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Series D and Looking Forward

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Opportunity-Fund

General Assembly started as a small project in the heart of NYC—we set out to build a community of entrepreneurs and creators in our city’s burgeoning ecosystem. I’m in awe of the evolution we’ve seen take place—in 5 years we’ve become a global organization, now equipping tens of thousands of students with the skills they need to succeed in the new economy.

At this time of great debate around the future of higher education and workforce development, our worldwide team has succeeded in creating and scaling a model solely focused on bridging education to employment. But we are even more ambitious about our future goals: To make a visible dent in the skills gap, clearly connecting education and employment to show an ROI positive model of higher education, and build our alumni community into one of the most powerful professional networks in the world.

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NYC Pledges to Provide Computer Science Education to All Public School Students

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General Assembly is thrilled to celebrate a historic initiative in computer science education. On Wednesday, September 16th, New York City Mayor de Blasio announced Computer Science for All: Fundamentals for Our Future, which pledges computer science education for every NYC student within 10 years. In a partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation, the AOL Charitable Foundation, and the Solomon Wilson Family Foundation, the move sets aside $81 million to make this program possible.

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3 Ways to Get More Meaning from Data

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get-more-meaning-data

For many people, data feels like an avalanche of information. No matter how proficient we are with Excel, statistical software, SQL, or Google Analytics, it’s often tough to know where and how to take your first steps. Should you create a chart? Should you try to find a correlation between the trend you’re observing and revenue? How do you know whether your findings are statistically significant—and for that matter, what the heck is statistical significance?

At the end of the day, these questions are less intimidating than they seem. Data is a tool that human beings created for other human beings. As a result, it’s up to you to create your own constraints for analysis. You choose your terms. You choose the questions you want to answer. You choose the techniques that you want to deploy. You’re in control.

Here are three tips to help you wrangle your next report.

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How To Win Your First Product Management Job

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picjumbo.com_HNCK3323

Nice work. You just scored an interview for a product manager position—one of the hottest and highest-paying roles right now according to Glassdoor. Companies know that product managers play a key role in their success or failure. And they are making sure that hiring the best is a top priority.

You probably have no idea what to expect from this first interview—especially if you are trying to transition into the field from engineering or marketing. How can you pivot into this new role? What qualities are they looking for, and how should you present yourself?

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5 Everyday Innovators to Watch

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Design-Thinking-For-Social-Innovation

Until recently, the words “innovation” and “entrepreneur” intimidated me. I always thought that these concepts came from some super-human genius, or that it was some birthright that people either had or didn’t.

Feeling inspired by leaders like Sara Blakeley, founder of Spanx; Elon Musk who runs Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX; and Danielle Fong who runs LightSail, I realized that I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines wondering whether I ‘had it.’ I quit my job, started a business, joined the team at Lean Startup Company, and have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators along the way.

What I learned was that innovation is something that’s accessible to any passionate human who’s willing to challenge herself and learn: it’s a continuous, iterative loop of building new initiatives (projects, products, whatever), testing ideas and measuring results, and learning how to improve each time around. Here are five leaders who exemplify this idea.

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The Simulated Startup: Meet the Innovative Startups Inside Mammoth Companies

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MasterCard Employee

MasterCard employee demonstrates ShopThis! with MasterPass which will allow consumers to buy products directly from Intel’s Virtual Shopping Experience – a fully interactive 3-D virtual fitting room app at MasterCard’s Innovation Showcase event.

“Agile methodology,” “failing fast,” “pivoting”—all concepts commonly used in startups—are increasingly being put to work inside the walls of large, well-established companies. This is because executives at Fortune 500 companies have realized that the natural limitations that face startups—limitations on time and financial resources—can actually be boons, resulting in fresh ideas and fast execution.

So a handful of large public companies, including General Electric (GE) and MasterCard, have created startups within their own mammoth companies. In 2013, GE created FastWorks, an internal startup entity. Its mission was to develop products using the “lean startup” approach, codified by Eric Ries in his book, The Lean Startup. (This means constantly experimenting and regularly getting feedback from customers to avoid building products that customers don’t want.)

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12 Lessons From 12 Months of Teaching at General Assembly

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Natasha (bottom left) with her Product Management students.

Natasha (bottom, farthest left) with her Product Management students.

Like any self-respecting teenager, I had vowed to be different from my elders. My mother and her three sisters have glittering careers in education. After ten years in tech, I now practice the craft my younger version was adamant to avoid: I moonlight as an instructor at General Assembly.

This side-gig, that started as mild experiment, has become a full-blown passion. I have been at our New York campus every month since I joined the instructional team a year ago. Below is a round-up of 12 lessons I learned from 12 months of preaching product management to five classes.

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How to Say “No” to Your CEO’s Random Product Ideas

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how to say no to your boss's idea

Here is how it happens. You see the CEO in the hallway and he stops you. He then says, “I was thinking about this the other day—I have a great new idea for a feature.” You nod politely and walk back to your desk—feeling sick to your stomach along the way.
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How Hybrid Jobs are Driving New York’s Tech Economy

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NYLOVE

Over the past few months, we’ve been working with Burning Glass Technologies to study today’s most in-demand jobs, the skills required to land them, and the places in which these opportunities are most available. Our new report, “Blurring Lines: How Business and Technology Skills Are Merging to Create High Opportunity Hybrid Jobs,” concludes that many of these roles—in fields like web development, data science, and digital marketing—demand both technical and business acumen.

Marketers are analyzing more complicated data sets, developers are building websites and apps that are functional and drive the bottom line—business and technology do not function in a vacuum, and skilled professionals are expected to develop both sets of skills.

These hybrid jobs are among the fastest growing and best careers in today’s job market—more than 250,000 positions were open in the last year alone, and the average starting salary is upwards of $100,000. Continue reading

20-Year-Old Entrepreneur Is Using Data to Retune The Music Industry

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Raffi Khatchadourian, COO of indify

Raffi Khatchadourian is a Mathematical Economics major and incoming junior at Colgate University. A self-starter and talented entrepreneur, Raffi has established himself as the COO of indify, an emerging music startup, before many of his peers have even declared their major. Back in January, Raffi attended GA’s week-long Business Accelerator program in partnership with Colgate University. Since then, he and his co-founders have gone on to win $10,000 in funding from Colgate University’s Entrepreneur Weekend Shark Tank and $15,000 from Colgate University’s Entrepreneurs Fund. Read on to learn how this young entrepreneur transformed his passion for music and data into a successful early-stage startup.

Follow Raffi @DeadliestKhatch and his startup at @_indify. Continue reading