Hello, I'm Ravinder Deol. I'm a founder, creator, alumni of Seth Godin's altMBA, and currently participating in Le Wagon's FullStack Web Development Bootcamp in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal.
I was born in the United Kingdom, and left school at 16. I’ve packed pitta breads in a factory, been the project assistant to a CEO, and founded an information products company. I’m grateful my products have been used by over 100,000 people, in 193 countries.
I’ve been fortunate to visit 25+ countries, and live in Malta for 2 years. Now I'm an Estonian e-resident, embracing the remote life.
Send me an email if you wish to discuss any potential opportunities.
Over the last several years, I have produced over 20 courses which have been taken by over 100,000 students in 193 countries.
I've designed, developed and maintained these digital information products. Hence I can support your project right across the digital product creation process, right from conception to user growth.
I like my work to do the talking so if there's a project I can potentially support you in, please send me an email with a brief project description which we can then discuss in more detail.
Is Entrepreneurship The Highest Potential Path To Wealth?
November 2019, Kuala Lumpur
Reading Time: 4 Minutes, 52 Seconds
“You’re partly a reason of what’s wrong with society. Narrow minded, and a sheep.” - A Quora user, whose name I’ll keep private.
A while back someone requested my answer to the following question on Quora; Is entrepreneurship the highest potential path to wealth?
I jumped at the chance to answer this!
Especially as my views went against the majority of the others.
I wasn’t taking an opposite point of view for the sake of it, I believed in it. Well the point of view I did take seemed to have struck accord, with it racking up 96,400~ views, and 295~ upvotes.
As is with posting something publicly on the interwebs, some people won’t be so thrilled, and they’ll express it as was the case here (you can scroll through some of the comments to the answer).
Don’t get me wrong, some answers were actually very constructive providing their own point of view. However others, as the one I started this post with, were well, pretty f------ pointless.
Now I don’t want this post to be about trending on Quora.
Rather, the question at hand...
Is entrepreneurship the highest potential path to wealth?
The premise of the answer I provided was not based on individual cases, but rather a much wider research undertaken by Compass. Which concluded that 73% of founders make $50,000 (USD) per year, or less.
Following that up with the how media portrays entrepreneurship, as the most likely way to become wealthy. Which I don’t believe is the case, however it is one of many ways to achieve financial success.
Of course, I couldn’t just leave my answer at that.
I dived deeper.
I suggested that if people wanted a higher potential path to wealth, that they should build a career at one of the big four firms:
According to CPA Exam Guy, the average salary of a tax accountant at KPMG is between $46,000 (USD) - $62,000 (USD), excluding bonuses. After five years the average salary shoots up to $106,000 (USD).
Or, at one of the FANG’s:
The median salary for an employee at Facebook was $240,430 (USD), excluding bonuses. According to 2017 statistics provided by Equilar.
Banking could be added onto this list:
JPMorgan ChaseBank of AmericaWells FargoCitigroupGoldman Sachs
According to data provided Glassdoor, JPMorgan pay between $81,000 (USD) - $170,000 (USD) for Analyst positions. Not too shabby is it!
People who read my answer, and then commented, brought up valuable points. One being, that salary is different to wealth.
I agree, no question of a doubt.
But it’s pretty hard to build wealth (net worth) without any money.
Another common comment I received was that entrepreneurs will generally take the bulk of their income in the form of dividends etc.
Once again, true.
But now we’re assuming this mythical startup is making enough to justify a decent wedge for the founder, in the form of dividends.
Also, please don’t explain how entrepreneurs dodge taxes to me as one commenter did. As a TLDR; tax avoidance (minimising your tax) is legal, however tax evasion (not paying your taxes) is illegal.
Once again, we’re assuming this startup is generating enough revenue to even justify working on ways to minimize their tax bill.
You don’t need me to tell you the survival rate of startups! I can’t count the times a startup has built something that nobody needs.
But want to know my favourite comment of all?
“Elon Musk’s salary at Tesla was $56,000 (USD), and is now $37,000 (USD). Definitely not a wealthy guy, that Musk.”
To be honest, I was waiting for the moment this was brought up. Yes, these are exceptional human-beings, and entrepreneurs. But in the case of entrepreneurs, they are outliers, not the norm.
