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Christine Outram

Christine Outram is the CEO of Everydae— an education company aiming to provide affordable, fun and personalized learning.

What does the future of education look like?
What does the future of education look like?

What does the future of education look like?

Ep
77
Apr
06
With
Christine Outram
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What does the future of education look like?

Christine Outram is the CEO of Everydae— an education company aiming to provide affordable, fun and personalized learning to each and every student. As a former architect, MIT graduate and self-proclaimed "systems thinker," she and her team are leading the race to create the world's smartest digital tutor to give families all over the world the custom-tailored education they're looking for.

Christine describes Everydae as the digital tutor in your pocket for high school. And what’s really unique about this online learning platform is how adaptive and custom it really is.

Every student learns and processes information in their own way, but rather than focus on the different types of learners, Everydae recognizes students’ aptitude across a different set of micro skills. This helps Everydae academics assess the students’ level of proficiency in certain areas and identify where they can help fill in the gaps.

Christine noticed something very intriguing about the power of online content; that a 30-minute video can teach you relatively the same thing you would in a classroom. On top of that, she recognizes that teenagers have pretty slim attention spans, and heavier plates than we realize. So, to accommodate, everything is broken down into 10 minute micro lessons so no matter how many extra curriculars, homework assignments, or projects need to get done, students can make the time for an Everydae lesson.

Through data tracking and analyzing students’ progress, Everydae can identify where students are progressing, and where they’re falling behind. This gives the Everydae academics the chance to step in and guide the students towards grasping new material.

If you're a fan of what we do here at The Futur and our mission to change education, then you do not want to miss this episode.

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Episode Transcript

Christine:
Our in house team of academics do have to write a lot of content. So this is something that happens when you create adaptive programs. Is that instead of writing, 400 SAT questions for students to do, you need about 6,000.

Greg:
Hello and welcome to The Futur podcast. My name is Greg Gunn and I'm the producer of the show. Now normally you'd hear Chris introduce the episode and I might chime in with the timely equip, but the world has changed in the last couple of weeks. We're in the middle of a global pandemic. And at least here in Los Angeles, everyone is self isolating and working from home including us here at the future. Now I hope you are staying safe, healthy, and sane as you possibly can be during these strange and scary times. Thank God for podcasts. Right? Today's guest is the CEO of Everydae, an education company aiming to provide affordable, fun and personalized learning to each and every student. As a former architect, MIT grad and self-proclaimed systems thinker, she and her team are leading the race to create the world's smartest digital tutor and to bring families all over the world the custom tailored education that they're looking for. If you're a fan of what we do here at The Futur and our mission to change education, then you do not want to miss this episode. Please enjoy our conversation with Christine Outram.

Christine:
So the way I think about it is that, we know a lot about teaching in classrooms and teaching face to face. We have kind of hundreds of years of experience in this. And teachers know how to motivate students and they've read the room and they adapt their lessons based on what's happening. And also which students are in the room, and how they struggle, and which ones are good at things with students are bad at things. When we shifted to online education, we did none of that. All we did is, we took content that from offline. So for instance, a lecture series. If there was 12 lectures in a course, all we did is just put those 12 lectures online and we expected students to grind through that themselves. And it was a big promise in education, was suddenly making all of the world's information free and wasn't ... is going to be amazing. Everybody's going to get degrees in whatever thing that they want to get, and it just hasn't happened. And so only about 5% of people complete online courses right now. And I think we can do a better job.

Chris:
Yes.

Christine:
So if the medium has changed, we have to change the design. And so that's kind of what I think about how do we engage our students more effectively. How do we get them coming back? And how do we get them excited to learn on their own so that you have self directed learning.

Chris:
Now you're pointing out some things that I think you're being very generous. And I like that. And I'm very optimistic because you were talking about how when we teach in person, we change the material depending on how it's being received. And I think that's a hallmark of a really great teacher. But I've been in lecture halls before, where it's just a train. The train starts at destination A and end to destination B and they could care less if you're sleeping on the floor, or if you're writing notes, or text messaging, or whatever it is. They just could care less. And I think that's a really good sign of a really great teacher. They're adjusting the content or asking questions of the room, and they're reading the room as you say. So I get that. So now if we could just put that as a special category of teachers. All right?

