Comments: 90 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

demonfive12 karma



My startup website

The Lean College Entrepreneur


None of those things prove in any way that you teach the elderly to use computers and the internet. Your original post reeked of bullshit, and this post looks more like an advertisement for your startups than anything.

THINKlopez8 karma

Asking for more proof is allowed in this Sub. OP, please honor this request.

leanentrep5 karma

Ok, what would you like me to provide as proof. I currently don't have a website for the service that I provide to seniors.

fuck_bestbuy2 karma

Provide photographic proof of your exchanges with students, such as email or text, and censor out any material that would be used to identify them.

leanentrep2 karma

LonelyLonerr2 karma

How could that person navigate to send the email without knowing how to use a mouse?

If it's being done at the senior home, why email when they can speak directly with you? Old people aren't shy.

Why does every post, including the letter have the same typing patterns as you?

Come on, mane.

leanentrep-2 karma

We were practicing how to use e-mail when we had that email exchange. So, yes, I was sitting right next to her when she sent me that e-mail.

I'm not seeing the pattern... I do try to use proper grammer in my e-mails and she use to be an English teacher....

LonelyLonerr1 karma

She used to be an English teacher, but hasn't touched a computer?

leanentrep-2 karma

Remember, these are seniors we are talking about here... their brains are slowly deteriorating. They sometime forget who they are. For all I know, she could have said that just to make conversation.

chrisbravo241 karma

A pic of you with old people using computers would be a start.

leanentrep0 karma

Since this is my business, going to senior homes, I don't think it is professional to do said task. Next time I go in, I will ask for permission to do so.

leanentrep3 karma

BlakBanana12 karma

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened while you were teaching?

leanentrep25 karma

I did a class on Google search and search queries. That next week I came in, a lady came up to me and said how happy she is that she knows to use Google search. Then she said,

"I told my phone that I wanted to see pictures of Venus and you would be surprised of the pictures that it gave me" hinting that she got pictures of "penis" instead. I still laugh about that til this day.

PieceMaker421 karma

next week I am in a lady

leanentrep1 karma


ziermo8 karma

How old is your oldest student?

leanentrep16 karma

92 year old. His computer skills are better than some of my friends. He is the author of Kaleidoskop. These are textbooks for students studying German at the college level.

window54 karma

Which desktop OS is the easiest for your customers to learn?

leanentrep4 karma

Windows by far. Most seniors homes don't have a computer lab. If residents have a computer in their room, they also have a windows. I haven't seen any Macs but I've been plenty have iPads and iPhones

lohype3 karma

Even Windows 8??? I teach Mac to seniors and it's a cakewalk compared to the times when they haul in a Surface and ask for guidance! What's your secret??!!!

leanentrep6 karma

I haven't worked with any seniors who use a Mac but some of them do use an iPad or iPhone.

One of the homes I work with just added a computer lab with Windows 8 unfortunately. I wouldn't say its difficult but navigation is a little confusing for them, if (ever) they used a computer because they are use to the start menu.

My secret is custom guides tailored to the user (with screenshots). They all say my guides are better than the how-to books they buy because I explain it in a language that they understand.

SooFabulous4 karma

It's awesome that you are doing this! Last year I tried to so something like this for seniors in my community, (of which there are a lot) and it didn't particularly go so well. I've got a few questions for you:

  • 1) How do you motivate seniors to learn about the internet? This was a real problem for me.

  • 2) Do you plan out teaching sessions, and if so:

  • 2a) How do you get them to focus on the topic at hand instead of asking about more miscellaneous computer questions?

  • 2b) What general topics do you plan on teaching them? I thought that I was giving them good information, but their feedback told me otherwise.

  • 3) How do you let seniors know what you're offering, or does knowledge of your business spread pretty much all by word-of-mouth?

  • 4) How long do you spend on teaching them to be safe on the internet and what (if any) safety topics do you focus on? (I.E. anti-virus/malware software, phishing, scamming, safe passwords, bad sites, etc.)

