We understand many of you have concerns and a lot of them are fair questions. We’ll try to clear the air here and make things as transparent as possible.
Q - "After the acquiring by Unacademy, is this so-called “An Educational Initiative” going to be something where it won’t be community-driven and a more of a pay to learn platform?"
A - As the blog said, “All our existing programs, contests, etc. will continue to remain exactly as they are, and will only grow better in our new home. This change in custodianship will mean that we have access to greater resources, teams, technology, platforms, and capital.”
The above is still true and will remain so. Absolutely none of the existing stuff is being changed in any way, apart from trying to make it better. Our contests will always remain free, and we will always be a community-focused and community-driven organization.
Q - "All the blog posts that it’s just transfer of parent company and nothing changes on how CodeChef operates were those a lie when the transition happened from Directi to Unacademy ?"
A - No. What is happening now, is that a new product is being launched, and that is a paid product. CodeChef started making revenue long before Unacademy came into the picture - you can have a look at https://blog.codechef.com/2017/08/17/the-route-of-all-evil/ for more context on this. We already had a certification program and corporate offerings before Unacademy took over the custodianship.
The Unacademy learning program is another method of said revenue-generation. However, there have been other free initiatives that we have launched after coming under the custodianship of Unacademy. We have already added 30+ video editorials to different problems and will continue to do so. And all of this has been possible only because we now have larger access to resources that this collaboration with Unacademy has provided us with.
We also realize we can no longer call ourselves a not-for-profit, and have thus removed that phrase from the website’s footer, and will subsequently, remove it from other parts. Again, to reiterate - each and every existing feature/initiative will continue to be free, and we will support all our programs as we have always done.
Q - "What is the difference between CodeChef and Udemy, Scaler, Coding Ninjas, Coding Blocks, if you are starting to make your own paid courses ?"
A - CodeChef is not and will not be characterized by any one product that we launch. CodeChef did not come into existence to be a profit making business. It exists because it identified a problem and wanted to fix it. Our vision is to make Indian programmers better problem solvers and be among the best in the world. We have spent 11 years in trying multitude of things to get closer to that vision, and we will be continuing to do so. The learning program is literally just one of the so many things that we do, and it happens to be a paid product and is quite similar to other paid courses that already exist in terms of the model. That is not the whole of CodeChef.
Also, we are fully aware that there already exists a lot of free content for students to learn from, and we will continue to support all such endeavors. None of our existing free content is going to be pay-walled, and we will not stop our volunteer programs either. They form the backbone of most of the things that we do. The paid subscription is a means to provide further than that. Just like how paid schools exist even though there is plenty of free content on literally every high school topic that is taught. The paid program is not meant to push away any free community efforts - it is and can only be complementary to them.
Going ahead, though we may not guarantee till when we can be what we were and what we are today, but given that our leadership/management team still comprises the same people who sowed the seeds of competitive programming in India, we can assure you that till they are with us, supporting our objectives and vision, we will continue to be a community-driven platform.
Hope this clears some issues. Feel free to ask us anything else you might have in mind! I will be taking some of these questions and also talk about the new subscription program on tomorrow’s live session with @triveni here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hfjj2AGJwuM. Do join in.