Study Hacks Blog Decoding Patterns of Success

Top Performer is Now Open

October 19th, 2015 · 40 comments

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After Three Long Years of Development…

As I mentioned last week, I’ve spent the last three years working with Scott Young and his education company to develop an online course called Top Performer. The course picks up where SO GOOD leaves off, providing a systematic curriculum for:

  • identifying the skills that matter most in your profession;
  • constructing a deliberate plan to improve them rapidly; and
  • finding the time in your already busy schedule to consistently make progress on this endeavor.

You can learn more about Top Performer at the course web site, which includes a detailed video walkthrough, curriculum information, frequently asked questions, testimonials, etc.

The key detail is that we’re only leaving the course sign-up open for this week. We will close down course registration on Friday October 23rd at Midnight (Pacific Time).

Outside of a brief reminder on Thursday, this is the last time I’m going to talk about Top Performer on this blog. It’s now back to our normally scheduled programming…

40 thoughts on “Top Performer is Now Open

  1. Matthew O'Brien says:

    Hi Cal!

    I attended the webinar and wanted to thank you for answering my question there at the end about your 9 to 5 work schedule. I had another question, which is one I really wanted to hear your thoughts on, about your advice for a college student on this topic and how one should constrain their productive time. I have this voice in my head that is telling me that I always have to be productive despite knowing that you do need time to relax and recharge. So what do you recommend, on a daily or weekly basis, for how much time should be spent on work demanded from classes and productive, career capital endeavors as opposed to how much should be left for recreation?

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. Study Hacks says:

      Assuming, as I recommend, you have a good course load (one major, normal load of courses, mix of hard and easy), and have only one major extracurricular (e.g., activity that regularly demands your time), then applying smart study habits you should be done with work at a reasonable time in the evening on most nights, and have the ability to have an easy day (essentially not work) at least every couple of weeks or so.

  2. Allen says:

    Cal,

    You might want to have someone at your web host take sign up for the course, because the site’s not loading for me.

    1. Study Hacks says:

      Because of the large amount of embedded videos on that course information page, it struggles if lots of people try to access it at the same time. We saw that yesterday after our 1000 person webinar ended, and we’re seeing it this morning because this post was just delivered to a lot of subscribers all at once.

      (There was also some chatter that there’s some browser for which it does not seem to work at all…so you might want to try another browser as well…)

      1. Allen says:

        With respect, and as a long time fan, a short sign-up window paired with a sign-up page that won’t open under load is a very frustrating combination.

  3. Aaron says:

    Hey Cal! I am a first year emergency room resident. I have been reading your blog over the last year and have had some success with some of the ideas you present. I was just looking at your Top Performer course and wondering if I would benefit.

    Essentially, my goals are not just be a top performer at my residency program but top performer in the nation. This is measured by a yearly exam and compared to every emergency room resident in the across the United States; that focuses on my academics and I have always been average up to this point. I also would like to end up as the chief resident when the time is right. I need to figure out what it takes to stand out compared to my fellow residents. And finally, I want to be a leader in my field by taking emergency medicine resident education to the next level; i.e. Integration of technology and shortening the amount of time for learning medicine.

    Is your Top Performer program for me? I know you mentioned every profession is covered but is medicine too far from programming and writing to be applicable? Or are the ideas still general enough that w

    Thanks!

    Aaron

    1. Aaron says:

      ha. I did not finish my last sentence but you get the idea. 🙂

    2. Study Hacks says:

      Interesting scenario. If your only goal was to score really high on the annual exams, then Top Performer would not be a good fit — that’s more of a straightforward study habits question. On the other hand, if it seems to you that there’s some X-factor that seems to be involved in allowing some residents to become true stars (in their program and beyond), then I think Top Performer might be a really good idea — especially since it spends significant time helping you decode what matters in your field.

      Here’s my suggestion: spend time on the information page to get a better sense of the course. If (and only if) it still seems relevant, you might want to take advantage of the 60 day money back guarantee by investing a week or two into the course, and then stepping back to see if it seems like it is applicable.

      1. Tom says:

        I am also interested to check it out for a week and see if it is really for me. I feel like I am already doing much of what the overview suggested, and I am not sure what the course will add.
        What is involved in accessing the 60 day money back guarantee, if we don’t feel it is right for us, or at least, that there wasn’t much in it we were already on top of?

