public apologies

A Public Apology to Codecademy

It’s not you. It’s me.

Dear Codecademy,

When we first met, just after New Year’s last year, I was inspired. You told me that I could learn how to program in just 365 days through your free “Code Year” lessons, and I believed you. After all, if Mayor Bloomberg was doing it, why couldn’t I? I eagerly signed up, and waited for the day that I, too, would be churning out C++ code like a pro.

That day never came.

Instead, your e-mails piled up, unread, in my in-box, while I attended to more pressing concerns. At first, you came bearing offers of specific lessons:

Code Year Week 4: Primitives in JavaScript

Code Year Week 5: Objects in JavaScript

Code Year Week 7: Loops in JavaScript

Then, as winter turned into spring — and my schedule kept not making room for coding lessons — your e-mails took on the tone of a more general pep talk. Hopeful exclamation points abounded:

Still want to learn to code? We’ll help you catch up!

Get ready for programming good times!

Programming begins here!

You must have known, Codecademy, that by the time July 4th came around, I was a goner. New Year’s resolutions rarely stick, and New Year’s resolutions that suddenly kick in after a six-month delay never do. Still, despite the fact that I had never once logged in to your website, you persisted in your hopes that I would get off my ass, clear my calendar, and make time for you. It was sweet — a blind expression of trust in a stranger:

You can write your first line of code today!” you said, on October 22.

It’s never too late to start coding,” you half-begged, on December 3.

But now, it’s late December — only a week left in the Code Year that never was — and it’s clear that despite your best attempts to pry me out of my inaction, I’m going to fail you.

So, I’m sorry, Codecademy. I’m sorry for the broken promises. I’m sorry for the wasted e-mails, the futile bytes spent chasing after a man who was never really going to love you back. I’m sorry you had to resort to thinly veiled passive-aggression there at the end, and I’m sorry that despite all your entreaties — 72 in all — I never got up the nerve to take the first step that might have landed me on the road to code.

And while I might, in a fit of passion, say I want to try another Code Year in 2013, we both know I can’t follow through.

So let’s end this here, Codecademy. We’ll both be better off without the millstone of this relationship weighing us down, and now you’ll be free to get to know other people — better people, really — who will treat you like the catch you are.

I’m hitting “unsubscribe” today, but please don’t take it personally. It’s for the best.

Happy holidays, Codecademy, and may next year’s batch of coders-in-training respond to your generous offers of lessons with appropriate promptness and gratitude. It’s the least you deserve.

Lots of love,