Christine:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
So that's the benchmark. And when we go online, obviously there are some problems here because where are the faces of our students? How do they engage with us? And if we're just recording a video lecture, yes, you're right. That's just one way of teaching. Probably not the most effective. And I myself have been in situations where I'm desperately wanting to learn something. But the way that the teacher's speaking to me right now, I'm falling asleep. I can't stay awake. I'm literally slapping myself in the face. I pay attention and it's killing me. So in a technological way, how are we able to read the room with virtual students?

Christine:
This is what's so exciting. And it's a vision that I think online educators have been talking about for a while, but it's now only possible. So what we've been working on is a truly adaptive system. So pretty much if you came to us, we would be able to diagnose your strengths and your weaknesses through a little diagnostic quiz. And we'd have an understanding of kind of where you're at in the classroom. From there, we can start to individually serve you either mini lessons or questions or content and we keep adjusting that content as you're studying. So it's about kind of helping you maximize improvement in the minimum amount of time. The real goal here is that if I give you something to do online, you have a 70% likelihood of getting that correct. Because 70% is just hot enough to stretch you, but it's not so hard you want to quit.

Christine:
And every student's level is going to be different. So that's what we really have to intimately understand who you are through data tracking and through your performance data in order to understand what we're going to give you next. Versus a one size fits none, kind of linear process where we just take you from A to B and expect you to kind of get there yourself. So that's really the Holy Grail, is how do we start to adapt to you in real time. Just the way that an excellent teacher would, just the way that an excellent tutor who's working with you. We'd see, "Oh wait, you're struggling with this concept. Let me show you something else right now that will help you get that, that then you can build on to do the next thing." So yeah, that's what we're working on.

Chris:
So let me understand this, you're using software and algorithm to match the learning style of the student to the course or curriculum. So if I understand that correctly then, the teacher must then create a lot of different content to teach the same material. Is that the case?

Christine:
That's right. So with Everydae, we're an online SAT math product right now. We look to be the digital tutor in your pocket for all of high school. So that's kind of the expansion that we're going for, so that we can be kind of your digital companion for any course that you're doing. We don't have any live teachers in the product. It's all self driven and digital. And that's exactly right. We look at what your strengths and weaknesses are, and then we try and match what you need and teach you. Our in house team of academics do have to write a lot of content. So this is something that happens when you create adaptive programs. Is that instead of writing 400 SAT questions for students to do, you need about 6,000 per course in order to make it adaptive. That's because some students might struggle with something for quite a while so we need to keep serving them the content so that they can actually get it right.

Chris:
Based on the survey or the diagnostic quiz that you give students, what are the primary types of students? Can you put them in different buckets for me to understand the different types of learners?

Christine:
So it's less about the different types of learners and it's more about the aptitude across the different set of micro skills. So what we do is, we take any course and we divide it up into these tiny little micro skills and each of those micro skills is weighted based on how important it is to other skills. And then also, how important it is based on your final exam and then your personal aptitude and what your goals are. So we kind of, when we're assessing what your level of proficiency is across these micro skills and then we can identify the gaps and start to fill those in.

Chris:
I see. And so then, can I assume then the software is also checking that initial analysis? We think you're this kind of learner, so we're waiting these questions this way. So we're going to serve you up the best content that's adaptive to you. And maybe it kind of was lower than my aptitude. And so then, does it start to serve me different kinds of content?

Christine:
Yeah, that's right. So let's say you get something ... there's a few different ways you could do, like adaptivity. One of them is that it's serves you different content. So Hey, you're not doing well with linear equations. Maybe that's because you don't have a good basis in this other fundamental skill. Let's go back and see how you're doing with that. Once you've mastered that, then let's come back to those linear equations. That would be an example. Another way to adapt it is, on time as well. So if you and I is studying for the same test, but you start ... you're a very studious student and you start, kind of three or four months ahead of the test. But I'm not very studious. I start only three weeks before the test, then you and I should see fundamentally different content. And we should also see different suggestions on how much we should do every day.

