Some Thoughts On The Success Of Code Year

Code Year, which I blogged about a couple days ago, has now signed up over 100,000 in two days. That's a lot of signups for a brand new service in just two days. How did they do it? Here's some suggestions on the key drivers:

1) an awesome idea. "give me your email address, we'll send you interactive coding lessons weekly" is a damn good idea. tim o'reilly told the codecademy guys "i wish i'd thought of this". that's the definition of a good idea.

2) well timed – launching as a "new year's resolution" is genius. but also launching in a "dead news period" was equally genius. jan 1st and jan 2nd of this year were slow news days. so Code Year got plenty of airtime in the tech blogs and news aggregators over a sustained two day period.

3) the landing page is clean, simple, and well designed. the call to action is simple. here's a blog post from the designer explaining how that page was designed.

4) the use of twitter and facebook to spread the word is simple and powerful. after you give your email address, you are given the option of tweeting out or posting to your wall. TechCrunch says 50% of the site traffic comes from Twitter and Facebook (with Twitter coming in at >33%).

5) a small ask. they didn't ask for money, the service is free. they simply asked for an email address, something everyone has and most are willing to share in return for real value.

So kudos to the Codecademy team and everyone else who was involved for great execution of a service launch. I am looking forward to getting my first coding lesson and getting started.


Comments (Archived):

  1. RichardF

    Great summary of the launch, any idea what the number of referrals from avc were?

    1. fredwilson

      maybe zach will tell us. he was very active in the comments on that last post

  2. Kyle

    As a new codecademy user but experienced developer i look forward to seeing what type of material is used.

  3. JimHirshfield

    I’m looking forward to it as well. Wondering how many lessons they’ve written so far.I read the designer’s blog post and love the iterative steps he took.

  4. awaldstein

    Yes to all of these.But also yes to launching publicly when there is true and near term value for the users. I’m starting to think it’s somewhat insincere to ask me to participate in something when there is little to do.And Fred, you have marketing chops aplenty!

    1. fredwilson

      what’s marketing? ūüėČ

      1. RichardF

        it’s for sucky products….. from memory

        1. awaldstein

          Do you really want to go there? I’ll cancel my meetings and stay on this string all day then ūüėČ

          1. RichardF

            lol, no I just enjoy reminding Fred of the phrase.

          2. JimHirshfield

            MarketingYear – where can we sign up????

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. Donna Brewington White

            I am going to die laughing at this comment.

        2. markslater

          haha – i remember this! great debate

        3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          Richard,I visit AVC daily, I read and comment, Fred “mentions” Code Academy and I go off and tweet it then post it to my Facebook account and then fire off a bunch of emails to people I know who should be interested.I did the same thing for Code Year…In Fred’s defense, that is not marketing…its gossip. ¬†Or, in polite company its called “word of mouth advertising”Its gossip! ¬†ūüôā

          1. RichardF

            it’s the Fred Wilson effect Carl….which every USV portfolio company knows is part of the added value ūüôā

          2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Well, we need to balance that with an “effect Fred Wilson” movement!Here is one:…Rather than 5 awards for those over 60 we need to revamp it to 60 over 60!I think USV and Code Academy need to partner up with Second Act: start up needs a CEO where the “E” stands for encore…

          3. Donna Brewington White

            The “Fred Wilson Effect” — I love it.Have a feeling I will hear this again somewhere.

          4. RichardF

            I agree Donna.OT I hope the birthday boy had a great day yesterday.

          5. Donna Brewington White

            Richard — how thoughtful, thank you! It was a magical day for him. And that was only Part 1. Part 2 at Magic Mountain (amusement park) this weekend. The things we do for love. At least it’s not Chuck-E Cheese. (The things you have to look forward to — especially if you move to the U.S.!)

          6. Donna Brewington White

            If he was a Pied Piper, we’d all be doomed.¬†How many lemmings have been led by this man into the sea of¬†technology? ¬†(Without the negative connotations of course — and yes I know I’m mixing legends here.)

          7. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            We are all captives of the “Fred Wilson Magic Mystery Tour” of the future!AVC is not a community but rather a cult and we are all groupie’s!Gotham Gal (now come on, if that doesn’t sound like a 60’s name) mentioned that her and Fred went car shopping over the holidays, well here is a picture of what they bought:http://farm3.staticflickr.c…(Its cold and dark here….and I hate it, so the humor is at its peak right now!) ūüôā

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Funny photos, Carl — this and the one of FG.Sorry that it’s cold and dark. Don’t hate me here in sunny Southern California.

          9. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Donna, I never “hate” anyone; I made the choice to live where I do and I can live with the choices I make. I could live in Southern California, I could live in NYC, and I have thought a lot lately about just chucking it all and moving and seeking something totally different….Actually I have set the end of February as “mid life crisis D-Day” and by then I will have decided what to do with the rest of my life….and where to do it at! ūüôā



        1. JimHirshfield

          OnFireYear – Weekly emails from Fake Grimlock on how to keep the fire burning. Sign me up.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. TweetsMcG

            it’s true! I’ve now signed up for Code Year after seeing one of fakegrimock’s comments on this blog post, on Twitter ūüôā

        2. Avi Deitcher

          Beg to disagree here (just being polite, I never beg).Slick marketing, etc., sure. But marketing is not about advertising (although it includes it). It is strategic: to whom are you selling, who are your users, what does your product/service need to have to be viable, what is your pricing? All of these, every one, is marketing (real marketing), and they are crucial to success. No company, and especially no startup, can afford to serve all things to all people, and if they do, it is mediocre at best. Good market strategy is make or break.And FWIW, no, I am not a marketing guy. I do have an MBA, but I make my living consulting on business operations in tech, and I am still an engineer at heart (love to code in every language, Web scaling infrastructure is really cool, build with Lego, and repair plumbing in my house myself РTeflon tape is the greatest thing since sliced bread). I just have seen countless firms fail because of great engineering and miserable (strategic) marketing.

          1. JimHirshfield

            +1 for Teflon tape. What are your thoughts on PVC cement?

          2. Avi Deitcher

            Cool, but not used it enough. But I like it a lot better than PCI Compliance (just ¬†similar acronym), although PCI has gotten me some good business, and is still much easier than HIPAA, but I won’t go near Sarbox….

          3. JimHirshfield


          4. mike gilfillan

            No, this is the coolest thing since sliced bread :)Copper Pipe Soldering Tool:¬†…¬†

          5. JimHirshfield

            Indeed! Now that’s a _HOT_ tool!!!

          6. anne weiler

            also seen many great technologies fail because no one knew about them. 

          7. Avi Deitcher

            I used to be pure engineering, looked down on sales and marketing. Learned the hard way. All parts have to run really well – and in sync – to succeed.

          8. Donna Brewington White

            Or knew that they needed them. ¬†This may seem tongue in cheek, but I remember that clients who were early developers of interactive learning toys had to educate parents on how/why the toys were beneficial. They changed our thinking on the purpose fulfilled by toys.¬†I teased them about having to “create” their market by first educating it, but that was actually true — at least in part.¬†

          9. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          10. awaldstein

            Right on. I agree completely Avi.

