Ad

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Codecademy Vision and Execution, as a platform with an unique culture - interview with founder Zach Sims



During the Crunchies 2012 days, I got digitally acquaint with Zach Sims the founder of Codecademy. Very soon, i wanted to follow interviews like the one above. Even during our short email only interaction, he strikes as someone who is capable organized and very traditional business-minded with a strong entrepreneur spirit. In contrast, the other founder Ryan is pragmatic, technical , quick to speak, and very programmer / engineering. Zach is the business founder.

His story is best told by himself, see the above interview. I am just doing some indexing here, summarizing, so this content is more searchable and available for newer audience:


  • Zach talks about his early entrepreneurial career
    • including a surprising period when he was young selling cell phone cases sourced directly from Chinese factories!
    • dropping out of Columbia to attend Y Combinator 
    • before Codecademy, his earlier business experiences at startups that were sold, and VC related AOL funds
  • Building Codecademy as an interactive platform, where people can get their Aha moments!
    • Great developers have learnt in the past by reading documentations and getting hands on, Codecademy aims to provide that environment
    • Community based, completely interactive, gamified
    • learn by doing
    • Zach himself wants a better learning product when he learnt to program
    • My comments: as I work for short term contract work occasionally at Codecademy, I can attest to that Codecademy truly has a vision of its own, and does not just blindly follow and compete with other online learning platforms. Students often do have to go through a bit of struggle for that aha moment, searching stack overflow and Q&A forums (quite a real practice actually)

  • Building Codecademy as a learning platform
    • Not just a lesson plan
    • But a tool for people to teach and learn
    • Recruit content creators who actually create great tutorials out there, but end up not being engaging. Now people actually get audiance
  • Moderator: gamification is new, the previous learning wave was video-based, and interactivity was forgotten. How is interactivity important now?
    • Zach: recreate how best developers learn, how to make it interactive, help people get the aha moment
  • Growth, how to get to the first 2 million?
    • Some fun luck and so happened to be. Someone posted on Hacker News got thousands of concurrent users. First built for just a few people
    • Spent next few days scaling it. User loop is very simple, didn't even have to sign up, no need to download anything

No comments:

Post a Comment

Applying for jobs at the Lending Club

We tried to figure out Lending Club 's tech stack for 2019. Our analysis shows Lending Club asks for skills in Python, Tableau, SQL and ...