I really think you can get by in vim with almost no previous knowledge about it. I'd say the very very basic things that will make it usable are
i = In normal mode, go to insert mode.
Esc = In insert mode, go to normal mode.
These two alone mean you can use vim almost like a normal editor. If you don't know how to do something the vim way, do it the way you'd do it in any other editor. If you really want to do it exactly like a normal editor, you can do :set mouse=a, but that will probably hamper your vim development because you'll rely on the mouse instead of feeling the pain of using the arrow keys and thinking "there must be a better way." That pain is useful to help you learn vim.
And of course, you need:
:q = quit
:w = save
:wq or :x = save and quit
:q! = force quit without saving
As all the memes suggest, vim newcomers sometimes have a hard time exiting vim...
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.