SkilStak Policy

I like to keep things friendly and informal, but some things have to be spelled out pretty strictly, for the sake of everyone. You will notice most of our policies are design to protect the learning of others.

“How do you determine who gets priority?”

By Priority score

I’ve never believed in first-come-first-serve or a legacy seniority.

“Is my time slot reserved?”

Not until you have paid for your invoice.

This means anyone looking at the schedule will see that time as available until it is paid and could potentially sign up for it even after you have received an invoice. The invoice would be cancelled in that case.

“When do I have to pay for the next block?”

Four weeks in advance.

Because we have a waiting list for planning purposes it is important we get continuing blocks taken care of about a month in advance. About five weeks prior to the end of your current block you will get an invoice to continue in that same time slot for the next block. Every invoice must be paid within seven days meaning that you will have paid for your block in full four weeks before it starts.

“Can I get a refund?”

No refunds.

Be sure of what you want and your schedule before you commit. If you are not sure wait until you are. I have very few time slots so I must be sure you really want to learn here.

“What if I miss a session?”

You can push out two sessions for every block of 16. Missed sessions after two are simply lost and each occurrence reduces your VIP score. In the Summer months push-outs are unlimited.

Life happens. I get it. Weather, traffic, homework, conflicting events, unexpected opportunities, over-scheduled exhaustion, all are understandable but they don’t change the reality that there is very little flexibility in the schedule.

You can also push-out sessions during the holidays.

⚠️ Always inform me immediately if you are not coming or you forfeit any push-out. ⚠️

“Can I get a free make-up at another time?

Absolutely not. There just isn’t time. The schedule is full.

Remember, resources have already been spent for that time whether you come or not. I operate with very low margins so giving them away for free is just not possible, even if the reason is completely understandable. I need to maintain the bottom line, for the sake of everyone. I would quickly go out of business if we did not.

“Can I just make-up a session online?”

No, but it’s better than nothing.

Online learning can never be as good as when in person. The entire model and method of private sessions is built on doing highly personalized things one-on-one.

Often the learning in a session will be based on a technology or topic that has been released or discussed that very week. Live Share, Phaser3, Go modules, HeartBleed, all had sessions within one week of them coming out to introduce the impact they had while it was relevant.

“What if I am early or late?”

No more than five minutes early or late. Anything else reduces your VIP score

I understand. Life happens, but it doesn’t change the reality of the schedule. Truth is there is never a good excuse to be late or early, ever. Manage your time. Arrive early and wait close by. Bring something to do while you wait. Make sure your ride does not leave the area during your session and stays close by.

If it helps consider when I am expected to teach at a school I also can never be late. There is absolutely no excuse or latitude for me to not be ready exactly on time, every time. Why should I expect anything less from you?

It’s not just the time lost. Often arriving late affects your ability to focus and learn. If you are paired it directly affects that person as well. Arriving on time — or slightly early — allows you to prepare mentally and be ready to learn right away.

“Can I be kicked out or disqualified?”

Yes, and some have been.

When you join my community you agree to uphold my values and views and can be removed without refund for violating them. I reserve the right to make that judgement myself. I use your VIP score to help with that determination.

“Can I get a letter of recommendation?”

No, not from me.

I simply do not have room in the schedule to write such letters. College letters of recommendation take an extraordinarily long amount of time to do well, and for all the colleges for which a person applies. At most I can do a LinkedIn recommendation.

Besides, you probably don’t want one from me anyway.

As one parent learned, when you ask me to recommend you I compare you to others I have mentored — not your other peers. You might be an absolutely amazing technologist compared to all the other people at your school, but here you will likely just be average. I have no way of knowing what the others in your school are like and therefore am forced to make a comparison that could look confusing to the one considering your recommendation.

No-Worries Summer

Normally push-outs are limited. But during Summer the no-worries policy allows anyone to push-out anytime during the following months:

Just provide advanced notice and you are good to go camping, vacationing, or whatever else might conflict with your time slot.

💡 Many take advantage of their available time in the Summer to move some of their sessions into available time slots during the day to create their own workshops and even camps. Simply pop a session from the end of your block and put it anyplace else there is available.

“Can I pair up with someone else?”

No. Never. No Exceptions.

Unfortunately over the last 6+ years I have learned definitively that no matter how well intentioned or close two people are when they start there is always eventually a cause to separate and learn in solo sessions. When that time comes things get really tough to manage without hurt feelings — even anger. With a schedule as full as mine when a split happens it means one person has to be put on the waiting list. There is no way to avoid hard feelings. This reality has caused me to take the very hard-line position of no pairings, period going forward.

[However, the few pairings that have not yet failed will be allowed to continue until they inevitably do. So if you have one and want to keep it you better damn well make it work. 😀 ]