          11. LE

            “countless firms fail because of great engineering and miserable (strategic) marketing”People wrongly buy into the idea that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door.¬†

          12. Avi Deitcher

            “If you build it, they will come”??I have lived it. The people who think like that are almost all engineers – often smart ones – who just fall back to their product build comfort zone rather than explore the uncomfortable one of dealing with real people in real markets.The more I experience in the real business world (a little shy of 20 years since my BS in EE), the more I respect how much psychology matters.

          13. LE

            Watch this available streaming from pbs.org…

          14. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          15. JamesHRH

            Positioning. Benefits. Both help customers.Viral loop only effective in network effect value propositions. Viral loop without network benefit makes customer a salesperson – not a good plan.

          16. LE

            “Slick marketing, etc., sure”Nothing wrong with slick marketing which is different than false advertising or marketing.¬†Slick marketing could be Debeers pushing “a diamond is forever” (I mean nobody needs a (consumer) diamond it’s a totally invented need) or a Porsche or any luxury good. ¬†(You mentioned in a reply “psychology”). One of the things I learned early on is not to tell a person who thinks they need something they don’t need the object or that their need is stupid etc. ¬†or that they are wasting money (unless they ask although sometimes, yes, I do deviate from this).Take the example of jewelry or a fur coat. You can be just as warm in a non-fur coat (and forgetting peta stuff for a second) obviously.¬†But many women want a fur coat and they gain a tremendous amount of enjoyment in life from having a fur coat. And it’s not about what others think of them (despite what you might believe). It’s what they think of themselves when wearing that coat, that is, what they think people think of themA woman, say¬†@gothamgal:disqus¬†might gain a tremendous amount of enjoyment from a high end oven in the kitchen regardless of how often she cooks. ¬†It’s a work of industrial design art that actually has some function as well.Is it wrong that marketing created that need? Of course not. I’m very happy with my nice car. And I’m glad they manipulated me into buying and enjoying it.¬†

          17. Avi Deitcher

            Fair, perhaps my term usage was not fairly accurate.In the end, as you said, most people buy only what they want, and are happy (leaving Buyer’s Remorse out of it), and advertising brings awareness to them. So why do we react so viscerally to it (to the point where I automatically used “slick marketing”)?

          18. LE

            “why do we react so viscerally to it”Many reasons but…. Off the top it seems and feels right to think something like that. Just like people have a generally positive reaction to some words (education, religion, children) and negative to other words (politics, television, sleeping late, being lazy) in of course varying degrees depending on the words and current trends. Media and popular culture perpetuates the grain of truth that runs in many of these things. (An example is the misuse of the word “cybersquatter” referring to anytime you own a domain that someone else wants.)It’s also can be displaced anger at oneself (also sometimes called “projection” I believe). Blaming someone else for stupidly believing something or falling for something.¬†I like the fact that you raised the question “why do we”. I’ve learned plenty by analyzing my own reaction and others reactions to things to try and understand why something works and doesn’t work and gain insight.

          19. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          20. Donna Brewington White

            Was going to attempt a response to¬†@FakeGrimlock:disqus¬†who is generally right about MOST things, but am glad I read yours first. ¬†You said it quite well. ¬†It is especially gratifying to see this type of description come from someone who is not a “marketing guy.”I think that the more visible or “creative” aspects of marketing often get mistaken for marketing itself, and the strategic aspects that happen behind the scenes go unobserved — and strategy is at the heart of marketing whereas creativity is more in the implementation of the strategy.Every time I say something like this, I hope I am getting it right because, like you, I am not a marketer either.

          21. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          22. Avi Deitcher

            You, too, have the title “Instigator”. I need to find out if this is a tier title, like my Platinum on Continental. If it was just tier, I wouldn’t care (too much), but I really like that term…IMHO market strategy also requires real creativity, of a different kind. I could *never* craft an ad campaign, (for that, I turn to my brilliant friend Ari Merkin – everyone here has seen some of his work without knowing it), but coming up with an idea, a market that has a real problem that they are willing to invest (time/money/resource/etc.) to resolve through you, and understanding all the barriers to your adoption and competitive entry, how to position, what features required at what stage… that too is true creativity.I agree that the visible aspects do get mistaken. Such a pity. But who could forget real campaigns that mattered and highlighted real competitive advantage?

          23. Donna Brewington White

            You‚Äôre right.Strategy and creativity are not necessarily separate ‚Äď and in fact are intertwined. Was trying to distinguish between the strategic and the creative ‚Äútalent‚ÄĚ aspects ‚Äď for lack of knowing how to say it better. If I try too much harder to come up with the right wording, I run the risk of taking myself too seriously.I believe instigators are regulars who tend to consistently evoke response and contribute to keeping the conversation going. There does seem to be some relationship between tier and this ‚Äútitle‚ÄĚ since everyone in the top 10 rank is an instigator. But not every instigator is in the top 10, e.g., me, although I had the #9 position for about a week. Most of us tend to be either hyper-regulars or those regulars who make an impact whenever they do show up. I probably don‚Äôt have to tell you who the latter are ‚Äď if you hang around a few days, you will quickly recognize them. I am not one of them. ūüôā

          24. Mark Essel

            I’m impressed by the plumbing. I just replaced a bathroom faucet, and while it went smoothly it was full of potential challenges (rust, crappy angles, no space for tools, mismatched components). I skipped the drain plug (I can do that without getting in trouble with my wife since we hadn’t used it for 3 years).Props to the engineering career transfer. I’m having a helluva timesegwaying from simulations/systems engineering (c++) to full stack web application development. There’s an unlimited amount of material to learn :). And of course that’s all fuel to lead to macgyvering rough alpha products together (personal use) when the inspiration strikes.

          25. Avi Deitcher

            Isn’t that what makes life wonderful, always something new to learn? Kindle/iBooks has been real dangerous for me, so easy to just buy…BTW, plumbing is a lot like software engineering. Read what you can, learn from watching experts, and then accept that you will make a lot of mistakes, just mitigate the risks in case the mistake is a bad one.

          26. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          27. JamesHRH

            Tell truth with impact = good marketing.Try to create empty need based on insecurity of consumer = bad marketing.Tell lies = bad company led by bad business people.

