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What Codecademy Can Teach you About Startups

what code academy can teach you about startupsI just found out about Code Academy or Code Cademy as their domain states. It’s a site about learning how to program. At the moment, they have some classes on javascript. Apart from the fact that I was hooked from the first second I landed on their website, I really saw how many things they have implemented awesomely from the get-go. So what, you might say?

Numbers can speak for themselves: 200,000 Registered Users in just three days!

I’d love if you would try it, a very fun experience indeed! But what can CodeAcademy teach us about a Startup and how to launch a website in general?

Don’t ask for a visitor to become a user at the first second! Show them that you’re a great service to subscribe to, give them a sneak peek of what you have to offer and they’ll look for the register button themselves. Code Academy follows that rule by heart and while you do the first exercise, the system asks you to register in order not to lose your progress. Brilliant!

Have a beautifully designed website. Doesn’t have to be flawless; you just have to follow what the rest of the world is doing. A lot of white space makes it easy on the eye.

Solve a problem and, even better, do that while creating a fun and interactive experience. If you break the learning process into many small steps, each user is able to progress and feel that there’s an accomplishment for every little step they make. Hints are a great way to make it more interactive and asking you to type commands that you have learned a few lessons before (while sometimes can be a shameful experience) can be an amazing way to refresh what you’ve learned minutes ago and use the same material in a more advanced way.

Use Gamification techniques. Let’s face it, Gamification is one of the hottest trends if not the hottest right now. In a year’s time everyone will talk about it. Getting experience by doing exercises, showing percentages of completion status of your courses, and getting badges for your achievements is what a visitor really needs to get hooked on a platform.

Use Social Media in a smart way. For a user to submit something to social media, that something should be either mindblowing or funny or just a company like Code Academy can make their users want to submit the website. How? By letting them tweet and like an achievement, a course completion or something along those lines. The second someone is happy for an achievement or the end of a lesson, that second Code Academy pops up a message (non intrusively) and says something along those lines “hey, you just did that, want to tweet about it?”. How can they say no?

Launch fast and see where it will take you. If you pay attention to the lessons in Code Academy you’ll find out that it can start teaching you only JavaScript and while at it, not thoroughly, just the basics. Why? The creators wanted to make their idea a reality, see how the world will respond and then decide how to move on. The results are amazing, people ask for more lessons and  languages and now are waiting for anything new to come out. If you’re building something for more than a year and it’s not live yet, no matter what’s your excuse, you’re beating a dead horse. Start simple no matter what and see where it will take you.

Have good investors. Code Academy started with Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Social+Capital Partnership, Thrive Capital, CrunchFund, Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Joshua Schacter, Vivi Nevo, Naval Ravikant, and several others. I’m not telling this to find one excuse for not doing all the above, remember the guys had so little time to prepare the service. I’m just saying that it’s one more benefit that you will get if you have all of the above, many and huge investors.

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re waiting for the next lessons, and most of all waiting to see what will be the next business steps and monetization plans of Code Academy. From all of us at Moneytized, Kudos to you guys and off to a great start!

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