Four Reasons Why Your Company Needs An “Always Be Learning” Program

At each of my last few startups, I instituted a program where employees teach each other stuff. It’s called Always Be Learning or #ABL (because everything needs a mysterious hashtag).

At Kickstarter, it started informally with a few people on the operations team teaching each other topics ranging from SQL to egg cookery, and grew to be a company-wide program that included sessions in grammar, topology, the art of Gerhard Richter, auctioneering, how the internet works, funeral directing, drawing, and more.

Every company should have a similar program (adjusted to your needs, size, and culture).


It builds teams. People get to know each other. People interact who don’t often get the chance to. People relate to each other in a different way based on the dynamics of a new teacher and new students. People show off their knowledge to their coworkers. People get to know the teacher on a more personal level, in some cases hearing about the teacher’s interests outside of work and seeing them talk about something they’re passionate about. All good things for building a team.

It improves the skills of employees. Sometimes in more relevant ways (grammar, SQL), sometimes in less relevant ways (I won’t point fingers).

It’s really fun! Most people like fun, and this is really fun.

And finally, it’s financially responsible! If your employees know and like each other, are learning and having fun, and know you care about them, you’ll hire and retain the best people. So, #ABL makes financial sense too!


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