"Hi, I'm Scott Allen... "
When you heard those words, in that voice, you knew you were about to learn something and have fun doing it.
Sadly Scott Allen passed away Friday. He was a founding author at Pluralsight, creating 54 courses for the Platform and becoming the top-performing author of all time. Scott was the host of the Herding Code Podcast, CTO of Medisolv, and a Microsoft Regional Director. He was an international speaker and an Icon of the ASP/.NET world. Visit Scott's Blog
Scott is a big reason I am where I am today. Scott's course on C# was the first course I took at Pluralsight. I was a software engineer learning a whole new language and framework, and he brought it into clear focus for me. My skills and knowledge flourished so much I was mentoring folks on C# in a little over a year.
First, he taught me, then inspired me. Teaching has always been a passion of mine. I've always shared my skills as soon as I gain them, but I never thought of myself in an instructor role. I enjoyed the act of showing someone something new. For the longest time, my vision of an "instructor" was the professors I had in school. Loud, energetic, and often brimming with ego. Words nobody would use to describe me.
Taking Scott's courses changed my mind. His relaxed yet confident style and ego-free attitude towards teaching were extremely effective. This was obvious by the tremendous impact he was making. It made me think there might be room in this world of online instruction for me. So I tried out for Pluralsight, and in 2016 I became an author which changed my life.
In 2019 I joined Pluralsight as a full-time employee. At Pluralsight Live I hosted an event called "Tech Insights", where I spoke on stage with leaders at the conference. Scott was among the first people I asked to talk with, and he happily obliged.
While running from one spot to the next, I bumped into Scott near the entrance to the courtyard and introduced myself. He said, "Hey nice to meet you, do you want to join me for lunch?". I couldn't refuse.
During lunch, we talked about pretty much everything except tech, which was a good break for both of us that day. We talked about our families, where we live, the keto diet, and a funny story about him buying a new snow plow for his driveway. He eagerly anticipated that first snow, and when it came, the snowplow was covered so bad he couldn't get to it. He needed a snowplow to find his snowplow, he told me, laughing.
I found him to be a kind person and very down to earth. He treated me like an equal. Towards the end of the lunch, he was in full teacher mode, giving me some tips on authoring that I'll never forget.
Here are some big takeaways:
Don't obsess over things like statistics, views, and money. Whether your students are learning what you are teaching is the indicator of success. Focus on that.
Don't try to become the personality you think people want you to be in courses (I did this early on BTW). Be yourself, whoever that is.
Don't forget why you got into it. You're here to teach. Imagine your student is sitting right next to you as you speak into the microphone. Keep the learner viewpoint in your mind as much as possible.
These are principles I'll never forget.
He treated me with kindness and respect and offered wise advice. He showed how you could become a titan in an industry without sacrificing others or acting superior.
I can't say I knew Scott that well, but I would guess his impact on the world around him went farther than professional success. He was a true geek in every sense of the word and loved sharing knowledge. He also enjoyed building others up. Over the years, I've never seen him bashing others, punching down, or doing anything other than being kind and gracious. He volunteered a lot of time and energy into his community, doing what he loved, which was building people up.
He was a truly kind and generous person who will be missed.
The best way we can honor Scott is to be more like Scott. Let's do more to build up those around us.
Here are some things his fellow technologists had to say about him.
Mr. David Giard@davidgiard1/n
The world and the tech community lost an amazing person. I just learned that K Scott Allen passed away 2 days ago.
Most people know about Scott's excellent technical skills. He was an excellent speaker and arguably the most successful instructor in Pluralsight history.20:50 PM - 12 Jan 2020
Jason Alba@jasonalbaIn @skonnard's tribute to @OdeToCode, he linked to this video: youtube.com/watch?v=y0ujRE… The late Scott Allen put together some of the funny outtakes from recording... I relate to some of these. Love his fun personality you can hear from these bloopers!16:42 PM - 14 Jan 2020
Terry McCann@sqlsharkI once took on a project which I struggled with. Scott's videos and support really helped me so much. I think back to that project as such a pivotal point in my career. My love and condolences to Scott's family and friends. twitter.com/skonnard/statu…22:40 PM - 13 Jan 2020Aaron Skonnard @skonnardShocked and deeply saddened by the passing of @OdeToCode, one of @pluralsight’s most respected authors and closest friends since the very beginning. You will be missed Scott...by so many. https://t.co/zyIEDTgqaX
duncan faulkner@skonnard @ctmcisco @OdeToCode @pluralsight OMG - I cannot believe this, one of the best instructors at @pluralsight I have watched so many of his courses and read so many of his blog posts, he was like a friend. Thank you Scott you made learning to code so much fun, you will be sorely missed. RIP13:15 PM - 13 Jan 2020
Saverio Terracciano@tetsuoryuuMy 1st course on @pluralsight was authored by @OdeToCode. I followed many others & read his posts on his blog. Today I learn that he passed away, I never managed to meet him & host him at one of our events, but I feel deeply saddened from such terrible loss in our community.10:54 AM - 13 Jan 2020
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Steve Michelotti@smichelottiRIP Scott Allen (@OdeToCode). One of the most humble, smartest people I've ever met. He was personally responsible for introducing/referring me to @pluralsight which was game changing for me. Hard to find someone who impacted so many. We've lost one of the great ones.02:08 AM - 13 Jan 2020
Douglas Starnes@poweredbyaltnetI just learned that K. Scott Allen (@OdeToCode) has passed away at just 50. I never got to meet him, but he is one of the reasons I wanted to work with @Pluralsight and I learned a lot from his courses both as a viewer and an author.23:32 PM - 12 Jan 2020
You can also listen to our first podcast episode which featured the man himself.