Christine:
You might only need to do 10 minutes a day because you started four months before. I probably had three weeks before. I need to do at least an hour a day. And you might also want to get a top score and I might not want to get a top score. I might be going to a university that doesn't require, Ivy league status. So for me, I don't need to know all those micro skills, whereas you better know all of them. So you can adapt on a number of different levels based on what your goals are and what your aptitudes are.

Chris:
That makes a lot of sense. It's very logical because, if I have more time to study the same content, then I'll probably need less of it. And not that you're cramming, but say three weeks out, maybe it's kind of that idea. So you need a lot more in a short period of time. And your goals are different. So-

Christine:
That's right.

Chris:
Does each student state their goal before they enter into the program?

Christine:
They do. We've spent a lot of time designing the onboarding for this product and this is where again I think that it's a design task. The design of the experience and really starting to get these inputs. So we ask you things like, have you taken the SAT before? What's your goal score? What's your dream school? What's your aspirational thing that you want to get out of this? What your previous schools are? How you've done when you're graduating? All of those questions get inputted into your profile, which helps us then create your initial journey or study journey.

Chris:
So let me just sum this up. So it seems to me your unique selling proposition here is, your onboarding wizard that helps evaluate students, their goals, tailors content to them, and it's constantly checking against that. It's also using other methods of measurement to see if this is working for you or not. This sounds fantastic to me. So this sounds very superior to anything that's out there.

Christine:
I'd say there's other companies that are dabbling in this too, so we're probably not the only ones.

Chris:
I'm not aware of them, I pretend they don't exist. I'm going to stick my head in the sand and say you're the only one

Christine:
I would love to be the only one but there are other companies dabbling in this as well. I think the other key thing to what we do is, we see online content right now, as these kind of one hour long sessions. Hey, watch this 30 minute video, then try these problems. We break everything into 10 minute micro lessons. We know that teenage attention spends are short and we know that teenagers are quite frankly really, really busy. We surveyed our students and they only sleep six hours a night.

Christine:
They have excessive amounts of homework. They have extracurriculars, they have family activities, and they just quite honestly don't have time to study. So we broke everything into 10 minute micro lessons, which gives you a small sense of achievement every time you complete something. And it also allows us to kind of more easily do that activity. So I think that's really resonating with parents because parents don't want to drive across town and put you in a three hour prep course on a Saturday and kids ... do that either. So, it's kind of adapting to where they are.

Chris:
So do you have metrics now of the kinds of progress that you're making with students who have gone through your program?

Christine:
Starting to, yeah. We also have this thing called the readiness score. And it's basically a proprietary way of understanding how ready you are for the exam on exam day. So you unlock it after your first 16 little challenges and then the idea is to get to 100% ready. We're seeing students improve. So we're seeing them come in, do in some cases just a couple of challenges a day. In other cases as they get closer to the exam more. And they see that number tick ups say definitely kind of getting to that academic efficacy.

Chris:
All right. So I have a bunch of questions for you now. Now that I understand what you're doing and this is wonderful because I think there are some educators who listened to our program and in light of what's going on just to contextualize this. I think we're all learning about the importance of distance based learning and not just because of the virus that's going around, but I just think this is the future. It's more accessible. We're using technology to expand and scale. Just probably in my opinion, the best teachers should be the ones teaching and not everybody should be teaching. And this is a way for us to expand our reach. I want to hear it now about your story. What motivated you from going from being a designer to an architect. And do all the crazy cool stuff that you do into what you're doing now?

Christine:
I really am fascinated by solving just big problems. And I think I always have been. And the kind of two threads in my career is definitely tech and design. I started out as an architect honestly because my brother thought I'd be good at it. So that's what I went and did. And for those who have that training, you know that it's one of the best combinations of left brain, right brain. You really become a systems thinker because you have to understand how the building's going to stand up. But at the same time, it's about creating a vision and it's about understanding how that building sits in the landscape amongst other buildings and combining those. And having the skill to think in 3D was honestly the best training I've ever had.

