Story time. When I was in high school, I worked in a little computer lab in my small hometown of Ojai, California, that taught classes in Photoshop, Fireworks, web design and development, Flash, and more. That little technology education company was just called "Lynda," and classes were taught directly by Lynda Weinman, Bruce Heavin, and others. There were maybe ten or twelve employees. I learned a lot from them over two summers about the intersection of development and design, about teaching and working with people, and so much more. It launched my interest in user experience design and development. Not to mention the epic LAN parties we used to have in that computer lab with all the top-of-the-line graphics workstations... good times.
I have a lot to be thankful for, and I'm so genuinely happy to see their success. They were the nicest people to work with, and I'm sure that remained true as they grew. Congrats to these guys, and I hope they find a good place with LinkedIn.
The current Lynda.com HQ is now in Carpinteria - right across the highway from the old Meta offices off Bailard Ave.
I know the NSA, for instance, regards completing Coursera's Data Science specialization  as at least noteworthy enough to mention it in their Data Science job listings.
Put another way -- when's the last time you cared if someone was Microsoft Visual C++ .NET certified?
At least that was his reason for not supporting me and getting money for me to take classes on it.
I was already a very good Visual BASIC programmer. I earned a reputation for debugging other people's code and fixing databases in SQL Server.
They would have comp sci bachelor of science holders, who could not even program. I had to train them in Visual BASIC to get them started. I only had an Associates because I could not afford a Bachelors.
I take MOOC classes for free, so I don't get certified, but at least I learn new skills.
However, in other areas, if the certification is sufficiently difficult to attain such as Cisco's networking certificates, or where you can't assign a task or review past work to determine an individual's skill level I think certifications can be helpful even in a startup hiring environment.
For example, if you are applying as a product management and have relatively junior experience but you have a great feel for our product and market I would still be potentially worried about how well you can interface with a team. So seeing a certification around SCRUM or Agile, in this particular case will certainly be helpful.
What fields do you think will benefit from this certification? In design (one of Lynda's pillars), half of hireability is portfolio. I suppose in production roles, you'd want to know you're hiring technically proficient people, but that too you can mostly tell from the work.
Perhaps this works as well, or better, from the angle of "People who had this skill got looked at 3x more than you. Go get that skill."
The main fields that benefit from this are business and technology. Human resources and recruiters tend not to be technical: they have no idea if you actually know Java or not. They simply know you have it on your resume. This gives them at least some peace of mind that you know at least some Java. Conversely, Business people can be evaluated on whether they know how to do basic things like rate of return or efficiency metrics.
This does help in that realm, but it helps in giving some people confidence as well. Some people have imposters syndrome so a certificate saying they know it alleviates that feeling.
Depends where you are in your career. I've heard it claimed that an MCSE can be a stand-in for a degree (yes, I know that makes no sense, but I mean from a recruiter's perspective when reviewing a candidate's overall qualifications, rather than relating to technical skill/knowledge).
So in your first 1-10 years? It might help. I will say eventually you have to remove an MCSE from your CV/resume as it does more harm than good (e.g. if you had a Server 2000 MCSE on your CV right now, it's just going to make you look out of touch).
> Are there newer certifications that matter now?
Timeless is key(!).
A cert' which is tied to a specific piece of software only helps you while that software is relevant. So getting a cert on something like Project Management, Project Planning, or a broad cert' on security (with a focus on policy, not systems like CISSP or Security+).
That's why degrees are a no-brainer. They're always timeless. People list their degree in their first and last job. Few certs survive more than fifteen some odd years.
Why? It would show strength and background of your past and history.
A lot of older employees (late 40s or 50s) make this mistake. They leave experience on their CV which is not relevant because it is twenty or more years old, and then wonder why they struggle to find work.
Look, someone somewhere might legitimately want an SCO Unix expert or something to migrate them from Netware or NT 4.0 but in those rare cases customise your CV to put that experience back on, rather than making it the default for a lot of businesses that just don't care.
Been trying to learn the new technology, but knowing the old technology makes learning the new technology easier.
I haven't updated my resume in a long time, been meaning to do so. Still list Novell Netware, Commodore Amiga, COBOL, Wordperfect, Visual BASIC 6.0 etc and never updated the resume since 2001 or so. But I never handed out my resume because I've been disabled. Time to trim off the old stuff and add on my new experiences.
