Victor Jimenez is a recognized technical cycling expert and is co-host of the top ranked podcast Cycling 360. Which has a worldwide audience and downloaded by more than 40k listeners each month and over 2 million lifetime listeners. Victor also created several online video based courses to help road cyclists and triathletes become better riders and athletes and consults with select athletes one-on-one to help with the technical aspects of cycling.
Victor Jimenez has been a trusted advisor and enabler, helping people have fun and do what they love for nearly 30 years. A consummate entrepreneur Victor has founded many small businesses focused around his passions of fitness, cycling, business, marketing, and conversation. The one thing that has connected all of his ventures is helping people do what they love. Some have been wildly successful and some have been abysmal failures. One thing that has been common among all of his ventures, is they were based on interests and dreams. He knows what it feels like to start from scratch and also to salvage a good business that is not reaching its potential.
Victor’s Challenge; Write down your five immaterial values and post them somewhere you will see them every day so that they may guide your daily activities.
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The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers
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Scott Rogerson, Chief Executive Officer at Community Elf, specializes in strategic and business planning, data-driven decision making, process improvement, security, management, and compliance, as well as the development of custom applications for data collection and analysis.
He is also President-elect of the Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. (PCSI) Board of Directors. PCSI is the Community Action Agency of the City of Pittsburgh. The goal of PCSI is to help low income persons achieve self-sufficiency through the development of processes and activities that empower individuals and families to make life-altering changes, which can reduce the barriers and characteristics of poverty.
Prior to joining Community Elf, Scott was co-founder and Managing Director of Oakhill Equity, an operator-led private investment fund employing the search fund model. Oakhill was capitalized by a diverse mix of institutional and individual investors.
A magna cum laude graduate of Duquesne University, Scott earned a BSBA degree in Economics, Information Systems Management, and International Business. He earned a MBA at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University with concentrations in Finance, Operations, and Marketing.
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
- Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Challenge; Don't be passive in sharing the best content you find on the web and adding your opinion/perspective to people in your network.
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Po Shen Loh took an hour out of his day to sit down with the Going Deep podcast and discuss his company Expii that helps students learn difficult STEM topics.
He represented the USA Math team at the International Mathematical Olympiad as a high schooler in 1999, where he won a silver medal. He came back to the team as an deputy leader (assistant coach) in 2004 and 2010-2013. He took over the Head Lead role in 2014 and led the US to its first championship in 21 years in 2015.
Po founded Expii Inc. in January of 2014 as a learning tool to help replicate the most effective methods of teaching for students all over the world. Expii's mission is as follows;
"We believe that high quality educational resources should be available to anyone, no matter where they are or what they can afford. We also believe that students and teachers are the best at explaining things.
We build the tools ordinary people need to educate one another. So far, we've designed an approachable markup language that enthusiasts have used to create thousands of lessons. We've also created a free platform to interconnect these lessons."
Po got his PHD in Mathematics from Princeton in 2010, where his thesis discussed combinatorics (the study of discrete systems) and probability theory. Prior to his work at Princeton, Po-Shen received the equivalent of a masters degree in mathematics from the University of Cambridge in 2005, where he was supported by a Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Caltech in 2004, graduating first in his class, and his undergraduate thesis later received the Honorable Mention for the 2004 AMS-MAA-SIAM Morgan Prize.
After getting his PHD, he went on to immediately begin an Assistant Professorship in Mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University.
1-hour lesson on probability
Math Olympiad World Championship
Po's Math Lessons
Watson: What's up everybody. And welcome to another episode of the going deep podcast with Aaron Watson. Um, today's episode is one that I considered not putting out. Uh, so I have to add a little disclaimer to it. The audio quality about 35 minutes in gets a little dicey. We recorded this at our guest potion Lowe's office, uh, right by the Carnegie Mellon university campus. And, uh, PO's very busy getting his company and website EXP off the ground. So we recorded in his office and, um, due to that fact, there was some other noise going on from the office that starts to really hurt the audio quality about 30 to 35 minutes in, um, consider not putting it out there, but figured. You're all big boys and girls, if you don't want to listen to it, if it gets too much to listen to, uh, too much of a pain, then by all means, uh, hang on and wait for the next episode. But he's a really, really smart guy, really, really insightful. Didn't know if I'd be able to get the time to sit back down with him. So I still wanted to release it. Um, Poe is an incredibly, incredibly intelligent guy. Uh, we talk about, uh, his company, he talked about learning. We talk about his time on the U S uh, national math team, a bunch of other really good stuff. Um, I think you're really gonna enjoy it. And if you bear with me on the sound quality,
I promise you, I tried a couple different things. Couldn't, couldn't make it any better than it is. So, uh, hope you enjoy. And, uh, without further ado, potion, all right. So I'm here today with potion low, really excited about this interview per thank you so much for coming on today. Thanks. Uh, PO is the founder and CEO of EXP. He's gonna tell us a little bit today about his process in creating that. What EXP does. Um, and also some of his other very, very impressive academic accomplishments. He's a PhD from Princeton currently on the faculty at CMU. Um, so we're going to get into all of that, but to start off, could you give us a little synopsis of what EXP does and how you got started, how you got started?
Shen-Loh: Absolutely. So EXPS seeks to help everyone in the world learn math and science in a very exciting way. So we took a page from Wikipedia and we learned that perhaps the best way to have the entire world share knowledge is to have the entire world help create the knowledge together. And our goal is to create a product that everyone can learn from, which is free and which is somehow 10 times better than what they were used to used to the farm. But what is 10 times better mean? Let's think a little bit. How long is your typical attention span? In fact, have you already zoned now?
How many seconds do I have before you send out. Not very long. If that's the case that perhaps the best student teacher interaction is interaction. And if you look at the sorts of educational materials available today, so a textbook or say a bunch of videos where you just sit passively watching a reading, that's not getting up what we just said about this attention span. So when I'm saying about 10 times better than what's available today, our goal is to create something which is interactive, where as a learner, every few seconds you answer a question or the video has stopped, or you think about something analytically before you go on and move forward. There's actually a term for this it's called active learning. And what EXP solves is it solves the problem that programming these active learning lessons is an enormous amount of work. So I grew up in a generation where I think it's quite similar to many of the listeners to this podcast, but there were these books called choose your own adventure. I love these books. I thought it was so much fun to be able to read a book and every page make a decision on whether I was going to go into the cave or run away from the monster. There was only one part of the books that I did not like I was a first grader or second grader or whatever I forgot. But, uh, the thing I didn't like was that the stories were really short. In fact, it felt like even though I borrowed this big fat book from the library, I was done about 10 pages.
I didn't understand. Of course, back then as a kid, that the reason it stopped at about 10 pages of depth is because if you have two choices, every page, the number of pages in the book at that 10 it's about two to the power of 10, which is about 1,024. So actually you see it wasn't even 10 choices. I mean, I just, as a kid, I remember thinking, oh, so your choice is such a thick book. I just didn't understand the mathematics of eEXPonentials. But now let's draw that back. We've just established that there's actually an eXPonential growth with the amount of work required to create something interactive. And in my opinion, that's actually why you don't see interactive resources widely available say on the internet or anywhere else. That doesn't mean they don't exist. Exactly. Do. And in fact, you can often subscriptions for them. And, um, and then it's something that you'd have to purchase. But our goal was to actually put an interactive lesson in the hands of every human being on the earth, whether they live in a country, which happens to speak the English, the language English, which is spoken by much of the wealthy world or whether they live in the country, the language they speak is not matching where there is a lot of economic opportunity. Why I'm emphasizing that is that if it takes this enormous amount of effort to create an interactive lesson and you live in a country where it's hard to monetize some, that people won't make the lessons for you. And so the insight that we made when, when, uh, when I was thinking about EXP.