Christine:
But the thing that always frustrated with me with architecture was that it took too long to build anything. If anyone who's in that industry knows that it's a lot of red tape and it's hard to get the building out there and you can't change the building once it's out there either. So I was lucky enough as you can probably hear, I'm Australian and I did my architecture degree in Australia. And then I was lucky enough to come to the US and do two years more research at MIT around design and cities and smart cities. And it's where I really got introduced into the tech world. And the iPhone came out at that time as well. And I was like, "Wait, this thing's really cool, not only can we put something out there that people can use, but we can see how they're using it. We can adapt it, we can change it. It had a much faster iteration cycle." And that was something that really excited me. So yeah, that led me there and I've just kept building ever since.

Chris:
So now I have some questions about just the business and you and your role. I see that you're the CEO of the company. How are you able to do this? I mean, how many people do you employ? Did you get funding? I want to hear this whole origin story of how Everydae came about.

Christine:
Honestly, it's a fantastic story. At least I think so. So I was at a previous company called DogVacay in LA and this was a startup. It got sold to Rover.com. And so I was ... they shut the LA office down because Rover's based up in Seattle. And I was just freelancing with a bunch of people and I met somebody who I had actually been introduced to about five years before via email because we both kind of share a passion for education, but we didn't have ... actually manage to connect. And this guy is Chad Troutwine and he had started a company called Veritas Prep. So Veritas Prep was the largest privately owned test prep Admissions consulting company in the world. Very successful. And Chad had been thinking for a long time about how to do online learning. And also his business partner, Marcus. And they'd done a lot of traditional in person tutoring in person classes. And he'd got and introduced to me and actually asked me to come in and do a design thinking workshop for them around how to conceptualize this new product that they wanted to do around self directed learning.

Christine:
So I came in and as sometimes happens when you're freelancing, you do a workshop and then they're like, "Wait, can we hire you?" And you're like "No, I'm not ready yet." And they're like, "No, really?" And you're like, "Okay, I'll do it freelance." And then I did three weeks freelance with them, realized what an incredible team they were, and ended up staying and building out a product called Orion, which was also an adaptive learning product. Fast forward to 2018 and Veritas Prep got sold. But there was one piece of the business that we didn't sell and that was some of the algorithms we've developed full at the adaptive learning program. At the time at Veritas Prep, I was the chief product officer. But then Chad was like, "Look, let's spin out a new company. And I think it's time for you to step into that CEO role." So he became chairman and I became CEO and we started Everydae.

Chris:
Beautiful story. So you've been running since 2018 or that's when you guys started?

Christine:
So we sold at the end of 2018 Veritas Prep. So we started Everydae the start of 2019. We took a little bit of time to figure out which market we wanted to go into. We'd previously worked with the G math, so the exam to get into business school, that was pretty much our bread and butter and we've got very good at that. But it's a small market. Not that many people take the exam. So we were thinking, how can we take this technology, have a much bigger impact? And that really is high school. And helping students not only get from 9th grade through 12th grade, but also from 12th grade into college or career.

Christine:
So it's very expensive right now for most families to help their kids. Most kids need help, but only about 15% of families can afford tutoring or supplementary education. So there's this massive gap between the haves and the have nots. We're seeing these kind of in test scores as well. So we want to take technology and use it to create an affordable product that can be your companion throughout all those four years and help you in a really personalized way. And that's the goal. So, affordable fun. Yeah, we say fun, education can be fun, and affordable fun and then also personalized to each student.

Chris:
How do you guys structure your fees? Is it monthly? Is it a flat fee? How does those work?

Christine:
From $19 a month. And then we also have a yearly subscription as well. So for $99. That's our SAT math program.

Chris:
That sounds pretty affordable. So-

Christine:
Yeah.

Chris:
The $99, you save some money if you sign up for the year.

Christine:
Definitely.

Chris:
Quite a bit actually

Christine:
Right now though, I mean because of COVID-19, and a lot of people kind of transitioning online, we are actually giving Everydae for free. For anyone who signs up now with an incentive of a chance to win $500 as well. If you are a regular study, so we have a little giveaway going on right now.

Chris:
Do I need to do ... as punch in any special code or just go to the site?

