Our data scientist at Treehouse actually tested this extensively, but it's such a complex issue (lots of qualitative/anecdotal/branding evidence that's difficult to measure) that the results are still inconclusive. Basically, it helped us and hurt us in different ways, but the long term effects seemed bad enough that we stopped.
Correct. Programming is not intuitive, so you need something (like books) to help you. I suppose you could learn by pure trial and error, but that's really only helpful after you've picked up a lot of the basic syntax.
Nick Pettit here. I was the Teaching Team Lead for about a year and then became the Chief Content Officer (CCO) for about 5 months before we went flat.
I can't remember which way I voted. Not just saying that because I don't want to reveal it, I just honestly can't remember. I know it seems crazy that I'd forget such an important decision, but it was a very chaotic time with a million details, a lot of which are foggy to me now. That said, I don't really care which way I voted because I'm incredibly happy now that the dust has settled.
To be clear, nobody was really demoted. I see it as everyone being promoted to being an ultimate decision maker. There are checks and balances in place, but generally everyone is free to serve our students however they think is best.
Being a manager was insanely stressful with no escape. In a typical day I would answer about 150+ emails and have 5-10 meetings. We probably did lots of things wrong that created this situation and we could have learned to be better, but I think being flat is far superior to any evolution of our previous structure.
Management was rewarding at times when the team would hit important goals, but it's poisonous for creativity. I hated killing other people's ideas, but I was the final judge of how we were allocating content production resources and I had to make tough calls in order to hit company goals and deadlines. In our new flat structure, people can execute on whatever they think serves our students best and they don't need anyone's approval to do it. We're now producing more content than ever and I think a lot of it has to do with people executing on projects they're passionate about. I found it extraordinarily difficult to make people passionate about projects that they don't come up with or decide to work on themselves. We're also able to produce more because managers are now free to produce content rather than, you know, manage.
Not only did I kill the creativity of those around me, my own creativity also died a slow and silent death. Now that time has distanced me from that period, I've rediscovered my own passions and entrepreneurial spirit. I'm making websites, always learning about the latest stuff, and I've even been learning iOS in my spare time for fun.
Management also allows little time to eat healthily, exercise, or sleep properly. I've managed (ha!) to gain ~20lbs in muscle mass in the last few months and I'm in the best shape of my life. I never thought a skinny nerd like myself could do that.
Would I do it again? It's really difficult to say. It would have to be a massive financial reward, but I'd be more concerned with the circumstances and the happiness of my team.
TL;DR: Management wasn't for me. I'm happier now than any other time in my life.