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Build Something Big

Build Something Big

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It’s LIVE! Check out the bootcamp signup here.

I’m going to build a new mobile startup within 2 weeks and teach some of you how that is done while doing that. Most people might assume I’m talking about one of those “MVP” cardboard startups…​ This isn’t the case!
We’ll build a real ground breaking app with a server component that handles storage, push and a few other things you wouldn’t expect and I plan to fit the whole thing in a two week time frame.

This is essentially what I said in the last two posts in this series. We’ll build the full stack of a real world startup from the ground up to server and client production within 2 weeks of hard work!

Famous last words?

Over the past 20+ years I worked for startups, major software/hardware companies, operators, banks and much more…​ I founded 4 companies during this time and every time I did it the process became easier. Codename One is a huge product so it’s not something I would compare to “an app”. However, the basic product we launched as beta took 3 months to build and we spent too much of that debating the “launch slide deck”.

Unlike that effort, building an app is almost trivial when you know how…​ The server side will be relatively simple as it won’t include the web interface portions that are always a pain. Just very basic storage, push and simple management.

The big effort that will take most of the time is making the apps look good and applying a compelling design.

With this bootcamp I want you to see how easy it is to build a startup and a complex mobile app. But the bigger goal is to flip a switch within you that would hopefully be as transformational for you as it would be for me. I want to recreate the startup experience as part of the bootcamp, that’s something you can’t do in a course.
Every startup I worked at even as a consultant had affected me on an emotional level and I hope this will leave you in a similar energized state and motivated to “take on the world”.

How will this Work?

At a birds eye view the bootcamp will include a short “getting ready” period for those unfamiliar with Codename One followed by 1 week of basics, 2 weeks of app building hack race and 1 week of finishing, loose ends and cleanup so we are all at the finish line together.

The whole bootcamp will last 4 work weeks (5 day weeks). The 4 weeks will be divided into 2 week batches so we’ll have 2 intensive weeks followed by a week and a half off to regroup and the second part.

The bootcamp will start on March 27th and the first two weeks will end on April 6th.

It will resume on Tuesday April 18th and will end on Monday May 1st.

Hours for the 1 on 1 sessions will be scheduled individually ideally before the start of the bootcamp for the first session. Since they are 1 on 1 sessions hours would be flexible.

The course will include:

  • 1 on 1 sessions with each participant. Ideally 2 sessions per participant but logistics of time and number of participants might make scheduling difficult (I’m limiting registration numbers so ideally 2 sessions should fit)

  • Most of the material will be passed as a combination of video and/or webinars. I’ll determine the ratio of video to webinar based on participation and what works for the group

  • Tasks delivered daily – to make best use of the bootcamp I’ll send out individual daily “missions”, those will fit into the puzzle as we continue learning. If an individual mission is too challenging use the chat to get help.

  • We’ll have group chat and a Facebook group for questions/collaboration

If we will have webinars they will be recorded so if you miss them you will be able to watch them later and ask followup questions via the chat/facebook

The schedule of the course will be as follows:

  • Pre course – developers who don’t have Codename One experience will take a small crash course in some of the basics of Codename One so we can begin at an equal footing. This will include some pre-made videos and a few missions to get them ready

  • Week 1 – Basics: Layouts, theming, portability, density, basic design principles, GUI builder vs. handcoding, animations/transitions, storage, SQLite, networking, threading, EDT, custom components, certificates & signing

  • Week 2 – Deeper into the core of Codename One and beginning of building the app we will build thru the course, initial server setup with client/server communication (websockets/webservices)

  • Week 3 – App completion and refinement. Server initiated push, complete design both in CSS & designer, integrating native code

  • Week 4 – Loose ends – security, store upload, localization/internationalization, performance, on device debugging

A bootcamp is a very fluid process and is subject to change based on feedback from the group. So if we have a group that needs to spend more time on basics we’ll do that and if the group can run faster we’ll add more material based on demand.

One Time Thing

The way I see this bootcamp it can go in two ways:

  • A lot of people will signup and fill it up completely – this would mean I would have too much work and won’t want to do this again as I need to focus on Codename One

  • Few people will signup – I won’t repeat something that didn’t succeed

Either way this is probably the only chance to get this bootcamp.

I’m limiting the seats because if we have too many participants this might get out of hand, we’ll also limit the signup window to 5 days because we need the list of students ASAP. Some students might not know Codename One yet in which case they will need to do a pre-session so the speed of the class won’t be hindered.


We don’t have the signup page up yet but we’re working on that!

I’ll send out an e-mail on 2pm GMT this Monday with signup details. It might be ready sooner but I got some feedback that some of you might need time to seek management approval and I wanted to give you the time to do so. However, I can’t give a lot of time here since we are in a rush and the signup needs to finish with time to spare before the bootcamp starts.

