March 2013 Pluralsight Experiment

Update: Winner and Results

The winner of the experiment’s prize is Martin Frey (@tinfrey). You can watch a video of the random drawing here (I’ll keep the file up until at least 1 May 2013).

In terms of the results of the experiment, I would say they were somewhat inconclusive. I noted in the initial post below that my SOLID course averaged just 78 minutes per unique subscriber in February. Reviewing the figure, it’s actually 77.31 minutes. In March, during the experiment, this jumped all the way up to 77.42 minutes (almost 7 seconds more!). Looking at another course, Kanban Fundamentals, the course’s per-user viewing time average ranged from 41.9 minutes in Dec 2012 to 36.3 minutes in January, up to 39.8 minutes in February, and maxed out at 43.2 minutes in March. It’s difficult to say if this was natural variation, a result of this experiment, or due to other factors, though.

For the experiment, the courses’ popularity for entries was as follows:

  • Creating N-Tier Apps Part 1, 13 entries
  • Creating N-Tier Apps Part 2, 8 entries (and the winner)
  • Design Patterns Library, 3 entries
  • Kanban Fundamentals, 12 entries
  • SOLID Principles of OO Design, 12 entries
  • Web Application Performance and Scalability Testing, 0 entries (c’mon, really? it’s not a bad course, honest!)
Thanks to everybody for participating. Martin – please DM me with your email address and I’ll send you the Amazon gift certificate.

The Experiment

See how many people will spend more time learning via Pluralsight (and actually completing courses, not just watching a little bit) with a chance at $100 as motivation.

imageThe Prize

$100 Amazon Gift Certificate (out of my own pocket). Just one. To be sent to the winner via email.

The Rules

  • You must be a Pluralsight subscriber with a public profile (like this one)
  • You must tweet that you’ve completed one of my courses (by name), with a link to your public profile and with @ardalis mentioned in the tweet (so I can track them; not at the start of the tweet like a reply).
    • If your profile doesn’t list the course as complete, you won’t be entered to win
    • You don’t have to have passed the assessment
    • Example (the link must go to your profile):
      Just completed Kanban Fundamentals by @ardalis
  • You may enter multiple times, but only one time per course during the contest period
    • That is, if you complete 3 of my courses, and tweet each one, you will have 3 chances to win
  • The contest ends at 11:59pm EST on 31 March 2013.
  • Winner will be chosen at random and selected by 5 April 2013, and notified via Twitter
    • In the event the profile listed in the tweet and the person tweeting do not match, the person matching the Pluralsight profile will be deemed the winner
  • Eligible courses include any listed on my Pluralsight Author Page; I’ve also created an SVG/PNG graphical learning path of my training courses


  • But I completed your course a long time ago – can I still enter?
    • Sure, as long as you follow all of the rules above and the course shows on your public profile
  • Which course(s) would you recommend?
  • What should I spend my $100 on?
  • What course are you working on now?
    • I’m currently recording a Refactoring Fundamentals course.
  • Will you share the data?
    • Yes, I’ll be sure to share the results of the experiment.
  • Are you just doing this as a cheap(?) way to increase traffic to your courses?
    • You saw through me so easily? That’s the experiment part of things – I have no idea if this will cost me money, break even, or if the increase in royalties will cover the prize and trouble of running the experiment. I do know that in February 2013 my SOLID course was watched about 78 minutes per unique subscriber who watched it. The course is 248 minutes long, so that’s just 31% of the course. I’m wondering if I can make a noticeable impact on March’s course completion rate.
  • How do I set up a public profile on Pluralsight?
    • Log in.
    • Click on your username in the top-right.
    • Click on Your profile
    • Customize your user name if you wish to do so
    • Click the Share my profile button if it’s not already enabled.
    • If it’s currently shared, you should see something like this:
      When you share your profile, others can access it here:
  • Steve Smith

    So far there have been 31 submissions for the experiment. The breakdown by course is 8 for SOLID, 7 for Kanban and N-Tier part1, 6 for N-Tier part2, and 3 for the Design Patterns Library. Apparently nobody is interested in my awesome course on Web Application Performance and Scalability (…, which is too bad. I actually just used info from that course last week to make some dramatic improvements to two different production sites I’m involved with. Too bad more folks don’t know how to do this sort of thing.

  • Dave Shinkle

    I’m currently enjoying your N-Tier applications part 2 course. Great stuff!

  • blaster151

    I just finished your performance/scalability course – great job!

  • Jeff Benson

    My tweet from March 23: “Just completed The Pluralsight course “Web Application Performance and Scalability Testing” by @ardalis

    Was it not eligible as an entry? I watched it specifically because of this contest!

  • Steve Smith

    Hi Jeff,
    Sorry, that tweet never appeared in my mentions feed. Looking for it now in your timeline, I can’t see it because your tweets are protected. I’m assuming that’s also why I never was notified of it. I’ve not run into that before – assuming that the issue is that your tweets are protected, I’ll be sure to note for any future twitter experiments that eligible tweets can’t be protected to be counted (since I’ll never see them).
    How did you like the course?

  • Jeff Benson

    Oh, my goodness! Apparently I have a little to learn about Twitter. I was wondering why only people who know me ever respond to my posts. I don’t even think I realized that tweets COULD be protected – must be a long-ago setting I made a poor decision about!

    Enjoyed the course very much. Thank you! :)

  • Shinks

    I’ll do the Web Application Performance and Scalability course soon.

    I just finished the SOLID course and I think my coding has gotten much better as a result as the code is easier to change.