  • 5) Do you give them all access to a computer while you're teaching them, and if so, how do you do it? (do you use a local computer center?)

  • 6) What methods do you teach them to search the internet?

  • 7) What is your favorite part of the job?

leanentrep5 karma

  • 1. I first talk about things that would interest them (gardening, arts and crafts, cars, news, etc.). This information can lead to an easy Google search and I just let Google lead them from there. Of course I will tell them what the search results mean.
  • 2.Yes
  • 2a. This is the hard part. After showing them 1 simple task, that leads to a million new questions. I always just tell them don't worry about how and why it works just worry about how to make it work.
  • 2b. When I first started, I did lessons on Google and Google Search. The response I got back was that none of it makes sense because most of them never used a computer before, so I had to start with the extreme basics (mouse, keyboard, desktop icons, etc.). Another class I did (for those who use a computer on a daily basis) was about phishing e-mails and how to protect yourself from internet fraud. However, each person is at a different skill level. There has been a few lessons I had to do just to show how to use a computer mouse.
  • 3. I work with the activities person in the homes and they schedule the different classes for me. Most want a one-on-one lesson so I gave them my number and thats when it took off for me. I offer computer/internet help and onsite repair so they don't have to take their computer to geek squad.
  • 4. Each lesson on I do is 90 minutes. Anything longer than that, they will most likely forget. I also create custom guides (similar to how-to-books for seniors). I focus on phishing, bad sites, and ads that may lead them into downloading something that is infected.
  • 5. One of the homes that i work with has a computer lab they recently just added because of me. If they don't have a computer lab, then I can only work with seniors that already have a computer.
  • 6. I start off with a basic search query like "what is today's weather". Once they understand the basic concept of a search, most will get it.
  • 7. My favorite part is being able to see a generation that grew up not using technology that is available today. I really focus on the interaction with the user to see exactly how and why they are clicking certain things.

catOS573 karma

How can I do this as volunteer work so I can put it on a college application?

btw: we wanted an AMA from the elderly who are first touching computers, not you. But hey I love you anyway! <3

leanentrep5 karma

Opps lol.

Next lesson I do, I might hop on reddit with them (if we have enough time).

I simply went to senior homes with a proposal, explaing what I will do for them and their residents to help them use computers and connect with family. Some say yes, most say no.

The problem is that funding/budget is not available for this sort of service. Most homes I work with have their residents pay out of pocket. A majority of the homes that I work with are privately owned so they only provide the bare minimum of care the seniors need and the rest goes into the pockets of the owners.

[deleted]3 karma


leanentrep3 karma


I did a class on Google search and search queries. That next week I am in a lady came up to me and said how happy she is that she knows to use Google search. Then she said, "I told my phone that I wanted to see pictures of Venus and you would be surprised of the pictures that it gave me" hinting that she got pictures of "penis" instead. I still laugh about that til this day.

BatKnuckles2 karma

Are any of them clearly there because they heard there is porn on the internet?

leanentrep3 karma

haha no, but I did do a class about online dating and a lot of them gained a huge interest in that.

wobblymint2 karma

can we have some relevant proof.

leanentrep0 karma

I provided an email thread with me and one of my clients in an earlier comment

fuck_bestbuy1 karma

What has been the most infuriatingly simple point to get across?

leanentrep4 karma

Left click versus right click. -_-

SweeetShits1 karma

Goes to show you are never too old to learn new tricks!

How did you get started in this?

leanentrep1 karma

My dad was pressuring me to go get a "regular" job, so I was just thinking of something that I could do with computers and teaching seniors came to mind. I knew that this service isn't a "normal" service, so I decided to go to senior homes to sell my service and the response was better than I thought.

tuna_bean1 karma

Have you ever found a time where you thought it is just impossible for them to learn / you to teach them how to use a computer, like they just don't get it? What happened?

leanentrep1 karma

There has been a few moments like that, but my goal is for them to walk away for at least something. I started creating custom guides (similar to 'how-to' computer books for seniors) but made it really simple for them to understand. Adding screenshots to these guides makes a huge difference.

