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#164 CEO and Co-Founder Duolingo, Luis von Ahn: "The Pitch Was Never Pittsburgh"

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Manage episode 383500404 series 2662695
Content provided by Joubin Mirzadegan. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by Joubin Mirzadegan or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

Guest: Luis von Ahn, CEO and co-founder of Duolingo

When Luis von Ahn wanted to go to college in the United States, he had to take a standardized test called the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language. But there was nowhere in his home country of Guatemala that could accommodate another test-taker, so he flew to war-torn El Salvador, just to take the TOEFL. Many years later, as the co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, Luis and his team “decided this type of thing, we could do a lot better.” Today, more than 4,500 universities accept the results of the online Duolingo English Test — a boon for the estimated 2 billion people currently learning English around the world.

In this episode, Luis and Joubin discuss returning to the office, Carnegie Mellon, identifying strivers, the “Luis dashboard,” ignoring Reddit, pre-meetings, the hardest part of learning, sounding dumb, private security, the job of a professor, digitizing books,
working out every day, April Fools’ campaigns, Duo the owl, and hiring nice people.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Working in Pittsburgh, in-person (00:57)
  • How Duolingo hires (06:48)
  • Growing up in Guatemala (10:29)
  • Luis’ parents, intelligence, and drive (12:09)
  • His morning routine (16:56)
  • Ground truth (19:39)
  • “The smaller the team, the better” (22:29)
  • Language education and human behavior (24:32)
  • Learning English (28:53)
  • Back to Guatemala (32:03)
  • CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA (36:10)
  • Money vs. impact (41:26)
  • Luis’ TEDx Talk and public speaking tips (44:46)
  • Love Language and nontraditional marketing (48:46)
  • Doubling down on what works (53:27)
  • Slow hiring (56:44)
  • Would Luis ever start something new? (59:28)
  • Who Duolingo is hiring and what “grit” means to Luis (01:01:46)

Links:

  continue reading

196 episodes

Artwork
iconShare
 
Manage episode 383500404 series 2662695
Content provided by Joubin Mirzadegan. All podcast content including episodes, graphics, and podcast descriptions are uploaded and provided directly by Joubin Mirzadegan or their podcast platform partner. If you believe someone is using your copyrighted work without your permission, you can follow the process outlined here https://player.fm/legal.

Guest: Luis von Ahn, CEO and co-founder of Duolingo

When Luis von Ahn wanted to go to college in the United States, he had to take a standardized test called the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language. But there was nowhere in his home country of Guatemala that could accommodate another test-taker, so he flew to war-torn El Salvador, just to take the TOEFL. Many years later, as the co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, Luis and his team “decided this type of thing, we could do a lot better.” Today, more than 4,500 universities accept the results of the online Duolingo English Test — a boon for the estimated 2 billion people currently learning English around the world.

In this episode, Luis and Joubin discuss returning to the office, Carnegie Mellon, identifying strivers, the “Luis dashboard,” ignoring Reddit, pre-meetings, the hardest part of learning, sounding dumb, private security, the job of a professor, digitizing books,
working out every day, April Fools’ campaigns, Duo the owl, and hiring nice people.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Working in Pittsburgh, in-person (00:57)
  • How Duolingo hires (06:48)
  • Growing up in Guatemala (10:29)
  • Luis’ parents, intelligence, and drive (12:09)
  • His morning routine (16:56)
  • Ground truth (19:39)
  • “The smaller the team, the better” (22:29)
  • Language education and human behavior (24:32)
  • Learning English (28:53)
  • Back to Guatemala (32:03)
  • CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA (36:10)
  • Money vs. impact (41:26)
  • Luis’ TEDx Talk and public speaking tips (44:46)
  • Love Language and nontraditional marketing (48:46)
  • Doubling down on what works (53:27)
  • Slow hiring (56:44)
  • Would Luis ever start something new? (59:28)
  • Who Duolingo is hiring and what “grit” means to Luis (01:01:46)

Links:

  continue reading

196 episodes

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