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Meet David Graham of Code Ninjas in Pearland

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Graham.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was a computer programmer for nearly two decades and started a chain of code schools for adults. While that business was a success, it kept coming up in conversation that we should be offering this for kids. I’m a father of two boys who love computers, and there were really no ongoing programs out there for them. It was clear that this was lacking in our community and in communities across the country. In 2016, my business partner and I decided to make the dream of teaching kids to code a reality. We sold our stake in the company and founded the Code Ninjas franchise. The first location opened in Pearland, TX in early 2017. We have sold 206 units in 29 states in under 12 months. Code Ninjas has 8 locations open with 50 locations slated to open by July and 100 by the end of the year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been terribly difficult, but there have certainly been challenges. For one, as a startup, we were always conscious of funding levels and that can have a dampening effect on attitudes and culture, and even slows growth at times. But we hit our goals at key times to get through it. Now that we are doing well on the funding side of things, it’s a lot easier to see the forest for the trees.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Code Ninjas story. Tell us more about the business.
Code Ninjas is a franchise concept that provides an exciting, encouraging environment for kids to gain valuable life skills including coding, math, logic and problem-solving. These skills are taught in a fun way by playing and building video games – prompting kids to want to return to the centers and bring their friends while creating tangible results for parents to see. We provide a wide variety of program options to best suit our franchisees and the communities they serve. These include drop-in classes, after school programs, coding camps, and birthday parties. There’s also a Parent’s Night Out program on Friday nights, where kids are dropped off for a fun night of games with friends, while parents get to enjoy a much-deserved night out. What makes our programs unique is that they’re focused on fun. Our curriculum is game-based and lets kids advance from white to black belt, just like they would in a real dojo. Kids can’t get enough, and parents are amazed by their children’s progress. That’s we consider ourselves an edutainment franchise.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe that luck is not a real thing. It’s what excuse makers say when they don’t know why others are doing well and they aren’t. There are certainly fortunate events that come your way, but if you haven’t done the hard work (and taken the risks) to be prepared to act in those situations, you lose the opportunity to someone that is prepared. What seems like luck to one person was actually four years of hard, preparatory work to the businessperson that got the benefit of that opportunity. Likewise, if you haven’t made good decisions while things are going well, bad luck will take you out because you’re not ready to handle the downturn. Business is about being ready for whatever comes next, even those things out of your control.


  • Drop-in Learning: year-round program starts around $200/month

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Image Credit:

Code Ninjas

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