We bootstrapped Code School as a means for simplifying training delivery, and in the process it became a leading learn-to-code platform.
We’re Not IT
For all the years of IT work we dodged, we almost made up for it by setting up many, many workshop attendees’ machines at conferences. “It’d be nice to move all that setup to a web app,” we thought.
In the (Fire-)Foxholes
Just because we were passionate about education didn’t mean we could pump out nature documentaries or teach graduate courses on astrophysics. But we did know code. And we were happy to share some of our “war stories” to save others time and frustration.
Not content to outsource our vision, we lovingly saw every detail through to completion by bootstrapping it with 100% internal resources.
Halloween Every Day
It’s an understatement to say coding can be a bit dry. Dressing up the content with ridiculously-detailed themes and adding points and achievements were the perfect way to trick users into the treat of learning computer science.
In late 2010, we released our first course that taught Ruby on Rails fundamentals for free. We called it Rails for Zombies before zombies were cool (it was was a different time back then, okay?). Its success at local meetups and across the ’net begged the question: what if we keep building these?
Money on Our Mind
Free courses remained a mainstay as Code School came into being, but monetizing was a struggle in the beginning. After launching with a pay-per-course model of delivery and encountering scalability difficulty there, we switched to a subscription plan and pledged a new course release each month.
With a Little Help From Our Friends
Completely apart from us, Orlando’s tech and creative scene was growing leaps and bounds, but we intended to take full advantage of it. Each month, we’d trade Gringo’s Locos tacos and queso for local feedback on beta versions of new courses.
Wicky Wicky Wild
The early ’10s marked the Wild, Wild West of in-browser coding, and our platform represented the first-to-market experience for these sorts of tasks. As such, we approached every course with fresh ideas to further iterate on the best way to convey the content.
Design + Develop
Even More Halloween Everyday
Honestly, we’ll never be sure if the course themes were enjoyed more by customers or staff. From the interface all the way down to the video jingle, each lesson was paired with its own brand of art.
Welcome to Code School …
… where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. Despite not being able to redeem points or badges for really anything, users still sought to earn every point and badge possible.
🎵 I Want To Ride My Bicycle 🎵
Cycling through languages, technologies, and partners over the years allowed constant exploration of delivery and experience. We were honored to pair with companies like O’Reilly (Try R), GitHub (Try Git), and Google (Discover DevTools, Discover Drive).
In the spring of 2015, Code School sold to Pluralsight for $36 million. No outside investment was taken prior to the purchase.
Curves Like Hockey Sticks
Despite its beginnings as a side project, the product had outgrown the consultancy. By the time Code School spun out from Envy Labs to end 2013, it boasted more than 15,000 subscribers and 400,000 users.
Totally Planned That
Nearly every applicant we interview credits Code School for part of their education. In an unexpected turn of events, we helped train our own future employees.
Ivy is our answer for content creators looking to provide in-browser code education and training.