Introducing Tech Fleet: Offering Decentralized Tech Training and a Participatory Economics Engine for The World
By Morgan Denner
Founder and Executive Director at Tech Fleet Inc.
Last edited Oct 20, 2023 (living litepaper)
About me: I have over 10 combined years of experience in product management, UX, and software development orchestration. I’ve had careers in sales, IT, product management, and User Experience Design/Product Design. I’ve scaled product teams and launched enterprise-ready products into the world, all while taking a heavy user-centered design and strategic approach. Our group is pioneering applications for Lean UX that I started in my career years ago through Tech Fleet projects, coaching and spreading knowledge along the way. I am a believer of decentralization and a disciple of the Agile Manifesto.
Update March 2023: Tech Fleet has become a decentralized nonprofit corporation in Delaware! Read about it here. https://techfleet.medium.com/a-note-about-tech-fleets-future-as-a-decentralized-nonprofit-dea2c36164db
Updated May 2023: “Tech Fleet Community DAO” still lives on as a DAO within the Tech Fleet Inc., a nonprofit in the state of Delaware U.S. seekng 501(c)(3) public charity, and the community contributors it serves in its mission. We are a community-led organization, by the people for the people, and operate within the nonprofit bylaws set forth for Tech Fleet Inc.
Not everyone has an equal chance of success in Tech careers today. Where you grew up, your access to premium education, who you and your family know, your work experience, all play roles in your success. Those who are favored get the experience they need to land lucrative jobs. Others end up working a second job for free, just to get the experience they need to get paid for the same job.
I call it the “Experience Firewall”; i.e., “Sorry, you need a year on the job for this entry-level role.” And yet, the world’s supply of experienced Tech talent is shrinking in Tech while the demand for skilled resources grows. Gig economy demand is exploding, millions of people need to be re-skilled from old industries, and there’s a big gap of Tech talent in new industries like blockchain and web3.
Trying to get into that new job can be deflating when hit with the Experience Firewall today. Now we see most entry level jobs in UX, Product, and Development requiring years of experience. Companies offer internships for limited audiences, usually college students only. Schools, bootcamps, and educational platforms can be expensive, don’t provide enough on-the-job training, and don’t evolve their programs as quickly as the industry.
It seems the Tech industry has all but cut out entry-level workers and career changers from paid jobs. By doing this employers are throwing away future talent and future leaders of the industry — all in the name of overhead.
This is the world we’ve built today.
How do we fix this? How do we increase the chances of success equally across the lower class, middle class, AND upper class around the world? How do we give a fair chance to marginalized and under-represented communities around the world? How do we stop the “Experience Firewall” and the exclusion that’s rampant in the industry?
Someone needs to give the newbies a chance.
Introducing Tech Fleet: a bridge to the real world. A community focused on leveling the playing field for those getting into Tech, and bettering the standards of Agile UX in the industry.
- A community-driven re-skilling engine for UX, Product Management, Web/App/Blockchain Development, Marketing, QA, Business Development, and other Tech roles
- A place for unique community-driven Tech training, apprenticeship, and education programs for anyone trying to break into tech
- A place for any company (nonprofit, for-profit, startup) in the world to test and build and validate new business ideas
- A community educational hub for Tech workers of all levels
- A community freelance hub for Tech workers of all levels
We’ve been running as an online community since 2020 with a powerful mission and an even more powerful impact. Decentralization is Tech Fleet’s ticket to scaling globally.
In this article you can read about the problems we’re solving, the history of Tech Fleet, and our vision.
Check our roadmap out at techfleet.org/about.
Tech Fleet Overview
Tech Fleet is on a mission to create equal opportunity to anyone pursuing UX, Product Management, Development, and other Tech fields. We want to give anyone in the world the opportunity to learn by doing, closing the education gap as we go. We want to create jobs for the world. We want to build and maintain open source products and services for the world.
In June 2020 we created Tech Fleet to create an opportunity for anyone, no matter who they are, to gain real-world experience in UX and Product while practicing job skills. Well over 100 apprentices (counted as of October 2022) from Tech Fleet have found full-time roles in UX and Product after they each took on an 8-week apprenticeship. We’ve been operating with a successful apprenticeship model for close to two years and are scaling from here to sustain operations. Tech Fleet’s unique apprenticeships and leadership opportunities we’ve honed over the last two years provide a way for anyone in the world to gain advantage in the field they want to be in.
Tech Fleet’s platform will be a proving ground for new Tech talent to cut their teeth and practice needed skills, for new products and services to be researched, tested, designed, developed, and launched into the world.
The problems we’re solving
- We’ve got a hiring problem all over the world.
- The wealth gap and Tech skills gap continue to grow all over the world.
- New workers in Tech are not given enough proper chances to succeed.
