BrainStation Alumni Spotlight: Karim Manji

By Trilby Goouch July 16, 2015

Meet Karim. He came to BrainStation looking for in-person education to compliment the self-taught coding knowledge he obtained through online courses and textbooks. Read on to find out why his education at BrainStation made all the difference when it comes to his start up.

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Karim’s current role doesn’t have a lot to do with coding or tech in general. He is a Sales Representative with Vicinity, a subdivision of Rogers. Outside of the office however, Karim is the founder of Inkspand, the largest online book review service, which connects readers with books and authors with highly valuable reviews. Through his experience as a writer, Karim noticed that one of the largest pain points for self- or independently-published writers, was that they had to pay for all aspects of book promotion, including social media, PR and book reviews – a key part of the process. With all things considered, this is an incredibly costly and time consuming process. Inkspand aims to ease this process by bringing readers and authors together, reducing both the number of hours and funds required to obtain reviews. In a way, it gameify’s reading.

When we spoke to Karim, he let us know that BrainStation helped Inkspand get to the point it is today. After learning the code necessary to launch Inkspand through online resources and various textbooks, he felt like he needed some in-person guidance to boost his coding skills to the intermediate level. He entered the class with the specific goal in mind to automate the startup’s website. Through the course lessons and individual attention from instructors, Karim was able to accomplish just that at the end of the course. This allowed him to transition into operating Inskpand while working a full-time position with Vicinity.

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There were two things that really stood out about the BrainStation experience for Karim. First of all, the camaraderie in the class was incredible. He noted that all of the students in his class had similar goals that they were working towards and were genuinely supportive of one another. Whether it was giving feedback on individual projects or helping to troubleshoot a specific issue, everyone was willing to share ideas and work towards their goals together.

The second aspect of the course that he really enjoyed was the incredible educators, who went above and beyond to ensure each students was able to leave the course with a firm understanding of the concepts covered. They structured the classroom with a great balance of lesson time and work periods for one on one coaching. This one on one time was a huge benefit for Karim, as he came to the course with a larger knowledge base than some of the other students. While he was able to learn some of the more advanced material, others could continue on at their own pace. For Karim, it was an ideal learning environment.

While Karim came to BrainStation to learn code, we like to think we learn from our students as well. We asked Karim to share his number one piece of advice for those looking to, or in the process of, launching their own start up. His response?

“With all startups there comes a time when you just have to go out and start building until you finally reach your MVP. Don’t get me wrong, the research stage is incredibly important, but I do believe that beyond doing the necessary groundwork, there is a point where you’re just overthinking things.” 

Great advice if you ask us!

Learn more about our Intro to Web Development course.