Christine:
Win 500. But if you go to the site, there'll be a little banner on the top as well, which will give you that code too.

Chris:
So for everybody who's listening, what is the website address?

Christine:
Everydae.com and that's spelled with D-A-E not D-A-Y.

Chris:
So you guys got that. So Everydae is spelled E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-E .com. And the code to win 500 is win 500?

Christine:
That's right.

Chris:
We're going to take a quick break, but we'll be right back.

Greg:
Hey, Greg Gunn from The Futur here. That's right. It's me again. Now the Futur's mission is to teach 1 billion creatives how to make money doing what they love without feeling gross about it. Now maybe you're in school, but you feel you're not getting what you need. Or maybe you're me and sold all of your internal organs to pay for private art school tuition, but it's been awhile and you want to sharpen up some of those skills. Well fortunately for you, we have a bunch of courses and products designed specifically to help you become a smarter and more versatile creative. Design courses like Typography, Logo Design, and Color for Creatives. Go deep into the design fundamentals that you need to know and command in order to be successful. Check out all of our courses and products about learning design by visiting thefutur.com/design. Welcome back to our conversation with Christine Outram.

Chris:
How active is your student body right now?

Christine:
We have a bunch of super users. So these are people who come in and do at least two or three challenges a day. Each challenge is designed to be about seven minutes long. So those tiny bite sized pieces and yeah, it's surprising actually looking into our user base. We're skewing younger than I thought we would. It's not just people who are taking the SAT exam it's people who are just wanting to get better at math and wanting to prepare themselves for even the PSAT exam. Which is the pre SAT.

Chris:
Yup.

Christine:
And yeah, so we even have some middle schoolers in there who love us as well. So, that's pretty interesting. One of the things we noticed in our very initial pilot is that we texted people every day and said, Hey, there's a new challenge. And that increased our engagement rates to about 70% of people in a pilot program actually doing a challenge every day. Which was quite impressive numbers, but a very short period of time. And quite a small group. So we've just launched text message reminders now not only to students, but a large proportion of our students also connect to their parents as well. Give us their information. So we'd like to keep the parents informed also. So if your student is doing well, we'll let you know and kind of create that connection so that you can cheer them on. But we're tracking the engagement numbers now with that new text message feature, then we should have that within a couple of weeks. Some of the early data.

Chris:
So it sounds like you're doing all the right things. You're creating micro courses or lessons that are for the ever forever. The shrinking attention span of people these days. It's like the Twitter version of learning, so it's getting shorter and shorter so that people can actually do it. And I think that it really ties into this idea of accomplishment because I feel like I got something done and if I knock out one module, no matter what, I could check that off my list. And that you're also speaking in their language by text messaging and gamifying some of this process. And you're also giving parents some transparency into what's going on with reporting. And that probably eases a lot of the minds of parents that are concerned, is Johnny or Mary getting any of this or are they even doing it? Because we see them in their room but we'd have no idea what's happening. So that's pretty awesome.

Christine:
Right.

Chris:
So here's the pivot for you. If I'm listening to this and I'm thinking ... I'm in the creative space, this is kind of a large part of our audience. Can the ideas that you're sharing about adaptive learning be applied to things that are non linear in term ... or non binary I should say where there isn't a right or wrong answer. Like I want to design a logo and I want to teach a course on logo design. How do I use adaptive learning, or what you've learned thus far to increase the engagement and also the results of what people were doing?

Christine:
That's a fantastic question. It's something we've been thinking about as well as we move beyond the SAT. Because, we will start to get into courses that ... for instance, US history. I mean, there are some right and wrong answers there, but there's also some interpretation. And some freeform kind of writing that might come through. So applying it to design is fascinating. I wonder whether ... and I'm just spitballing here because, I haven't actually thought too much about this, but I wonder ... we do have some kind of rules of thumb I think when it comes to design and kind of how we approach things. I think some process oriented things as well for instance, and many people have many different processes. So what I would probably do is, I would start to unpack some of the process that we do.

