Dev Bootcamp is Dead but It Didn’t Fail
If you haven’t heard, Dev Bootcamp is going out of business. This is very sad news for the 100+ staff, 3,000+ alumni, and the incredible campuses and communities built across seven cities across the country. I worked at Dev Bootcamp for four years and it is heartbreaking to see the company fold.
Most people would consider this to be a big failure. After all, who do we celebrate in business? Massive profits. Going IPO. Decade-long successes. Not companies that go out of business a couple of years after being acquired.
Death is natural in business, as it is in life. More than 90% of the Fortune 500 have fallen off in the past 50 years, like Yahoo and Radioshack. And many unprofitable businesses stay afloat by passing their debts to investors.
If death is natural, maybe Dev Bootcamp going out of business isn’t a failure.
Dev Bootcamp was never designed to reap profits or attract investors.
Dev Bootcamp was built to change lives by helping people from all walks of life access the biggest economic opportunity of our lifetime–a career in technology.
Ask almost anyone who attended or worked at Dev Bootcamp and they’ll tell you it changed their lives positively in some way.
If we measure success by social impact, Dev Bootcamp is as successful as any company alive today.
Dev Bootcamp has graduated over 3,000+ amazing alumni, championed diversity in the tech industry, and given birth to many impactful individuals and organizations carrying the same mission forward like Hack Reactor, AppAcademy, and Code Platoon.
There are several hundred coding bootcamps today. Running a large, profitable business in an extremely saturated industry is really hard. And something I noticed during my time there was that we weren’t good at it.
A big reason for this was that building a profitable business was never the most important thing to us. What we cared for most was making an impact on people and providing opportunities to under-represented communities.
If you had met someone who worked in marketing at Dev Bootcamp, you would have been surprised to find that they cared more about diversity in the tech industry than they did out-maneuvering competition. Or that our campus directors cared more about providing mental health support on campus than profit margins.
Caring more about our mission and the people we served than our profits was part of our DNA. And we didn’t compromise, even while we lost millions of dollars year after year.
One particularly bad year, I recall arguing with our CEO about why we were spending so much money on diversity versus marketing which we so desperately needed. I’ll never forget the moment when I finally understood that championing diversity was so core to our mission that without it our work would lose its purpose.
Dev Bootcamp is dead, but let us not hang our heads. Look around and celebrate the marvelous impact we’ve made and all the lives we’ve changed for the better. Now let’s go make some more beautiful, meaningful things.