Eating the Dog Food at Udemy

The expression “eating your own dog food,” popularized at tech companies, refers to employees using their company’s own products and services. At Udemy, it means that, but it also speaks to the way we embrace lifelong learning as one of our foundational company values.

We talk a lot here about the power of learning as a way for people to unlock opportunities and build the lives they imagine for themselves. We also talk about the personal responsibility we all have for upskilling ourselves if we want to continue advancing in our careers and growing as professionals. One of the most visible expressions of how Udemy puts substance behind these values is when employees become instructors. Seijin Jung is just the latest example.

Seijin works on our growth marketing team and has been with Udemy since August 2015. He has a rich background in tech and business, but he’s also been passionate about education for a long time. He was a part-time tutor while in high school in Korea and still runs individual and small-group sessions to help students with subjects like math and science.

When he first got to Udemy, Seijin managed all the paid marketing campaigns directed at existing Udemy students, otherwise known as retargeting. Now he’s managing our merchandising efforts too. This isn’t just his job but a personal interest as well. One of the perks of working at Udemy, of course, is having access to our vast course library, and Seijin has taken advantage of this to learn more about SEO, web development, app development, and other topics in support of his entrepreneurial side.

Discovering his instructor calling
Seijin has always loved learning and describes himself as self-motivated, but it wasn’t until he started at Udemy that he got to thinking about creating a course that would let him “share what I know and connect with millions of students around world.” He also was curious about getting a first-hand look into the instructor experience on our platform.

As any instructor will attest, however, “it’s one thing to think about it but another dimension to actually do it.” The idea of making his own Udemy course stuck in his head, and he kept thinking about his topic and how to approach it as an instructor. His catalyst to “just make it happen” was committing himself to it as a 2016 New Year’s resolution.

The way Seijin tells it, “creating a course was a learning process of its own.” Even if you have years of experience in your subject area, you have to think about the best ways to structure your course content and how to take all that knowledge and make it clear and concise. Like most Udemy instructors, Seijin turned to the Teach Hub for guidance and resources. Sure, Seijin could’ve walked across the office and found someone to hold his hand through the process, but “I wanted to go through it like an actual instructor would and do it on my own and do it as quickly as possible.” He didn’t even use our in-house studio to shoot his lectures, preferring the authenticity of recording video at home. “It tends to drag along if you think about it too much,” he advises.

Just make it happen
On February 10, 2016, Seijin published “The Complete Facebook, Google, YouTube Retargeting Course” to great acclaim around the Udemy office. But “the wow moment” came when his first students signed up, including people from as far away as Australia and Malta. “It’s an awesome feeling to know there’s someone out there thousands of miles away benefitting from what I’ve created and making changes in their lives because of this,” Seijin says. “Getting connected to someone in need of this knowledge is powerful and meaningful.”

Lots of us at Udemy have been thinking for months (or even years!) about the courses we could create, so it’s always a huge inspiration when one of our own takes the plunge. To anyone who’s been stuck in the imagining phase for too long, Seijin urges you to just give it a shot because “you’re going to find infinite possibilities.” He’s already contemplating what his next course might be about — maybe another marketing course, maybe something in his native Korean.

Seijin pic

Seijin’s a perfect example of how we live our values at Udemy every day. Here are a few other Udemy employees who are also published instructors in the marketplace: