Greater Hartford-based Mark Lassoff is a skilled technical trainer with years of experience teaching programming. Lassoff is the Founder and President of LearnToProgram Media, Inc. He has authored several training books and writes the “Mobile, Tablet and Laptop” column for Learning Solutions Magazine.
Lassoff also runs a Hartford-area monthly meetup. Innovation Destination: Hartford spoke with Lassoff about his entrepreneurial experiences, why he chose Connecticut to launch and grow his startup company, and his involvement with mentoring Connecticut-based startup companies.
Lassoff was 11 years old when he wrote his first program and has spent more than 25 years coding. His inspiration to launch a training startup company stemmed from his involvement in the local startup scene when he was living in Austin, TX.
Lassoff’s first startup, Power Plant Real Estate Marketing, was an online real estate technology company that provided automated online marketing solutions for realtors. The technology was purchased, and he later cofounded the Internet Broadcasting Group, which provided branded internet radio streams. That company was sold to a large radio ownership group and Lassoff started working as a corporate technical trainer.
Lassoff says he always enjoyed corporate technical training. “I love public speaking—in fact I have 20 minutes of funny material—so training others was a natural choice,” he explained.
When he began his training courses, Lassoff was traveling to more than 40 weeks a year. Lassoff, who grew up in Trumbull and Westport, CT, returned to the state in 2010 to be closer to family while undergoing treatment for colon cancer. It was then that he decided to offer courses online.
Lassoff says he’s happy he made the move back to Connecticut. He feels Connecticut provides great choices for employees to hire and he appreciates that Connecticut vendors are reliable and take pride in their work. “People are serious about their jobs here,” Lassoff said.
Another thing he enjoys about being located in Greater Hartford is that people are “less transient and there is a sense of community pride.” In addition, Lassoff says people’s lifestyle in Connecticut is compatible with his values and preferences.
LENDING A HAND TO HARTFORD AREA STARTUPS
Lassoff shares his startup experiences both as a mentor and through monthly meetups. He feels mentoring is important for the business ecosystem and is committed to helping spur Connecticut’s startup scene.
As an experienced business owner, he offers advice—including help with best practices and pitfalls—and acts as a sounding board for new businesses in Connecticut. He is currently working with three startup companies.
LearnToProgram sponsors a monthly meetup that takes place the first Wednesday of the month at McLadden’s in West Hartford. Although the meetup is an extension of the company, Lassoff emphasizes that it is not sales-based. The goal is to allow likeminded people to network and meet with others who are interested in entrepreneurship or technology. The meetup is also geared toward those who are new to software development or want to learn new skills.
BUSINESS GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
LearnToProgram Media, which is headquartered in Vernon, CT, publishes web, mobile and game development courses used by more than 600,000 people in 83 countries.
Lassoff says the company has had a lot of milestones since he launched it more than 3 years ago. “We’re about to launch a digital magazine to complement our internet TV apps. Both the magazine and television are available in the major mobile app stores.”
In addition, LearnToProgram will be starting in-person training courses. The first one took place in Hartford this July and additional courses will be held throughout the country. The $60 full-day courses provide intensive Apple iOS training. For more information about upcoming courses, please visit https://learntoprogram.tv/pages/live-events.
“I’m really excited about the future,” Lassoff said.