        1. Study Hacks says:

          You just send Scott and e-mail and say, “not for me.” His company has a team of people to then handle the refund logistics (he runs a lot of courses, so this is all old hat to him)

  4. Johnny says:

    Hey Cal,

    Are ya’ll going to be doing the Top Performer class again in the future? I graduated in May with a Bachelor’s degree in Geology but with the downturn in oil it has been challenging to find employment. I’d love to take the class but with little income at the moment, it’s not a possibility. It would give me some peace of mind to know I could attempt it in a few months when I’ll (hopefully) be started on my career.

    Thanks!

    1. Study Hacks says:

      I think you’re smart to pass on the course for now until you’re more settled into the working world. I suspect we’ll open the course again at some point, though for now all our energy is on this current offering.

  5. MD says:

    I’ve been following both your blog and books and Scott’s blogs and books since my freshman year at university in 2011, so I am familiar with your content and ideas.

    How exactly does this course go beyond your websites and books?

    I’m debating enrolling, and I’m wondering if it’s worth the $500 price tag. Based on the outline and the sales pitch on the site, it looks like this course is just all of your old ideas rearranged into a different format. I don’t see any new ideas in the course outline (stretch projects, stretch churn, deep work, deliberate practice, hourly time blocks, etc. are already discussed in your blogs and books).

    1. Study Hacks says:

      The course provides a structure for acting on a lot of these ideas (plus some new ideas). It has you systematically research your field to find the right skill, then helps you design a project that will force you to deliberately practice the skill, then as you progress on the project, helps you keep finding time to make progress, manage your schedule, work deeply, etc.

      I think the course is probably best suited for someone at a stage of their career where they are ready to really make a move to begin breaking away from the pack, and who wants some structure to make sure they’re investing their energy in effectively. So it’s not really for everyone.

  6. Julian says:

    Hi Cal,

    How crucial is the community for this course? Is there any chance you guys may want to rethink the “facebook” group? I left facebook 6 years ago and hate to go back to it just for this course.

    Julian

    1. Study Hacks says:

      I’m not on Facebook either, so I’m going to have a borrow a login to see what’s going on in the community. I would say, based off of Scott’s experience with other course, the community is pretty important. It provides motivation but also helps you get feedback and customize your approach, etc.

      1. Alias says:

        Hey Cal – I signed up for this course and have to make a Facebook account to use this aspect of the course. What is your suggestion for someone wishing to contribute and engage in the online community, but preferring to keep some privacy (with respect to using their full name associated with what skills/goals they want to focus on/pursue)?

        1. Study Hacks says:

          I don’t know much about Facebook, but I’ve heard Scott mention that there’s a way to create a “hidden” account, which I suppose is one that old high school friends of your can’t find 🙂

      2. Ravin Kumar says:

        Cal,
        I mean this in the most respectful way but it is odd to me as a reader of your blog was my primary driver to start eliminating Facebook from my life, only to now go back to it to take your course.

        I can only infer that you likely won’t be visiting the page often. As a customer this is a negative as I really was looking forward to your interaction.

        I’m very unaware of your course constraints but perhaps it would be worthwhile in the future to find a Facebook independent.

        These things are minor, I still know your and Scott’s course will be extremely well put together and valuable but I did want to express my surprise and concerns.

        Looking forward to the classes.

        -Ravin

        1. Study Hacks says:

          Facebook groups seems to have become a standard for online communities in such courses mainly because so many people use Facebook. Therefore, they see the updates in their feed (which they are already used to checking) and are more likely to participate. When courses attempt instead to build custom communities (e.g., a forum), participation dies off, as people don’t check in that much.

          The downside, however, is exactly what you point out: for those of us who don’t use Facebook, this is a bummer.

  7. Santosh Sali says:

    I wish to attend, but would like to join after December. Will you be floating the course in new year … ?

    1. Study Hacks says:

      I’m not sure if/when we’ll open it again. But it’s self-paced, and once you sign-up, you have access forever, so if the issue is just you’d like to delay starting for a month or two, you could consider just signing up and waiting until you’re ready to start.