Perhaps the way to get these interactive lessons in the hands of the whole public would be to copy a page from a GPS playbook, which is called crowdsourcing, let the entire world together contribute in creating this into the programming of this interactive resource. Instead of having a team of 10 people or 40 people or a hundred people trying to create this for everyone, not all 7 billion people in the world work together, and furthermore, let them work together. At times when the topics are really fresh on their heads. I mean, there are other insights on EXP too, such as I believe that in some sense, as soon as you have just gotten through and learn a topic, you might be quite well equipped to eEXPlain to someone else who's just hitting that sticky. And you might be able to eEXPlain to them how you got over that sticking point. In fact, I remember when I was a college student, I wanted to become a teaching assistant for a class, a math class. I took immediately after taking it because I felt, I remember what's so hard about this class. I want to share this with all of my classmates, because I remember how I got through. I mean, sticking quite,
I actually even went to the math department at Caltech and said, can ITA for free? I just want to share this. Uh, they, they thought it was a funny offer, uh, in the sense that they liked the offer, but they commented that if you're doing it for free, there's some chance that halfway through the semester, you'll say that you're not interested anymore and they'll be stuck with no TA. So that's why that didn't happen. But now drawing those back to EXP was this method. It's a whole world together can create these interactive lessons, sharing knowledge, right? When they're figured out how, how it is to attain that knowledge, you have a possibility of creating a resource 10 times better than what's currently available for free.
Watson: Wow. Um, a lot of interesting stuff in that, I guess the, the, you keep coming back to getting your inspiration from Wikipedia and the way that Wikipedia is crowdsourced. Do you see yourself as a competitor of Wikipedia? Do you see yourself as a continuation of Wikipedia? Um, what is, what is your mental framework for, um, seeing this, you know, very well-developed crowdsourced resource and comparing it to your much younger adventure.
Shen-Loh: Oh, great. Well, thanks very much for pointing that out. Exactly. Because actually one thing that we need to emphasize is that we're actually not looking at the, so I mentioned Wikipedia because it's the easiest thing for many people to anchor on and to drive analogy to my next few years. But I'd say that oftentimes when you design a product, you want to focus. If you want, you have to think about what's your users objective when they use your product. I would say that we get, the idea is a product that's designed for, right. Or for looking something up, whatever that's supposed to mean. Typically that means extracting some facts or even looking back on something that you have seen before, but generally already having some context of what you're trying to read. I consider that to be a crowd source reference. There is not actually a product yet to help a crowdsource product. Yeah. The help learning, learning is different from reference and learning. You don't necessarily buy enormous wall of text, like the extensiveness of a single Wikipedia article. Instead you'd rather have some sort of an interactive conversation.
Uh, virtual tutor, which is only going to give you snippets at a time. And preferably is going to respect your attention span, which is about five seconds. So our product is directly focusing on the educational aspects. So in fact, the Wikipedia part is the part we've already built. And in fact, I can say, even then, even though I'm saying it's that part, it's not even exactly like a video, let me comment on a few distinct differences. Sure. Yeah. The first one is that on every topic, there's actually more than one article. So for example, on the topic called gravity right now on the site today, I see two articles by the time, by the time you listen to this, maybe there'll be even more, but the way it works is at each topic there's voting going on between the articles to find out what's the most exciting way to eEXPlain the topic. Notice I emphasized the word exciting. I really think that's very important. With the multiple perspectives you're so you're sort of making a, a yell or a Quora or a stack overflow.
Those are more technical, but everyone uses Yelp, but like a Yelp for that particular style of, uh, sorry, that particular topic to find out through the voting, what's the best way to eEXPlain it. That solves a fundamental problem that Wikipedia and other, other typical references, sorry. Other typical educational materials have in the eyes of most people, many, many people, which is that unfortunately many people consider them to be maybe a bit boring. Um, I would, I personally don't find them to be so boring. I personally enjoy learning and I think there are many other people in the roast we do, but what has to respect bill Nye, the science guy for realizing that it's possible to actually make certain educational topics really interesting. And so. There's a reason why I think most textbooks and things like Wikipedia need to sound more balanced and more level it's because they have only one tick on the subject. If you're going to have one day, it should be the professional day. However, if you have the Liberty to allow the world to create an entire array of different styles and flavors, it's like Baskin Robbins, ice cream. If you only allowed to have one flavor of ice cream, I bet your ice cream shop would just have vanilla. And you're going to Baskin-Robbins because you don't just buy the vanilla no. So in some sense, the point of this major deviation from Wikipedia right here is that we actually think that by letting everyone have a cherry Garcia, all the other great flavors actually will be able to make. Fine. We're not actually trying to crowdsource a Khan academy or crowd source so they could feed you. But it was a funny statement or crowd source textbook. We're more interested in trying to cross over to bill Nye, the science guy, across every topic in Latin science and eventually into other areas as well. So that's a major differentiation from Wikipedia. Um, there's one more major differentiation, which is that it's interactive. So, uh, these lessons actually do are, are designed in a way that you should be able to interact with them on a per second basis. And so in that sense, we are a crowd source like Wikipedia, but our focus is on educating the world. And Wikipedia is focused, I think is on providing a reference for the world and we, we target our product to deliver the learning.
Watson: Gotcha. Um, as far as that interaction, you mentioned that there's multiple protocols on a single topic and that. Um, a system in place for which, you know, one article essentially rise to the top is the most exciting way to learn that topic. Is that an upvote downvote system similar to Reddit? Is there a rating system? Like how many stars, something got you talk a little bit about that process and how you, um, chose that specific process as a way to find the best article?
Shen-Loh: Yeah, that's a great question. So in fact, that's the question we were just discussing in the office over there yesterday. So right now what's going on is we're using an input output system, which is, I think, more similar to your Quora. Although our upload download system right now also doesn't weight every book equally, because if you are going to make a crowdsource system where a large number of the users are going to be the. Uh, some of whom have an interesting sense of humor. Uh, you don't exactly want to have a completely equal vote on everybody.
For example, you might hope that somebody who has established reputation on a site as a bit stronger of a vote. So in fact, the way the community is currently set up is that the power of your vote is higher. If you have written articles that other people have also uploaded well, when I say other people have also uploaded, I mean, you don't really need a whole mountain of people that are your content to declare that you're good, but if a power user uploaded your content, that also indicates that you're good. So it sort of recursive in the sense that your reputation is based on how many thumbs ups you've gotten from people, but it takes into account their reputation, weight, but their reputation is based on the reputation of people who voted for them.
By the way, what I'm describing here is Google's ranking. Why Google is, uh, why Google came across, I guess, around 2000 and, and became the best search provider, just because it found a way to rank websites based on the reputation and the reputation was based on whether they were reputable websites pointing to them. What I'm saying is this is stuff. This is a parallel what we're using here as a parallel to what Google use to identify reputation among websites on the internet. We're using a similar algorithm to identify reputation among human beings. And instead of having links from website to website, we have these votes going from one human being, endorsing another human beings, content, so to speak. So in some sense, this is using mathematics, I mean, using, using various areas of mathematics. And, uh, and, and we're using that in order to create hopefully a richer eEXPerience that will, uh, augment the typical upvote downvote system so that it won't just be, oh, it's got 3000 votes from 17. Right. You actually bought something, which by the way, I'm not putting down seventh graders. I think seventh grade is awesome. The only thing I'd worry about is if a bunch of seventh graders decided to have fun and randomly vote opposite, they thought they won. You know what I mean? Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. But in any case, that's what we're currently using and we will continually keep adjusting our system in order to deliver the basketball.
