40,049 students from 164 countries around the world and counting.
Andrei and I's beginner-friendly machine learning course just hit 40,000+ students on Udemy (plus 1,700+ students on the Zero to Mastery Academy).
I hadn't looked at the actual numbers in a while so I dug in.
Two stood out:
- 40,049 students from 164 countries around the world
- 11,044,928 minutes taught in the past 12 months (21 years)
I've been to five countries in my life (USA, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia) and 21 years worth of teaching is longer than I've been awake (I'm 27).
And the metrics are from Udemy only. Not including the Zero to Mastery Academy nor my YouTube channel nor my various articles (my site doesn't track anything anyway).
For me, metrics and numbers are never a goal. Once a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be good a measure (Goodhart's Law).
I've spoken about this before.
But if I follow my curiosity, pour my soul into things and share my work, things seem to work out.
I could never imagine trying to make something and then not achieving some number and feeling sad about it.
Imagine if I had the goal of hitting 50,000 students after 12 months and hit 40,000 instead.
Dedicate too much effort towards numbers and you forget the people on the other side of those numbers. Of course, I could never meet all of my students around the world but any of them are always welcome to reach out to me.
The other day, Anup shared how he went from sleeping in a train station to working for a machine learning company.
Reading that put the biggest smile on my face.
Online education and applied machine learning are just getting started
Lectures make sense to be recorded. Recorded lectures allow me to teach 24/7 all around the globe. When Stanford asked me to give a guest lecture, my one condition was that it would be recorded and I could upload it to my YouTube channel. Otherwise, 40 people get to enjoy what 10,000 might be interested in (the recording has had over 12,000 views)? No thank you.
If you want to learn something, you can look up a video on it, you can read an article about someone's who been through the same problems you may be having and learn from their experience.
Recorded lectures mean a student can learn on their own time and then spend time with a teacher asking questions, apprenticeship style.
And applied machine learning needs more people who aren't from machine learning. People who work in different fields, in healthcare, in robotics, in engineering, in education, in agriculture to know what the hype is all about. If they have the resources, maybe they'll be able to marry their skills with machine learning.
I was fat until I learned how to be healthy.
What's the point of technology?
To enable leverage.
A hammer allows you to smash things your bare hands would never be able to.
A bicycle allows you to cover move distance with less power.
The internet allows you to create something once and have it replicate infinitely at little to no cost. The internet allows you to multiply yourself.
To all of my students out there, thank you for sharing your curiosity, it's contagious and fuel for what's to come.