Obviously that is easy to explain in an interview, the problem is getting the interview in the first place. Resume are not analysed, they are scanned by irrational human, sensible to effect similar to https://xkcd.com/641/
Now that we have free Stanford, MIT, etc courses online, for free, what has Lynda got to offer? It's a sinking ship. The 'one-stop for all your learning needs' is simply a bad model - all programmers know this. You have to go and seek out different resources that work for you and now we CAN, more than ever. The only reason to choose Lynda is out of ignorance or laziness. Both of which are indicators of somebody you don't want to hire!
LinkedIn's head must be operating in oldschool mode of certificates actually meaning something. They don't. Unless they're HARD to get, really hard. And if they are, then you are better off going to a real college/university where you can get realtime feedback and support.
What few skills can a working programmer get from Lynda? Honestly...
The myopia some technologists display is really staggering sometimes.
I mean, it's not like people who aren't technologists would ever want to learn new skills or anything, would they? They should totally just stay at their menial, paper-shuffling desk jobs, or serve lattes to programmers, or something.
I'm not saying people shouldn't learn. I'm saying there are superior alternatives for every area Lynda is offering to teach.
Not sure whose point of view you're disagreeing with really.
Of course there isn't one, because that's not the kind of education they provide.
Where are the superior alternatives for someone to learn how to process HDR images in Photoshop or How to use Rhino to render architectural designs? And they need to learn this by tomorrow.
Smashing magazine 70 free resources? Sounds good.
Let's go down the list, HDR images in Photopshop:
google gave me https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&es...
The first link seems quite in depth and adequate.
Do I need to go on? I'm not trying to be a dick but the first two examples I gave you took less than a minute to find FREE answers for.
Even if you do find some edge case where Lynda happens to have a better solution than what I can gather online within 5 minutes, what does that prove?
Lynda can't match MIT or Stanford, or Apple's developer resources. Instead of pivoting, they're selling what's available freely, for money, to those who are incompetent at using the internet.
That's their business model. If you think that's ok and worth 1.5 billion, great, we simply have a different outlook on life.
Without looking, I can't say definitively, but I'd bet an appreciable number of the Photoshop tutorials found in your (probably also unverified) LMGTFY-fu are poorly written, inaccurate, inspecific as to which version of Photoshop they're teaching or otherwise suffer from quality control issues — and probably more than one, at that.
I've also never taken an Lynda.com course, myself, so I can't speak directly to the quality of their offerings. A number of former co-workers work there , however, and if they're any indicator of the caliber of people the company employs, then they're probably pretty solid.
They're selling a (presumably somewhat reliable) minimum level of quality in the courses they put up, so that people who have better things to do than perform comparative analyses of the free offerings out there  can get on with the thing they wanted to do in the first place: learn the material they're interested in learning.
I don't think that's a particularly terrible business model at all — especially if you can also flip it for $1.5b.
 Congrats to them, and I hope their options agreement included accelerated vestiture upon acquisition!
 A thing that might be rather difficult, given their desire to learn about the subject in the first place. How, exactly, do you know which course or tutorial is worth a damn if you don't know anything about its subject matter? I guess you could pay someone to do it...
EDIT: Footnotes instead of parentheticals for legibility.
EDIT 2: Please don't call people whose priorities and skillsets differ from yours "incompetent". It smacks of the kind of elitism I find so disgusting in our industry, and of the myopia I was referring to up-thread: "Well, if I can do this, everyone should be able to!"
People pay for education. People will continue to pay for good education, forever. Education will never ever be free, because it has value.
Oh you can pick up some Ruby on Rails skills with a manual and some free tutorials. Not really what we're talking about here though.
Lots of practical vocational skills that fill in the gaps of an academic track.
> What few skills can a working programmer get from Lynda?
Depends on how diverse said programmer would like to be. Maybe there's a tidbit about being a real estate broker or plumber or data-entry drone that some working programmer re-maps to a problem they've been chewing on for months.
My $0.02: Being open to new experiences and having an always-on learning POV goes a long way to fertilize success.
Lynda brought me from not knowing how to declare a variable, to being able to develop a simple site with a database, user registration, commenting, administrative pages, etc, in a very short period of time. It's a great resource to hit the ground running in a week. However, like you said, you then need to to grow using other resources to learn how to sprint.
Take is as someone who has been teaching himself how to code, Lynda, Codecademy, even Udacity are not going to cut it. These are good if you want to play at coding. But if you want to do anything serious, you'll have to check out actual lecture videos and books.
