Posts from Codecademy

After School Programming

I remember when I was in high school. A friend of mine and I stayed after school and built a rudimentary football game on a TRS80 using Basic. It was the first actual coding I had ever done. I didn't get into more serious stuff until college.

I honestly can't remember if we had a teacher supervising us or not. I don't even remember the name of my friend who I did this with. The whole thing is fuzzy. It was almost 35 years ago.

But those fuzzy memories came back into focus for a second yesterday when I saw that our portfolio company Codecademy launched After School Programming Clubs. Like its Code Year initiative, After School Programming Clubs is a packaging innovation more than anything else. It takes the core Codecademy software learning tools and packages them up so that students and teachers can organize after school programming clubs.

Although Codecademy now supports a number of languages, they are using their Javascript and HTML stuff for After School Programming Clubs. Here's a snapshot of the idea:

After school
If you have students or teachers in your life that would want to create an After School Programming Club, send them here to get started.

#hacking education#Web/Tech

Codecademy Update

It's been a while since we've talked about Codecademy here at AVC. I think the last time I blogged about this USV portfolio company was at the start of the year when they did their Code Year thing which resulted in over a quarter million people signing up to learn to code this year.

In the seven months that have transpired since then, Codecademy has been busy adding HTML, CSS and jQuery to their list of languages they supported. You may recall that they launched with Javascript. All of those are "front end" languages and by this summer, Codecademy had a critical mass of languages for anyone wanting to learn front end coding.

But server side coding was a big hole and Python was the most requested language of all. So yesterday, Codecademy announced that they had added Python to their set of supported languages. In addition, they have made some changes to their archticture so that they can easily add more server side languages in the coming months.

All of the content on Codecademy is created by their users. If you would like to create a coding lesson on Codecademy, you can do that here.

I've been involved in a bunch of projects in the past year to help more folks get technical and learn to code. I think this is a big deal for a bunch of reasons. And I am particularly optimistic about the use of the free and open Internet as a classroom for this sort of thing. And Codecademy is at the front of that charge.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

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.