Video Of The Week:

Zach Sims, founder and CEO of our portfolio company Codecademy, was on Colbert this week. There were some good lines. I liked  "drop out, turn on, and log in" at 3:40.

[I am getting autoplay complaints. Autoplay is off in the code. So I have removed this embed and you can find the video here]

#funny#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Can’t see it outside the US. Yikes.

    1. fredwilson

      shit. i am sorry about that. i probably would not have posted it if i had known. but i am not going to delete the post now.

      1. jason wright

        the authentic fuck ups make you real.or, the real fucks ups make you authentic.

      2. William Mougayar

        No prob. Turning this into an opportunity, and installing Tunnel Bear to watch it. (btw- it works on Android, iPhone and PC or Mac, and it’s free for low usage)

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          I thank you and the bears thank you :o)

          1. William Mougayar

            Canadian company, from Toronto 🙂

      3. David Semeria

        I can see it fine in Italy

      4. Emmanuel Bellity

        I can see it in France

      5. JamesHRH

        Colbert on cable channel in CAN (Comedy Channel). They get Daily & Colbert Shows blocked. Then you have to go to their website, which only shows whole episodes (w ads, obv.)Cable companies rock.

    2. jason wright

      nor way over here (i”m not in Oslo btw).

    3. mikenolan99

      Didn’t show on my iPad either…

      1. mikenolan99

        tested on my iPhone – no video, no thumbnail…

      2. William Mougayar

        not mobile friendly? those mainstream websites are so behind. maybe Codecademy can help 🙂

  2. David Semeria

    I had not seen Zach on video before, he comes across as very likable and with a very uplifting vision of the future.I guess there were no problems with chemistry in this particular case…

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      really appreciate that, david, thanks!

      1. David Semeria

        Well played Zach (to steal @JLM:disqus’s phrase).I’ve never believed in the despot CEO, so I’m rooting for you.

  3. pointsnfigures

    Some people will be able to learn. Some need more hand holding. The important thing to teach people that coding isn’t for techies. It’s a form of free expression. Creative writers should learn to code to tell stories in a new format.

  4. JimHirshfield

    Yes, a great piece. I saw it last night when Andy Weissman tweeted it. Impressed with Zach. Incredible traction. I had no idea they had so many users.

  5. JLM

    .What a pleasant, likable, and intelligent young man.I did have to squint a bit at the messy shirt and jeans but, hey, that’s the uniform, no?What was particularly funny to me were his comments about Obamacare website.That website is likely to become the lasting legacy of one Barack H Obama, President of the United States of America.[Note: de-glibbed that description.]JLM.

    1. David Semeria

      Interesting fact #36 – to the English ‘glib’ has a negative connotation.

      1. JLM

        .Interesting, to me glib means well spoken and poised.The Americans and the English — two peoples separated by a common language?Hope you are well.JLM.

        1. David Semeria

          English people tend to associate ‘glib’ with insincerity and lack of depth.I’m fine and hope your are too, JLM.

          1. JLM

            .Better, I could not be.JLM.

        2. LE

          Interesting fact. To some in the US many phrases or words used in England seem kind of gay um funny in the way they are spoken.Here is a bunch:

          1. David Semeria

            Memorize the list before coming to the UK and Bob’s your uncle

          2. LE

            I love shorthand like that. I have a whole bunch of those that I use with people that I know. That way I can summarize a concept by just using the phrase which links to a story that I have told in the past. I was raised with things like that.

        3. awaldstein

          Actually, it can mean both but common usage, from my point of view, US or UK is a perjorative term.I found this guy the opposite of glib (as I define it). So likeable, effusive, and at ease. And sincere.

          1. LE

            Agree. He had (and I made a comment somewhere to this effect the other day) a very non threatening appeal that men and women both like.It’s a quality that appears in many of hollywood’s leading men.An example of the opposite might be “the dick” someone like Kramer or Spitzer.I think it comes from the smiling and ability to roll with the punches without getting angry, irritated or annoyed.Not that someone would when on TV generally. But even though I don’t know Zach I would guess that is definitely him 365.

      2. jason wright

        it cracks me up when there’s a debate in ‘English’ about the meaning of an Inuit word. anoraks!

    2. LE

      When you want to remove something you can use the “strike” tag.That way the original thought appears.Like this: He was a moron not that smart.The strike tag is like this, (remove the –)<–strike–>something to strike<–/strike–>

    3. BillMcNeely

      Socially adjusted and approachable for normals. The right person for the mission of coding for the masses

      1. JLM

        .Indeed. Great observation. Well played.JLM.

      2. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

        thanks, bill!

        1. BillMcNeely

          No problem Zach, enjoyed the interview.

      3. JamesHRH

        @ #12 on the Hot Startup CEO List, according to a recent tweet i just saw.

    4. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks, JLM – next time i’ll keep you in mind and throw a jacket on too 😉

      1. LE

        Only time you need to do that is if you are pitching Wall Street. (Don’t do what Zuckerberg did that is just disrespectful). Or at a funeral, your wedding, meeting your fiances family and similar or in other cases. [1]Read what I said here as far as what I did back when people always dressed appropriately in business (early 80’s):…[1] The things that are important to consider are:a) Will it be an advantage to dress down (my example)?b) Will it be a disadvantage to dress down (my example, in certain circumstances (selling) could also be wrong depending on who you are selling to, or what you are selling.c) Will it appear disrespectful? (Funeral as only one example). Regardless of what you normally do.d) Will you get bonus points for dressing up when it isn’t expected that you normally do that? (Similar example might be Donald Trump who says he never shakes hands (germ phobia) but makes exceptions when he wants the additional impact “I will for you though”.e) Safe harbour, you aren’t sure and want to err on the safe side.f) Whether there will be future contact and you either do or don’t want to set a pattern. Because a change in pattern is a delta and deltas raise concerns and make people question other behavior.Just off the top.

