Up Close & Personal: 12 Questions with Neal Sales-Griffin of Codeacademy

July 31, 2012

10:00 am

Next week, we’re introducing Sessions to the city where it all began for Tech Cocktail – Chicago, Illinois.  And to kick off this inaugural event, we’ve lined up pair of exceptional Chicago-area entrepreneurs: Logan LaHive and Neal Sales-Griffin.

On August 8th, you’ll get the chance to learn the secrets behind their successes (register here).  But what about the individual sitting in the CEO’s throne?  Who is the entrepreneur behind the business?

Today, we ask: Who is Neal Sales-Griffin?  

After graduating from Northwestern University in 2001, Neal has gone onto work and consult with numerous startups, not-for-profits, and a pair of prominent Chicago-area venture firms, OCA Ventures and Sandbox Industries.  Today, Neal is the founder and CEO at Codeacademy, a beginner web design and development school in Chicago.  He also serves as a board member of the Chicago chapter of International Game Developers Association.

We caught up with Neal to learn more beyond the basic bio.

12 Questions with Neal Sales-Griffin

My favorite video game is….

Neal Sales-Griffin: Xenogears. You’ve probably never heard of it, but you probably also aren’t aware that I’m an avid gamer and staunch supporter of game developers as a board member of the Chicago chapter of the IGDA.

Neal Sales-Griffin

Neal Sales-Griffin

In the past 5 years I have lived in the following cities, and I will ultimately end up in…..

Sales-Griffin:  I’ve always lived in Chicago. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world. I’d love to spend time in Seattle, San Francisco, or Denver at some point or another, but Chicago is ground zero.

My favorite part of the startup life is…

Sales-Griffin:  I wake up every day knowing that I’m doing the work that I was meant to do, the work that has meaning, value, and purpose to me. There’s no better feeling.

The first time I realized I was an entrepreneur when…

Sales-Griffin:  I hustled mix-tapes out of my locker when I was in high school – at one point I was making nearly $100 a day.

intouchablesThe mobile app I use most often is….

Sales-Griffin:  Alien Blue (I’m a Redditor)

The best movie I’ve seen in 2012 is….

Sales-Griffin:  Intouchables

A fellow entrepreneur I really look up to is…

Sales-Griffin:  Jason Fried


Sales-Griffin:  His book (Rework) inspired me to quit my job (ironically) and start my life. His company created the framework that my business teaches, and he’s not afraid to be himself and trust his instincts. I’m inspired by that.

My superhero entrepreneurial skill is…

Sales-Griffin:  Immortal persistence

My greatest weakness is…

Sales-Griffin:  Emotional tact

And I overcome this by…

Sales-Griffin:  Listening more and slowing my thinking to consider context.

My most cherished non-entrepreneurial accomplishment is…

Sales-Griffin:  Mastering Guitar Hero’s 1 – 3 using the regular playstation controller instead of the guitar.

Want more?  Check out Neal’s talk on “turning ideas into action” at the upcoming Chicago Tech Cocktail Sessions.

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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