8,021 machine learning students & counting + a cure for shiny object syndrome

Progress disappoints in the short-term but surprises in the long-term.

Hey everyone, Daniel Bourke on the mic. If you're new here, you've signed up for Eat, Move, Learn, Make (pending name upgrade), a series of riffs on the formerly mentioned topics from a writer/machine learning engineer/video maker/pseudo-spiritual/early morning walk loving type character. I know your inbox is clogged so feel free to unsubscribe at any time. If you've been here before, you know the drill.

You know I thought about this being a list newsletter. You know the kind.

"The 5 best morning routine tips."

"Stay productive with these 10-killer productivity tricks."

I used to subscribe to this electronic version of junk mail. And your time is far more valuable than just dumping a bunch of links here. Don't worry if you're after the quick skim, there will be plenty of links below.

The top part of this is for free-flowing dialogue. Plus, if you need 5-morning routine tips, no article can save you. I know this because I used to be that type of character.

1 tip is enough.

Get up and tell yourself, "I feel fucking amazing". It has two benefits:

  1. Even if you aren't, you speak it into existence. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  2. If you aren't and speaking it into existence doesn't work, fix whatever is causing you not to feel "fucking amazing."

I told myself it this morning and it worked. Let's see where it goes.

42 days: a cure for shiny object syndrome

I've got an illness. Shiny object syndrome. Which means I'm continually jumping from one thing to the next with heightened excitement.

But these jumps always require more, more, more. It's like an alcoholic getting drunk. Each time, he needs more alcohol to get the same feeling.

You might have it too. It's no wonder. With all the new things happening, neomania (an obsession with the new) was bound to set in.

Naturally, I decided to create my own cure. Current medicine has a great time adding things to a system in an attempt to improve it. Antibiotics, unnecessary surgeries, treatment plans. I've fallen victim to all of these. For example, I no longer have an appendix. It was removed when I had a stomach ache. After its removal, it turned out my appendix was perfectly healthy.

What's forgotten is most health benefits come from removal, not addition.

Eating less often, not smoking, not drinking as much. These things will improve your health far more than the addition of anything. But it's hard to make money off telling people to do nothing.

I digress. But this forms the basis of my antidote.

I'm calling it 42 days. 6 weeks.

That's it.

For 6 weeks you do nothing except 1 thing.

Why 42 days?

Because it's short enough if it doesn't work out, it's only 42 days. And it's long enough you may be able to achieve something which surprises yourself and thus decide whether to pursue it for another 42 days.

There are many forms of this. Some of my favourites include #100daysofcode, #100daysofwalking, 528 days of blog posts (I just did this).

I know the arguments against this.

"42 days isn't long enough to do anything meaningful!"

You're right. It isn't if your life is clogged.

You see the curse of the modern individual is to do more but feel less.

It took me a while to get this. My default was to fill any white space on the calendar with something. Now an event on the calendar (99% of them) makes me feel like a prisoner.

If you take 42 days to work on 1 thing, you’ll be surprised how much you can actually do.

Or as a worst-case scenario, you’ll know what not to pursue. Which is still a win. Knowledge of what not do is more robust than knowledge of what to do.

"But I have to work, I have to take of my family, I have to..."

You're right. Life happens.

Let me get a little philosophical here.

This is exactly why you must eradicate what does not spark your curiosity.

Notice how I did not say eradicate struggle or suffering or pain. It is another curse of the modern individual to think pleasure can exist without these.

There is nothing more pleasurable than building a skill. Nothing more satisfying than developing self-reliance.

But developing a skill or to building self-reliance takes effort.

You can commit to something for 42 days. Something which triggers your curiosity. Something which contributes to where your ideal self wants to be in 3-5 years.

The beautiful thing is because you've only got 42 days, you're going to need a bias towards removing things which don't matter.

We've gone long enough.

The takeaway here is to get hands-on with one thing and remove the rest.

If you want to be a better writer, publish 500 words every day for 42 days and see where you end up.

If you want to be healthier, go for a 42-minute walk every day for 42 days.

If you want to build an application, work on it for 1-hour per day for 42 days and ship it at the end.

Do the opposite of modern education systems. Go practical first.

I leave for Vietnam in 47 days. As skin the game, I'm starting my own 42 days on Monday.

I'm cutting out everything. Including daily blog posts. I'm taking some of my own advice. Less but better.

Now we'll get onto some housekeeping items.

Zero to Mastery Machine Learning: 8,021 students and counting

Andrei and I's machine learning course went live just under a month ago.