For example, I was trying to figure out linked lists and the best resources were either from solo Youtubers, or a couple of videos uploaded by MIT and IIT (in India)
LinkedIn can only make the site worse as far as I am concerned, and I already avoid LinkedIn due to the fact that they've essentially become spammers who work to allow other spammers to spam you. That's all they are, a giant spam platform at this point.
So too bad about Lynda. It will be greatly missed (by me).
That being said, it could be interesting if Lynda course completions could be linked to a linkedin profile or something similar. Gives some power to self-learners.
I understand that there is an aspect of labeling theory that goes on with this, however, as with all things, it shows that people are willing to pay $$ to learn.
Just offering a counter point. :)
I've never had a LinkedIn account, it has not stopped them spamming me regularly.
They seem to harvest contact details from people who install their apps, and then "invite" all those people. They then proceed to send dozens of reminders hoping the recipient will cave in to make it stop.
LinkedIn is a company I would like to see burned to the ground. They are parasites with no redeeming qualities and do not provide any value.
Lynda actually wasn't as good as Pluralsight purely on technical topics, but what they did very well was "everything else." Their niche (if they even had one) was that they did other topics.
I'm a subscriber to Skillshare and think it's good value (just $9.99 a month, or $8 a month if you subscribe yearly).
Other sites that cover similar design topics and design software are: digitaltutors.com and tutsplus.com (I've not used either of these though).
Sure they spam potential clients with job offers. Sure they set up groups and make posts on it and they flood your email.
Your Linkedin profile is supposed to be your resume or CV, people endorse you for skills that worked with you.
Buying out Lynda is going to give Linkedin an option to sell classes for certification to be added to your Linkedin profile. It will make you more valuable to the people looking for new employees and clients. It is not a perfect system, but at least they'll know you took a class on the subject they are looking for.
As far as I can tell, the Lynda.com brand name isn't that well known outside of tech circles. (Virtually all of their courses are Adobe, Microsoft Office, and web development, etc) I'm guessing those computer courses are relevant to less than 5% of LinkedIn's user base. It was very recently (last year or so) that Lynda started doing more business courses (how to calculate ROI, how to write a business plan, etc) Since those business courses are probably their thinnest and weakest offerings, I can only speculate that it was a partly a "proof-of-concept" to show a prospective acquirer (such as LinkedIn) the breadth of topics the content platform could deliver.
In that case, LinkedIn is really buying Lynda's content delivery platform (the technology) as opposed to seeing value in the existing portfolio of courses (the copyrights).
It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I'm somewhat saddened that a controversial company like LinkedIn (UI dark patterns, creepy privacy invasions) was the one who bought them. I would have preferred a company like github (synergy with code sharing) or Apple (enhance iTunesU) to do it. Unfortunately, github doesn't have the cash/stock and Apple is busy with more grandiose plans.
And anyone who takes an HTML class makes the list of profiles returned from a recruiter's search longer. And for the spam recruiters LinkedIn tends to serve, a longer list is more valuable.
That's provably untrue even according to your own source  (when sorted by oldest first). They have videos from 2010 in their business skills section like "Pitching Projects and Products to Executives." And many added in 2011.
Heck I myself watched several business courses on Lynda over three years ago...
EDIT ADD: Lynda.com also see themselves as strategically expanding into more business, marketing, professional development, and executive management courses. See their 2014 presentation at 47 seconds: https://youtu.be/qlYKbfjru5I?t=47s
Lynda.com has been working incredibly hard for quite a few years to build up their business, so I'm really happy to hear that they've been reward for all the hard work and excellent execution.
They are being bought for their customers (and probably somewhat their library), not their technology.
Interesting, though, considering CodeSchool went for only $36M.
If we break out components of Lynda.com for purposes of valuation, we might have:
+ customer base
+ content library
+ executive team and their programming staff
+ technology platform
Yes, Lynda.com has an existing customer base and an obvious way is to look at the recurring revenue and make projections on it. However, I discount the customers because I'd guess that Lynda subscribers are the kind of tech savvy users that are very jaded about LinkedIn's shady business practices. It seems like the sentiment among these subscribers is to declare their separation from LinkedIn as a badge of honor. I just can't see that the executives from LinkedIn allocating the bulk of their $1.5 billion price for these customers.
As for "content library", their existing portfolio consists mostly of timely courses that will become obsolete within months. How valuable is the "2009 Adobe CS4 Essential Training" or "2011 Learn iOS 5" course? It's not like Sony buying the Beatles song catalog which can be milked year after year. Because most tech courses have limited shelf life, the copyrights on the existing content library does not explain the 1.5 billion. Yes, new courses will be created but Lynda's authors are basically independent contractors. They are not handcuffed into multi-year exclusive contracts.