          28. MikeSchinkel

            Aww Grimmy, that’s the view of marketing that people have who mistakenly equate marketing with advertising and promotions. Lifted directly from Wikipedia:¬†——————-Marketing¬†is the process which creates, communicates, delivers the value to the customer, and maintains the relationship with customers.¬†It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments.¬†It is an integrated process through which companies build strong¬†customer relationships¬†and create value for their customers and for themselves.Marketing is used to identify the¬†customer, satisfy the customer, and keep the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities,¬†marketing management¬†is one of the major components of¬†business management. Marketing evolved to meet the stasis in developing new markets caused by¬†mature markets¬†and¬†overcapacities¬†in the last 2-3 centuries.¬†The adoption of marketing strategies requires businesses to shift their focus from¬†production¬†to the perceived needs and wants of their customers as the means of staying¬†profitable.The term¬†marketing concept¬†holds that achieving organizational goals depends on knowing the needs and wants of¬†target markets¬†and delivering the desired satisfactions.¬†It proposes that in order to satisfy its organizational objectives, an organization should anticipate the needs and wants of consumers and satisfy these more effectively than competitors.——————-So Grimmy, a great marketer is one who offers a product or service for which you and others become raving fans. Think Steve Jobs, Eric Ries, Fred Wilson; all great marketers in their own right.Just sayin…

        3. Bibiana Nunes

          I have to disagree with you as well and I’m going to illustrate with an example: Flowtown. It’s a fantastic product, they got thousands of paying customers and recently got acquired by Demandforce.¬†How did they manage to be successful? By pivoting and marketing. They were posting great infographics way before the fashion that came with; they were writing articles with amazing¬†insights; their twitter feed is priceless; they took personalized care with their customers.Now, if they hadn’t done that, I seriously doubt they would be nearly as successful and most probably wouldn’t have gotten acquired. This is one example of marketing working as a catalyzer for a great product and there are hundreds of companies with similar stories.You can have a great product, personality or story, but if people don’t know about it, it’s worthless.

          1. awaldstein

            Getting found always key especially by the right people.Well said.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Bibiana Nunes

            Fair enough. I guess we have different definitions of marketing.

          4. JamesHRH

            PR not quite a perfect alignment with marketing.

        4. Mike

          Didnt we have this debate a few months ago?

          1. Donna Brewington White

            And it was SO MUCH FUN!

        5. LE

          You seem to be saying that all marketing is lipstick on a pig.

        6. awaldstein

          Anti-marketing is the new marketing it appears.And of course, the most vociferous deniers are the most adept practitioners ;))Your comments often make my day GL!

          1. Donna Brewington White

            “And of course, the most vociferous deniers are the most adept practitioners ;))¬†“Ha — just read your comment after suggesting that FG and Fred should start a club.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Donna Brewington White

            I’m onto you too, FG. ¬†But was also one of the first to recognize how brilliant you are — when others were still comparing you to the cookie monster. HURR HURR

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        7. Donna Brewington White

          And this said by a marketing master!You and Fred should start a club.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            IN ONE ALREADY.

          2. fredwilson

            we did. you are in it. ūüėČ

          3. Donna Brewington White

            And which club is this btw?

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      3. K_Berger

        Now you are just baiting Seth Godin (again).

      4. Donna Brewington White

        Here we go again.BTW, in my musings since signing up the other day, one of the things I’ve been thinking about is your marketing clout. ¬†Sort of ironic, isn’t it?You’d think that after my 5 second surprising visit to chatroulette I would have learned. ¬†But, no, I keep clicking on those links you provide. Generally glad I did.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Donna Brewington White

            You can do things without knowing it. ¬†Some are just “naturals.”

  5. Rohan

    + Having it published on AVC as Fred Wilson’s new year resolution.¬†Sorry to be the skeptic here (I usually am not).. while I do think their execution was excellent, I signed up because it was recommended by you.¬†And I’m sure many many others did too.¬†

    1. fredwilson

      not 100,000 rohan. maybe 5,000

      1. Rohan

        Hmm.. I’d wager the number is much much higher, Fred.¬†Your post says 178 reactions – Thats atleast 35,000 people reached (avg 200 followers per user.. which, I think, is a very conservative estimate because the crowd reached by AVC are active users, and likely have higher reach.¬†Then again, if we add the follower count of the VC group + folks like the Grimster that must be atleast half a million.Then again, I may be completely wrong. Would be interesting to see if they have any stats (based on urls the sign ups came from) ¬†

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          I agree that the number is probably higher. Anyway, if it’s not, it not that bad being able to send a few thousand users anywhere with a post!

          1. Rohan

            Agree 100%. Definitely not bad.Just that if it is a factor, it should be given it’s due… ūüôā¬†

        2. John Revay

          Agree w/ Rohan don’t underestimate the “fred wilson” effect.After reading Fred’s post (which I did not read until late in the day), I re tweeted and also sent an email to many of my¬†friends w/ a link to Fred’s post.Re:Fred’s point re: social sites – especially twitter. ¬†After reading AVC – I went to twitter to see how many people were tweeting about this > I even saw Dave Morin’s wife Brit tweeting about it, I think the Morin’s may be investors in the company.

          1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

            the morins are indeed investors in our company.  we were fortunate enough that fred and a lot of our other investors had large followings that helped to get the ball rolling.

          2. Rohan

            Hi Zach,¬†Firstly, Congratulations! I think you guys did a great job and the results prove that. ūüôā¬†I don’t mean to be throwing a dampener on your achievement at all. No success or failure is caused by 1 factor.. it’s generally a bunch of things that go right.. or wrong. And I just felt Fred’s word was likely to have massive impact.And, on that note, I think you guys fully deserve the push you’re getting from all your investors. That’s just a by product of having great people on your side.¬†That said, you are now a role model for similar services out there.. and I felt (and still feel) the Fred factor is bigger than 5,000.But, again, I am likely completely wrong.¬†Looking forward to the numbers. :)All the best! And hope you keep up the good work!

      2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

        fred is correct. ¬†the number is actually not as large as you’d suspect.

        1. Adam Martin

          Zach,First up, great service, I’ve got my 6 year old daughter coding between painting abstracts of Barbie and playing Toca Boca games.Apologies if a notable social science commentator has beaten me to the punch on this, but let’s try and put a little formula together based on Code Year’s launch.Doesn’t-Even-Need-To-Be-A-Great-Product-But-Just-Something-That-Simplifies-Something-We-Viewed-As-Too Complex + Influencer Endorsements x 3 + Network Effect + Great Design = SUCCESS!I’m 3 days into launching which someone who isn’t my Mother described as ‘sex hormones for job search’ and have found this comment thread hugely valuable. I began with a detailed marketing strategy but have found it to be out dated the moment I hit ‘save’ , we got to think smart and code and design our way to viral success!

  6. Darren Herman

    I would also add arguably one of the more important points. They (code) had the right group of evangelists surrounding the company to help market the service. Many companies release all of your points, but if it is done in a vacuum, then it’s not worth much. CodeYear definitely knew who their influences would be, built viral hooks (tweets), and had success. You would be surprised how many brands don’t work with or understand who their evangelists are.

    1. fredwilson

      great points. paul graham and tim o’reilly on the landing page saying good things was a big plus

      1. JimHirshfield

        Shy by omission? Your mug was on that homepage too! ¬†ūüėČ

        1. Rohan

          @fernandogutierrez:disqus¬†¬†@JohnRevay:disqus¬† and I are working hard below to get him to admit it… hahaha

      2. Darren Herman

        But the homepage is only 1/2 (or some number) of the battle.¬† People have to find it first.¬† CodeYear was unknown, or relatively, but it had a bunch of evangelists who spoke about it.¬† You have serious authority in this space which caused a ton of other people to retweet and blog about it.¬† I’m sure if we pulled a social media monitoring report and trend analysis, we would see how this all spread and it would be a case study for influencers.