Watson: Absolutely. Definitely don't want any, uh, seventh graders hijacking the system at all. Seems like it's a very, uh, you, you referenced Google, uh, multiple years back for their page rank system. Uh, it seems like it's also really a system that's predicated on the solo building momentum of the community that's involved with EXP. Um, so you mentioned right now that you're very much in the STEM fields, math hard science. Um, aspiring to and hoping to one day cover a much broader spectrum of topics and genres. Uh, can you talk a little bit about the challenges with just getting this off the ground, getting initial, um, interaction, because I think what a lot of people don't appreciate with a website such as another crowdsource website, like Wikipedia, is that, you know, it seems like it has every topic under the sun now, but at one point it was still very niche, very specific. Um, so how did you get the ball rolling? How did you get that initial, um, set of content?
Shen-Loh: That's a fantastic question. So first of all, I should say that indeed right now we're stem, math and science. Although ultimately the vision of EXP is to cover every topic that at least 100 million people. In some sense. That's another big differentiator between us as with the PBM Quora. I would say that the missions of Wikipedia and Quora are to cover these hundred million topics that anyone buy button, which is a very broad array of topics. Uh, some of them are very specialized. Our goal is to completely nail all of the heavy topics. Now, none that I said, we want to hit everything that a hundred million people like to know. That's actually still a lot of things. In fact, that's basically education and that includes social studies, history, geography, uh, English, or if you're in a different language, you're going to different countries maybe before she gets. But, uh, you can start that just as your own comments. And you've got to start somewhere where you have a base and where you, I would say where we understand a little bit better. It's a subject. So I will actually draw another parallel as I'm answering your question. Um, if you think about it, there's another site for online learning called. And Coursera actually was started by a team of professors at Stanford. And one of them, the first thing he did was to teach this class, uh, through the internet. And this class was machine learning and advanced computer science class. And around there, it continued to grow. I happened to be the national coach of the United States, math Olympic team and a mathematician. So for me, the natural place to start wasn't mathematics. And also for me, I mean, thinking from the point of view of a website, that's trying to gain traction. I also thought it would probably would gain the most traction if you started with the biggest market. So rather than starting with my research, which is competent, torics where I would say that is a subject that maybe 0.1% of the quite oh 1% of the population really studies right now. Uh, I would start with something that 99.9% of the population studies called high school math and high school science. So that's why that was chosen as the initial region. And it was important to be able to choose an initial region, which both had a big market and for which, uh, I and our team had a strong operating knowledge. And so that's why we went from math. But now, now there's the question of, well, if you, if you make this site, why will anyone write anything in the site? So there's another key insight in creating this, which is that actually there is an incentive for people to write a lesson plan and that incentive is something that not everyone will realize. But if you think about it a little you'll realize that it's actually true. And that insight is the best way to learn anything is to teach it. Actually, if you think about how many people were suggested to review in their classes, oftentimes the teacher would say recopy, your notes. I mean, even though you've taken those copies of them again, that's an active teaching it to yourself. Um, I, myself, when I was learning math and science and everything else, I didn't actually direct copy the notes without trying to do, is that. Regenerate the notes without just word for word copying and eEXPlain to myself sort of like teaching myself. I felt that worked a lot better than for example, reading a book or watching a movie. Um, however, what I found out is that if I ever would a teacher course, or it would be a teaching assistant for a course or a tutor, someone else on that topic, math, then I really got it because that's the act of trying to eEXPlain to somebody else. And so on EXP the people who are actually having the articles. Now, I wouldn't be surprised if they are among the people who have learned the most from the site, because they have written the lesson. They've written an entire automatic module. That eEXPlains how a topic works, why right answers are right. And also crucially why wrong answers aren't wrong. And that's a rare thing doesn't usually happen in school.
Watson: It also seems like it's an opportunity for the contributors to be creative so they could look at a page and say, well, For ways to teach this lesson. I wonder if there's another angle and another way that I can offer it, because I remember I had a, I had a friend I'm not going to call them out, but in, uh, in fourth grade we were learning, uh, division and it, math is not his strong suit. He was having trouble with division. Our teacher tried three or four different ways to teach it to him. Finally just said, you know, we just need to take a break, take a breather from this and come back. And me and my buddy kind of showed it to him another way and it started to click for them. And then all the other ways that he'd been taught, funneled into bringing together his understanding and knowledge of how to divide numbers. That's a very basic example, but having those different, um, creative ways of teaching the same lesson seems like a real strength of your resource, but also. Like you said a great opportunity for the contributors.
Shen-Loh: Yes, yes. Yes. And I should say in some sense, things that make people want to contribute to projects is they feel like they have something they want to share with people. I mean, I think it's a human instinct that oftentimes people think that they have an idea and they want the world to know the idea. They don't necessarily want to be paid for the idea. And in some sense, it doesn't really make sense to be paid for something that doesn't take so long to write. You know what I mean? It's like when you post on a forum, I don't really eEXPect somebody to pay me a buck for what I post on a forum. I just wanted the post it on the forum because I want people to see it. I'm proud of my idea. And so with this, the enthusiast community was actually the first community that went on and started populating lessons. You see, this is why I had the confidence to go and drive this project forward forever from the beginning. It's because I saw a few things. I saw that in this resource was not available and it would be very useful be that people who are writing this resource will gain a lot by writing. And see there's an enormous who of enthusiasts out there like, like me, uh, when, when in college would have just wanted to do this for free, because it's fun. And in fact, in some sense, I think that a lot of things that are created in the world that are awesome, such as Linux are created by enthusiasts who just want to change the world. And in some sense, that's, that's who we are. That's that's, that's, that's how, that's how we came together to build this thing. But, um, I saw this big pool of enthusiasm because I actually worked with the NASA and get to these duties. I'm not talking about my direct students. I'm just saying that they are there's this, maybe this, um, alternate social community, which extends across the entire world of the people who do math teams in school. Who liked to stay behind and do interesting math problems. I also just to hang out with each other and think about how they might be able to change the world some way or the other. I love working with students because everyone's idealistic and it keeps me idealistic. Uh, in some sense, I don't exactly what it's about to grow up, so to speak. But, uh, but how, but nevertheless, by working with all of these people, you, you get this insight that there are probably 10,000 people up there in the world who would love to be part of a community like this, who would love to share their insight. And for whom they will actually gain something by writing the article, they would actually have them in something a bit deeper. And B they would have changed the world by sharing, by sharing their knowledge. So since I knew that these communities were around, um, we went into the initial version of the platform and then we actually opened it in May of last year. When we opened in May of last year, we didn't want to on a, on say Reddit right away, because you want it to know what sort of feedback you were going to Kaplan. So, in fact, the way we grew from zero users to some number was that we posted on Facebook because at this point, since a lot of the people on the initial team were deeply plugged in to the enthusiast network, uh, the enthusiast side, we have seen a lot of other online ad websites pop up. And this one is the one that's somehow created by them, easiest community. And let's try it. So, so, uh, so that's actually how the growth began. Um, I, I, myself actually I'm an enthusiast through and through, uh, ever since I was in middle school, I was really into doing all of these math contests and science contests, and I loved that community. So in some sense, when I wanted to go this, it was a way of uniting all of that energy, which sometimes I've been going off into different directions, into creating a resource that could help everyone in the world.