Signup will last until Friday afternoon (GMT) and will close at that point, I’m limiting the number of students significantly so it’s possible we’ll run out of space sooner.


  • Dalvik says:

    Looks great!
    I still have three questions after reading this:
    – Price?
    – What would the app be?
    – What sort of availability will we need during the bootcamp? Can I still go to work?

  • Shai Almog says:

    – We’ll list it on Monday

    – I’ll reveal this only after the bootcamp starts and only to the team. This will be an actual startup that we will launch and try to get traction for.

    – I would be spending the whole day on this during the bootcamp but I’m assuming I would work much harder on this than you guys would. You might be able to get away with half a days work but if you have the ability to take the whole day off and focus on this it might be best as the context switch might be difficult.

    I can’t really tell how hard it will be for each of you since this is a bit different from courses I gave in the past and would be more fluid.

  • Chidiebere Okwudire says:

    Are you saying each participant would need to put in roughly half a day per day over the 5-week period?

  • Shai Almog says:

    4 weeks but generally yes. That’s the difference between a bootcamp and a course. You actually need to do work and learn in a very intense way.

    I think people can still get a lot if they don’t put that amount of time but if you look at the post, the goals are pretty intense.

  • Dalvik says:

    Thanks, that makes sense. I have some Codename One experience and good server experience so I’m guessing this will be less of an effort right?

  • Shai Almog says:

    Yes in that case you can get away with less time and possibly multi-tasking.

    My point is that the timeline of the bootcamp is helpful. The materials will still be there after the completion of the bootcamp but we might not. So if we finish the bootcamp and you didn’t pay attention then you decide to go back and review stuff it might be a bit harder. You could ask us (I’ll setup a private Facebook Group for discussion) and we’ll try to help but that might impact the learning experience.

  • salah Alhaddabi says:

    Dear Shai, I wish you would have mentioned the time each session will take during the day (greenwich time) and the pricing so we can make up our mind over the weekend before signing up starts.

  • Shai Almog says:

    The times are flexible as we might not have live sessions and even if we do they will be recorded so you can watch them at your convenience. I like live sessions but they might not be practical, I did webinars with some audiences where this worked great and some where it didn’t. It’s hard to know what will work for the group as a whole.

    Normally I like pricing upfront so I get where you are coming from. The opacity here is a “hack” from a friend. He explained it so beautifully, I hope I’m not murdering his explanation as I’m not a marketing guy:

    Say you have a price up front. People will view everything in your offering in light of your price. E.g a 500 dollar product is clearly inferior to a 5000 dollar product. Even if we KNOW better it’s one of those deeply held mind biases: expensive is more valuable.

    Pricing is like that, it’s subjective (cheap for X might be expensive for Y) so the moment you mention a price you are ranked based on everything out there in the market as cheap or expensive and this deters your ability to convey your message of your real value proposition.

    I’m in a dilemma here. I need to price things high enough so you will assign value and low enough because I know some of the community is price sensitive but I don’t want to deter from the value proposition that’s discussed.

    You need to make an objective decision unrelated to the price tag, decide how much you are willing to pay. When we publish the price it can either be higher or lower.

    If it’s lower then you landed a great deal!

    If it’s higher then I either overpriced or the value isn’t there for you.

    Overall this is better for both of us, you can make an objective decision without the biases that pricing provides.

    It’s even a nice consumer hack detailed here: [http://twocents.lifehacker….](

  • Chad Elofson says:


    I definitely won’t determine the value of this bootcamp based on the price. I have worked on a Codename One mobile app and would love to improve my workflow through this bootcamp.

    As I am going into business for myself, I would find it helpful if there was a payment option for the bootcamp. Definitely looking forward to Monday!

  • Chad Elofson says:

    For payment options, I mean having the option to pay it all up front or making two or three payments.

  • Shai Almog says:


    Since the bootcamp starts this month and ends at the end of next month we won’t have payment options other than a single payment.

  • Chad Elofson says:

    Then I shall find a way to get it covered. Thanks for the update

  • faenze e. says:

    So we can sign up just to see the price, scoff, and cancel? If you are worried about apparent value, how about a sliding scale, since value is relative. 😉

  • Shai Almog says:

    Nope. The product isn’t launched so you have nothing to signup for. On Monday the bootcamp signup will launch and the price will be there.
    Pricing is relative to you as the payer, not to me as the service provider who has to take nearly two months off work to setup and run this thing.

  • faenze e. says:

    Ah, I misinterpreted the signup date and comments.

  • Andrew Nyago says:

    Hello, am I late for registration?

  • Shai Almog says:

    No. When registration closes we will block the ability to process the payment.

  • Andrew Nyago says:

    i failed to see the link to the registration page.

  • Shai Almog says:

    I edited the post after it went live and added it to the top, it’s also in the home page below the fold: [http://codenameone.teachabl…](

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