        1. fredwilson

          that would be so cool. i’d love to see that.

      3. Shawn Cohen

        so was fred wilson’s blurb:)

      4. LE

        Actually good for Paul and Tim more than codeyear.¬†The type of people who are interested in learning to code (and don’t know anything now) typically wouldn’t know who they are. But now they know that they must be somebody so they’ve been elevated.¬†

      5. Alex Murphy

        “TechCrunch says 50% of the site traffic comes from Twitter and Facebook¬†(with Twitter coming in at >33%).”if is 33.%, then the twitter entire ecosystem is probably closer to 50%.Twitter = 50FB = 16G+ = 3AND AVC … probably 31%Frednation (half of twitter, half of FB, and half of G+, with all of AVC) = 65% ūüėČ



    3. famolari

      Excellent point.¬† It’s one of the reasons I think services like LaunchRock can be so powerful.¬† Simple, compelling landing pages with a clear call to action that tie into social and analytic capabilities for deeper understanding of who your influencers are among the early adopters.

  7. Ryan Etheridge

    I have been so excited to get the first lesson since signing up!  I am a teacher, not much of a coder.  This service would be great in a middle school/high school.  Kids need to learn to code.

    1. fredwilson

      damn straight. my son can code (hack really) and it makes me happy that he can do that.

      1. Ryan Etheridge

        If code academy had a more formalized curriculum they could get adopted by LEAs.  It would be low to no-cost for a school district.  Students would be receiving quality, useful instruction.  It is win-win.

        1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

          give us a few months ūüėČ

          1. Prashant Gandhi

            In all seriousness, how does it compare to video lectures and assignments that one can subscribe to from itunesU (for free) ? I am currently learning iphone app development from Stanford University.

          2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

            we’re interactive and also free. ¬†itunesu is videos.

          3. Ryan Etheridge

            any idea what this would look like?  I love some good curriculum.  You have a great opportunity to help many students Рin schools and outside of them, young ones and older ones.  You are in a good place.

      2. schultzmj

        How did your son first get started learning to code/hack?  My son just turned 13 and is interested and I have just started looking for the best way to get him going.

        1. fredwilson

          i got him a tutor to teach him

          1. schultzmj

            OK.  thanks.  Will see what I can find outside of that before I explore that option.  If anyone else has any suggestions on tools for getting a 13 started learning to code, I would appreciate it.

          2. Brent Weber

            Depending on where you are at, you can get your son involved with organization like¬†@kidsruby:disqus¬†. ¬†Here in Austin programmers are putting together a program for teaching kids to program, scheduled around larger programming conferences (local Ruby Conference, etc).For me I learned to hack when I was in High school because one of my Dad’s friends bought me a book on DOS programming as a gift. ¬†I wreaked so much havoc on my parents computer, but with the book I was always able to fix it.

      3. LE

        I’m jealous. I’m not able to live vicariously through my kids (I’m being serious). My attempts to get them excited about what excites me has not gone well and is a big disappointment. (One of the things I made fun of other people for before I had kids..)

      4. John Revay

        Minor – next time you update the AVC site – you should reference your son’s blog – upper right nav. ¬†It is a little dated…but some great photos.

        1. fredwilson

          i’m not sure he’s actively blogging

    2. Shawn Cohen

      I signed up too even though I’m in the middle of taking I continually feel stunted by not being able to code my ideas. Adults like me need this stuff as well:)

        1. Shawn Cohen

          Yeah, looks like that’s for more advanced users. Zombies is for beginners, actually for those who have gone through, I’m replying via and it rocks:) Thanks William Mougayar!

  8. William Mougayar

    The idea of drip drip learning via regular email reminders is a great one & can be applied to other topics as well.I recently came across & signed up for which sends me an email lesson every 3 days as a multiple choice question on the subject of Brad Feld’s latest book. They have a variety of other topics too.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Email is a powerful reminder if used with care. I had been trying to log my activities for a long time. A few weeks ago I discovered and I’m complety hooked thanks to their daily evening email asking what I’ve done today.

      1. William Mougayar

        Thanks. I’m going to try that service! – posted via

    2. awaldstein

      Good comment.Drip email marketing is as core to online marketing as your weekly music, language lessons were to offline from all of our pasts.The kicker is never the method its the content, the design of the information so that the handshake is informative and speaks to what you do next.Instructional design like teaching is an art.

      1. fredwilson

        In email marketing content is king

        1. William Mougayar

          Very true…(am testing a new feature below ūüôā )- posted via

          1. Jorge

            I would try it but I’m not a member :-(jeff.naifeh@gmail:twitter¬†.comDo you have any invites? Pretty please?

          2. William Mougayar

            Check your email pls.- posted via

      2. William Mougayar

        True, there are creative uses of email when it includes a clear value, it does the job effectively.

      3. karen_e

        Arnold – it’s so true. I think about the user experience of our content all the time. While we are building a piece, graphic designers get one part of it, writers and PR people get one part of it, then I come in with the user experience lens. Some people call it “content.” I just think of being on the receiving end.

        1. awaldstein

          Channeling the behavior of the customer well makes you golden I bet. In your situation who gets to own the data and analytics dashboard?Pretty well your only lens into behavior is the big four: transactions, shares, opens and unsubscribes. Managing to those metrics is a function of all that goes into the piece.Someone needs to be in control.

    3. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      we love veri too – they are up to awesome stuff that’s very complementary to what we’re doing.



    5. Prashant Gandhi

      Dripfeed is absolutely great in our attention starved world. I’ve really enjoyed reading through entire books in bite sized chunks from DailyLit.

  9. Raj

    We just witnessed the “power of a passed link.” ¬†Codecademy created this. ¬†Fred blogged and tweeted it. ¬†Alexia (effectively) reblogged. ¬†Measuring Fred’s referral traffic isn’t sufficient. ¬†It doesn’t tell the entire story. ¬†You have to look at the second and third waves to really measure it.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      we are likely to do a follow up discussing how this all spread virally.  i will come back to the comments to share that information if we do.

      1. JimHirshfield

        When do classes begin? :-)BTW, I never received an ack email after registering. Was that by design? (low touch)

  10. panterosa,

    I even signed up to see what it’s all about. And my daughter is more interested than I am. So I told her she could do my homework if she wanted. In horror, she said she’d get her own email thank you, and I could do my own homework. We’ll see how this turns out….I bet on her win.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Sounds like reverse psych to get her to do her regular homework. Nice one!

      1. panterosa,


    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      let us know how it turns out!  love to see families doing this together.

      1. panterosa,

        I am sure she’ll outstrip me, and I will be happy to report to you how this goes.My motivation is as an artist/designer who lost tech partner for my startup. I need to peer into the world of code and see what the deal is.

  11. Avi Deitcher

    Love it, just sent it to my kids.I still want to know: what is the business model? You didn’t put $MM in codecademy just to see lots of people sign up; you did it for the expected value. Where does codecademy eventually make money?

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      I can imagine a few revenue sources:-Referrals to books, software, hardware-Ads in the study material-Premium support-Premium coursesIf you have an engeged community wanting to learn you have a gold mine!