Watson: Absolutely. Uh, you've mentioned you, the us international math Olympiad team here. Um, your listeners at home PO was a silver medalist back in 1999 for team USA. Uh, he also was kind of an assistant coach called the deputy leader in 2004. And from 2010 through 2013, he's currently wearing an, a team USA shirt and he's the national lead coach, uh, was back in 2014. And is again this year. Can you talk a little bit about how you came to be involved with the math Olympia team and maybe how that's impacted your academic career and life outside of academics?
Shen-Loh: Sure, sure. So, I would say that I attribute a lot of what I ended up doing to having been brought into this alternate universe of math. And science Activity in middle school, actually, it was by the generosity of a parent of an eighth grader in my middle school who wanted to coach the middle school math team. And they brought me along when I was in sixth grade. And that's when I suddenly learned that wow, there's a lot of interesting stuff out there. Math is not just adding things and subtracting things and doing normal problems in school. It's actually about thinking. And so that led me to keep driving higher and higher and all of these math events, I guess that brought me to college and about ended other interesting things that, and I guess I always felt that I wanted to maybe try to give back to the community that created, uh, created the opportunities for me. So, whenever I had any opportunity, I actually wanted to go and coach other students. When I was in high school, I was coaching the middle school. When I was in college, I was actually, uh, I was a really, really low-level coach at the national for Olympic, uh, team, uh, helping to grade papers for, uh, for the top high school students at the time. And I just kept staying in it because I love working with students who I see as perhaps a former version of myself. And I'm trying to help them, uh, receive all of the opportunities that I got because somebody else was generous to me when I was at that age. So there's just this certain attitude that I have, which is that I, I guess I feel that people have done great things for me. And I bought some to make sure that those opportunities are available later. And now with regards to becoming the head coach of another little bit, you, at some point, you're the guy that's standing, so to speak in the sense that I just kept staying with it. I kept doing all sorts of different tasks. Whenever anything is not, whenever anything is falling, falling through the cracks and organizing some event or another event, I'll jump in and I'll try to make sure it works. And that's just. Is that because that's my job. It's just because I don't want, uh, a person who is sort of like, uh, an earlier version of me to be in a situation where suddenly something they were eEXPecting to happen, like some events, some Math that they suddenly fall through because of some technicality. Right. So, so it's just, that's just my attitude towards these sorts of things. And I guess that's driven a lot of my decisions on, I mean, becoming, I guess not a national coach.
Watson: Absolutely. I think that's a, a very realistic and maybe less glamorized, uh, eEXPlanation of how one comes to a position of leadership. Uh, you said that you were essentially the last person standing or catching the stuff that falls through the cracks. I think a lot of people have a tendency to when they are describing how they came to a position of leadership shift to say, well, you know, I, I went above and beyond using all these romanticized, uh, visions in terms to eEXPlain how they reached that position. But I think that's a pretty, pretty insightful. EEXPlanation of how you got there. Um, the team has finished in the top six for the last half decade, maybe a little bit longer. Um, and you yourself were a silver medalist when you actually competed with the team, what's it going to take for the US to be number one?
Shen-Loh: Ah, that's actually why I started next week. So yeah, so basically there was a year that we lost, so we usually lose to country a country like China. And we say that, well, China does have four times the population of the United States and therefore they have a natural advantage. If you're sourcing a team of six people, there's a natural numerical advantage. That would be very hard to overcome. Then you lose to South Korea. South Korea's population is about a factor of five or six, less than the United States. That excuse doesn't pull it anymore. So that year that that happened. I started thinking, I thought, how can it be that they're doing so well because actually in the United States. We actually are lucky enough that we have some very, very good institutions of higher learning. In fact, everyone in the world wants to come to the US to go to college. Actually that's an overgeneralization. It shouldn't quite say it that way, but I'll say the United States universities are very popular. That's, that's definitely true. Even at the high school level, we have some pretty good, um, pretty good. Uh, I would say magnet schools or academies. So in sometimes we're able to teach at the highest end, but then the thing that clicked was I thought about if I'm not only interested in the highest end suppose, I'm only interested in say what the media and US math student can do and compare that to the median south Korean student. At that point, you start to worry a little bit. I mean, you may have heard about these. I think it's called the PISA survey or something like this, where the United States came out towards the bottom in math and physics. I forgot the other one. Although it did come up. Number one in confidence, by the way, I think partners is really important. W-we, we need to maintain that one, but nevertheless, I started to realize that maybe the problem is, although we have five or six times as many people as South Korea, if you look at how many people have strong mathematical ability, whatever that's supposed to mean on some absolute standard, maybe South Korea actually has more than the United States. That could be true. In fact, I'm not saying we should go into their model. Their model has people studying all day, and I'm not saying that studying is bad, but in some sense, having a variety of eEXPeriences is also important. I'm actually an American through and through. And so what I realized is maybe the way to eventually wind international math Olympiad is not to keep pushing and pushing and training this very small handful of people at the top. Not that we shouldn't we'll keep doing that, but also to make sure that you build that base up so that our natural population advantage is fully engaged. So that's actually what EXP is for. Um, in some sense, the mission of EXP is actually the thing, the number of people who love math and science and multiply it by 10. And if you do that across the whole world, in some sense, in other countries, they already have that engagement in the United States. I'm not completely sure, but my guess is that we might be able to be a strong beneficiary who knows this might be a strong beneficiary of getting more people just interested in the field. And in my opinion, once people are interested in something, there are already plenty of great resources online, either on EXP or on other websites, and that will contribute to a base, which numerically is that able to compete very strongly with almost every other country?
Watson: Absolutely. Um, I guess beyond that though. So if we raise the median, um, mathematical skills of the average us student, that doesn't mean that we're going to all of a sudden have, you know, many more, um, Math teams. There's only one team USA, math. They have six students, like, like you said, um, a lot of these people are gonna end up not going and getting a PhD in mathematics or a master's they're going to go out and find a, not a regular job, but another profession, another line of work, what impact or effect do you think that that will have them having a stronger mathematic skillset?
Shen-Loh: Oh, I love this question. So I like to say that I think Math could use a rebranding in particular. I like to call it thinking. Okay. So to me, math is not just about memorizing that two plus two is four or that five plus seven is I think that the math in the five to seven is 12 is actually more about possibly even noticing that five plus seven is sort of like six plus six, because you can move one from the seven to five. And the fact that they're equal lets you connect both of them to twelve as opposed to saying five to seven is 12, because 5% is 12, six plus six is top because six plus six is club. Does this story make sense? I'm binding the two things together. And in some sense, if you, if you learn math and develop a, learn this thinking that math as a, as a problem solving or as a, as a structuring of all of the information, you actually can crystallize a lot of knowledge into smaller ideas. And let me even give an example of, of, uh, evidence of the insights with eEXPerts. So many of the thoughts that went into creating the design actually came from looking at a problem which was called massive global education. And thinking about how to break that apart into small pieces that will then get solved in novel. So when I'm talking about getting people better at math, I'm actually most interested in letting them see, of course, the old ways of doing things, not all actually classical ways of doing things, because you must see like how to solve this solve equations, which are with an eEXPert in that those are important and interesting, but while doing so you can actually crystallize some knowledge of why, why those equations work is that sort of makes sense. Absolutely. The math is all about the thinking. And in fact, even at the international math Olympiad level, I should probably comment that, that math test that the students in the math contest is, is not your standard math test. It consists of two days, each day is four and a half hours and has three problems. And if you can solve one of those three problems, you're a genius already four and a half hours. One problem. Uh, the problem is, are actually all about proofs. They're all about trying to. Show that a certain thing is true. It's a reasoning thing. It's not calculating out some long laborious number. For example, this is not a question that would appear on the math Olympia, but here's a crew. If you could talk about, which is that there are infinitely many prime numbers, a prime number is number for which the factor are only one itself. So for example, seven is a prime number because it doesn't divide into it. Doesn't split into anything, but one time, seven, but on the other hand, six, six is not a prime number because you can break it into two times three. So proving that they're actually infinitely many prime numbers. So it's a theory that was done many, many, many, many years ago, but the notion of trying to prove a result is actually the hardest thing to national method with yet. And this thought process of thinking improvement analysis, or actually what I feel would be the most useful.
