Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Treehouse Turns Learning to Build a Web Site Into a Game With Code Racer

Learning to code could be this year’s hot new pastime. Codecademy signed up 320,000 people for its 2012 “Code Year” New Year’s resolution. Stanford signed up 50,000 students for a free online CS101 class starting next month.

Now, Treehouse is looking to help people learn the very practical skill of building a Web site. Code Racer, which launched today, is an online game that pits newbie coders and designers against each other to demonstrate their basic skills — as fast as they can.

Users log in via their Facebook credentials and are paired with other competitors. The music starts, the pulse rises and the race is on.

“You’re going to learn HTML by the sheer force of typing it over and over,” said Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson.

Code Racer is a promotion for Treehouse’s premium products, which consist of exercises and short videos taught by instructors. Facebook, Living Social and Automattic have said they’ll recruit interns based on Treehouse achievement badges.

Lessons cost $25 per month, or $49 per month with additional video resources.

Carson said that Treehouse, which only launched in November, is on track to make $2 million this year and growing quickly.

Treehouse is backed by investors including the Greylock Partners Discovery Fund and The Social+Capital Partnership.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus