I just landed a dream job in a cubicle! Wait, wait, wait – before you click away and I ruin my credibility as a sane, trustworthy writer, you should know that this opening is only a hook. I haven’t taken a new position, and, of course, cubicle dream jobs don’t exist. No one grows up aspiring to work in a cubicle. A tree house on the other hand…
For the unfamiliar, Treehouse is an online platform for learning how to design and develop websites, write code, and even start a business. Students can learn how to build mobile apps, web apps, code in several languages and much more. The guiding ethos of the company is to make technology education affordable to everyone. Monthly subscriptions run on a simple two-tiered payment platform of either $25 or $49 per month. OK, this isn’t quite the same as learning how to survive in the woods, but there is still a fair amount of childlike magic about the outfit.
For starters, there’s the mission: “…to help others achieve their dreams and change the world.” Then there’s the disruptive spirit of the training itself – using games, interactive quizzes, and code challenges to put the fun back in learning. Of course, figuring out how to do things outside of the traditional pathways has its own charm. Different tracks, or curriculums, teach students new skills or how to prepare for specific roles – empowering them to pursue their own projects or land desirable jobs.
The structure of the company appeals to the young at heart as well. Their workweek is four-days long and there are no managers. I repeat: the company operates on a 4-day workweek and there are no managers. Co-founders Ryan Carson and Alan Johnson did away with traditional bosses, and they entrusted their employees to figure out how to best use their talents to help Treehouse succeed.
Before you’re tempted to click away while scratching your head for a second time, consider that the quirky spirit at work behind Treehouse has produced some very grown-up results. They completed a $7 million second round of funding in 2013 and now have over 50,000 active students using the platform. Companies such as LivingSocial now look to the site for new recruits based on their Treehouse performance, and the platform (including a weekly news program, forums, and a book series in addition to video tutorials) serves as a resource for clients such as Twitter, Disney, AirBnB, Zappos and more.
It would be tough trying to live like the Swiss Family Robinson in the modern world, but I find it delightful that some still believe we should find our way living in a world of wonder and tree houses.