Watson: Absolutely. That does that come across in your uh. In your in-person teaching. So you are in the faculty at CMU. Um, you're very involved in EXP. You have these other things involved in, when you come back to the classroom, is that a major focus of your lesson or are you, uh, or I guess how do you incorporate that? Because there, there is just the hard analysis, the critical thinking that you have to teach your students, how do you get that across to them?
Shen-Loh: Right. So I would say that the lecture style that I like to use is not a lecture. In fact, I don't really like that person on, I do more of a crowdsourced problem solving session in which I'll say, we want to learn this today. What should we do? I also, here's a, here's a fact, this is something that's true and prominent. Third thing. The number of ways arrange seven people in the road is 760,500, 400 frequency, (computing) and then I'll start to get ideas from them. And as the class provides ideas, I'll sort of moderate the discussion. We'll see, as a problem solving method in which we have collectively discovered how to improve this there. So instead of me just going up and saying, that's the way it works is like this, you know, this is what's true. And here is how we can see it to be true. I want them to discover it themselves. And so the lecture is one where there's a lot of back and forth, but a lot of ideas coming from the class, I'll moderate them surface clearly going into the wrong direction. Maybe I'll bring it back. But my favorite, my favorite lecture style is actually where I basically put the question on the board and we just started crowdsourcing ideas and students start to say, oh, I think we should try this. And I've had a number one and I'll write their idea. And someone else was like, oh, I think we should try that. A number two. And they right now. And this goes on for a while and then suddenly somebody is going to write, I'm going to say, oh wait, I want to take idea number four and idea number seven, combine them and add this other insect. That's a great idea. The time after a little while someone says, okay, I get it. You take that idea under 10 and you merge it with this other thing. Now we're done. Right. But then the students have seen the entire board filled with this almost doubled Thomas Edison process of being wrong, 99 clients, and then being right twice. And then they finally understand, oh, that's how that crystallized glue for argument about it. Wasn't just that somebody got stroke of lightning, uh, sorry. Uh, really judgment. I meant. And I understood is that everyone tried all these different ways of understanding why this might be true. I mean, finally found the secure method. That gave you the solution.
Watson: Absolutely. And that's, uh, obviously models your, um, method Addicks P very closely, but it really, um, just bringing it back to how it applies to day-to-day life is if you're able to, um, you know, really eEXPlore and thinking this way, regardless of the topic, regardless of the problem that you're facing. If you are a lawyer, if you're a botanist, if you're a mailman, it can be an apical process to basically anything.
Shen-Loh: Absolutely. And that's why I like to rebrand mathematics as thinking, in fact, I've worked with. And I think that they actually have very interesting problem-solving process procedures that they do every single day when they go into a house, especially at Pittsburgh us, it's not just that it was the first time that it was fun. It's probably the fifth time that it was fun. And then their first job is to understand what the heck's going on. What did plumber, number one, do what the plumber. Number two, do tiny years later, you know what I mean? All these problems solving. And so, to me, if people have learned how to do this generic problem solving, I actually think that will increase productivity. All over the place. And personally, from my own eEXPerience, that's actually also why I want to share this with people because I started with just the core problem solving and mathematics. And I used it eventually when I was in college to even understand things like physics or I use it to understand things like computer science or today I basically applied these generic problem-solving techniques every single day, I'm running a business and it's all about being able to look at the problem, whatever the problem may be, analyze it, predictably, find out abstract out. What are the core challenges? What are the core objectives and find your own very creative and unusual path all the way through. I got the sense that we're creative. I think that actually the best innovations are done when you, it's not where you have made something, which is just fundamentally impossible to make. In fact, I would say, if you do that, that's great, but that's where oftentimes you just found a better way to connect ideas or components that nobody else had thought in assembling in that way before that suddenly create as a compound, a revolutionary product.
Watson: Absolutely. Um, you have a very, very well-developed, uh, pedagogy or philosophy about how to teach and how students learn best. Do you have role models or mentors in the field of education or in mathematics that have helped you in developing this view? Or how have you come to have such a crystallized philosophy?
Shen-Loh: So I would say that my role models would be all the people who came before me in some sense, you see, that's exactly what a mathematician is, a mathematician I'm talking about now, research professional research mathematician.I mean, your entire job is to think about how to crystallize the ideas that other people have done before and find new structures in very, very abstract mathematical systems, so to speak. Um, I certainly really enjoyed working with my PhD advisor because I thought that. Very much on top of things. He also was the sort of person who could do everything, including I even watched him sell a car at some point. I mean, the guy was amazing and, uh, he was also an excellent communicator. So I guess, I guess what I should say is what was going to go to role models for analytical thinking. I find those everywhere. I was particularly inspired by some people who not only have that ability, but also have extremely good communication ability and interpersonal ability because that's sort of a proof of concept that it's possible to be able to think very deeply and still relate to normal people. And I aspire to work with everyone in the world, whether they are normal or abnormal or really abnormal or really normal, whatever, all those things mean. I actually think the world is 7 billion, very interesting people. And to have seen that it's possible to kind of bridge every world at the same time. I find very inspiring. That's what I aspire to do with myself.
Watson: Absolutely. As far as how that relates back to EXP, you've talked alot about maybe the, kind of the initial stages and your vision for it. But before EXP existed, before, you know, even we had, we even recognized the fact that we have zero users, where did the inspiration come from to create your own unique resource?
