Thank you LS

Iuliu Pop
5 min readOct 31, 2021


Launch School Founder

In the “learn to code” space, there are educational institutions that have a predatory business model. The north star is to scale at all costs, even if students get screwed over in the process.

Launch School is the polar opposite. At its core, it’s guided by such a wholesome intention that imbues every part of it. It’s why the community is so beautiful and many of us stick around to give back generously.

I just want to take a moment Chris to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You, together with everyone here, have made LS an exceptional place. Launch School is a gem of a school.

After ~15 months here since starting prep and completing Core, I feel like a badass developer (still a tadpole though). But what Launch School has given me is way more than that.

First, encountering LS was the catalyst for me to begin “mastery”. By mastery, I mean the long game. The game all-time masters play. It’s a game a lot like gardening. The seed is there in the dirt. Genius is there. But everyday care needs to be given for it to develop, for the seed to take its full expression. Before LS I would piss away my energy here and there, like an amateur. Nowhere did I water enough to earn fruits. It’s because I was impatient, hasty, time-poor. Not because I don’t have time, I’m young as fuck. It’s because I was so used to living life on a conveyor belt. It went so fast, I was mostly worried about not slamming my face into the ground. Who’s got time for gardening? But that was all just in my head (very real) and reading Chris’ posts about the way to master software engineering popped that illusion. LS changed my perspective and I fully took in the slow, patient, but extremely fruitful mastery approach. For that, I’m so glad.

Second, being surrounded by such kind, thoughtful, committed people has transformed me. Before starting the paid courses, I reached out, met people and started studying together. My first impression was “Wow, how warm and welcoming are these people!”. I don’t know in what world you live in, but that doesn’t happen every day. I think at the root, the wholesome intentions behind LS attracts people with wholesome vibes. A student at LS recounted a story from law school and it sounded like Sparta. The people here couldn’t be further away from that.

There’s really something to be said to being around harmless people full of goodwill. Safety changes your biology, your mind, your heart. When you’re anxious and scared, paying close attention to threats, there’s no space to dig deep in your shit. Your brain is used up, there’s no space to invest in something profound, long-term. However, when you feel safe, you have the energy to take care of yourself. You have the energy to study and make a beautiful garden of yourself. In fact, being around the people at LS has multiplied my energy by 100X at least. I have no clue how I could’ve been strong enough to study alone for all that time. If there was no LS, I would’ve had to find other people to get where I am.

I’m not alone with this kind of story. Of the couple of people that shared their path here, it’s obvious the LS community has reached deep in their lives and helped them. Someone with difficult mental health, someone whose house burned down. We’re here to learn software engineering, but we’re also here to care for each other. Not to eat each other like sharks. That makes all the difference when shit hits the fan in your life. It gets you over to your destination instead of letting you drown. In that way, LS is like a lighthouse. Thank god for that.

LS has given me a lot more than just an education in software engineering. I’ll share a quote from the book “Who Not How” by Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan to drive the point home. The book is about how for radical, mind-bending success, you cannot do it alone. Even the most awesome individual is nothing by themselves. They introduce this idea brilliantly with a story about Michael Jordan. I’ll share a brief part:

“Michael’s true brilliance was only possible as he transformed into more of a team player… the most crucial lesson may be that Michael Jordan was not a self-contained entity. His “potential” was not innate or fixed, but rather, contextual and relational. Michael Jordan was literally changed and expanded through his team, coaches, and experiences. He became more than he would have become on his own, both as a person and as a talent. …If Michael Jordan couldn’t get to, let alone win, a championship by himself, why would you even consider trying to pursue your goals on your own?”

My potential without LS was run-of-the-mill at best. Together with the LS curriculum and its community, my potential was radically changed. Call it hubris, but I’m confident I’m on a trajectory to become an all-time master. I couldn’t have hopped on this path without the LS and the good people here. You were so important to me at this stage in my life. For that, I thank you all so much. I thank you 1000 times over.

I’ll be honest with y’all, part of me feels frustrated. Right now where I am in my life, I rely so much on others. That’s great. I’m infinitely grateful to my dad and my family for carrying me. But I so yearn for the day I’m capable enough on my feet to give back, to give generously and fully. For most of my life, I go tick, tick, tick, thinking of ways to put every fiber of my being to work, to service. But I’m so hopelessly monkey-like. I try a thousand ways to tame myself, and self-mastery is still on the horizon. My journey at Launch School has been a catalyst for mastering myself and through it, I’m so much closer to being on my feet and productive financially.

All this to say, 100% I’ll be here for this community and give back fully when I’m working and taking care of myself and my family well.

Love you all, thank you, thank you.



Iuliu Pop

What do you want to be different at the end of your life as a result of your actions?