Christine:
For instance, exploring previous things that other people have done or thinking about the constraints that we have when we come to a design problem. And it would be less for me about, Hey, this is exactly what you have to do, this is the right and wrong answer in a multiple choice, pick A. And more about, have you got, checked some of the questions that may help your own design process? So it could be more process oriented. I mean, one of the things that I say constantly when I'm working without designers and when I'm designing things for myself here is, when you design a webpage or any page I ask three questions, That is, what's the primary thing you want someone to do on this page? What's the primary thing you want them to understand? And what's the primary thing you want them to feel?

Christine:
And it's a great kind of shortcut to evaluate your own work because you can be like, "Hey, am I really getting this feeling across?" And you can ask other people, "What do you feel once you see this webpage, or once you see this app design or anything else, what do you think the thing is I want you to do? What do you understand if you walk away halfway through?" And so, that to me is kind of a process oriented thing and we could probably use some sort of adaptivity to understand where the people are understanding that process. I'm not sure that, that's a very clear answer.

Chris:
So you're saying there's still some work to be done here?

Christine:
There's still some work to be done here.

Chris:
Yes. Because I'm very excited about this, but I'm just trying to connect dots for people who are listening because my community is mostly creative and the ideas are wonderful. If we can find out the learning style or the speed or the aptitude of our student and tailor our content to them, that would be an amazing first giant step.

Christine:
Yeah. Maybe it's not about the actual practical process of designing, maybe it's about the learning aspect. And for instance, if you study typography, there are certain things that you should probably read and probably do and probably understand. And so, it's about how do you build your own body of knowledge before you go off and try it for yourself. So I definitely could see some adaptivity in that, in some of the texts that we read that are fundamental to out design practice, and not design education.

Chris:
All right. So I guess the reason why I asked you this question earlier about the learning styles, because that's how I interpreted your ... the onboarding quiz is because I've been teaching for a number of years and I've kind of come to figure out that there are three types of students. Especially when it comes to design. And I may be simplifying this a little bit but the first type of student, is the one that you just tell them what the high level thing is. They read the table of contents and they understand the book from the table of contents. So we'll call it a type one learner.

Chris:
The type two learner needs to hear a story as a fable or something like that. And through the story making it, extract their own meaning from it. So if you tell them the table contents is not going to work, but if you tell them a story, they'll insert themselves. And we'll call that type two. And the third type of learner is one that's like, "I don't care what you say, I don't care about the story because every learning experience is unique, and individual and I'm an individual, I need to do it." So they need to ... they're kind of these kinesthetic learners where they at least need to get their hands into something.

Chris:
And it was a surprise to me at the time, not so much today when I pulled my class and I gave them some examples and I was shocked to discover almost all my students, big majority was the type three learner. Now it was a shock to me because I'm a type one learner. So I was teaching them my style and I was like, "Why can't they understand this? I just ... What is wrong with me?" Yeah, it's so easy. I just told you like this, just go do it. And it's then no surprise to me that a lot of art and design education is just buying a house and then you find out what the problems are. Or design a logo or a brochure and then through doing it, and critiquing, and they start to adjust and they start to learn that way.

Christine:
I love this idea. I love this insight. Firstly, I mean you've obviously been teaching for a long time. So you have that kind of understanding of students and I love this idea that we can adapt the style of teaching to those different students. We talk a lot about productive struggle in education, which is where it's not just watch and regurgitate. There's a lot of stuff on the web which is like, "Watch what I do, now do it." And we call that watch and regurgitate. Versus productive struggle where you give someone the framework but then you let them go and get through it themselves. And I could definitely see even through those kind of top types of learners that you've just identified that we could start to differentiate the style in which we give lectures and we have to teach. Fascinating.

Chris:
Yeah. Because the analogy is, we all theoretically learned to ride a bicycle and it's not that we did it through reading a manual about how to ride a bicycle or sitting in a classroom watching other people ride bicycles. It's get on the bicycle, fall a couple of times and you learn it forever. Right? But then, we continued to teach the first two types and it's kind of messing my brain up. So once I came to this realization, and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, didn't come to me until much later in my teaching career. Like, "Oh my gosh, this is what's happening." I started to design all my teaching materials to hit all three types.

Christine:
You're one of those amazing teachers.