Shen-Loh: Right. So I can actually trace that back to, uh, to being seated from certain conversations. So this is after Coursera, after Khan academy is after many of the first attempts to produce online education websites. And when those other guys had come out, I thought they were very interesting. And in fact, at some point I was even approached by colleagues at CMU, not by the university of motorcyclists who were considering possibly building, building a movement. And that's what they're called massive open online course. And they were approaching certain faculty members who they thought might be suitable for highlighting a few of the first courses. They chose them carefully. And when I was approached, I thought, well, first of all, I'm very honored that you asked me as 1, 3, 1 of these people. But at the same time, I said, I'm not sure it's worth the time, because if I go and create this course, and if it's just about the same quality level as someone else's course, maybe a little bit better, okay. Maybe I can have a good teacher. Maybe it's a little bit better, but due to the fact that they don't have professional recording equipment, that professional video editing, or five cameras in the room, or a Hollywood quality, uh, makeup crew, you name it, right. It won't necessarily be the. And if it's not the best as the really didn't need it. I mean, maybe it makes whatever company we're trying to create more valuable, but I guess my personal interest is in leaving a mark on the world. So I said, I'll do it. If you get me a huge budget, get five cameras in the room. And we make the covenant topics class. That's my subject. The covenants are next class to end up in the sense that we'll make the best one. The world's ever never going to need another one. That's totally good, Chris, by the way, there's no such thing as the best one, but we'll make one that we really meant to do it, but right. In some sense, Hollywood knows that you're supposed to spend multimillion dollar budgets, multiple cuts, multiple angles. But you know, if you did that, you would actually have contributed something that people can use later. I didn't want to make another class of another $1,000 budget. Obviously we didn't move forward with this because we didn't have the money to write. But when I had that, I had that conversation. Hang on a second. This is kind of interesting. We have a lot of, a lot of duplicated work going off. We have a lot of people are trying to create things with roughly similar budgets, roughly similar technologies. So does the world really need all of them? Maybe the world actually needs something that will call it all of them, where they can all come together and they can all be voted upon. And then we can just share the best ones, for example, rather than just having a website, which is just my course or just my videos or whatever. Uh, maybe it's better just to have a website where you are just a bunch of pointers that say, if you wanted to learn this, go there. If you wanted to learn this, go there, but those are different places. Those two, there is projected there's. Then over the course of the summer, I have also something called the first foundation fellow. Uh, my graduate studies were supported by the Hertz foundation, the Fannie and John Hertz foundation, same parts as in. And, uh, the history of that fellowship is actually that John Fritz was a friend Edward teller, who was he in the, during the cold war in the Manhattan project and all of these major activities that were essential to the national security of the United States during the cold war, this fellowship was started. And what they did is they supported about 10 or 15 people every year for their graduate study. They chose 10 or 15 new fellows every year to study for a PhD in math or science, not really math, more like applied physical sciences. And if you accepted this position, this offer for full, like a full tuition free study, you sign a little form saying if the United States ever needs you, you will have made a moral agreement to help. Uh, I'm actually one of these guys. So the idea was in case you ever need another Manhattan project, you could suddenly go and call up this group. And suddenly you're brought in the 10 or 15 best people for your graduation year. For the last 40 years, which is a hasn't project overnight, this is the thought process in the cold war. We don't need another bomb. Nobody's nobody's using the idea of making a bomb here, but actually for all, you know, if there's a major national security issue like Ebola someday, is that really what it comes sweeping across into the United States. This could be localized. This force could be mobilized anyway. So I'm one of these guys, but they bring us together because we are a community. They bring us together for about two to three times a year, and they always have interesting talks. And the one talk, which was the timeline, this is like, this is now this talk was probably about a month or two before founding EXP. They actually brought in interesting speaker to talk about education and the future of education. Uh, the person was named Deidre Norway from Google. And I guess at that point that finally it clicked. I wasn't interested necessarily in doing any of the particular suggestions that were proposed at that conference. Um, but it made me think maybe the time is right. You know, maybe the time is right to go ahead. Trying to coordinate a team together to build this index of content. That's not the current eEXPert, by the way, what I'm describing here is basically a link of a set of bookmarks, which is, uh, categorized by the subject you might want to learn. And all of each page has, is a point there saying the best lesson to learn this about the best lesson to use, to learn this it's, that, or it's here or so, and people would vote on it. Then the idea of exhibitions continue to evolve. And the key and key insight was, wait a second. If you're going to store a string of texts that says that the lesson is there and put a URL, if you're going to store that in your system, you can start the whole lesson, assuming that the lesson consists of, uh, of texts, then questions. And so that's how EXP was it migrated out of just a link of list of. Into actual interactive lessons hosted our own service so that we wouldn't be in danger of the other services, suddenly disappearing. You know, if you have a link and the link is broken, what can they do? Right.
Watson: Absolutely. And it's important to recognize that even if, uh, such a, uh, remarkable project such as this, um, isn't necessarily have an end goal of making a huge profit or being a for-profit enterprise money is a part of the equation, uh, where in the EXP offices right now, I met a couple of the engineers before we sat down. Uh, they're busy work in a way right now as we speak. Um, and in September of 2014, you got $1.3 million, um, from a first round of outside investment into EXP, um, as EXP developed, I'm sure at some point you recognize that this. Uh, must you had to get this outside investment in order for the project to grow at the speed that you, um, envision it. Can you talk to me a little bit about how the process of going and finding outside investors, um, were there multiple options as far as who to accept money from, or were you soliciting investment and how you ended up with the four investors that you have?
Shen-Loh: Sure, So I should say from the beginning, I was not sure whether to put this as a for-profit or a non-profit not because I don't think it can actually be self-sustained actually, I think it can, but because I, I guess I had a bit of an anti-establishment streak in me, which was that, well, let's make things, let's make things available and free. You know what I mean? I think that's nice, but there, so I was thinking about how they get PBS, a nonprofit and how Khan academy is also a nonprofit. And I guess the clicking point of when I decided, oh, maybe it's actually better to go for a for-profit for this one. Maybe it was one of those days that when I go to the Wikipedia, half, the page was asking for donation. And then at the same day, I use Google a whole bunch of times and I never got interrupted by anything. And I also, that there was also this clicking of just a second. Google did start with Google search, but then because they were able to roll their profits in, into a very strong engineering team, they were able to use the engineering team to build something I'll say, use Google maps. And then they also built something called g-mail and they actually built a whole bed browser I'm using as well as the phone I'm using and the Chromebook that's in front of me. So what I realized is actually, if you have already had the ability to assemble a rock superstar team, Being in a situation where you're able to make profits take investment, you deploy the investment and profits to build more product. We'll put you in a situation where you can actually create even more wealth to the world. So I was also influenced by the observation that there was an enormous amount of excellent research created in the middle of the last century, by an entity called AT&T bell labs. And many of those earth shaking inventions came from there. That's the research laboratory for a very, very successful for profit. And so personally, I mean, assuming that I will still have control, advance their price, if we actually did become that big, I mean, this is actually what I would want to do too. Right. So, so then I realized, wait a second, if there actually is a market opportunity here, you can actually take those profits and plow them in and create entities and foundations that can go and finance the entire nonprofit education. Maybe that's better than competing with the entire non-profit education sector for donations. And I should add why I think there's actually even, even, um, um, a business here. I actually want what you see here. Give me free right now. I, I, because my philosophy right now, I mean, my philosophy is I hope that it can be done as long as I maintain control of this project. My philosophy is that it actually costs me almost nothing to provide an interactive eEXPerience delivered through our website, because those have just been sustained now, going back and forth. The variable cost of running a server delivered to an individual user is interactive. EEXPerience, eEXPeriences, a fraction of a penny. We actually even currently use YouTube to route our videos. So we don't even pay for that bandwidth. Of course, YouTube gets the ad revenue, but that's okay. You can have the ad revenue. We just not contact them. Right. But if that doesn't really cost us that much to run in theory, We don't need to charge for it. And that's actually why the product you see is free as the world has created it together. And we're distributing it for free. Now, if the website actually does get as popular as we can PDF, I think there's also a fundamental difference between say the Wikipedia market and the education market fundamental difference is that 15 years ago, before we get here, if I was chatting with a friend and we were arguing about whether ascendancy that I had a hundred likes or not, we wouldn't be able to resolve that. Now we had, we go to Wikipedia. Great. You know, we pulled it out of her pocket. Yeah. Yeah. See, it doesn't have a hundred links, but 15 years ago, we weren't used to paying someone to resolve that conflict. So if, if now today there's Wikipedia and we could be as a thanks. I just told you I send it. It doesn't have a hundred legs. Could you please pay me a quarter? Would say, what do you mean? I don't pay a quarter for that. Here's another analogy. Facebook. I mean, 20 years ago, if I give a friend a photograph. Or maybe that's a bad example cause I have to print the photograph. But if I, if I say something to a friend or call them on the phone, I don't really pay him. It's a flat rate for them. Right? And so when this days Facebook came around, they couldn't send, they say you need to pay to have friends. So, both of these markets, this is the Facebook market and the Wikipedia market are not places where you eEXPect money to flow from consumers. Facebook of course makes an enormous amount of money from advertisements in the education space. I, my current thought is I don't think we'll even need advertisements because there's actually a $1 trillion money float in the education space period. A lot of it is for human provided services like tutoring for certification. And so, the ex the objective of EXP is build this resource that the whole world can use for free finance the resource, but offering value added services that go into this trillion dollar budget. And if there are a hundred million people using the main product, some fraction of them, the ones with money will be interested in the value-added services. If you're, if you're actually delivering good services and actually for a more reasonable price, because it's being done on the internet for efficiently, the revenue from that will offset the cost of running the three service that teaches everyone from Nicaragua, Peru to New York city. So that's actually how the business model is structured. The idea is there's almost no variable cost here. So set the price to zero and then grow the site and monetize fraud. The people who have money, essentially redistributing the wealth to people who do not have money that was intriguing to investors. Because actually in some sense, if you're building the website, that will be the place that I need. My goal is to learn math and science and eventually other subjects. And it's a trillion-dollar market. There having some. So that's actually why I decided to go with a for-profit structure instead as enough profit structure. And the quote is that someday, if this actually is a mess, the valuable we'll even be able to route the money back in Japan in ways that we can do with our core competency, which happens to be technology.
