Skip to main content

Career Story: Startup CEO

Jon is CEO and co-founder of a startup. He talks about prioritizing business by taking a smaller salary at his own company.

Close Disclaimer

The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial, tax or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional and tax advisor when making decisions regarding your financial situation.

My name's Jon Mattingly.
JON MATTINGLY, 26
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, KODABLE

I'm CEO and Co-Founder of Kodable.

I am 26 years old
and I make $75,000 a year.

So Kodable is a startup.

We're located in Sunnyvale, California

in the middle of Silicon Valley.

We have a programming
curriculum for elementary schools.

We start kids in kindergarten.

We teach them basic programming logic

and by the time they're
done with fifth grade

they can learn JavaScript.

So our mission at Kodable is to teach

every student in the world
about computer science,

not just in the United States
but all over the world.

We've been used by a little over half

of the elementary schools
in the US already.

We're used in over 180 countries
around the world.

So I'm the CEO and Co-Founder.

That means that one, I was crazy
enough to start my own company,

and two, I run the day-to-day aspects
of the company as well.

So I'm a Technical CEO,

meaning that I can program
as well as run the company.

A lot of what I do
is work on our product.

I built the first version
of everything that we have now.

I don't work as much on it anymore

but I work on our website,
our backend servers,

I might work on our game
or our teacher dashboard

programming-wise.

I also run our HR,
do some of our marketing,

our support, I answer support
questions from teachers daily,

email, a lot of different things.

The CEO's biggest job at any stage

is to make sure the company
is moving in the right direction.

When you're a smaller
company like we are

you do a lot more of the grunt work,
you do a little bit of everything,

but as you get bigger it's
your job to really understand

the big picture, so understand
where the company is moving

and then you've got
all of these different

pieces that you need to make sure
are all working in harmony

to push in that direction.

The time I actively spend

focusing on my startup,
probably about 12 hours a day.

So right now I make $75,000 a year.

For the first few years at Kodable
I actually didn't take a salary.

That's pretty common.

The time length that it takes

to not take a salary is different
depending on the company,

but I didn't take
a salary for a while.

When we were able to raise
some money from investors

I was able to take enough.

I pretty much decide
what my salary is,

and my theory behind this is that
I need to pay myself enough

so that I can pay all my bills,
pay my expenses,

not worry about money,

not be worrying about how
I'm gonna make rent next month,

but other than that anything over that
needs to go back to the company.

My name's Jon Mattingly.
JON MATTINGLY, 26
CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, KODABLE

I'm CEO and Co-Founder of Kodable.

I am 26 years old
and I make $75,000 a year.

So Kodable is a startup.

We're located in Sunnyvale, California

in the middle of Silicon Valley.

We have a programming
curriculum for elementary schools.

We start kids in kindergarten.

We teach them basic programming logic

and by the time they're
done with fifth grade

they can learn JavaScript.

So our mission at Kodable is to teach

every student in the world
about computer science,

not just in the United States
but all over the world.

We've been used by a little over half

of the elementary schools
in the US already.

We're used in over 180 countries
around the world.

So I'm the CEO and Co-Founder.

That means that one, I was crazy
enough to start my own company,

and two, I run the day-to-day aspects
of the company as well.

So I'm a Technical CEO,

meaning that I can program
as well as run the company.

A lot of what I do
is work on our product.

I built the first version
of everything that we have now.

I don't work as much on it anymore

but I work on our website,
our backend servers,

I might work on our game
or our teacher dashboard

programming-wise.

I also run our HR,
do some of our marketing,

our support, I answer support
questions from teachers daily,

email, a lot of different things.

The CEO's biggest job at any stage

is to make sure the company
is moving in the right direction.

When you're a smaller
company like we are

you do a lot more of the grunt work,
you do a little bit of everything,

but as you get bigger it's
your job to really understand

the big picture, so understand
where the company is moving

and then you've got
all of these different

pieces that you need to make sure
are all working in harmony

to push in that direction.

The time I actively spend

focusing on my startup,
probably about 12 hours a day.

So right now I make $75,000 a year.

For the first few years at Kodable
I actually didn't take a salary.

That's pretty common.

The time length that it takes

to not take a salary is different
depending on the company,

but I didn't take
a salary for a while.

When we were able to raise
some money from investors

I was able to take enough.

I pretty much decide
what my salary is,

and my theory behind this is that
I need to pay myself enough

so that I can pay all my bills,
pay my expenses,

not worry about money,

not be worrying about how
I'm gonna make rent next month,

but other than that anything over that
needs to go back to the company.