Chris:
I try to be, I'm not saying that I am. Where I say, "Okay, here's the big idea you guys, let me tell you a story about this thing, and now I want you to do something." And then they would do that. So, there's hybrid learners, so they touch a little bit of the story. They kind of want to know where they're going. But then ultimately, the best type that I've figured out in terms of ways of learning is, they've got to get their hands dirty.

Christine:
Yeah. That's ... I mean, in Everydae we actually don't give you much instruction upfront. We just throw you in there with the idea that if you're struggling, we can then identify that and give you a helping hand. But there's something amazing that happens in the brain when you just go in and try something. You're really are kind of connecting these pathways that you can then re-access next time that you're doing it. Versus if you're just simply following the instructions. So copying then, we know that that doesn't actually get you very far in the creative process. It doesn't allow you to get to those breakthrough moments where you have that aha and things just click into place.

Chris:
So I have a ... I want to put you on the spot, so I'm asking you a personal question. Is that okay?

Christine:
Yeah.

Chris:
How were your SAT scores?

Christine:
Well I'm Australian, so I didn't do the SAT.

Chris:
You didn't? You're going to escape all these questions?

Christine:
Great escape. Right? We had a similar exam. I fell into that category probably of trying to memorize and wrote and cram, I did. And it honestly took me about ... And this even actually followed me through to my architecture degree as well. But my architecture degree broke the habit. Because, that's the beauty of being in a creative industry is that you come to the realization that you can't do that. That's not actually going to ever get you to a breakthrough. So, I had to kind of stop doing it and not be afraid. A lot of it's fear. A lot of people wrote, learn or copy out of fear of timelines of not doing something that looks right or it looks good. And that's really hard to overcome.

Chris:
So if you had to take the test today, given you're the CEO of this company, how would you do, are you learning it? Are you just mostly above all that stuff?

Christine:
I'm the guinea pig of the company-

Chris:
Oh you are?

Christine:
Myself and a couple of our engineers. So our academics team they write these kind of micro lessons and we all do it in house.

Chris:
So are you a math wiz?

Christine:
Getting there-

Chris:
Really?

Christine:
Kind of learning those micro skills. I do have kind of very much left and right brain and this is probably is kind of training from architecture as well. So, I try and have a mix and it's probably why I was always deeper into UX and experience design than visual design, all kinds of things. A little more pure on the creative. So yeah, systems thinker.

Chris:
Beautiful. I got two more questions for you. Looking externally down the horizon a little bit, what opportunities are you seeing for Everydae and what kind of threats are you aware of?

Christine:
Great question. So I really want to have an impact in families that haven't been able to just have traditionally access tutoring and supplemental education that can help their kids succeed. That's an overarching goal that we have in the company. To do that, I 100% believe that we can use technology to create a digital assistant, firstly for high school and from 9th grade through 12th grade and up into college or career. But then expanding that out into college, into adult education, even into K-8 market as well. So digital tutor for everybody. We'd sometimes call it a digital Aristotle. Aristotle was your companion who knew everything. I could help you whatever you needed. Say kind of that's part of the vision. Digital Aristotle.

Christine:
The other thing we talk about is building a learning genome for each student. So every student's fundamentally different and we can assess their performance data across academic subjects. If they do well on the SAT, that should absolutely impact what they see with their ACT, with their algebra, but with something else. We do need to have these interoperable system. And so that comes from building a learning genome. So that's the big, big vision or big goal. I think right now, there's a lot of discussion about will the SAT even exist in a few years? There's college admissions scandals and even for the team, some of the exams have postponed. I do believe it will be a lot of high schools use the SAT as an exit exam, so not just an entrance exam into college. And we're always going to have some form of standardized testing. But for us, I think, we'll move beyond that fairly rapidly and then kind of get into other subjects. So probably the biggest threat is just, existential threats of the industry.

Chris:
Those are big threats though.

Christine:
Yeah. It is.

Chris:
Don't you think that high schools should just buy bulk subscriptions for their students and just make that part of the education? Because if you think about it, I mean schools they need to be measured. They need to be held accountable for something. So if they have a large portion of students performing really well and their SAT and get into good universities later on, it just looks good for them.