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Ads are nice, not serious enough revenue for this kind of niche community (IMHO, although I am sure someone on this list has the views, CPM and size estimates), and I do get tired of hearing that everyone is going to make money on someone else’s ads. It almost feels like in some utopian future, no one wil sell anything but advertising (irony intended).Selling materials is interesting, but I would worry that the entire culture here is getting people used to the fact that you don’t need to buy materials, it is all online (which is mostly true, anyways; worth check with O’Reilly on that).Premium support and premium courses is probably a very good source, as well as selling customized to corporations.

        1. JimHirshfield

          I think people serious about learning will pay for more advanced courses. The basic courses are free as a loss leader and feeder into the premium courses. Like a freemium model.But I’d bet that this isn’t really occupying any of their minds right now. Scale now. Monetize later.

    2. JimHirshfield

      I have no inside knowledge, but wouldn’t it be a cool idea for them to take a job placement fee for finding coding jobs for the cream of the crop that go through their programs?

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Nice. Jim, maybe they should hire you as their CRO? ūüôā

        1. JimHirshfield

          Ha! As recent AVC post pointed out, they don’t need that layer of management just yet. ūüėČ

          1. Avi Deitcher

            No, they definitely don’t, but I like your early positioning…. ūüôā

      2. mike gilfillan

        That’s a great idea.¬† One that we implemented with success at back in 2000.¬† We were just starting to ramp up our operations when the bust hit.¬† Now that there is a shortage of IT professionals again, charging a modest placement fee (as opposed to the 30% the staffing firms take) would be a good way to go.¬†¬† The trick is in selling against the typical recruiter that says they “interview” the candidate.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Not sure that competing with recruiters would be the direction or even mindset. Most marketing and execution is differentiation and perception. If you train and nurture candidates, why would they seek other resources to help them find a job? If you create a marketplace for dev jobs, you have momentum.Curious what you’re doing now, in light of ComputerJobs running out of steam.

          1. mike gilfillan

            I meant selling against recruiters to the HR or Hiring Manager, not the candidate.¬†¬† Placement fee in this case paid by the company (used to be 30% of first year salary — a big chuck of cash).¬†¬† Candidates are not fond of most recruiters anyway so they like using an alternative.Yes, ComputerJobs ran out of steam after UK buyer decided to apply UK practices to US business (didn’t work so well).¬† Coming out of retirement (at 42) and now working on MVP for a new twist to online¬†business directories.(it appears I didn’t login to Disques for my previous comment, so I now have an add’l identity on this thread as Mikeg250)

          2. JimHirshfield

            Got it – yes, good point about HR, etc.Nice to connect with you. Looking forward to your launch.(FYI, I think you can merge your comments/profiles on Disqus dashboard)

      3. LE

        Seems to be a logical way to monetize. But if most of the participants are starting from scratch, it could take years before a significant percentage have enough skill to be marketable.

        1. JimHirshfield

          You can’t expect to sell apples next year if you just planted¬†saplings. So, you’re right. But markets take time to develop.

    3. fredwilson

      Not sure yet but I suspect it may be jobs related, like stack

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Ha, Jim, you are a prophet (which sounds a lot like profit…).So, I know you have discussed this, but to be clear: Fred, your investment model is to find Web firms with significant community size and growth potential, and invest in them with the assumption that somewhere down the line the community can be monetized, even if you don’t know how now?¬†

        1. fredwilson

          yup, we’ve done that again and again and again. i am sure we will run into a few brick walls. but we haven’t yet.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Leap of faith. Weren’t you scared off by the “new economy” and “eyeballs” of the late 90s?

          2. fredwilson

            i was part of that madness. i learned a lot from it. i try to share all of that regularly on this blog.

      2. mike gilfillan

        You must have some good insights into the job ad market since this would be your third investment that area.¬† I learned a ton doing for 14 years and would be happy to share my industry experience with you or your companies if you’re interested.¬† It’s short flight for me to NYC.



        1. fredwilson

          gut instinct, half baked at best, not sure about it. but that’s all i need to get started.

    4. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      we have a bunch of ideas but we appreciate your suggestions too ūüėČ you’ll find out soon enough.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        When you do, definitely have Fred post about it here. This is one of the most interesting and dynamic communities about the tech business in general.



      1. Avi Deitcher

        Sounds reasonable, I am sure one of the things Zach & Co are thinking of.Begs the question: who is their target market? Who will pay for a premium from them? Is it experienced engineers? Top tier guys figure most of it out on their own, maybe an extra ref book or two; mid-tier? Lower end?

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. tedstockwell

            The market is wannabes?

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. LE

        Easy for free.¬†Advanced for free.¬†Make money off of advanced coders who can be offered to employers assuming privacy issues are taken care of.¬†Or charge for a “certification” of skills that employers would trust. (All this of course assumes someone will learn enough to be valuable, a big “if”).

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. LE

            Off the top, small open book project with a time limit (depending on the skill(s) being tested) which could range from days to weeks.¬† The test would involve many things necessary so you couldn’t get someone to easily complete anything but a part here or there (OR YOU’RE ONLY CHEATING YOURSELF!).Q. So people could ask friends for help?A. Fine to be helped and pointed in the right direction – that’s actually good. Part of the process. Memorization in itself is no proof of understanding how to do things. Also shows resourcefulness. In the end I want someone who can get the job done and isn’t afraid to ask for help if needed.Q. So after taking this “test” the certification says they are qualified to a certain level?A. No the certfication is only a filter. After the filter is passed the company still conducts their own interview process. ¬†Q. Is there a feedback loop?A. Yes, results from the test are correlated with the opinions of hiring companies in order to refine the process.Etc.

  12. Scott Barnett

    While I agree that Code Year and Codecademy are awesome ideas, I do think it’s important to note some of the “hiccups” with the launch:(1) I read about Code Year initially on Brad Feld’s blog on 1/1 – when I tried to go to, I could not. ¬†I wound up signing up for Codecademy instead (and got a welcome email from Zach and Ryan)(2) I then read about it again on your blog on 1/2 – this time it worked – but I did *not* get an email welcoming me to Code Year. ¬†So, I’m not really sure if I’m signed up or not. ¬†I guess I’ll wait for you to tell us you got your first “lesson” and then I’ll see if I got it too :-)I know folks had issues registering from your first post too – I’m not trying to be a downer here, but it’s important to review ALL aspects of the launch – if I hadn’t seen your post after failing the first time, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for Code Year – so while 100K is amazing, what could it have been?I’ve gone through the first 2 lessons (and started the third) – this is a pretty cool idea. ¬†I’m happy to report that my programming chops haven’t completely left me – I’ve found the lessons so far to be very easy. ¬†But I’m gearing up for the hard stuff ūüôā

    1. JimHirshfield

      Wait, I didn’t get an acknowledgement email now that I think of it. And you’re saying that you’ve already received email lessons from CodeYear? Am I reading that correct?

      1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

        sorry, jim Рwe just began sending confirmation emails.  code year emails begin going out on monday.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Great! Thanks. And congrats on the uptake. Well done!

