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May 31, 2021

#294: Zach Sims, Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy, on Creating Premium Educational Content, Building an Engaged Community, and Helping Millions of People Grow Their Careers

#294: Zach Sims, Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy, on Creating Premium Educational Content, Building an Engaged Community, and Helping Millions of People Grow Their Careers

Zach Sims is the Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy, the easiest way to learn to code. Since the company started in August of 2011, millions of people have begun learning to program using the site. Codecademy has worked with organizations like The White House,...


Zach Sims is the Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy, the easiest way to learn to code. Since the company started in August of 2011, millions of people have begun learning to program using the site. Codecademy has worked with organizations like The White House, the Government of Colombia, American Express, Rakuten, and more. Zach and his cofounder Ryan Bubinski have grown Codecademy to over 100 employees and have raised nearly $90M in venture capital financing from top tier investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, Yuri Milner, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, SV Angel, Richard Branson, Y Combinator, and more.

Prior to founding Codecademy, Zach was a student at Columbia University. He has worked in product and business development/strategy capacities at startups including GroupMe (sold to Skype) and drop.io (sold to Facebook). He also has experience in the venture capital industry with AOL Ventures. Zach and Codecademy have been honored by many publications. TIME Magazine called Codecademy one of the "50 Best Websites of 2012," while TechCrunch awarded Codecademy the "Best Education Startup" Crunchie Award in 2013. Zach has been named to Inc. Magazine's 30 Under 30 list, along with Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 list. The City of New York named him a New York City Venture Fellow in 2013.

Some of the Topics Covered by Zach Sims in this Episode

  • What Codecademy is doing today and how it got started
  • The issue of active discouragement of learning technical skills
  • What led to early growth and traction of Codecademy
  • Earning over 200,000 users in the first 3 days
  • How Zach views viral loops
  • Raising capital versus running off revenue
  • Creating a movement versus building a product
  • Creating sustainability first and scaling later
  • The timing of launching a paid version of the product
  • Going from the center of attention the the brink of bankruptcy
  • Creating premium educational content
  • Resource allocation between users who are upscaling and career switching
  • Building an engaged community
  • Zach's views on bootcamps
  • How they cater to different types of Codecademy users and learners
  • Codecademy for business
  • How Zach takes care of himself to be at his best
  • Zach's founder support networks
  • Zach's path to and views on entrepreneurship
  • How Zach sees the future of higher education and learning

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