The other day we crossed 8,000 students.

My father taught for 30-years. We estimated he taught about 150 new students every year. That's 4500 students in total. Even rounding to 5000, there are more students enrolled in our machine learning course than my father taught in his life.

Dad and I are in no competition but we've talked about this. And he and I are equally amazed at the power of the internet.

You’re probably curious about the numbers.

First month (Jan 17 - Feb 15 2020):

  • Total revenue (pre-split): $46,940USD

  • Total revenue (post-split): $23,470USD (Andrei and I split 50/50)

  • Total students: 8,021 from 127 different countries

  • Rating: 4.64/5 (290 ratings)

  • Minutes taught: 713,187 (11,886 hours, 495 days)

  • Refunds: $508USD worth in Jan (approx. 0.5%, Feb still calculating)

Where are the funds going?

  • A new laptop. For code, writing & better and improved videos.

  • $5000AUD to my Mum to pay for the family utility bills for 1-year.

  • Taking my family out to a celebratory/thank you for putting up with me asking for quiet during recording sessions dinner.

  • Rest: Living expenses, investing in future content and business ventures.

If you're wondering who the course is for, it's for beginners who have no experience in machine learning but want to get started.

The only prerequisite is curiosity.

I'm the teacher and teachers assistant at the same time. If you get stuck, message me in the chat and I'll personally get back to you.

Andrei and I just uploaded the last 30-minutes of videos. It's a section on sharing and communicating your work.

Even if you don't want to do the course, you can read the materials in the article How to Think About Communicating and Sharing Your Work.

I also just posted the entire final project, Dog Vision, on Kaggle and Google Colab.

Dog Vision helps you solve the problem of being at a cafe, seeing a cute dog but having no idea what breed it is.

You'll build a machine learning model which looks at pictures of other dogs, learns the patterns which relate to different breeds and then looks at your own custom images of dogs and predicts what breeds they are.

Dog Vision on Kaggle: https://dbourke.link/dogvisionkaggle

Dog Vision on Colab: https://dbourke.link/dogvisioncolab

A massive thank you to everyone who has signed up so far. I hope you’re enjoying it.

Quality audio is important. The photo above is my make-shift recording studio (my closet). Notice the sweat on the brow, the ventilation was poor.

Writing every day means writing in night club toilets

I wrote a blog post every day for 528 days. Some of them were authored on my phone in night club toilets when I was partying and suddenly realised I hadn't posted that day. It's amazing the creativity you can summon whilst you're pretending to take a shit and some drunk is knocking on the door.

The streak ended this week. However, I don't care about streaks. I care about skill. Publishing every day helped my writing like nothing else.

But the same way lifting 1kg for 120 days isn't the same as lifting 120kg one day, I've stopped the daily trickle for a larger undisclosed project. More on this at a later date.

I have no analytics on my site. So I have no idea about views. All I go off is feel and whether or not someone reached out to me based on a post.

Here are the articles from the last month which fulfilled those criteria:

Money follows energy (new videos)

Inspiration is fleeting. You need to act upon it as it lands.

Because I spend far too long sitting down, I ordered a new chair. The brand is Neue. It's the best chair I've ever owned.

I got so excited when it arrived, I turned it into a video with an underlying message.

Stop worrying and make something.

I told my ex-girlfriend once I'd never work full-time for anyone except myself. She'd started acting differently by that stage so she was disgusted with this thought. But you could make so much more money working full-time she said.

No thank you.

Last year, I fulfilled that mission (again, life is a self-fulfilling prophecy).


The 2-year self-apprenticeship. I was learning online and creating relentlessly with what I was learning. Eventually, someone noticed and wanted to pay me for my work.

I explain the details in How I made my first $1500 online: The 2-year Self Apprenticeship.

Relating to the above. 2-years is a collection of 18 (rounded) 42-day blocks. Allowing for breaks, that's 15 segments. Imagine what you could create.

A reminder: Love yourself

This newsletter is getting far too long. But this is important.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. I hope you bought your lady some flowers.

If not, I hope you spread the love in one way or another.

Especially to yourself.

Every time I feel lonely, it's because I'm not loving myself enough.

Look in the mirror. Say it 3 times.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Do it enough and you'll realise. Loving yourself is a superpower.

To celebrate the final videos of my machine learning course being uploaded, I'm off to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition class, where myself and a group of other sweaty men will wrestle each other one-by-one for 90-minutes or until someone gives out.

Until next time.

I love you all.

Big dogs gotta eat,

Daniel Bourke

(what I'm up to now)