Most entrepreneurs won’t be the next Elon Musk.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
But assuming that is the norm, is setting yourself up for failure.
The two things that surprised me more than anything, was how many of the people who commented assumed the following in their comments:
Employees earning a high salary won’t invest their money, for example regular contributions to a good S&P 500 Index Fund.
How they were guaranteed success after launching a startup, for example assuming that they’ll get a huge exit to set you up.
If you’ve read this far you’re probably thinking one of two things:
This guy is really bashing starting your own business, he must’ve seriously been burned in whatever he tried to launch.
He seems to really have a point to pick with those who commented on his Quora answer with opposite opinions.
By no means am I saying, don’t start a business if you want to become wealthy. After all, starting a business is what I did, and have been doing for as long as I know (shocker - not every project sticks).
Now when I’m asked what I do, I tend to reply with; “err, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that really. I mean I get by.”.
Running a business provides opportunities which other paths can’t. However, that’s another topic in itself which could go on and on.
The book e-myths is a must read for anyone starting up. If you’ve read it you’ll understand what I mean when I say that most people create a job for themselves. Whereas they desired the opposite.
But understand that if wealth accumulation is your only goal, then it might be easier to build wealth doing a job that you love. Your monthly pay cheque can then be poured into some solid investments.
Not every career path forms part of the rat race, where you’ll be bound to corporate politics in a cubicle, especially with the rise in remote working which more companies are adopting every year.
Yes you’ll need to perform to reap the rewards (I’m not saying it’s going to be easy), but that’s true of anything. Do the work!
I think the reason my answer accumulated so many comments, was that the question can be interpreted in many different ways. All of which I was intrigued to hear, and thankful for the challenge on.
How To Build A Career In The Blockchain Industry
December 2019, New York
Reading Time: 5 Minutes, 10 Seconds
Having had 100,000 students go through my blockchain classes online, there’s one question most students tend to ask. That being, how do you build a career in the blockchain industry? After all, most people take classes to advance their career. So this is a worthy question.
Therefore in this post I’ll breakdown potential blockchain careers, as well as routes into them.
Before I do so, if you’re new to blockchain let me help you understand it at surface level before delving deeper. I’ll be using a famous analogy shared by William Mougayar.
“With Google Docs (or Google Sheets), both parties have access to the same document at the same time, and the single version of that document is always visible to both of them. It is like a shared ledger, but it is a shared document. The distributed part comes into play when sharing involves many people.”
This analogy is perhaps one of the most enlightening I have yet to come across. You can read William Mougayar’s full blockchain analogy here on Coindesk.
After reading this analogy you might be wondering; isn’t this all ridiculously inefficient?
After all, just imagine the terabytes of data that are wasted by storing the entire blockchain repeatedly. And think about all of the wasted computing power created by the miners having to perform cryptography and agree on every transaction.
And actually, you’re right: blockchain technology is wasteful. Not only because of all the duplication, but also because a lot of the very complex computing-power intensive calculations that miners do, end up getting thrown out or invalidated.
But let’s leave that aside for a second, because the truth is no matter how you cut it blockchain is still extremely wasteful - by design.
You see, it turns out that because blockchain is so wasteful, it’s also extremely secure. While it may not make sense from an efficiency standpoint to keep every transaction on every single full node, it makes the blockchain literally impenetrable.
I hope this analogy helped give you a surface level understanding of this technology we label blockchain, behind the infamous cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and more.
Let's fork now, and discuss career paths in this industry. Let's face it, if there were no opportunities available it wouldn’t be half as interesting. Luckily, that’s not the case.
What Sort Of Career Path Is Open For Me With Blockchain?
I bet you’ve probably assumed this one already. If so, you’d be right in assuming the most in-demand positions in the blockchain industry are software engineering.
In fact research conducted by Glassdoor in May 2019 found that, software engineering positions dominated open blockchain job postings with a 23.32% share.
In order of top occupations for open blockchain positions they are as follows:
Software EngineersFront End EngineersRisk AnalystMarketing ManagerProduct ManagerTechnology ArchitectFull Stack EngineerDevOps EngineerBack End EngineerProduct DesignerQA Engineer
I’d actually recommend listening to this podcast episode, where a blockchain recruiter discusses the job market in this industry. The recruiter also discusses how engineers, business development executives, data analysts, and marketers can enter the blockchain ecosystem.
