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(Honorary) Senior Wisdom: Zach Sims

Name, Hometown, School, Major: Zach Sims, Old Greenwich (CT), CC

Claim to Fame: Dropped out after junior year to found Codecademy, a startup focused on teaching the world to learn to code. We count Mayor Bloomberg and The White House among our 1m+ users.

Where are you going? I’m already gone (but our offices are in SoHo so it’s not too far).

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. Get as much out of the city as you can. Part of the fun of being at Columbia is that you have access to NYC. It’s really easy to get stuck in the campus bubble – spend weekends at campus parties, do your homework at Butler, etc. But you’re in New York! Go out and enjoy the museums, the restaurants, and everything else that’s awesome about the city.
  2. Make an awesome and diverse group of friends that are smarter than you. You’re surrounded by incredible people at Columbia – it’s easy to stay insulated and stick to one group of friends. I found the best conversations came from friends in classes I’d never really expected to be friends with.
  3. Leaving things for the last minute usually works out. I spent 3 years doing all of my papers the night before they were due and reading crazy long assignments hours before I had to talk about them. Surprisingly, this kind of thing happens in the real world all the time – it’s a good skill to get used to doing that stuff under pressure.

“Back in my day…” President Obama coming to campus brought Columbia together instead of tearing it apart.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less: I dropped out of Columbia and I’m not serving fries at mcdonald’s. Better yet, I am working on teaching millions of people a skill that can get them jobs.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? Fortunately I spent most of my time off campus, but I have plenty of stories from freshman year…a few of them involve board games and Barnard dorms but we won’t go there.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I only like American and mozzarella cheese and they’re not particularly staples of my diet so this one isn’t hard. Cheese.

Advice for the class of 2016: Do your best to find what you really care about early on. Meet lots of people, take classes you wouldn’t normally take, and work at jobs you don’t think you’ll like. It’s easier to change course in life when you’re in college and it’s the perfect time for experimentation. Take advantage of it.

Regrets? No regrets.

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14 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous yeahh codecademy. startups 4 lyfe (or until the bubble bursts)

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous amen.

  • Freshy says:

    @Freshy Important question: do you take interns ?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Great smile.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous a concise and not-pretentious senior wisdom from a guy with real success. APPRECIATE.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous If you call piggy-backing on the talents of Ryan Bubinski “real success” then sure. This kid basically babbled about product details he had no part in implementing while Ryan did all the dirty work behind the scenes. Sorta like if Saverin were to steal all the credit for Zuckerburg’s elbow grease. That said, success is success, no matter how you get there.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Hahahhahaha

      2. Someone who knows says:

        @Someone who knows The situation is actually the reverse of what you describe.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous He only likes American and mozzarella cheese? I can’t help but shake my head.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous best back in my day

  • CC'14 says:

    @CC'14 Finally, now I can learn to code!

  • Ha says:

    @Ha Zach has a nice butt. Looking forward to playing with his website though.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Pretty sure I did Putney with you…

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