That $2800 Rails class
People learn in different ways. Some people can teach themselves Rails by locking themselves in a room with nothing but a laptop and the internet. Other need structure and individual attention. Accordingly, it's not that useful to say things like "I learned skill X by spending only $Y, so therefore if you try to teach other people skill X by charging them a dollar more than $Y, you're a fraud and a thief."
Thousands of dollars isn't unheard-of for Rails classes or other sorts of software courses. If this is something you do for a living and are going to keep doing for years, then spending $2800 on the right sort of knowledge can pay you back very quickly.
Have you heard me say before that New York needs more Ruby and Rails programmers? Oh, only like a thousand fucking times? Yeah, that's about how massive and chronic the problem is. Local Rails classes can only help, overpriced or not.
I don't believe I've met Dimitri, but I know Daniel from around and he seems like a sharp and conscientious guy. The two of them probably teach a decent Rails course.
Of course, a great programmer can be a terrible teacher, and vice versa. There's always a high degree of risk that the educational experience you get may not be what you were expecting, which is why people pay premiums for classes offered by organizations or instructors with a known track record, whether that's Harvard or Edward Tufte or Pragmatic Studio. I think it's safe to say that this course lacks such an imprimatur, and if I were a cost-conscious aspiring Rails coder (which I'm not in, like, a dozen ways) I'd expect this course to be priced a bit down accordingly.
And when you compare it to the PragStud Rails classes, it does seem a bit expensive. The local class is $2,800 for 24 hours, or $116.67/hour. The PragStud classes—which are considered by many to be the gold standard in Rails classes—are $2295 for 23 hours, or $99.78/hour.
No, nobody actually says "PragStud". It's more stupid than clever, I suppose.
On the other hand! The PragStuds never ever come to New York City so you have to take that into account. There's a significant premium you can charge for a service that is the exact same as somewhere else, only you don't have to leave New York City. My beloved Gotham Ruby Conference being one example. Because New Yorkers don't like the rest of the country. It scares and confuses us.
But after all that maybe you still think they're charging too much. If that's the case, the way to prove that point would be to offer your own local Rails course that is just as good and noticeably cheaper. Hell, it might even be as easy as nagging the PragStuds to try doing a course in NYC. I think there are many people who'd love to see more offerings of local techie courses, if only for what we'd learn about the local education marketplace in the context of a possibly bubblicious 2012.
* I'm no longer an NYC.rb organizer and I don't speak for NYC.rb on this or any other subject. As if I ever did.
** I'd link to the entire thread on the NYC.rb email list, instead of just the first message, if it weren't for the fact that Meetup.com's mailing list functionality is a giant steaming pile of shit. That's social media for you: You get what you pay for.