Christine:
Yeah.

Chris:
Because I thought about this before. Yes, high school is important to learn lots of different subjects but ultimately the one measure that is kind of universally accepted is how'd you do on your SAT scores? And then GPA is subjective depending on how hard they graded that score? Right?

Christine:
Right.

Chris:
But they have very high SAT scores. Shouldn't the whole entire program be designed around teaching you math and vocabulary skills so that you can excel? And so why wouldn't they adopt this? So you're president now, what's your campaign stamp sound like or?

Christine:
We're actually getting direct to parents.

Chris:
Direct to parents?

Christine:
Yeah. And there's a reason why we're not going yet to districts and schools. It's not something we would rule out, but the district and school sales cycle is very, very long. So getting into these institutions and getting it adopted, the other thing that we kept thinking about was if you sell to a district, the district has to sell to the principal who has to sell to the teachers, who has to sell to the parents, you have to sell the students. So you have this very kind of long chain of people who have to buy into your product.

Christine:
What I used, we took the view that the sooner that we could get into the hands of parents and students and really understand it's working and really kind of prove the efficacy the better it was going to be. So I'm such a big believer in any kind of business, but also particularly in creative endeavors to get as close to the customer as possible. And to really be able to, kind of address their needs and build the product through some of their needs. So that's the view that we took. But in the future, absolutely. I mean, once you prove the efficacy on the ground, then folks subscriptions all the way. We're also working with nonprofits in that way as well. So my starting to work with nonprofits to give them bulk discounts too.

Chris:
So for now it sounds to me like you're cutting up the bureaucracy and the red tape and going straight to the parents then, which is one layer above the student. But maybe that's your Trojan horse where the parents fall in love with this and start demanding their schools or principals to say like, "Why isn't this just part of the program? We all pay our taxes? Shouldn't this be the thing?" And it's not a ton of money. And, and buying in bulk would probably make it very affordable for the schools. I totally get it.

Chris:
So, kudos to you and good luck to what you're doing. And I hope that everybody that's listening to this is getting some ideas as to how we can change as a community, as society to improve learning and to model ourselves after the best learning experiences and use technology and leverage that. And not to be afraid of it. I'm not ... I don't want to use the word worry, but I'm concerned about the future universities, the rising cost of tuition, the debt that everybody's getting into, let alone whether or not SAT scores are our biased towards ... there's a lot of bias built into it and whether or not they're great measures of anything. So having said all that stuff, I just love what you're doing here and I wish you the very best. Is there any last thoughts that you have you want to share with us?

Christine:
Thank you Chris. Thanks for interviewing me. I think one thing is for your listeners out there, we are also doing an equity crowd funding raise on Wefunder. This is where investors can invest as little, as $500 in our company and get a stake. So it's a little bit kickstarter, except instead of getting a product or a tee shirt, you get an actual piece of our company. So that's, wefunder.comeverydae E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-E and yeah, if anybody's interested there, I'm answering questions there as well and happy to talk to people about it.

Chris:
Great. So you're going to go to wefunder.com-

Christine:
That's right.

Chris:
And you're going to find Everydae and Everydae's spelled every and then dae's D-A-E and you're going to find out about this. And also for parents that are wondering what to do with the kids right now, if the school hasn't reacted quickly enough, which I'm pretty sure is the case. If you're concerned about SAT, go to everydae.com and check out the program. The program right now is free and you even have an opportunity to win 500 and the code for that is of course, win 500. So check it out. So Christine, thank you much for coming on the show.

Christine:
Chris, It's a pleasure. Thank you. I'm Christina Outram and you're listening to The Futur.

Greg:
Thanks so much for joining us in this episode. If you're new to the future and want to know more about our educational mission, visit thefutur.com you find more podcasts episodes, hundreds of YouTube videos, and a growing collection of online courses, and products covering design and business. Oh, and we spell the future with no E. The Futur podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. This episode was mixed and edited by Anthony Barro with intro music by Adam Sanborne. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor and rate and review us on iTunes. It's a tremendous help in getting our message out there and let's just know what you like. Thanks again for listening and we will see you next time.

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