPal me the money for the class? And if you need anything afterward, just text me or message me on Facebook.”
That sounds like a headache and one of the problems we’re solving. U is designed to take the hassle out of the process for both instructors and participants. The platform is tightly integrated with Zoom but brings billing, class management, chat support for instructors and participants, and lots more. Instructors can set the cost of their classes and recruit their own participants via email or social media in addition to reaching participants from U’s network of learners.
What’s Available Now, What’s Coming Soon
Shortly thereafter, the variety of classes being offered will greatly expand. Sure, we’ll offer coders a chance to sharpen their skills, but the platform will also offer classes in a variety of other categories including Business, Math, Science, and more.
Also coming very soon, we’ll start offering our own boot camps – a series of live classes that enable instructors to teach participants over the course of many days and weeks. Many of these will be free of charge during the pandemic as our way of giving back.
The pandemic has escalated the need to challenge inequities and drive inclusivity. Through U, participants can choose the subjects that interest them the most, and learn at the pace they are most comfortable with.
In addition, a platform like U appeals to those who like the hustle. While we’re all stuck at home, it’s up to you to decide how’d you like to spend your time. If you’d like to turn that spare time into a side hustle for some extra income (or dip your toe into a new career path), please sign up and explore U. We’ll be sending out invite codes on a rolling basis leading up to our public launch.