Who’s Hiring Blockchain ‘People’ Anyway?
Quite a few established companies as it happens. In order of highest to lowest, here are the top 15 employers by number of blockchain related job offerings:
IBMOraclePWCEYCoinbaseSAPAmazonRippleKPMGConsensysBlock OneBlockchainAxiom ZenAccentureKraken
I Want To Get Paid Well, Is That Even Possible With Blockchain?
Demand is through the roof, and that only means one thing.
Above average salaries!
Whilst salaries across the spectrum of careers in the blockchain varies, data shows that the majority of jobs in this industry fall into the $81k - $144k per annum bracket.
That along with the number of full-time openings growing by 400% in 2018, is a strong factor to consider when you’re considering the scope of working in this industry.
Naturally the USA leads the way with the highest average salary, however it’s closely followed by Remote (location), Asia, and Europe. The opportunity is there!
So That All Sounds Pretty Amazing, What’s Next?
Naturally, I think it’s important you set your learning goals before starting your Blockchain learning journey. Really pinpoint what you want to learn in this ecosystem. That way you can ensure you define your career path in the blockchain industry!
Sources of Blockchain education are growing at an incredible rate. Coinbase published a report on this topic. Some of the key findings were as follows:
56% Of The Top 50 Universities Offer At Least One Blockchain CourseTwice As Many Students Took A Blockchain Course Over 201870%~ Of Blockchain Courses Are Outside Of Computer Science
Now as someone who wants to start their journey learning about this technology, where can you look if you’re after some official certification. Here are ten of the leading educational institutions offering Blockchain programs, many are online:
The University Of Nicosia: Masters In Digital CurrencyUniversity Of Oxford: Blockchain Strategy ProgramPrinceton University: Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency TechnologiesThe State University Of New York: Blockchain SpecialisationDuke University: Fintech Law & PolicyUniversity Of Hong Kong: Blockchain & FintechUniversity Of California: Professional Certificate In BlockchainThe Linux Foundation: Professional Certificate In Blockchain For BusinessUdacity: Become A Blockchain Developer NanodegreeInsead: Blockchain Revolution For The Enterprise Specialisation
But what if you’re not particularly interested in some sort of official certification, yet you’re tired of watching outdated Youtube tutorials. What are your options then?
Buidl School: Ethereum Blockchain Developer CourseConsenSys Academy: Bridging The Blockchain Knowledge GapEthHub: Resource For Ethereum InformationKauri: Learn To Build On Ethereum With KauriBlockgeeks: Blockchain Training & EducationBlockchain Training Alliance - Blockchain Training & CertificationCrypto Zombies: Learn To Code Games On Ethereum
These are just a select range of Blockchain training programmes worth your time.
Naturally, there are books by renowned authors with practical experience in this space such as; Andreas Antonopoulos, Thomas Wiesner & William Mougayar.
As well as fantastic, and regular Youtube tutorials from the likes of; Dapp University, Hashoshi & Ivan On Tech. There are so many resources out there!
Some questions you should be asking yourself are the following:
Do I Want Practical Or Theoretical Blockchain Knowledge?If I Want A Career Change, Shall I Focus On Corporate BlockchainsWhat Blockchain Do I Want To Master?What Fundamentals Do I First Need To Master?What Is My Current Skill Level, So I Spend Time On The Right Things?
Putting Blockchain to one side. You don’t build a house top down, so why should you learn something in that way. Understand the foundations of Blockchain technology first, then layer everything else you need to learn upon that.
Why I Joined A Coding Bootcamp
January 2020, Lisbon
Reading Time: 5 Minutes, 41 Seconds
Since committing to Le Wagon’s Coding Bootcamp in Lisbon I’ve been asked many times, why are you learning to code? It’s something I don’t have one answer to.
In fact, I have a few answers to that question. Let me explain.
Building My Own Projects With Code
I like to think of myself as well versed when it comes to building projects with no code, taking advantage of powerful tools such as Webflow. But as powerful as these tools are, they have limitations which I feel I’ve tested. Hence the desire to code.
I crave control over my product(s), without building to the limitation of a platform.
