I was lucky enough to discover my passion for programming and hacking at 11 years old. I never looked back.

When I was 17, I raised a $2M pre-seed round for my then side project, an intelligent online IDE. After dropping out of high school to work on it full-time and doing some early pivoting, we found PMF in education (ironic, huh?) with our Coding Rooms platform.

Four years later, in 2022, we sold our business to Wiley (NYSE: WLY), one of the largest education publishing houses in the world. Today I work on Coding Rooms, online IDEs, generative AI, and other cool stuff at Wiley. I also write about education, technology, and startups.

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of my employer.

The Awkward Economics of K-12 Edtech for Startups

Enterprise sales, without enterprise budgets One of the many things that always bothered me about selling to K-12 schools—something that I did a ton of while I was running Coding Rooms—is that it’s very similar to enterprise technology sales in every way, other than how much money you should expect to make. If you consider the fact that most successful enterprise technology companies are closing deals that are $100k/year on the lowest end of the spectrum1, their salespeople can easily justify spending the time to go through the tedious and often-sluggish motions of an enterprise sale....

December 26, 2023 · 7 min · Sasha Varlamov

How to get your product in front of K-12 teachers and administrators

Getting started with marketing to K-12 teachers and administrators You just clicked deploy on the NextBigThingInEdu™️ and are ready to take the education world by storm. Except you have one problem: you did all of this without really figuring out how you’re going to get your product in front of teachers. 🦗 Not great, but not uncommon. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly the position I found myself in when we launched Coding Rooms....

December 6, 2023 · 16 min · Sasha Varlamov

ChatGPT Detectors Are the Latest Scam in Edtech

Cheating Before ChatGPT As prevalent as cheating was before ChatGPT, we were at least decently good at catching it. Copied an essay from your friend? The plagiarism detector probably found it. Copy/pasted off Chegg or Wikipedia? Ditto. Educators also had straightforward, albeit time-consuming, strategies for mitigating these cheating risks. They could randomize variables in math questions, come up with lots of different questions to assess the same skills, and even find students admitting their academic crimes on Chegg....

August 12, 2023 · 18 min · Sasha Varlamov