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From Languages to Owl-gebra - Duolingo's Journey | Slush 2023

Published
December 8, 2023
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3
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Updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
From Languages to Owl-gebra - Duolingo's Journey | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Severin Hacker, Co-founder & CTO at Duolingo, joins Alex Stöckl, Founding Partner at Wingman Ventures.

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

Introduction and Background

  • Alex and Severin, the co-founder of Duolingo, have a lively conversation about their journey, emphasizing the remarkable growth and success of their language learning application.
  • Severin engages the audience by asking about their Duolingo usage streaks, demonstrating the app's popularity and active user base.
  • Alex shares an amusing anecdote about a past misunderstanding regarding Duolingo's owl mascot, highlighting the brand's recognition and impact.
  • Alex praises Severin for the successful brand he has built with Duolingo, which is now a globally recognized language learning application.

Building Duolingo: Milestones and Challenges

  • Alex discusses Duolingo's impressive IPO and its significant market capitalization growth despite economic challenges.
  • Severin emphasizes Duolingo's focus on their long-term vision and commitment to building a lasting company over optimizing short-term stock prices.
  • They discuss key milestones in Duolingo's journey, including the impactful launch of mobile apps and the introduction of subscriptions.
  • Alex probes into the memorable moments and challenges encountered in building Duolingo, underscoring the importance of perseverance and adaptability in entrepreneurship.

Expanding Beyond Language Learning

  • Alex questions Duolingo's recent expansion into other learning areas such as math and music.
  • Severin explains that this expansion aligns with Duolingo's mission to provide universally accessible education, not just language learning.
  • They delve into how the Duolingo method can be adapted to teach other subjects, acknowledging the challenge of changing perceptions about learning, especially for adults.

The Impact of AI on Language Learning

  • Alex raises the potential disruption of AI in language learning and its implications for Duolingo.
  • Severin sees AI as a significant opportunity for Duolingo to enhance its tutoring capabilities and improve the learning experience.
  • Despite advances in AI translation technology, they underscore the continued relevance and importance of learning languages for cultural immersion and personal development.
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