After using a whole host of no-code tools, I genuinely think it’s more efficient to be able to code, over learning the ins and outs of each new no-code platform.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love no-code tools. They allow you to build projects in a matter of days, which would have otherwise taken weeks. But if you really want to take your building skills to the next level, learning to code is the next step.
Taking On Contract Projects
Occasionally I come across interesting projects I’d love to work on, but right now they’re out my remit. I want to work on solving those challenging problems.
As some readers may know, I’ve published numerous cryptocurrency & blockchain courses which have been taken by over 100,000 students. By learning to code, I’m also hoping I can support projects in the fintech ecosystem further.
I want to become a Swiss army knife!
Worked Online For The Last Decade
This is a reason in itself.
For someone who has launched, grown, and sold online businesses over the past decade it surprises some that I don’t code, heck it even surprises me.
I’ve done copywriting, online marketing, sales and more. All of which are crucial, but learning to code is the missing knowledge gap I want to fill.
As Naval Ravikant of AngelList put it:
“Learn to sell. Learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.”
With the rise of no-code platforms, I think people are underestimating how important learning to code still is. No-code tools have their place, but by no means are they killing code. Coding skills will be as crucial as ever this decade.
I understand I won’t attain mastery through the bootcamp, but I’ll be in a much stronger position than I was prior to joining the bootcamp. Post Le Wagon, beating on the craft of coding is the only way I’ll progressively get better.
This bootcamp is going to be stimulating. It’s going to work parts of my brain I’ve not worked before, on top of breaking down my preconceived coding beliefs.
As a lifelong learner, Le Wagon’s full-stack bootcamp is a challenge I’m relishing!
🖥️ Why Learn To Code At Le Wagon?
I’ve tried coding before, and failed.
It’s not that I didn’t want to code previously. More so it was the learning environment, and mindset I had around coding at that time. I was trying to learn in a way which didn’t suit my learning style, and thinking only certain people can code.
Without knowing, I set myself up for failure.
Over the past few years I’ve come to understand how I learn best. It’s not through online courses which was my initial approach, rather through immersive in-person courses. This is part of the reason why I chose Le-Wagon, over those such as Launch School. Applying that time, and capital pressure in my learning helps me focus.
Now that I knew I wanted to attend an in-person coding bootcamp, I started doing some more research. Sites such as Course Report, and Switch Up were fantastic for surface level research. In fact, you’ll find Le Wagon ranks as the best bootcamp!
But that surface level research wasn’t enough alone to make me commit. Fortunately I have a friend who previously attended Le Wagon, and she kindly answered all of the questions that I had about the bootcamp (thank you Carly!).
On top of that, I shared the Le Wagon’s curriculum with some developer friends. Being proficient career software developers, they gave me some great feedback.
Finally, I watched numerous demo days which Le Wagon stream on YouTube. Admittedly, I kind of got addicted to these. It was fascinating to see what others had built during the final weeks of the Le Wagon fullstack web development bootcamp.
I was actually surprised that other bootcamps didn’t do this, reason being it helped me logically put the curriculum together by seeing the end result. It was powerful.
🇵🇹 Why Did You Decide On Lisbon?
Once I knew that it had to be Le Wagon, next was deciding on which campus.
Having travelled to 25+ countries, and 10+ countries in 2019 alone I’ve fully embraced the remote lifestyle. So my choice of which campus to attend was open. All I knew was that I wanted to be in either South America, or Europe.
To help me make the decision, I created a Google Sheet comparing all the campuses I wanted to attend. Seen as Le Wagon’s curriculum is standard across all campuses, I only compared them on price (converting to GBP), and number of teachers.
I narrowed my choice of which campus to attend down to Buenos Aires or Lisbon. Lisbon won for me. It was a mixture of recommendation, excellent communication the team, and a little bit of personal bias of wanting to be back in Europe.
📚 Starting The Le Wagon Bootcamp
I was in New York at the time I decided to join Le Wagon.
Le Wagon’s application process was straightforward. It involved an online application, asking certain questions such as my motivation for wanting to code.
After submitting my application, I was invited to have an informal chat. I got to ask questions about the bootcamp, and they got to understand my motivations.
Once all was said and done, I’d officially joined Le Wagon’s January 2020 cohort.
Join I did. The work started.