Watson: Absolutely. That's a absolutely beautiful vision for what you're building. Um, as far as the clients or other organizations that you work with, uh, I know this is something that's still growing, but, uh, we mentioned some involvement with the environmental charter school, a school here in Pittsburgh, um, of the different teachers, faculty that are using EXP as a part of their curriculum. Um, what kind of feedback have you gotten? Uh, both positive and negative. And when you hear that negative feedback, what is your process for evaluating the validity? Of the negative criticism and making a change.
Shen-Loh: Yeah. Yeah. So I would say that right now, the number of users on EXP is actually very, very, very small in the sense that it's a, it's a contribution community. Uh, so people who are using it to consume are generally people who I guess have learned about it and are curious and are intrigued where we specifically didn't make a huge effort to broadcast this far in life, because I've learned a lot from our designers on our team who know way more than I do about that entire side of, of, of life and business. And rather than putting a product out in front of the whole world, which is not ready for mass consumption, it's better to iterate where you're showing it to small groups at a time, getting that feedback, learning from that feedback. And after you think you've actually managed to satisfy almost all of the concerns that you can, then you open up the--. You opened up the gates and you try to bring everyone in. So right now the teachers who have heard about it are teachers who I've met through, say meetups in Pittsburgh, I've gone. I've been going around to meet up some teachers. I've been, we sponsored an event called startup weekend education in Pittsburgh, and that was actually at the environmental charter school. That's how I met some of their administration and faculty. And I mean, in terms of feedback, I received, um, I received some, there was teacher. I met there, who I met at another meetup a month later. And that teacher told me I I've been addicted to your site. I've just been browsing around and reading the articles. They're really interesting. And I said, wow, that's great. I didn't actually realize that they were ready for consumption because these are just being created by people who are enthusiastic and interested. However, apparently there really has value there. Uh, we also went and exhibited at a Crenshaw for 9,000 math teachers converged. This was the biggest meeting of math teachers every year. And it happened to be in Boston this year. And the feedback that we got. That was also extremely positive from the teachers. When I showed up at the booth, I showed up a day late and the booth next to us was a group that I knew. And I asked them, how are you, how are you doing?And that, that the person who was standing there, so, wow, your booth is doing really well. I just keep hearing teachers exclaiming, how this is awesome. You know, I was coming in after the first day, right? So this was, this was what the nearby group I was thinking of what was going on in our group. And the teachers were really engaged. They had never seen something like this before, which actually puts into their hands, the ability to make these interactions. I should say the very important thing that this ads is that makes it, so you don't have to be a programmer to create a lesson that combines video question and answer pictures, diagrams. You can actually just do those as easily as if, almost as if you were writing in word, maybe a little bit more complicated, but still the barrier to entry. It was very, very, very well. And so we went, the teacher started, they were pretty excited. Now, of course we got feedback, which was very useful. So, um, negative feedback. In fact, in some sense, if you don't get negative feedback, you're not learning how to improve. And we told you about negative. We want, we want to learn from negative feedback. Um, how we respond to that is I'm very, very happy that our, that our lead designer is a person who is a CMU student, who actually ran a student organization. That's devoted to hacking, not hacking in a bad way. It's called Scotty labs. They create a lot of, they bring together a lot of students to create interesting projects. And he's a designer. And what I've learned from working with them on his team is that you want to take the feedback, which may be negative, and you want to break it down. You don't want, if someone just says, I don't like it, you ask them why now? What, what are the parts that you don't like? You start to identify the pain points that they're having. And you also start though, you also want to know what do you want to do? You understand their objective? So as you start to learn what their objective is and how the site currently is not letting them achieve their objective, you realize that yes, this needs to get fixed. And generally, I mean, I have this philosophy and not that, not that I have, I follow this philosophy that's well said, well, that doesn't involve that many people, which is that the user is right. In some sense, we're making a site for users and the users are saying that they're confused and don't know how to go from point a to point B, well you better show them. Right? So, so we, we actually really want to see all of these negative feedbacks and that's actually why we are slowly getting our site to them more and more publicity. We want to be able to see these feedback here, these feedbacks first iterate on them, improve and then released to other people.
Watson: That's great. Um, that's about all the time that we have for today. Um, we're going to wrap up with PO issuing a challenge for the listeners. So I'm going to hand the mic over to him one last time. So take it away.
Shen-Loh: Great, great. So what I would say is that, can I get two challenges?
Watson: Go for it.
Shen-Loh: because the first one is a general one and the second one is about EXP itself because I think the jungle is also very important. So for the general environment, I would say is, look at life. I'm trying to find some situation where everyone is doing something some way, but they're actually all raw. So that's actually what that's actually where some of this mathematical creative problem solving thinking comes in is that in my opinion, there are a lot of situations in life where things are being done, just because that's how they were done last year. Actually, this is, this is just true. And at some point that's just how. That doesn't mean that the best way to do it, that's actually how EXP was started. It's just that you look at what everyone's doing and maybe you think that they're wrong by the way you might be wrong, but at least find something where you think everyone else is wrong and then dwell on that for awhile and see whether or not you're right. I'll say that 99% of the time, you're wrong. I, this is my EXPerience. Most of the time I'm wrong, but sometimes I'm right. But that, those rare times when you're right, are moments of opportunity, something I would also, the other, the other call to action is that is regarding XD in the sense that again, what we're trying to do. So we're trying to improve the interest in math and science throughout the entire world. And if we think that this is actually good, that dramatically improves the human condition. So if you know any students or teachers or other people who are interested in education at all, there's something we're trying to do right now, which is to identify interestingly videos, which are already on YouTube, which can help to eliminate concepts in math. Either you could do this, or you can find people who might like to do this, find the video without EXP share, share these nuggets with the world, and you can do your part also to increase the interest in math and science worldwide.
