Some people dream about becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg.
How distressing, then, that only nine states count computer science as credit toward high school graduation. The number of U.S. schools teaching computer science has actually declined in the past eight years.
Two wealthy and well-connected coders I know today launched a star-studded video about getting kids and educators jazzed about coding.
Hadi and Ali Partovi, who are funding the film and their new Code.org with their own millions, persuaded tech stars like Bill Gates, Zappos (AMZN) CEO Tony Hsieh, Square CEO Jack Dorsey, and Facebook's (FB) Zuckerberg, to talk about why learning to code is a must and how coding figures in their own success.
The video doesn't reveal the Partovi brothers' own story--a fascinating tale about how learning to code propelled them.
Born in Iran in 1972, the twin brothers lived there during their first 12 years. "It was a scary time under an Islamic totalitarian government at war with Iraq," says Hadi. The boys taught themselves to code on a Commodore 64 computer that their dad, a professor at Iran's leading technical university, brought home from Italy.
Education was paramount in the Partovi family. When they got out of Iran in 1984, parents and twins slept in a bedroom in their grandparents' Tarrytown, New York home--saving money so the boys could attend private school. Geeks of equal measure (Hadi was valedictorian, Ali was salutatorian in high school), they worked their way through Harvard teaching computer science. Hadi and Tony Hsieh, on a Harvard Computer Programming team together, placed seventh in a global coding competition.
Then the brothers scored in the startup world. On the founding teams of Tellme (Hadi) and LinkExchange (Ali)--Hsieh's pre-Zappos startup--the brothers both made money selling those companies to Microsoft (MSFT). Leveraging college connections, they also invested early in Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Zappos.
"Go to Harvard, meet the smartest people and invest in them," advises Hadi. "That's the best way to make money."
Oh, and learn to Code. Their new video--directed by Lesley Chilcott, a producer of Waiting for Superman and An Inconvenient Truth--will be shown in schools and in movie theaters, thanks to Microsoft's sponsorship. The short film is smart and entertaining, but as you might expect, some of the best stuff landed on the cutting room floor. Here's an outtake that the Partovi brothers shared with us exclusively: Mark Zuckerberg on how he inspired one kid to code.
"Originally, we were not planning on expanding or anything." - Mark Zuckerberg, August 2006
As Facebook (FB) launched its IPO this morning, I plowed into my archives and found notes from Mark Zuckerberg's visit to Fortune six years ago. The Facebook founder was a 22-year-old Harvard dropout and virgin CEO. I was reporting a cover story about MySpace, then the hottest social-networking site on the planet.
Zuck had a plan to change MOREPatricia Sellers - May 18, 2012 12:51 PM ET
I met Steve Jobs only once--back in 2007 when he came to Fortune to demo the iPhone. What a thrill when he walked into the conference room and took the empty chair next to mine. Over the next 90 minutes, the Apple (AAPL) founder and chief mesmerized Fortune's editors by previewing his game-changing product and his insanely creative mind at work.
That day, I saw proof, up close and personal, that MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 12, 2011 12:57 PM ET
Mark Zuckerberg has upped the ante in his dietary adventure. As we reported last May on Fortune.com, the Facebook CEO pledged that this year "the only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself." He started out by slaughtering a pig, goat and chicken. Now the Silicon Valley billionaire has expanded his menu. Zuckerberg has learned to hunt, according to people close to him. He got a hunting license MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 27, 2011 1:26 PM ET
The current cover of Fortune shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blowing a big pink bubble--POP! The story, Don't call it the next tech bubble--yet, delves into Zuckerberg's latest purchase: a $7 million, 5,600-square-foot, five-bedroom home in Palo Alto. Home prices there have gone up 24% in the past six months.
"The $7 million price tag doesn't buy much," writes my colleague David Kaplan, in the cover story. "Zuckerberg's parcel is MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 15, 2011 9:30 AM ET
Readers have been ravenous for "Mark Zuckerberg's new challenge: Eating only what he kills." Thursday's Postcard continues to generate huge traffic and a never-ending debate: Is Facebook's founder and CEO crazy or is he the most rational billionaire in Silicon Valley?
No surprise, the name-calling given Zuckerberg's "personal challenges," as he describes them--from the Year of the Tie to learning Chinese to eating meat only from creatures he kills. The 27-year-old MOREPatricia Sellers - May 31, 2011 9:40 AM ET
Yesterday we told you about Mark Zuckerberg's 2011 challenge to himself: "The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," the Facebook founder and CEO told Fortune in an interview.
As we detailed, an inkling of "Mark Zuckerberg's new challenge" popped up on his private Facebook page a few weeks ago. On May 4, the 27-year-old billionaire told his 847 friends: "I just killed a pig and a goat."
His MOREPatricia Sellers - May 27, 2011 3:18 PM ET
Last year Mark Zuckerberg set out to learn Chinese. Now he's determined to get in touch with his food. If the goats, lobsters and chickens of Silicon Valley aren't trembling, they should be.
When he's not too busy connecting people across the universe, Mark Zuckerberg is pursuing a new "personal challenge," as he calls it. "The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," says the Facebook founder and CEO.
It's MOREPatricia Sellers - May 26, 2011 2:29 PM ET
"The thing I made before Facebook almost got me kicked out of school. When I started making Facebook, [my parents] were, like, don't make another site."
-- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the cover story, How Facebook is taking over our lives, in the current issue of Fortune. Zuckerberg was forced to go before Harvard's administrative board to answer questions about how he gathered data for Facemash, the site he created MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Feb 17, 2009 7:51 PM ET
|Fast food worker: Protest didn't cost me pay|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Premarkets: Stocks looking stronger before jobs report|
|Where should you put your money now?|
|End of mortgage-fix break could mean big tax bills|