Every student is tasked with working through 60~ hours of prerequisite work which must be completed before the start date. I can see how this could become overwhelming very quickly, so I decided to pace myself. I completed all my pre-work as I travelled through Asia during the last quarter of 2019.
The bootcamp officially starts on the 13th January 2020, running through to the 13th March 2020. Five days a week (09:00 - 19:00), this is going to be a challenge.
All in all fixed costs for the bootcamp came to €7,800~. This includes the bootcamp fee of €5,900, and my AirBnB of €1,900~. This excludes my day-to-day expenditure.
I’ll be writing another post once I’ve got settled into the bootcamp, so be sure to follow me on Twitter or Instagram to hear about how I get on at Le Wagon.
If you have any opportunities you’d like to discuss, or simply questions about my time on Le Wagon’s fullstack bootcamp drop me an email (or tweet me).
An Overview of Bitcoin: From $0 to $100,000,000,000+
February 2020, Lisbon
Reading Time: 3 Minutes, 19 Seconds
Life moves pretty fast…
If you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Excuse the reference to the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I couldn't help myself.
I just had this ringing of Ferris Bueller's most famous quote in my ear. But joking aside, I think if Ferris Bueller were talking about Bitcoin this is what he'd say...
Bitcoin moves pretty fast...
If you don’t start paying attention now, you could miss the demand.
If you’re coming into this article with a lack of understanding on Bitcoin, fear not. I’m here to give you an overview on one of the most revolutionary technologies of this century, which is often seen as a successful product of the cypherpunks movement.
At its core Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, more often referred to as a cryptocurrency. It’s created and held electronically, and no one party controls the Bitcoin network as a whole.
Now you may have noticed me mention the word, cryptocurrency.
Many people don’t realise that there are actually thousands of cryptocurrencies out there. However, many of them have little or no value.
As it stands, Bitcoin is by far the most valuable cryptocurrency out there today.
Although Bitcoin takes no physical form, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend it just as you would do with the currency in your pocket right now. Thousands of merchants out there accept Bitcoin, so in that sense it’s a currency, as it can be exchanged for products and services.
Remember, one Bitcoin can be divided.
In fact, one Bitcoin can be broken down to eight decimal points. Or an easier way to remember it, is that one Bitcoin can be broken down to one hundred-millionth.
The divisibility of Bitcoin is fundamental.
Well if Bitcoin does ever reach $1,000,000 per Bitcoin, there needs to be a way for users to divide it for transactional purposes. In the same way dollars are broken down to cents.
However, many people who now buy into Bitcoin are starting to envisage it as serving the role as a form of digital gold for storing value, rather than a day-to-day currency to transact in.
Remember where I mentioned that no one party controls the Bitcoin as a whole?
Well, this was the guiding philosophy behind the creation of Bitcoin.
So if no one party created Bitcoin, who did? Well that’s a fantastic discussion.
From the little everyone knows about the alleged founder of Bitcoin, his name as printed on the Bitcoin whitepaper is Satohsi Nakamoto. However, that has never been confirmed.
Many assume that Satoshi Nakamoto is Japanese, but it’s best not to assume.
Over the years there have been a flurry of people who have claimed to be Satohsi himself, but after much deliberation, none of them have actually turned out to be the man (or is it) himself.
Because of the thought process behind Bitcoin's creation, there is no need for a central body to control the flow of Bitcoin. In fact, it’s mined just like gold albeit digitally.
Essentially Bitcoins are mined using computer power in a distributed network. Miners connected to the network work simultaneously to solve extremely complex mathematical puzzles for each and every transaction that appears on the network.
It is these miners that make the Bitcoin network secure, and it’s why those who mine are rewarded with pre-determined mining fees and transaction fees.
In fact, the computing power of the Bitcoin is many more times than the combined computing power of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft - combined.
Even though miners play such a crucial part in the Bitcoin network, that doesn’t mean they get to play by their own rules. The Bitcoin protocol, which is essentially the rule-book for Bitcoin created by the infamous founder Satoshi Nakamoto, states that only twenty-one million Bitcoins can ever be created. That’s hard coded into the Bitcoin protocol.
So there you have it, your overview of Bitcoin. One of the most revolutionary technologies of this century. Let us know in the comments if you’re one of the trailblazers that hold Bitcoin.