Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lynda dot com is a waste of time and money

I had heard of for a while, and always meant to try it out. I did not have a pressing need for it, so I never did...until now.

Yes, I signed up for and started watching some videos, and in short, I was extremely extremely disappointed. If you are a video site, you are automatically competing with a few very famous other video sites, like and The Entire Fracking INTERNET. I can see that could be filling a niche, because generally speaking, here is my experience online when trying to learn something new:

  1. Declare to myself that I want to learn something new.
  2. Do a Google search for lessons on that topic.
  3. Find a zillion links to tutorials on the topic.
  4. Waste three days watching videos that are poorly made or that are made by people who should not be trying to teach anyone anything ever, or that are great but WAY too advanced for me yet.
  5. Finally find some good starter videos.
  6. Watch the starter videos.
  7. Watch some intermediate videos.
  8. Watch advanced videos.
  9. Profit!
You would think that if you were going to pay for videos online that the THING YOU ARE BUYING is a process that looks like this:

  1. Pay the big bucks.
  2. Log in.
  3. Have your hand held, step-by-step, through beginner courses, into intermediate, into advanced.
  4. Profit!
 Let it suffice to say that this was NOT my experience on

When I logged into after eagerly throwing my money at them, instead of finding the magical educational wonderland that I expected, I found....well, I found problems. Here is what I think the issues are:

  • There is no structure to the lessons. You click on a subject that you'd like to learn and they just throw a bunch of videos at you. No indication of where to start and no sense of actually working your way through lessons. They are just random videos on random subjects. For instance, I thought it might be neat to learn Blender. There are five or six videos on Blender, none of them appear to be related to the other, and mostly they are just overviews of specific topics within Blender without any higher level explanation of how they fit together.
  • It's little more than an advertisement site for paid software. The first few pages you wade through are littered with, basically, videos that just advertise the new features in paid software. As if  Apple and Adobe really need to sell me their software? I am pretty sure I could get ads for Adobe and Apple, oh, everywhere else online, without paying for it.
  • There is a clear bias for paid software.  OK, I should temper this criticism with praise: at least has videos on GIMP, Blender, PHP, Perl, Python, Android development, Java, and so on. But all in all, the bias for paid-for software is pretty obvious and, frankly, unfair. You could argue that is just responding to customer needs, which I would understand if they were actually any good. But the quality of education on is not any good, so I find it hard to believe that they're just responding to customer requests. I'm pretty sure they're just posting whatever they happen to be getting from their video instructors, and that is all. So if you can pay some guy to drone on for six hours about new features in some paid software, you might as well pay someone to do an actually informative video on something free. Yes I know my logic is not logical, but hey, I'm a paying customer now and I want more coverage of free software.
  • Some instructors are not very good. I understand that different people have different teaching styles, but I'm paying for now. I expect instructors to be good at instructing, not just good at the software or programming language they are teaching. So far I have personally spent about six hours watching videos that, in the end, I literally wanted my money back. And you know the universal process of online videos, don't you? The first one you watch, you think it's bad but it's just this one that's bad. The others will be better. Second one you watch is bad, but you think it's just a freak accident that you got two bad videos in a row. The others will be MUCH better. The third and fourth ones are bad and you're starting to get worried. Fifth and sixth are bad, and you're writing angry blogposts. Hey, take it from me. I know.
  • You are competing with free!,,,, Standford University Courseware. There are literally dozens of FREE video sites and video training resources online that are, yes, FREE. No one NEEDS to pay for Lynda unless there is a reasonable expectation that Lynda will actually provide something unique and special that other random sites do not.
I have news for you. is not worth it. Do not pay for it. I have canceled my account and will never ever ever go back. I have to assume that they are riding on suckers like me who sign up, stick around long enough to discover that is actually a rip-off, and then leaves. Once they cycle through all of us suckers, will hopefully go away for good., if you're reading this, get better instructors, cover more free software for people who see beyond marketing campaigns and actually want to get stuff done, and get organized. Or go away.

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