New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been increasingly vocal about his love for all things tech over the past few years, but now he’s taking it a whole new level. On Thursday, Bloomberg (the real one) tweeted that his new year’s resolution was to learn how to write code using the handy, free, game-like online courses offered by New York’s own Codecademy.
“My New Year’s resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012! Join me. http://codeyear.com/ #codeyear,” Bloomberg tweeted, instantly moving the hashtag #Codeyear into the top trending terms on Twitter in the New York City area.
Codecademy quickly responded, thanking the Mayor for his free PR boost and making him a generous special offer: “thanks - we’d love for you to come stop by and we can help out in person!” the Codecademy account tweeted back.
The move even prompted London Mayor Boris Johnson to state he was in “awe” of Bloomberg and would consider joining him on the quest to become adept at, or at least acquainted with, programming, as the BBC reported.
Codecademy’s website itself is not even five months old, but already the innovative New York City-based startup company has attracted generated enormous buzz among tech journalists, who praise its timeliness, ease-of-use and, perhaps most of all, the general enjoyment and satisfaction provided by its quick online exercises in programming.
The company was started in June by friends and former Columbia students Zach Simms, a political science major, and Ryan Bubinski, a developer, the New York Times reported. Ironically enough, the idea was born out of Simms’ failed attempts to come up with startup ideas that would be acceptable enough to win him the backing of the famed Y Combinator startup fund in Mountain View, California. Simms kept running into the realization that he didn’t know enough coding to pitch a great startup demo, so he and Bubinski decided to turn that into their startup idea.
Y Combinator founder Paul Graham loved the idea, and Code Academy was born. Within days of launching their website in August, over 200,000 users began taking courses on the website. Within a month, that number had reached over half-a-million. Coincidentally, nearly 200,000 people have also signed up since the Code Year effort was launched on New Year’s Eve.
It’s unclear just how many users have begun interacting with the website since Bloomberg’s announcement, but one would expect a substantial bump deriving from the backing of the Mayor of the Big Apple. We’ve reached out to Codecademy and the Mayor’s office for more information and will update when we hear back.
Aside from his love for tech, Bloomberg could be courting the increasing political clout that comes with being a tech-savvy politician. As one commentator on Codecademy’s Facebook page theorized: “Now that Obama joined Instagram, it’s become vital to be (even more) tech savvy for US presidential ? :-). [sic]”
H/T: Michael F. Nunez.