      2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        I signed up and didn’t get a welcome email nor have I gotten any lessons….I was one of those who got “hung up” on the registration and now when I try to re register I am informed that I am already registered…..

        1. JimHirshfield

          Hmm….let’s see what Zach (co-founder) says. He’s just joined the convo.

          1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

            yes, carl – if you’re getting an alert that you’re already registered, you’re good to go. ¬†the confirmation emails had a bit of a hiccup at launch.

          2. William Mougayar

            I didn’t get an email confirmation either this morning. Is that the normal behavior?

          3. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            “you’re good to go” ¬†Zach, I haven’t coded a thing since about the late 90’s and all my experience is with Fortran and COBOL…But I am sick and tired of waiting for people to get to my “little requests” and so I want to be self sufficient! ¬†If you hear any background noise that is from three programmers, who are in the office with me, who have just rolled onto the floor laughing like crazy….

      3. Scott Barnett

        Jim – sorry for the confusion.¬† I did *not* get a confirmation for Code Year as Zach already stated here.¬† However, I did sign up for Codecademy separately (when I wasn’t able to get to on Sunday, I went to and signed up there).¬† It was at that I *did* get a confirmation email.This has been quite an interesting experience watching this – I just re-read The Lean Startup over the holidays and some blogs about differing thoughts around MVP.¬† In this case, I don’t know that Zach could have avoided some of these issues, but it does seem that there are some “kinks” in the registration process.¬† Do you fix those first, or go to market and fix on the fly?¬† I see pros and cons to both sides….

        1. JimHirshfield

          Thanks. I saw other replies and figured out there were no ack emails.As for MVP, I think it was definitely worth going with what they built – yes, hiccups, but not sure they could have designed to avoid those errors. In the end, no harm done as the registration numbers are great.

          1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

            coincidentally i read “the lean startup” after we had finished the site. ¬†the kinks didn’t come out in our testing – some times it’s just large user loads that do it. ¬†

          2. JimHirshfield

            I good problem to have. ¬†ūüėČ

    2. fredwilson

      Yup. Thanks for taking the time to do this. Very important

    3. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks for the feedback, scott.  the issue we had was a problem rerouting the www (a combination of heroku, cloudflare, and our domain registrant).  due to some issues with the time it takes to turn on forwarding, there were a few minutes that did not redirect (but worked).we began sending confirmation emails yesterday.  our first email goes out on monday with code year content.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Thanks Zach for an explanation.  Have been trying to join and you guys have too much traffic.  Will keep trying.

        1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

          hey dave – it should be working. ¬†if it’s not, feel free to email me at at contact (at) codecademy (dot) com and we can work out a solution.

          1. Dave W Baldwin


      2. Scott Barnett

        Zach – I’ve done the three courses on the Codecademy site, and I just finished FizzBuzz from your Codeyear email yesterday. ¬†Nicely done, but now I want more!! ¬†What is the plan for more courseware? ¬†

  13. William Mougayar

    I just went there & registered. They are at 125,000 now. That’s an amazing accomplishment & also speaks volume about the fact that they are filling an unmet need and a void in the marketplace with superb timing.There is nothing wrong in getting a promotional boost from AVC. It does add credibility and reach, but the results have as much to do with the service itself.I’ll be interested in knowing about the retention & completion metrics 2-3 months out or so.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      Yeah, providing your email is easy, but actually following the lessons is something much more serious. My bet is around 5%, but I could be wrong (I wish it!) and this 125k are really motivated, the courses are amazing and the ratio is much higher.

    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks, william. ¬†i think it goes without saying that we’ll be tracking retention and completion metrics pretty closely. ¬†glad to have you on board!

  14. falicon

    It’s a great start…will be interesting to see how many people stick with it and what the engagement numbers are over time.I’m also interested to see if/where/how they monetize on this initial traction…

    1. Mark Essel

      2% is my estimate for end of year and steady contributors



    1. panterosa,

      better if fear not motivator for learning, but curiosity is motivator, but more learning better.

    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder


      1. Prashant Gandhi

        It would be great when end user computing is done with proper code rather than dead end spreadsheets.

    3. William Mougayar




      2. JamesHRH

        No kidding.

    4. fredwilson

      good point

    5. LE

      “THAT DEVELOPERS MAKE GIANT BUCKETS OF MONEY”I think there is also the “win the lottery” thing where people think they will develop the next app or idea that gets funded (as opposed to a paying job coding). I can tell by the excitement of the replies to this post by some people as well as the last one.



        1. LE

          “EVERYTHING LOOK EASY”True. There are certain things that appear easy until you try them. For example skiing or playing guitar. Then there are things that look difficult right from the start. Like breaking a stack of bricks.

        2. panterosa,

          Many things supposed to look effortless, but only the true pros achieve that state of zen and perfect projection of ease and grace. Like Gordieva and Grinkov skating.¬†You only supposed to see flow, art, beauty, shibui.¬†Not work, sweat and pain. Where is inspiration in grunt work? I am athlete – I don’t need to spend time to watch others toil. I do that myself, I live that. Maybe couch potato need that to motivate, not me.

    6. panterosa,

      so FG, you are individualist or collectivist?



        1. panterosa,

          Thank heaven I am not alone!!

  16. mike gilfillan

    I wonder how much detail their lessons will go into?¬† Is this just a get your feet wet into programming or do they plan on making some really good detailed lessons in specific languages (similar to or¬†In trying to relearn the latest technology for another startup I’m doing, I’ve had to really go deep into choosing which language (Rails vs. Net MVC) and too many lessons/tutorials stop short after the quick “sample app” — which is a good intro, but it’s still way hard to move into building a real app.¬† I’ve bought and read countless programming books, but too much bloat, theory and basic samples and not enough cookbook like examples/recipes.¬† Railscasts (&¬†Tekpub) do the best job in my opinion, but he is only one person and lots of¬†his tutorials aren’t up-to-date with the latest version of Rails.¬†

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      we’ll be going both broad and deep . keep your eyes peeled for some new stuff within a week or so.

      1. mike gilfillan

        Great, thanks.  You guys definitely found the right investor!

        1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

          we think so too ūüėČ

  17. Peter Sullivan

    I think part of the success is also the audience it addresses, not talking specifically about the influences (although they are a huge part). As we all know there are tons of people that want to be¬†entrepreneurs¬†and consume/love digital technology. However, there are few people that can actually produce it. You run into so many people who have ideas but no technical skills. I think this hit home to a lot of people who have learned as Fred put it “you need to get technical”.¬†

  18. John Best

    It’s an example of great execution – simple, quick call to action. looking forward to receiving my first lesson.

  19. jason wright

    The power of shameless AVC leverage ūüôā You’re too modest Mr. Wilson.

  20. Peter Sullivan

    Just read the blog post about the design, which I loved. His thoughts on the top banner were like something we tried to do via our infographic¬†… We tried to use the top bar as a sign up mechanism as well. The infographic was a success at the time, however it wasn’t that page that went viral, it was replications of the png that various blogs took.¬†I think a huge aspect of the design, not visually but still aesthetic, is having it as a separate campaign with a super clean URL. was amazing to use. Its inherent in the domain, and serves as a separate mechanism to the current company.The second I saw one tweet about this I knew it would go viral….

