Decoded are on a mission to empower everyone with digital literacy. Starting in 2011 with a ‘code in a day’ course for ten people in London, they’ve since added cyber security, data, machine learning, innovation and storytelling. This has made them one of the world’s biggest technology educators.
They’ve attracted over 15,000 professionals to their courses in the last five years. Clients come from companies ranging from Google and Swarovski to Disney and the IMF. They now run events in 70 cities across the globe.
What makes Decoded and the Netherlands such perfect partners?
Naturally, Amsterdam was one of those 70 cities. In fact, Decoded ended up doing so much business in the Netherlands they were flying in practically every week. Opening their second European office in a co-working space in Amsterdam seemed the obvious next step (they also have offices in New York and Sydney).
“From the start Decoded set out to do things differently,” explains Dan Zell, Managing Partner with Decoded in the Netherlands. “Our classes are very hands-on, with a strong emphasis on learning by doing, playing with the technology and experimenting. It’s about taking away the fear, the mystery and the jargon.”
For example, on a Decoded cyber security course there are no dreary lectures. You get to be a hacker for a day, building a virus and hacking a bank. It’s a fun and creative way to learn. But, most importantly, this activity based learning is memorable and therefore highly effective.
Dan believes this active, accelerated learning experience suits the Dutch market. “Companies in the Netherlands tend to be progressive,” he says. “They invest in their people, who are naturally forward-looking, and they embrace the future.”
Being in Amsterdam just makes sense
As an agile company, Decoded has just three conditions when starting or scaling up. They need:
- Great clients
- Great talent
- Great venues.
And, they discovered that Amsterdam wins on all three.
“We already had fantastic, international clients in the Netherlands,” says Dan. “Recruiting talented freelancers is easy because the Dutch are such bright, motivated, independent people. And, Amsterdam is awash with great co-working spaces.”
The fact that Amsterdam attracts people from around the world is also a big plus. As Dan explains: “We value different cultures, backgrounds and personalities at Decoded. This diversity cultivates a creative environment; it shapes the way we think and helps us build our transformative technology education.”
The Netherlands works so well
“Doing business is easy in Holland, partly because everyone’s so direct,” continues Dan. “The Dutch have the ability to be informal but informed and a healthy work/life balance seems to come naturally to them. There’s a thriving tech and business eco-system and it’s easy to access, as Amsterdam is so much more compact than London.”
Decoded found the whole experience of setting up in the Netherlands incredibly easy. “The NFIA and amsterdam inbusiness were very supportive and helped us find partners such as a good lawyer and accountant. It’s an on-going relationship we find valuable,” says Dan. “In fact, there are really no difficulties at all. The quality of English is exceptional and it’s so close to the UK. There are about 60 flights a day from London to Amsterdam, it’s as easy as catching a bus.”