To me, this leaves the "executive team, programming staff" and "technology platform" as the components with the most value to LinkedIn. If I do some more armchair speculation, I can think of one way to make the $1.5 really pay off:
Dramatically expand Lynda.com's offerings so that it's more relevant to the general public. The 2015 Lynda.com they bought was 95% software tutorials and 5% business, but the transformation that LinkedIn envisions would be a content portfolio of 95% business, paralegal, welding, and other topics relevant to the 95% of job seekers not doing software dev work. Imagine a future where young people who talk about lynda.com (if the brand name is not gone) to say "TIL lynda used to be mostly Adobe/MSOffice/HTML courses."
The current Lynda.com customer base & courses portfolio is much too niche for it to be the main reason for the 1.5B price tag. On the other hand, LinkedIn can leverage the well-oiled content production pipeline that Lynda has mastered to create other material that the non-tech population would pay for and that will potentially pay back multiples of that $1.5B. In other words, the future customers that Lynda doesn't have today will vastly outnumber the current customers and that future scenario is what LinkedIn bought into.
If you believe LinkedIn thought Lynda's content was more valuable than Lynda's delivery platform, I'd like to hear your reasoning.
It used to be that the secondary degree was the middle man between employee and employer (for many professions).
Certifications from companies like Microsoft and Cisco changed this in some realms.
MOOCs and companies like Lynda expanded to different sectors.
Now layers like LinkedIn can essentially be the Uber between employers and the myriad of certifications and degrees that will be available to employees. An Uber layer for connection, credibility, aggregation, certification, etc.
I don't believe traditional secondary education gets completely disintermediated. But I believe the landscape becomes much more heterogeneous, which is a good thing.
I see great value for Linkedin users if there's some "official" certification for skills learned through Lynda services that leads to them being more marketable. That's pretty exciting.
I do recommend the service if you want to figure out how to get started quickly with things like final cut or whatnot. It's realllly high quality stuff condensed into 2h or so
My impression has been that Coursera is really about applying Socrate's (or is it Aristotle's) dream: free classical education for all.
Learning about Final Cut Pro is great, but getting classes on general machine learning ( at least ones that are worth more than a 2000 word blog post) generally require going to a school with a 5 digit price tag. I think Coursera and Lynda aren't trying to compete with each other on that end.
I would imagine that Coursera refused because their vision of education is much broader than what they might have been able to achieve within LinkedIn. What do you guys think?
LinkedIn isn't a social network because having a LinkedIn profile is mostly about required maintenance. The main activity is updating [and rolling back spurious skill endorsements]. Integrating online education is just another recruiter platform service. Professional colleagues don't care if I took a PhotoShop class online.
This is great for education in general though. Imagine finding the skills to you need to build your career and then the exact education to build it with.
Seriously, as a long time Lynda.com subscriber, I've noticed a steady increase in the volume of courses in the "business" category. As a designer/developer, I find some of the business videos quite interesting and a nice expansion beyond their core design-centric courses.
I definitely see the synergies, but am a bit concerned that a company the size of LI is going to slowly move away from the designer/developer focused videos to certification-oriented courses; more of a direct competitor to Udacity's Nanodegrees and Coursera's Specialization Certificates. However, there are much better options these days for targeted developer video courses (e.g. Egghead, Tuts+, Laracasts, etc.). This was a great exit for Lynda.com--they have built up an amazing brand over many years.
LI brings such a massive scale with great channels to monetize courses beyond subscriptions. Enticing a relatively small percentage of the LI user base to upgrade to a new paid subscription tier justifies the cost; not even considering the additional opportunities this creates for both employers and job seekers.
Imagine some scenarios:
- You are looking at a job. Based on the requirements, LinkedIn can recommend different Lynda courses you may take. Now, instead of meeting some of the requirements and not knowing the next step, you can fill those gaps.
- LinkedIn knows what people are endorsed for and who is "similar" to you. Based on that, they can make recommendations for courses that may improve/expand your skills to become more like the other person.. or potentially stand out from that person.
- You're posting a job. Instead of broadcasting it to the world, you can filter it to "promote to people who have skill X listed or who have taken one of these Y courses." Now you're more likely to get a better qualified set of candidates.
Disclosure: Two time Lynda author here.
It's been around forever and the quality is amazing. I learned to program using it and I always recommend people to use it if they can afford it.
Going to be interesting to see where they will take this.