Watson: That's okay. The challenge pro uh, that's EXP.com. I think we're going to have a lot of people at the very least checking it out. I'm sure some contributors will come from this. If anyone wants to connect with you or with, uh, EXP in general, outside of the website, is there any way that they can connect with you either on Twitter or something?
Shen-Loh: Absolutely. So on Twitter, we have a handle EXP, Inc. That's E X, P I I N C. We also have a Facebook page that Facebook page is also EXP and in general, we'll be running our campaigns, our information campaigns through these too, and feel free to communicate tweet to us messages on Facebook to hear.
Watson: Great. We just went deep with Po-Shen Loh, of EXP.com among many other impressive accomplishments. Uh, thank you to him for sharing his, his, uh, late morning with me and to everyone out there listening. Have a great day. Thanks.
Thank you, everybody out there for listening to that episode. Uh, once again, I apologize for the sound quality we will continue to try to do better in that regard, moving forward. Um, if you want to continue to connect with the show, um, stay up to date on everything that's coming up with the blog. I encourage you to follow us at Aaron Watson, 59 on Twitter, and to check out the firstname.lastname@example.org, there will be show notes for this and all, uh, episodes of the podcast at the website. Um, you can get links to EXP.com, other information about PO um, some other other interesting stuff there until next time, this has been the going deep podcast. Hope everyone has a great day.
Jason is a true kid at heart. Anything that involves play or being active is fair game for him. This very well could explain the hobbies he has enjoyed and the career path he's taken throughout the years. In his professional life, Jason serves as the Assistant Director for the Department of Intramurals & Recreation at the University of Pittsburgh. In his roll he helps to oversee all aspects of campus recreation for the University community, including club sports, intramural leagues, aquatics, special events and facility rentals. He also owns a physical activity directory called Active Cities.
Prior to working at Pitt, Jason was Director of Aquatics at Central York High School in York, PA. During his time there he oversaw all programs and operations for a brand new, state of the art natatorium. He was also the head coach and president of Central York Aquatics (CYA), a competitive age group swim team that he grew to include 140 members.
Jason earned Bachelor and Master Degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and was a member of the Varsity Swimming & Diving Team where he broke several team records, earned back to back MVP awards, earned Academic All-American status, and was the 2006 recipient of the Varsity Walk Blue-Gold Award. In 2008, Jason competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, placing 48th overall in the 100M Butterfly.
In his spare time Jason enjoys spending time with his wife (Megan), two kids (Jenna & Jacob) and two dogs (Riley & Carey). He also enjoys cycling, family runs, and of course working on his project, Active Cities.
Jason's points for success:
- Be observant of the world around you and always be thinking.
- Remain curious and continually explore new ideas.
- Never lose the desire to achieve, it's your driving force.
Connect with Jason
Active Cities Website
twitter - @activecities
Charlie Eisenhood is the Editor and Founder of Ultiworld, "the premier media site for the sport of ultimate". Charlie started Ultiworld in 2012 after graduating cum laude from NYU with a degree in economic theory. He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has worked at the Albuquerque Journal, Center for American Progress, and NYU Abu Dhabi before starting his own media site.
He has played ultimate since 2005 and captained the NYU team his senior year. He currently resides in Brooklyn and travels the country covering elite ultimate in all divisions and leagues.
The original article that inspired Charlie to launch Ultiworld.
Charlie's challenge to the listeners; Consider what you are doing with your life and if it is really fulfilling and meaningful. Make a change if it doesn't feel right.
Connect with Charlie
A self-described ‘activator and connector,’ Larry Gioia doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet (and thinks that sleep is overrated!)
Larry, a Pittsburgh native, graduated from Gannon University in 2004 and Carnegie Mellon in 2005. At Gannon, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems. During his sophomore year, Larry began exploring his entrepreneurial interests and started GioiaDesign.net, where he worked as an independent consultant advising Erie businesses as they established their presence on the Internet.
After Gannon, Larry went on to attend the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). It was here that he earned his Master of Information Systems Management degree. While at CMU, Larry continued his passion for leadership and entrepreneurship. He was the recipient of the MISM Student Leadership Award and also helped launch COMPackage.com, the Alphabot mobile app, and advised numerous other technology start-up ventures.
Upon graduation from CMU, Larry joined Diamond Management & Technology Consultants in 2005 as a technology consultant. Diamond was later acquired by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 2011. At PwC, Larry serves as a Senior Director in PwC’s Health Industries Advisory technology consulting practice. As a digital architect and thinking partner, Larry has worked alongside healthcare executives and innovators across the healthcare ecosystem – predominately in big pharma. He is passionate about the future of healthcare and how technology is disrupting the delivery and consumption of health services in the New Health Economy.
Beyond his work at PwC, Larry remains active with his alma maters and also in the Pittsburgh community. Larry is a regular guest lecturer at CMU on the topics of leadership, consulting, enterprise architecture, and technology trends, he has sponsored four IS capstone projects, serves as the lead for PwC Advisory recruiting efforts across campus, serves as an alumni mentor, and is the recipient of the 2015 Carnegie Mellon Alumni Meritorious Service Award.
Larry also proudly served Gannon as a Director on the National Alumni Board from 2011-2013, was a speaker at the inaugural Gannon Ongoing Leadership Development (GOLD) Conference in 2013, and is a recipient of the 2015 Gannon Distinguished Alumni Award.
In his community, Larry serves on the Board of Directors of two Pittsburgh-based non-profits - Find Some Flow and Paddle Without Pollution, he volunteers as a Trip Leader with Venture Outdoors, and serves on the organizing committee of PwC’s United Way Giving Campaign.
Larry still actively maintains his entrepreneurial interests as the Founder of Dynamic Paddlers – a kayaking school which specializes in kayak instruction for people with disabilities and the Co-Founder of the Pittsburgh Adaptive Sports Network (PASN) – a consortium of adaptive sports/recreation organizations from around the greater Pittsburgh area. Most recently, Larry helped launch the Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative – a global social experiment that aims to measure to the ripple effect of human kindness and ‘paying it forward.’
When not jet setting around the country on business or connecting the dots in the community, it’s a safe bet that you can find Larry in the outdoors taking advantage of the multitude of outlets we have in the region to stay active. Larry resides in Pittsburgh, PA and enjoys spending time (usually in the outdoors!) with family, friends, his better half, Maria Balestrino, and their dog, Bruna.
Larry's (2 week) Challenge: Every day for a week, meet one new person or find something new about one person you already know. In the second week, connect every one of those seven people with another one of those seven people. Always be connecting the dots!
Connect with Larry on Social Media
Follow on Twitter at @LGin412
Connect on LinkedIn
Follow on Twitter at @DynamicPaddlers
Pittsburgh Adaptive Sports Network
Follow on Twitter at @AdaptPittsburgh
Pittsburgh Kindness Initiative
Follow on Twitter at @bekindPGH
Dynamic Paddlers on NextPittsburgh
Adaptive Equipment Breakdown on Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Adaptive Sports Network on Pittsburgh Business Times
When I finally decided to start this podcast, "Mick" was the first person I asked to be on the show. He has been an amazing mentor, teammate and friend to me over the years and is always up for a great conversation.
We recorded in a shared work space that he occupies when putting in hours for Zero Six Eight. He is the Director of Case Management there and runs their Twitter @zero068.
He is also very involved with the Pittsburgh chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. They just won national agency of the year for the work that they are doing in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.
Michael's Challenge; Put other people's problems ahead of your own. This completely typifies Mike's personal philosophy and I encourage you to make a greater effort to incorporate this into your own life.
Connect with him on Twitter @paxnobiscum