Treehouse: Business and Education with Ryan Carson

The ability to create software is a superpower. But software education is not evenly distributed.

Ryan Carson started Treehouse to provide a high quality education system for anyone to learn how to build software. On a previous episode, Ryan and I discussed the field of programming education. Ryan returns to the show for a conversation about building Treehouse, and the company’s expansion from an online programming school to a platform for technology apprenticeship.

Thousands of people learn to program on Treehouse. Ryan’s goal is to connect those new programmers to companies where they can learn to apply those software skills to working at a technology company. Treehouse’s apprenticeship program is used by Airbnb, Adobe, Mailchimp, and others.

By combining an online education platform with an apprenticeship program, Treehouse has created a business model that could allow it to grow significantly bigger even in an atmosphere where learning to program has been commodified to a large extent. The economic model of Treehouse contrasts with in-person bootcamps such as Hack Reactor and online income sharing platforms such as Lambda School.

It was a great conversation about modern technology, the future of education, and the strategy of building a successful business.

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