I loved the site. Now I will have to add it to the long list of companies that got bought and lost their essence, like cdbaby, reddit, or digg.
I started using whassapp in order to scape facebook. Now those bubble monsters are acquiring everything they can while money is free.
Coursera seems to offer more of an academic lesson plan (learn linear algebra, algorithms, history of modern China) which doesn't seem very applicable to a specific tech job. These are more for people who want to learn for the joy of learning.
(Same thing would be said about edX although I think it's owned by the schools (could be wrong))
I would say they didn't go after Udacity most likely because of the small, and also younger, user base where as Lynda.com seems to appeal to more of the people who want to transition out of a job into another job.
This is all pure speculation though as I've only done a few courses on udacity and coursera and actually never done any on Lynda.com but have known people who have.
Can you be more specific about ways in which their offerings fail to measure up to current competitors or the potential of current technology?
Seriously, these guys were founded in 1995, they've been through all of the web turmoil and still managed to improve their technology offerings and stay relevant. Not sure what this acquisition means, but I hope things don't change much.
Seeing the kind of money that's going into these ventures, there are obviously people still betting big. I think they face a real challenge marketing these classes and certifications as valuable to the students and employers. Coursera used to award a free statement of accomplishment (a PDF, basically). The classes that I've taken recently only recognize students who pay for a verified certificate. The fee is really small, but it's not really worth anything to me.
I've very much enjoyed having free access to so many different classes. I don't know whether it's sustainable as is, but I fear that an acquisition like this may step up the pressure to monetize, show a profit, etc.
The quality is the same, but most free online courses are their own worst enemy.
Sites like Lynda and Pluralsight, once you pay the price of admission, give you what I call the "Netflix experience." Essentially click any video you want, bored? No biggy find another. There's absolutely zero barrier to entry and no guilt associated with it.
Some free places do it well, like Berkley , and more or less anyone dumping onto YT. Because in those cases there is no registration, no "guilt" if you don't attend "class" and complete a "test" you just turn up, watch a few videos and leave.
However a lot of free training is trying to reproduce the actual college experience to their detriment. Coursera is a perfect example. You have to register for a specific class, then turn up to watch it every week, do tests at specific times, and they guilt the shit out of you over email if you get bored after a few lectures (and have "limited" spots in a class).
Honestly paying Lynda $25/month was fine because of how frictionless the entire experience became after that. Ditto with Netflix/HBO GO (and why I cancelled Hulu+).
LinkedIN will likely begin showing your Lynda courses in a prominent way on LinkedIN profiles, so if you want to be competitive on LinkedIN, you'll need to give more money to <s>LinkedIN</s> Lynda.
The problem I see with this is that veterans would never go take an introductory class on Lynda, but every young aspirant who has desire where you have experience will _appear_ better to recruiters because at least their introductory courses can be verified where with your experience, somebody knowledge in that field would have to evaluate your work.
- Believes that the acquisition of lynda.com will be an important step to fulfilling LinkedIn's vision of developing an "economic graph"
- Views lynda.com as essential for professionals to advance their skill sets
- Believes that acquisition of lynda.com will expand the addressable opportunity by 30B into corporate employee education and professional certifications market
- Believes that by leveraging LinkedIn's professional context, content distribution platform and channel focused base of customers, LinkedIn is well positioned to become leader in learning and development market
- Believes the mission and strategy of lynda.com is aligned with LinkedIn and will help integrate lynda.com into their business
- Sees lynda.com having large traction on university campuses which overlaps with LinkedIn's strength looks to capitalize on overlapping presence
- Primary focus will be maximizing long-term member and business value over short term financial results
- Views lynda.com revenue mix as 2/3 consumer driven subscriptions and 1/3 corporate enterprise
- 50% of customer base is higher education in government and other 50% is corporate enterprise
- Sees lynda.com business model made up of 70% gross margin, ~20% content / engineering and ~35% Sales and marketing with EBITDA margins of 5-10%
What are the benefit of online courses more then that you get a badge or paper that says you have taken the course?
What's next, Treehouse?
makes no sense. It would be like saying Facebook success validates Twitter business model, just because they are both social networks. Lynda doesn't issue certificates if you complete their courses. And AFAIK they don't work directly with universities or colleges.
Coursera content is academic, while Lynda.com is practical and focus on specific software and/or technology. Sure they have a few "theory courses", but that's not their core business.
If Coursera has taken investment money then it is for sale.
Investors are not idiots. Not saying you are, you might be just misguided. Lynda and Coursera are nothing alike.