- We’ve got a UX and Product talent problem in new industries like blockchain/web3, AI, and VR.
- There’s an ever-growing gap between educational knowledge and job requirements as industries evolve.
- Juniors and people transitioning from other fields are struggling the hardest to break into Tech.
- A decentralized model for Tech apprenticeships; anyone in the world should have a chance to get on-the-job experience building opportunities and level up in key industry skills.
- Industry certifications, courses, events, and other resources for advanced topics in UX, product, or development.
- Experience building opportunities for entry-level workers, junior workers, experts, mentors, and coaches.
- A community-driven talent network of rising tech professionals offering UX, Product, Development, and other tech services to nonprofits and open source projects.
Bringing new industries to the masses
We will never bring blockchain or other new industries to the masses until we design the technology for human behavior and needs. The concepts in them are groundbreaking but our delivery in user experience is mostly poor today. Blockchain today is full of innovative apps that are confusing and (sometimes) frustrating to the lay person. I’ve seen people who are getting into the technology for the first time face a difficult battle. Applications are often built for blockchain without researching user needs, behavior, and desires. They launch quickly without vetting the UX or the built-in logic. These development-first solutions are more suitable to tech savvy people or developers themselves, but not for the masses.
We can do better. Tech Fleet coaches User-Centered Design and Agile Design Thinking rigors to help build better products. We’re here to build better things for public good through intuitive experiences.
The Value of Tech Fleet
- Offering apprenticeships in UX, Product, and development with real stake, real experience, real income, and real results.
- Tech Fleet training and experience building can teach in-demand skills that jobs teach you.
- User-Centered Design, Business Development, UX Research, Product Strategy, Development, and Marketing services for nonprofits and open source projects.
- Professional experience opportunities for Tech Fleet apprentices and leads, and for regular freelancers of any level (Even juniors or new grads!).
A look back at Tech Fleet so far (2020–2022)
Tech Fleet community — It was July 2020 when I had seen enough on LinkedIn around job hiring. I called out to the community on LinkedIn and asked if people were interested in starting projects as a group with clients to gain real experience. The rest, as they say, is history. Tech Fleet online community exists on Slack and LinkedIn today. Our list of clients continues to grow, as well as our repeat clients. Our list of incubated products under our wing is growing too.
Unique UX / Product apprenticeships and leadership training — Tech Fleet’s unique apprenticeship focuses on collaboration between mentors and apprentices. We structure projects with roles akin to product teams so people get the experience of true cross-functional collaboration. Typical projects include a project lead, scrum master, product manager, UX researcher, UX designer, developers, and anyone else we need. We’ve provided environments where teams can come together and try new ways of working while learning their craft and getting taught the Agile framework. Apprentices are held accountable as team members from day 1, and treated as team mates just like a job. This helps them get out of their comfort zone. Anyone in Tech Fleet can observe any project meeting, which gives tons of people opportunity to watch the magic happen and grow their confidence to apply to apprenticeships.
2020–2022 hiring rates for Tech Fleet apprentices and leads — Our hiring rate for apprentices and leads has been astronomical. Since June 2020, hundreds of apprentices and leads have gotten hired in full-time roles. They now work for companies like State Farm, Answerlab, The Zebra, John Deere, UserZoom, and so many more. These are the people who were pulling hair out getting rejected in interviews after bootcamps. As soon as their projects ended or right before, they were poached by employers.
Industry partnerships — We’ve partnered with Bootcamps who send their graduates our way to give them on-the-job experience. In the future, as we move to the blockchain, we plan to offer premium hiring services for companies, company-sponsored apprenticeships, mentoring partnerships, discounts on goods and services, and more.
How are we different from others in the space?
- vs. Freelance and volunteering platforms —There are lots of freelance and volunteering platforms out there in the world today. None of them focus on helping inexperienced workers like we do. None of them give financial stake in the companies. It’s been said that the Gig economy will need better wages and social support to grow. Tech Fleet is exactly that: an ecosystem for social support and better wages while contributing and re-skilling people through the Gig Economy.
- vs. Bootcamps and educational institutions — We are the “Bootcamp of Hard Knocks”. Throw away the books and jump right into the fire. Our group prides itself on teaching the fundamentals of the industry today unlike education. We teach Agile UX, perform Design Sprints, and give project contributors the psychological safety to make project decisions for themselves and fail fast. Design and Development bootcamps are partnering with Tech Fleet today to give grads the chance to bridge the education gap while getting mentored.
- vs. Agencies — Agencies only specialize in the skills they’ve hired for and operationalized. Tech Fleet is a decentralized network of talent that any client of ours can use to their advantage, picking and choosing the right roles for their needs.
- vs. other communities — Our organization plans to be embedded in a philanthropic mission focused on bettering the communities in Tech by creating fair access to tech careers.