    1. Sacha Greif

      I’m the guy from that blog post, I’m glad you liked it. I think it’s always interesting to read about the process behind something. And since the Code Year site went viral, I think it was especially interesting for people to read about the design of a site they had just seen.¬†And speaking of design, Tripl looks nice! Very fresh and original.¬†

  21. Miljenko Hatlak

    Fred says “the landing page is clean, simple, and well designed”I agree that it’s clean and simple, but I don’t agree regarding whether design is good.First of all landing page doesn’t say which programing language they teach – javascript.Anyway, I support idea of promoting javascript as a entering point into the world of web programming.¬†

    1. fredwilson

      it’s not just javascript. it will include a number of other languages over the course of the year. but i agree they could have provided more detail on that.

      1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

        fred is right. beyond that, people (in our experience) don’t come in knowing what they want to learn. ¬†we try to remove the complexity and explain why we use certain languages as we introduce them.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Which is really smart. You don’t want to scare away those who need you most.¬†

        2. Miljenko Hatlak

          “So when someone ask them “Which language you are learning at Code Academy” they may answer “I don’t know”. – posted via

      2. Miljenko Hatlak

        I know that they have plans to introduce other languages. But check their landing page and figure out which language you are about to learn when you start your console session. You have console where they ask you to type in your name to star to teach you about strings in javascript (what actually you don’t know).- posted via

  22. Ross Larter

    CodeYear its an awesome idea and they have done very well, hopefully it will educate some people into how long it does take to create a running product and code is not just folded in, it has to be written.ross @

  23. Conrad Ross Schulman

    Was the idea inspired from Daily-lit? 

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t think so

      1. Conrad Ross Schulman

        so your saying theres a chance??….(dumb & dumber reference)

  24. andyidsinga

    6) knowing how to code is cool.7) sharing that you’re learning how to code – you’re on your way to cooldom.8) you: Made your first app and showing it to your friend on your phone. friend: *H*O*L*Y*S*H*I*T*!* mothafuckas got an app! you: yup, i made that.

  25. Brandon Marker

    When are public schools going to include this stuff as a second language!? I learned Spanish… that helped. If I were younger Code Year could be the start of my future….now it is me just trying to catch up to 2012.

    1. fredwilson

      soon, i hope

      1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

        as do i



      3. Douglas Crets

        will they be doing it within Edmodo?

  26. Itsme

    With all the respect to CodeAcademy, I find a bit suspicious regarding the amount of signups. Whatever time of the day the counter gets added 2-3 with every approx. 2 seconds. Those numbers are too constant to be believable. Zach?

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      hi itsme – those numbers are indeed real. ¬†if you look at the twitter stream (… ), you’ll see roughly 2-4 tweets per minute. ¬†take into account the % of people that are actually tweeting and you’ll see that we’re not lying.

  27. RacerRick

    I was/am disappointed that it didn’t start right away.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      it starts on monday. ¬†if you’d like to start earlier, feel free to use codecademy itself.

  28. Dan Epstein

    The Twitter/Facebook count on the site is interesting. ¬†As of Wed. AM there’s 24K mentions on Twitter, but only 3K likes on Facebook. ¬†It’s also nice to be able to jump to those mentions on Twitter. Can’t do that for the FB likes.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      agree.  watching the stream of twitter mentions is pretty cool.

  29. Kevin Pillow

    I’m glad to see the progress code academy has made since they did a demo at NY Techmeetup a few months ago. I watched the video while at work and to see them get 100,000 + users in couple days gets me really hyped up

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder


  30. Adam Feldman

    This is as much a New Year’s resolution for you as it is for them. You learn your new skill and they hold themselves accountable to execute on their vision and put out a great new piece of content every week.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      someone did their homework ūüėČ

  31. ahumancapitalist

    A supplementary view: The product design gets two pscyhological things correct:1. People love quests. ¬†A class is a shared quest. ¬†It’s not just that key influencers such as yourself have marketed the product, it’s that you will all be on a quest to learn to code together. People are choosing to be part of this story.2. Short assignments. ¬†Great products fit into the shape of our lives. ¬†Breaking a body of knowledge into short assignments makes it easier to fit. ¬†I’ve written about both¬†here: http://sarahdillard.wordpre

  32. Mark Geller

    One other benefit of launching on a particular day is the creation of a large cohort group of people going through the program at the same time who can motivate each other, share support and tips, and generally socialize about it–similar to a book club for coding. This aspect of learning along with your friends–at the same time–may be something CodeAcademy and others could incorporate directly into their program in general.

  33. matthughes

    I’m fired up for Code Year – bring on the learning!¬†

  34. Douglas Crets

    Pardon me for seeming like a douchebag, but let’s be a little clearer. We cannot say that Codeyear has been successful. We can say that the campaign to get people interested in Codeyear has been reasonably successful.¬†Codeyear will be successful when people learn how to code from it. That’s a far better metric for success than things like vanity numbers.¬†For what it’s worth, I am fully behind CodeAcademy; I think they have a great idea.¬†

    1. jason wright

      The turn of the year resolution to get fit leads to a new gym membership but not necessarily fitness. Come March who will still be Codeyearing?

    2. fredwilson

      You are 100% correct

      1. Douglas Crets

        Thanks for responding. Also, really looking forward to your thoughts on Codeyear’s system because I would like to know if you experience progress in using it, not just gratification for its existence.

    3. Prokofy

      I have a feeling I may well flunk out of Code Academy. And I’m not sure that even if I do get through all the levels, I will have “learned how to code” for real. I keep suspecting as I go along that they’ve set it up “for dummies” and are perfecting the “for dummies” routines with lots of feedback, but that this incremental way of learning things in bits is only grooming me in a kind of simulation, not really teaching me.What I’m learning is how to readjust my thinking to binary choices and to code doctrines about what is intuitive. So I am “becoming a gadget,” as Jaron Lanier would explain it. Also, I keep wondering, “What is this *for*?” This is why mathematics and physics were always failures for me. Why would I need to take the last two letters of a word and segment them off and assign numbers to them?I’m not sure, but that coding is in fact regression for humanity.I don’t want my thinking to be transformed into the “way of code” or the “tao of coding”.And that’s really what Code Academy wants to do. Not merely teach you some mechanical skill like knitting or driving that you will use to get a job. But transform your thinking so that you will become “like them”.

