Gates, Zuckerberg champion computer programming in new nonprofit video

Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:38pm EST
 

By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - When Hadi and Ali Partovi immigrated to America from Iran in 1984, they slept in the same cramped bedroom as their parents, who exhausted their life savings on the teenage boys' education.

Nearly 30 years later, the twin brothers are firmly planted in the tech industry's elite circles, after selling companies to Microsoft and News Corp's MySpace, and tapping the rare connections to invest early on in Facebook, Dropbox and Zappos.

Hadi Partovi says the arc of his own successful rise in the tech world was shaped by an early interest in computers and a formal education in writing software, or coding, which enabled that spark to flourish into a career.

Along the way, the twins made influential friends.

Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey - three people who became billionaire tech industry luminaries thanks to their computer programming abilities - appear in a new video released Tuesday by the Partovi brothers as part of their new computer science-education nonprofit, Code.org.

The goal of the online video campaign is to encourage parents to demand more schools to teach computer programming — a potentially lucrative skill that "equalizes opportunity" but is only available to a fraction of U.S. high school students, Hadi Partovi said.

"Computer programming, right now, is the best embodiment of the American Dream," Partovi said. "The American Dream is to be the next Mark Zuckerberg."

"The tragedy is the skills it takes are not hard to learn, but only 10 percent of schools offer (computer science) courses, and these are usually the privileged schools."   Continued...

 
Bill Gates in a still from a new video released online Tuesday to promote computer programming. The video also features Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey. REUTERS/Courtesy Code.org