Tylergu1 karma

Why do seniors want to use "computers"? I would assume learning tablets would be easier to learn and fit their lifestyles and needs better.

leanentrep3 karma

I assumed the same (when I first started). I've tried both computers and tablets and I found that not one is easier than the other.

It really depends... If the user is a first time computer, tablet or smartphone user, I found that using a tablet is the best. For those who have used a computer before but never a tablet or smartphone, I find that they are using the tablet or smartphone as if it had physical buttons on it so from a UX perspective, it doesn't really work.

banned_accounts1 karma

Have you shown them archive.org and all the sites where you can download out-of-copyright movies? I'd imagine a lot of them would find things they hadn't seen in years.

leanentrep4 karma

I have not. I focus on basic task like how to use a mouse, keyboard, navigating, etc.

BeakerandBunsen1 karma

You spend 7 years in college getting two undergraduate degrees? Also, why doesn't it say you studied computer science on your linkedin? I'm sure that be beneficial for you if companies are looking.

leanentrep1 karma

I was first studying Apparel & Textile design with a minor in Italian at Michigan State. After my third year in the program, I decided that I didn't like it, among other factors (like the employment rate decreasing ~7% in this industry). I transferred schools and switched majors, so I pretty much had to restart my sophomore year again. I also took time off and went part time for a bit too.

Florida_Diver1 karma

Are you worried that when that generation is gone you will be out of business?

leanentrep3 karma

No because there will be new technology available to teach the next generation.

o0turdburglar0o1 karma

How do you avoid the situation where you become their default tech support, or is that something you encourage?

Do you adjust settings on their personally owned devices in order to lock down their ability to install rogue applications or visit nefarious sites?

leanentrep1 karma

I am trying to avoid becoming their "default" tech support because they will call me every 5 minutes about a problem they are having.

I did give them my cell number and that did lead to phone calls everyday for random questions or sometime just to have a conversation. I am still trying to figure out a way to avoid this problem.

m20841 karma

Do you take account of their past jobs? Someone who has worked on a office or even typists have any advantage?

leanentrep1 karma

I do. Before I start a one-on-one lesson with someone, I do ask what they did before they retired, their experience with a computer and what do they currently want to do on a computer.

I've worked with seniors at all skill levels and that helps in determining how my services will be beneficial to them. Someone who has used a computer before or now usually want to know new "tips and tricks"

say_or_do1 karma

My sister wants to do this type of thing as well as me having conversations with some people she knows about this subject.

Do you think seniors would be safer if they used smart devices or would a button strapped around their neck work best?

Honestly, I don't think seniors should use computers if they don't care about them but if it makes them safer on a day to day basis then they should.

leanentrep1 karma

I think seniors should know the concept of computers/internet. When it comes to ecommerce and paying bills online, I think they should use another alternative unless someone is helping them do it.

I'm finding that using the internet is giving them something new in their life. If they find something they are familiar with or wanted to know, it will keep them busy for a while

computerguy0-01 karma

  1. How do you handle billing? The seniors directly?
  2. How did you gain clientele? Did you just cold call some local senior living places or what?

I have tried to do something similar and was met with so much backlash. I have the patience of a saint and believe our seniors are being deprived of so much by not knowing how to use a computer.

leanentrep1 karma

  1. For group lessons, in which I will choose a general topic (say phishing scams), I will bill the senior home. For one-on-one lessons, I tailor it towards what they want to learn and this is different across the board.

  2. I hit the pavement. I go directly to the homes. Be ready to leave information as the person in charge of activities is usually busy conducting activities.

Hermiesterberger1 karma

Computers have been accessible to the common consumer for nearly 50 years at this point. As a nation, at what point do you think we will approach a computer literacy rate on par with the national literacy rate? Will we ever approach a state where these sort of courses are no longer needed?

leanentrep1 karma

Great question...