  35. gomobile

    Of course, “easy to use items and products that are an appliance (with an on and off) switch” gain mass adoption.¬† This is the key to everyone’s success, just ask Apple, but don’t ask MS (they still haven’t gotten the msg).Fred perhaps after a few coding lessons, you’ll need some investment VC support for your personal new venture.”ned” ūüôā

  36. LE

    A few things I would suggest to anyone learning to program are:1) Play. One of the keys to learning programming (and computers for that matter) is the ability to play and have fun while learning. (Codecademy already addresses this to some extent.) Even by just trying to do things that are nonsense, have no purpose, and are non-productive. (In college I got called into the computer center office just for writing a program that looped and used up computer time.) I also remember my mother criticizing me while I was on the the computer and saying “you’re just playing”. She didn’t understand that’s exactly how you learn many things (not just sports which of course you play to learn..) She was raised in a era that when you played with things they broke and were expensive to fix. ¬†2) Before you attempt to write the killer app that will change the world (and I hate that meme by the way) try and write something that will be helpful that just you will use and that is most likely already available. Like a simple “to do” list or a maybe program to send template e-mail or anything that would be helpful in your everyday life that nobody will ever see. This will cause you to focus and have fun learning whatever language you are focusing on. ¬†Or maybe something that will solve a problem that your spouse or partner has.¬†3) Learn enough Unix/Linux commands to know your way around a terminal window. Very important.¬†4) Learn a shell scripting language like, for example, bash. ¬†5) Learn enough to code a basic html page by hand as well as a little css6) Learn at least some of a server side language like php and just enough at least to connect to a mysql database

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      we’re trying to facilitate just the types of stuff you’re suggesting!

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Thank you, LE.  I have a feeling that this will prove to be valuable advice.

    3. Matt Lancaster

      If I could add just one thing… 7) Learn something about antipatterns and bad technique, and learn a little bit about computing history.These help people understand the why, and to avoid internalizing really bad practices.

  37. Jeff Judge

    I think the other thing that’s great about it is that, they don’t even have to have any of it ready ūüôā ¬†They’re probably putting together the first lesson right now. I would think it’d be exciting to produce content like this…like a TV show.

  38. Donna Brewington White

    Love the summary of the case study!I was glad you came back to this. ¬†I’ve been pondering about just what happened the other day — it had the feeling of being a phenomenon.How did so many of us go from not even thinking about doing this to just moments later, signing up. ¬†I’m just thinking of it from the standpoint of those who learned about this at AVC. ¬†I can’t believe it was strictly a case of Fred Wilson marketing magic, which we know is powerful, but there was already a need or latent desire that matches why many of us are here (at AVC) anyway. So I am wondering if there is a lesson somewhere in here about defining, identifying — maybe even creating or cultivating — a market.¬†I’ve also been thinking “What have I done?” and both dreading and anticipating that first lesson. And to think that French was the only language I planned to learn this year. ¬†Parlez-vous Javascript?

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      i think you should prioritize coding over french, donna ūüėČ

      1. Donna Brewington White

        My 16 y.o. son is signing up — so I’ll have someone to compare notes with! I discovered that he’s been doing some basic coding for a couple of years and never even thought of it as “coding” — just playing around on the computer.So, learning coding with him and French with my 14 y.o. daughter. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s stereotypical — EXCEPT even if my son is the one doing the coding instead of my daughter, how many teenage boys are learning coding with their MOM! My daughter will probably come around eventually because one of her goals is to start an online business before she graduates.

  39. Eunice Apia

    My Brother has worked in IT for over 10 years, I’ve been pressuring him to get into development. I signed him up and he said he will give coding a try.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      let us know what he thinks!

      1. Eunice Apia

        I will make sure to let you know if he uses it and what he thinks.

  40. Rebecca Healy

    I think they should have provided the first lesson – or email or whatever right away. Seems a little odd to wait on it, and I bet their fall off rate will be high because of that. Great idea though. Interested to see how it compares to Treehouse and TutsPlus programs which I’ve been using and happily pay for.

    1. LE

      “first lesson – or email or whatever right away”Agree. People want immediate gratification and get distracted easily by the next shiny ball.¬†

    2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      you are more than welcome to begin using codecademy right away (as we suggest on the page after you sign up).  the first lesson is timed so that we can allow everyone to start on the same page.

      1. Rebecca Healy

        Doesn’t matter to me personally, just talking in general for email marketing.Take me for example. I tried Codeacademy a couple months ago already before CodeYear was launched, but what appealed to me about CodeYear was that it’s more structured, an email drip, etc. And I was bummed nothing came after I signed up. So, I was just making the observation, since many others may feel the same and that could hurt engagement. I guess you’ll see though! ūüôā

  41. Dino Dogan

    Signed up. 

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks, dino!

  42. Sacha Greif

    Just wanted to say thanks for linking to my post about designing the landing page ūüôā

    1. fredwilson

      you are very welcome. thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation

  43. Kyle Ambrosas

    It definitely is an awesome idea that will get lots of people interested. I am curious though, how exactly do they plan on making money? The sponsors? And is it for profit, or what?

    1. fredwilson

      there’s a good conversation earlier in this thread about that

  44. Jennifer McFadden

    It would be great to see a breakdown of the demos of the 125K+ people who have signed up. In particular, I would be interested in learning how many are male vs. female and urban vs. suburban/rural. You would have to pull the info via additional registration–and, I can’t remember exactly what they asked in the regi form when I signed up for Codeacademy. Probably a little proprietary, but would love to see the numbers.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      all we ask for is email + password.  we have a sense of demographic information.  perhaps we will talk about them soon as well.

      1. Jennifer McFadden

        Thanks, Zach. Most interested in the M/F ratio ūüôā

      2. MikeSchinkel

        I’m most interested in what percentage are from within 50 miles of Silicon Valley, Austin, Bolder, Boston and New York City, and what percentage are outside of there.

  45. Andrew Simon

    The landing page looks great. Simple but a nice example of nice designs for landing pages. 

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks, andrew

  46. MikeSchinkel

    I’ve been a coder/entrepreneur for all my adult life. Hell, I was also a programming trainer for 7 years. But I just don’t get the interest in Codecademy. ¬†It’s not that I don’t see the value in learning to code, coding is a guilty pleasure for me. But my experience with people who are non-coders is that they could care less about learning how to code. Those people usually equate programming with a day in the dentist’s chair for a mouthful of root canals, sans¬†Novacaine.Please help me understand who all these non-coders that are signing up for this are where they are located? ¬†Are they all marketing types in SV mobile/web startups?

    1. kidmercury

      i think they’re targeting people who already have a desire to learn. when i was learning to code (which i can barely do and suck at) i really wanted something like this. in fact i can’t believe it took so long for a startup to finally build it. they’re competing with those crappy PHP books i used to buy, as well as those crappy courses you pay too much for in college. the people that cant afford, understand, or commit to that stuff — but still have the interest in learning — can be served well by codecademy IMO.¬†

      1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

        i think programming is finally being seen as it should be – as the literacy of the 21st century. ¬†programming jobs pay the highest salaries and programming can help to improve everyone’s lives. ¬†it’s not really even a luxury at this point. ¬†learning is almost imperative for a lot of people. ¬†

      2. MikeSchinkel

        I’m busy preparing an open-source release that will appeal to developers in a market that is dominated by non-developers (i.e. WordPress users.) So it would really benefit me if this takes off. ¬†But I’m highly skeptical.



  48. Asad

    Knowing “coding” is as useful for building software as knowing English to writing a book.¬†

  49. Nick Grossman

    Just came across this: Mayor Bloomberg signed up for Code Year, and his (auto-generated) tweet made a big splash:¬†http://idealab.talkingpoint…