The Association of Magazine Media




Centers on Single 38,000-Word Essay by Programmer Paul Ford



New York, NY (June 11, 2015)Bloomberg Businessweek today released The Code Issue, a special double issue containing a single essay by writer and programmer Paul Ford. Recognizing that the world now belongs to people who code, and those who don’t understand it will be left behind, the issue is devoted to demystifying code and the culture of the people who make it. Ford’s 38,000-word essay “What Is Code?” lives cross-platform in print, on the Bloomberg Business website, mobile, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Radio, and at the upcoming Bloomberg Technology Conference: Code and the Corner Office.

Code directs the fate of everything from media to e-commerce to banking, and is arguably the most important phenomenon for the twenty-first century businessperson to understand. Yet it remains an intimidating mystery to most execs. In The Code Issue introduction, Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel writes, “Software has been around since the 1940s. Which means that people have been faking their way through meetings about software, and the code that builds it, for generations… ignorance is no longer acceptable.”


Tyrangiel says of The Code Issue, “There’s some technical language along with a few pretty basic mathematical concepts. There are also lots of solid jokes and lasting insights. It may take a few hours to read, but that’s a small price to pay for adding decades to your career.”

A programmer for over twenty years, Paul Ford explains in his essay “Code has been my life, and it has been your life, too. It is time to understand how it all works…Every month, code changes the world in some interesting, wonderful, or disturbing way."

Chapters in The Code Issue include:

  • From Hardware to Software and How Does Code Become Software?
  • What Is an Algorithm?
  • What’s With All These Conferences, Anyway? (and why are there so many men in this field and why is it so hard for them to be in groups with female programmers and behave in a typical, adult way?)
  • Why Are Programmers So Intense About Languages?
  • What Do Different Languages Do? and The Importance of C
  • Why Are Coders Angry?
  • The Legend of the 10X Programmer (which details the accoutrements of the coder)
  • The Time You Attended the E-mail Address Validation Meeting
  • The Language of White Collars
  • Briefly on the Huge Subject Of Microsoft
  • What About JavaScript?
  • How Are Apps Made?
  • What Is Debugging?
  • Managing Programmers
  • Should You Learn to Code?


The cover of the Bloomberg Businessweek print issue (dated June 15 - 28, 2015, and on newsstands June 12) is written in the programming language Python 3 and instructs “If You Can’t Read This, You’d Better Read This – Code: An Essay.” Ford’s essay appears over 72 pages of the 112-page print issue, and is the longest story ever published in the magazine. The issue brandishes the highly original, surprising design and graphic treatments Businessweek is celebrated for. Amusing marginalia, charts, and photography both highlight and mirror Ford’s witty prose.


An animated and interactive treatment of the essay allows web and mobile readers to dive deeper into code, to manipulate it and see the results. Among the demos and widgets are tinder for code, a fun Easter egg, and a certificate of completion you can share with friends. The code for the “What Is Code?” essay has been published on GitHub.


Bloomberg Businessweek’s The Code Issue is part of a multi-platform editorial initiative that leverages Bloomberg’s unparalleled breadth of media resources, including print, digital, television and radio platforms for a look at the way software development and coders are transforming corporations, schools and government.



Thursday, June 11, 2015