Mattan Griffel is a young man determined to impact the world of technology by making the ability to code accessible to everyone. Born in Ramat Hasharon, Israel but raised in New Jersey, Griffel’s exposure to higher learning started at a young age. His father, a professor and scientist in optical engineering, introduced him to the teachings of Richard Feynman. The theoretical physicist inspired Griffel and sparked his curiosity of how things worked.
With an innate entrepreneurial spirit, he started his first business at the age of 11 when he realized he could buy candy at near wholesale prices at Costco and sell them to his classmates while still undercutting the prices at his school’s vending machine. He recruited several friends to join his venture and built a profitable startup before ultimately being shut down by the school’s administration. That didn’t hinder his desire to build more businesses throughout his teens. He created and sold a line of screen-printed t-shirts with his own clever taglines influenced by shirts he had seen at Hot Topic. He also sold pirated video games burned onto CD-Roms when consumer-grade CD burners first became available.
Griffel went on to attend New York University with a double major in Finance and Philosophy. In 2010, he graduated summa cum laude after writing his thesis on the metaphysics of consciousness. Upon graduation, he struggled to find a job in investment banking and was rejected for over one hundred positions. He ended up landing a role as a Marketing Coordinator at an ad-tech startup.
After reading The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, Griffel had an epiphany. In 2013, he decided to quit his day job to pursue his daydream of creating his own business. One of his first ideas was to create an online dynamic pricing system but grew frustrated in looking for the magical engineer to build his idea. His friend John Ganotis had been in a similar situation and encouraged him to learn how to code. He left to San Francisco and studied coding utilizing a strategy he developed in college he called “brute force” learning. In one month’s time, he taught himself how to code and could build out his own web apps with features he wanted to add.
After learning to code, Griffel imagined how the world could change if we unlocked the power for anyone with an idea to make it a reality. This triggered a brand new venture. He started One Month, the only program that teaches a programming language in only 30 days. The current courses provide online tutorials for Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, Growth Hacking, iOS, Stripe, Web Security and Programming for Non Programmers. The program has experienced great success with more than 25,000 students, including employees from Google, Bloomberg L.P., Singularity University and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Most recently, Y Combinator-backed One Month has offered a series of scholarships to women in the tech industry. Each month, ten women are selected to win a scholarship for a free One Month class of their choice. The idea is to increase the number of women in science and technology and make learning more accessible to everyone, encouraging all genders, backgrounds and skills.
“At One Month we are committed to helping women excel in the tech industry, an industry in which they are extremely underrepresented,” explain Griffel. “We are proud to be part of the movement providing females in tech with the tools and mentorship they need to grow.”
Griffel has impacted many individuals and established lasting relationships with his startup, including Susan Kish, the Head of Cross Platform Initiatives at Bloomberg LP. Kish spoke at a TED Talk in 2013 on learning to code through One Month and her experience from meeting Griffel. Mattan spoke to Kish about teaching himself to code and explained he was designing a class to teach other young entrepreneurs to code. Kish instantly thought, “Why is it assumed that only entrepreneurs and only young people want to code?” As a woman spearheading a strategic broad list of portfolios, Kish wanted to intelligently lead discussions with authorities on technology in her sector to tackle computer issues. Griffel was her ticket to do so.
“Learning to code brings an amazing joy of accomplishment because of the power it gives you to work with data,” said Kish. “In the professional world of tomorrow, you have to know the basics of business and the basics of coding.”
Kish, a digital immigrant, mother, super-commuter, former banker and an executive, appreciated how the training fit in her schedule as Griffel worked interpersonally with her on a feasible agenda.
Griffel continues to be recognized for his achievements and has been featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Education in 2015, BusinessWeek, MIT, Technology Review, Huffington Post, Mashable and The Next Web. He shares his guidance as he advised companies like Pepsico, Bloomberg, GM, NYSE and JP Morgan, and has spoken at many prestigious universities, schools and seminars.
Learn More About One Month: Website
About the Author:
Sarah Pendley is an independent journalist fascinated with business strategy, entrepreneurial stories, and small business advice. When she isn’t researching the latest startup trends, Sarah is active in the blogger community as she photographs and writes about food, fashion, and art.