      2. JLM

        .Go nuts — jeans, French cuffs, spread color, navy blazer gold Columbia buttons, pocket square, goat ropers (Luccheses, please)Don’t change anything, you’re crushing it.JLM.

    5. collinnyo145

      My Uncle Jacob got a year 2013Audi TT RS Coupe by working part time online. imp source J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  6. Andrew Kennedy

    Zach seems extremely likable. I laughed at Colbert’s line “the people that work for me with college loans I know will never quit, no matter how poorly I treat them” and then I paused. Colbert can make anything funny.

  7. Emmanuel Bellity

    Saw him once on video on interview with Jason Calacanis, brilliant guy !What I really like about this video is to see an entrepreneur, who is (not yet) a celebrity post-acquisition, being invited on mainstream media to talk about his story and product. I always complain we see many actors, singers, reality show celebrities etc on TV getting a lot of attention but not enough entrepreneurs. They also take risks and create products and content for a wide audience and deserve media coverage to promote them ! Good to see it happening more often.

  8. LE

    Wow Zach handled himself really well on this. Great publicity. At the end due to ezpass Colbert can feel confident to use “toll taker” as being a reasonable proxy for “loser”.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks, LE!

    1. Tyler Hayes

      Really liked Bosh’s piece. And not just because “Hey it’s a celebrity coding! Validation!” It was genuine.

  9. ShanaC

    your next site should have a slightly wider layout for desktops. the video is tiny 🙁

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Click on LR corner and get full screen.

  10. SubstrateUndertow

    “Since then human beings have been grown inside programmed media-environments that are essentially like test tubes.”- McLuhan quoteEdit: meant as a positive comment !

  11. sigmaalgebra

    He has some appropriately modest goalsfor teaching people to ‘code’.He did mention inventory: Actually, there’ssome fairly nice math important there! Oncea business has the basic coding done forinventory, then they can move on to somereal value, e.g., not wasting money onexcess inventory, not losing sales from toolittle inventory, etc.And they can hire workers to stock the shelves and check out the customers.Hmm …. There is some nice money tobe made there by doing worker schedulingcarefully, say, considering the day of theweek, special holidays, store specials,weather, special events in town, etc.Yes, there’s some nice math there;indeed, some problems in worker scheduling would like to have analgorithm that shows that P = NP(famous problem in combinatorialoptimization, likely one of the most important problems in computer scienceand applied math now).In worker scheduling, might want to beable to assign workers dynamically totasks. For this there is a cute algorithmthat works great. Without such an algorithm, that assignment problem isa bit grim. Yup, more math. Indeed,one of the nicest pieces of work onsuch ‘assignment’ problems was forassigning ABMs to incoming warheads.So, if Code Academy is successful, that is,people know how to code, then the nextquestion will be what the heck to code, andfor that often the answer will be some math,and for that will want a Math Academy –for inventory, worker scheduling, workerassignment, etc. For now, Code Academywill be more popular than Math Academy!

  12. Richard

    What is “Brilliance” ? Colbert’s Humor or Code Academies Mission?

  13. William Mougayar

    Finally, I drove to the US border, and watched it.Great PR and marketing. Nice and light.

    1. Zach, Codecademy Co-Founder

      thanks, william!

    2. jason wright


      1. William Mougayar

        Was just kidding! I used TunnelBear.But in that elapsed time, I could have driven an hour and 20 mins, and been in the US.

  14. Cam MacRae

    Great video. Zach seems like an affable kind of chap.

  15. Kevin Yien

    First time seeing Zach in a video, thanks for the share!My wife teaches art at a high school in the East Bay, and is a strong advocate of learning to program. She has experimented this year by requiring all her freshmen to complete the HTML, CSS, and JS tracks in Codecademy in addition to their standard curriculum. What has happened as a result has been truly astonishing for me to witness.As pointsnfigures noted, programming is more a form of expression, and that is precisely how my wife has framed it for her kids. This has opened up programming as something exciting and useful to kids at her school, even those who are not engaged in any other subject. Moreover, many do not stop after completing the tracks. They want more to do, and to build things on their own. That is when you know you have impacted a child.I know Fred is actively involved with initiatives like Girls Who Code, so I also wanted to point out another fantastic effect, which has been the proportion of girls who have taken to it. In turn, this has made more of their math and science courses more interesting.As someone in the tech startup sector, I am extremely grateful that humble people like Zach and great services like Codecademy exist.

  16. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Oh, Zach. Get ready to start showing up on most eligible bachelors lists with Matt Mullenweg ;-)The fact that Colbert knows why it’s important to interview people like Zach is a testament to how freakin’ awesome he is.

  17. BillSeitz

    “During his last decade, Leary proclaimed that the “PC is the LSD of the 1990s” — “turn on, boot up, jack in” reworked the existing phrase to suggest joining the cyberdelic counterculture.”

  18. Jessie Arora

    Really glad to see Colbert showcasing tools like this to help make coding feel more accessible and Zach’s demeanor adds to that message. However, I fear that learning to code is often championed as a reason to drop out of school, and as Colbert was hinting at, there is much more to the higher ed experience than just gaining skills to get a job.

  19. MikePLewis

    Just watched. I thought Zach did a great job. It’s tough to go toe-to-toe with Colbert.