Dallas Innovates 2020 Thought Leaders: A Cloud Guru / Linux Academy

Q+A | Musings on innovation from the region's paradigm-shifting companies and organizations.

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Sam Kroonenburg is CEO and co-founder of A Cloud Guru, an online learning platform that has helped over 1 million learners worldwide understand and advance skills in cloud technology. After recently acquiring Linux Academy, the total organization now boasts the largest library of hands-on cloud training content in the world.

Why did you initially create A Cloud Guru?

Along with my brother Ryan Kroonenburg, we started A Cloud Guru because we believed there was a better way of helping people learn technology & access new opportunities. Cloud computing is reshaping all of IT, and addressing the need to reskill for the future of IT. Our platform creates an opportunity for people from all walks of life to enter the field and achieve a brighter future. Our mission is to teach the world to cloud, through democratized & accessible education—you don’t need an expensive degree to access fulfilling and lucrative tech careers.

What made A Cloud Guru want to join forces with Linux Academy?

We’ve always cared about building training that is engaging, hands-on and focused on helping people put learning into practice. Training for technology shouldn’t be boring; it should be as exciting and engaging as the technology itself. The hands-on labs and learning-by-doing approach by Linux Academy is an important part of bringing our engaging material to life. And, together, we now represent the largest and most effective school for the future of IT.

Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s innovations?

We think about innovation, both through technology and creative delivery—and this is where each company has historically shined.

At A Cloud Guru, we are creators of training content, but we see ourselves more like Netflix or HBO than a corporate training provider. Training should be interesting, engaging and something that students want to do, not have to do.

Now, with the technology of Linux Academy—our ideas are put into practice. These newly acquired, world-class, integrated training environments enable learners to experiment in safe, managed environments.

[Image: Courtesy A Cloud Guru / Linux Academy]

What is the most critical IT challenge that your team helps to address?

The world is changing, and cloud computing is rapidly shifting how IT is managed and delivered. Many companies around the world are transitioning their infrastructure to public cloud providers, but the IT talent market lacks enough cloud-skilled engineers to do the work. A skills gap has emerged.

A Cloud Guru, combined with Linux Academy, provides the world’s most comprehensive training library for cloud computing, with a focus on helping students learn by doing to gain technology careers faster than ever before.

What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

Ultimately, a business lives or dies by the value it delivers to its customers. Work out how to build a product that truly solves a problem for your customers and don’t get distracted by your own view or bias on what you think they want. Once you’ve found a good product-market fit, everything else about building/scaling the business can fall into place.

What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone overwhelmed by the cloud or technology in general?

There’s such rapid change out there in technology it can seem overwhelming if you look at it in totality. Instead, work out where to start in your learning journey, and just focus on “the next thing” in your path. Climb the mountain one step at a time and try not to look up at what’s in front of you. Set achievable milestones for your education, in two- to three-month timeframes. And finally, choose a training curriculum that is designed to “meet you where you are at” that doesn’t assume knowledge or use daunting industry jargon.

A version of this Thought Leaders article was first published in Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine.


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It’s a moment for innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth, one that we’ve been working toward for a long time. In Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine, we explore the people and companies you need to know in Dallas-Fort Worth. From first-time startups to innovation icons, these are the people and companies driving the future forward.

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