I don't think there is ever going to be a point where we hit a benchmark of computer literacy for the simple fact that new technology is launched almost on a daily basis. Even when we are senior citizens, there will be new technology that we have never seen/heard before and would rely on the younger generation to show us whats new.

familiarfaces1 karma

Are you making decent money to survive?

leanentrep1 karma

I almost lose money providing this service. My business is IT consulting and management, so I also work with small businesses (mom and pops) helping them catch up with technology and developing digital marketing strategies.

wearewhatwepretend1 karma

I'm an activity director in Illinois. Can I ask how much you charge and how I would go about finding someone like you near me?

leanentrep1 karma


I have group lessons, which I charge a rate for 4, 8 and 12 lessons (starting at $250).

As far as finding someone in your area, I'm not sure... I know this is not a common service and I hope to expand faster soon! Can you DM me your e-mail and maybe I can provide you some insight and how to get started with this or help you find someone.

stonerd2161 karma

Hey, I'm a senior computer engineering student at Lehigh University. I'm really interested in using my technical skills to help others, and you're start up seems like a great idea for helping other people. My question is, do you think that starting a company is the best way to accomplish that?

leanentrep1 karma

It depends...

We all have cool ideas and they might be in fact, very cool! The question is are people willing to pay for your "cool idea"?

When starting a business, the purpose is to create a solution to a common problem, that people are willing to pay for at a given price. If you are interested in starting a business, I suggest that you conduct market surveys, also known as customer discovery. Pretty much this process involves you surveying at least 100 people that would be in your market segment and asking them open-ended questions about your solution to a problem that you are developing.

RagingNerdaholic1 karma

How do you retain your sanity?

leanentrep1 karma

I am a medical marijuana patient in Michigan. Though I was recommended for another condition, it helps me retain my sanity.

Mister_Kurtz1 karma

Where or how did you start, and where did you begin with your first classes?

leanentrep2 karma

My dad was pressuring me to get a "regular" job and I didn't want one. I also was broke as fuck too. I literally started this with no cash and a 1/4 tank of gas.

I made a brochure and started going to senior homes and selling my service and the rest is history.

bastardbones1 karma

Hi! I currently work in IT and I've found that I seem to have a knack with helping elderly customers that my colleagues don't seem to have. It's an easy way to get positive feedback (as it's usually a simple request), and I genuinely enjoy when you help them do something, and they instantly tell you what a difference you've made.

Whilst I enjoy teaching them, it can be really draining to explain base concepts several times.

I'd previously considered going into business for myself, doing what you are doing. But I'd like to know, how do you combat that frustration when an elderly customer just doesn't "get it"? What works for you as a teaching method?

leanentrep1 karma


It can be mentally draining and frustrating to teach someone simple concepts several times.

I have found that creating custom guides tailored to the user, with screenshots helps a great deal. This gives a visual representation of what we just learned and reduces the number of phone calls I will receive the next day.

bastardbones1 karma

Thank you for your reply!

One more question! I like to explain things using similies and comparisons, as I find it helps elderly customers understand a concept better.

Do you employ any similar tactics, and if so, could you provide some examples of some that you feel have been successful?

leanentrep0 karma

Hmm... never thought of using similes to explain this...

goatcoat1 karma

What do you think is driving most of these seniors to learn tech?

I ask because I had an at home computer services business for a while and eventually figured out that most of my customers--while they did have legitimate things wrong with their computers--were only paying to get them fixed because they wanted company. Do you think it's the same with seniors in a home?

leanentrep2 karma

Its funny that you say that because I think thats the case with the lady who wrote me the letter. I do think that is the case with most of the people because no one gives them attention in the senior homes.

I tell them that they are paying me for service and if during that 90 minute session, they just want to have someone to talk to, thats fine, as long as I am compensated for my time. I feel guilty about it, but this is my business and I have bills to pay too.