  8. Marina says:

    Ok, I took the plunge. I am re-entering the market after 2 years out of it. I was very upset with the direction my career was taking and thought taking a master’s program on something I loved would somehow steer me in the right direction. Well, it did not: quite the contrary, it added more pieces to the puzzle I was struggling to put together.
    When I quit my last job (because of a family relocation and young kids), I had a bit of an “edge”, a slight career capital that I feel is not quite so anymore. I am 39, re-launching my career in a different country and absolutely lost about what my next steps should be. I cannot entertain the thought of the great career ship having sailed for me. My goal is to be financially independent at a job I love, make a difference in the world (original, huh?). I have high expectations of this course after reading the book, and hope it meets them!
    Cheers.

  9. Marc says:

    Dear Cal,

    I signed for the course, but now I have a question.

    I am teaching literature at college level, therefore the most valuable thing is to publish articles/books.

    Considering that I already know what I have to do to get tenure, how this course can help people working in the Academia?

    Thanks,
    Marc

    1. Study Hacks says:

      This is a topic I know well given my own profession. I think where the course will help you is providing a concrete framework for getting better at publishing good papers. In other words, closing the gap between “I should publish more,” and the tactical things required to succeed with this…

  10. Mark says:

    Gosh, the course does look good.

    I love the ideas your present in this blog and have read some of Scot’s blog in the past too. I do feel that it is quite different and also more relevant.

    But I hate these kinda digital courses/ebooks. Most are quite scam like or provide little value but to those that make it. As someone currently on minimal wage while studying, I really can’t take the risk. I see there is some form of money back guarantee, but still am dubious. Which is a shame because I am sure you put a lot of work into it and I would happily give you both a boat ton of money if it worked and I had it to give!

    However the marketing copy has inspired some deep thinking on the topic so thank you! And best of luck to you and thanks for creating content that is extremely relevant in today’s world, where humanity truly and massively exists below it’s potential as people are not even trying or doing the wrong things to do something truly remarkable!

    1. Study Hacks says:

      I’m intrigued by this format. I think when done well by the right people it fills a need that is otherwise not currently filled. At the same time, I agree that there is a huge variety of quality out there right now, so it’s sort of hard to decide what to trust or not.

  11. Duncan Smith says:

    I wrote up some thoughts on this course based on my experience in the pilot versions: http://www.redgreencode.com/cal-and-scotts-top-performer-course/

    If you’re thinking about signing up, it may give you some more to go on. I used the course to design a project around coding mastery and programming language fluency.

    1. Study Hacks says:

      Thanks Duncan! How has your project been going since the pilot?

      1. Duncan Smith says:

        The advice from the pilot was useful for designing a project to target specific outcomes. After the course, I decided to continue a longer-term version of the project, and use a blog to write about the results. It is gradually collecting interest from people with similar goals.

        One of the interesting results from the full course is that people are creating sub-communities focused on applying the course material to specific careers. That’s what I had in mind in writing about applying the pilot advice to software development.

  12. Meiri Anto says:

    Would you recommend this course if you are a student, or is it more suited for professionals already in the workforce for a few years?

  13. Cleo Monday says:

    Hi Cal,
    I loved your book So Good They Can’t Ignore You! It’s EPIC!! Sooooo good!! I’m lucky to have checked out the blog for the first time in just over four weeks to find this. Just been trying to load the site and it’s not working for me. Aaaaaargh! Do you or anyone else have any idea on the best browser to use? I’m based in London UK & am currently working in France so still have 7 hours.

  14. Cleo Monday says:

    That’s sixteen hours….. #timetypo

  15. martin says:

    I tried to order the course for three times. Each time the order was declined without a reason. The message was just “Declined”.
    Thats not what I would call a good user/customer experience.

  16. Jason Dexter says:

    Hey Cal,
    When will the next Top Performer course open up?

  17. Elle says:

    Hi Cal,

    Will there be student pricing in the future? I noticed in the FAQ of Top Performer you mentioned that is not for students, but I would argue becoming self aware about your career while still in school is essential in positioning yourself for success post-graduation. With the current job market especially, it seems unwise to not to plan ahead. Or was your point that full-time students wouldn’t be able to make the time commitment the course would require?

  18. Sunny says:

    Hi cal
    I’m interested in the course but the website is down. Would appreciate a chance to enroll over the weekend.

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