We’ve been trying to get Kit Hinrichs and Lynda together since shortly after we shot our Creative Inspirations documentary about him last December. No easy task. But at last, we recently found a time and place where they could sync up and spend some time together.
What resulted was a very topical conversation in which Lynda and Kit covered such relevant topics as getting and staying employed, the role that an internship or that first job out of school plays in your education, and why Kit is always busy.
It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time to be a fly on the wall during this candid conversation between our founder and this AIGA medalist.
From left to right: Joanne Funari (Business First Bank and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the South Coast Business & Technology Awards ), Jeff Carmody (Agility Capital LLC and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the South Coast Business & Technology Awards ), Lynda Weinman (lynda.com), Dr. Harry Brown (SEE International), Mike Sheldon (Network Hardware Resale).
On June 3, our founder Lynda Weinman was honored as 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, an organization that provides scholarships to local students studying business or technology. Honorees are selected in the fields of business and technology with awards for excellence in leadership, service, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Here is Lynda’s acceptance speech given at the awards event.
Thank you so much for this honor. While I know it is an individual honor, there is no possible way that I could have built lynda.com to the scale of today without the help of others. I want to first thank my husband/partner Bruce Heavin, who convinced me, much against my comfort zone, to increase the reach of lynda.com beyond my own books and classes and start a school. When I started the website it was just me, creating training mostly on graphics and web design topics. Today we have almost 300 instructors who contribute to our online library of classes, and there is no possible way that as an individual teacher, I could possibly cover the range of topics and software that they collectively have achieved.
There is a big group – over 20 of us from lynda.com – here to celebrate tonight, and I want to thank you all for being part of this vision and making lynda.com such a wonderful and collaborative place to work.
Today’s world consists of digital immigrants and digital natives (terms coined by learning designer Marc Prensky). The natives are those who have been born to the computer age, and the immigrants are like me, who were in their 20s or older before the personal computer was even invented. When I first taught myself computer skills in 1980, there were no books or videos, only incomprehensible manuals written by engineers. I discovered that I had a freak talent to understand their almost indecipherable technobabble and figure out how to use software on my own. As I started to show off what I could do, others asked me how I did it, and that spawned my career as a computer skills teacher 30 years ago!
Today, lynda.com teaches computer skills to hundreds of thousands of members worldwide. We are in the age where a single teacher can build a business that has customers in every country and from every walk of life. The Internet has changed many things – it’s changed the way we shop, the way we get information, the way we get entertainment, and the way we get education. lynda.com is part of this change. While most schools are experiencing record drop-out rates, diminishing budgets, and cuts in every direction, we have a growing and thriving membership of people who continually tell us that they love what we do, that they want to learn, and that they love to learn. They have the choice to learn when and what they want, from any location – and with our new free iPhone app, even on their phones! We are able to charge far less than a text book or a college class, and reach more people than most colleges in the world. Last year we had over 24 million visitors to our learning website.
It is an honor and a privilege to be running a successful business during the worst economic crisis of our lifetime, and we have gotten here because we have made something that people want and need, and it’s our joy and passion to help them. We work incredibly hard to create close to 100 hours of videos every month on as many subjects as we can afford to publish. We are always pushing ourselves to be better and scaling very quickly, all of which is very stressful—and rewarding. I want to take a moment to pat myself and our team on the back with this award. Then I want to wake up tomorrow to make more great training and continue to push the bar upward.
Watch Bruce Heavin’s video of the award presentation:
Bruce distills his core beliefs into ten inspiring thoughts that he shares with a riveted Santa Barbara AIGA audience. A sample: #7 – Do what you love, and do it really, really, really well. These philosophies are at the center of why lynda.com is a special place to learn, work, and grow.
When he first created it, Lynda initially thought Bruce’s illustration for the lynda.com logo made her look like Mary See, the elderly lady who graces every box from the well-known West coast confectioner, See’s Candy. Bruce sought to embody the company’s essence in his hand-drawn logo design: Education, instruction, and learning. Has Lynda come to love it?
After two years of extensive traveling to promote her books and teach classes, Bruce suggested to Lynda that they consider starting a school. Together they founded the Ojai Digital Arts Center, and promoted its services on lynda.com. An astonishing response to the class caused rapid growth in the school, which in turn inspired conferences and more web design and graphics books. The 2001 dotcom crash precipitated yet another revolutionary teaching methodology: Training on video. First on VHS, then on CD, then on the web.
We recently released an amazing new Creative Inspirations title on former Time, Life and National Geographic photographer, Rick Smolan. Rick published the popular Day in the Life and 24/7 book series, among many other gorgeous works. Rick talks about how he became a photographer, what drives him to do the kind of work he does, discusses the ethics of photojournalism and talks with Lynda about his history and impact on multimedia publishing and digital technology. It’s really not to be missed.
Highlights from the "Be Fabulous with lynda.com" AIGA event at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, CA, June 25.
Last Thursday, June 25, at the Brooks Institute of Photography campus in Ventura, Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin gave the talk “be fabulous with lynda.com” at the request of the local chapter of AIGA. There were many AIGA members from Ventura and Santa Barbara County in attendance, as well as a great showing of lynda.com staff. During the evening we heard the story of how Lynda and Bruce met, how lynda.com was formed, Lynda’s beef with the See’s Candy lady, and how passion, hard work and persistence really do pay off.
It was an inspiring and heart-warming event! Wish you all could have been there!
Our very own Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin are finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2009 Award — photo by Bart Nagel
I know I speak for all of us at lynda.com: We’re mega proud of our founders, wife and husband team Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, for being selected as finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2009 Award in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who demonstrate extraordinary success in the areas of innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Lynda and Bruce were selected as finalists from nearly 60 nominations by a panel of independent judges.
Keep your fingers crossed: Award winners will be announced on Tuesday, June 23.