Karin Tsai, Director of Engineering at Duolingo, will communicate at TechCrunch Metropolis Highlight: Pittsburgh on June 29th
TechCrunch City Spotlight: Pittsburgh is approaching, with impressive speakers including Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian and Mayor Bill Peduto. But we saved the best for last: our final speaker is Karin Tsai, Director of Engineering at Duolingo, a $ 2.4 billion company dedicated to making language learning fun and accessible.
The event will take place on June 29th. So register here (for free) to listen to these conversations, enjoy the pitch-off and network with local talent.
Tsai joined Duolingo in 2012 as one of the first engineers and saw firsthand how the company grew from a sloppy start-up to a global company with 400 employees. Her timestamp for the company has made her a key decision maker on many of the most critical decisions, from scrapping features to monetization, without compromising her mission to provide free education to everyone.
It should be noted that while a quirky owl and creative UX may seem simple, the universe of language learning is controversial and requires healthy debate – and testing – for anyone inside it.
“We try to do things that no other app really tackles: How do we create an experience that you are actually extremely proficient in a language while meeting the expectations of our learners?” To be fun and comfortable, Tsai told me in an interview with her for my Duolingo EC-1. “Balancing effectiveness and engagement is something we struggle with all the time.”
In this chat, Tsai will break down how Duolingo turned to the A / B test to answer some of his biggest questions. We’ll also discuss other meta-topics like when to stop measuring the immeasurable and when tests fail and instinct prevails. Tsai once admitted to me that Duolingo spent years figuring out how to find a metric that could encompass understanding and engagement in one fell swoop.
“What froze us earlier is that we thought we needed a metric like this to make progress,” she explained. “And I think what honestly set us free was essentially saying, ‘Fuck it.’ We couldn’t make any progress while waiting for a learning metric. “
The story goes on
I’m going to be interviewing Tsai so anyone who signs up for this event can ask me questions that I’m trying to incorporate into my chat.
Tsai will introduce us to the startup builder’s perspective, while Mayor Peduto will discuss the challenges of building a startup ecosystem, and Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University, will discuss how to get from student to startup with the right resources .
Don’t forget to sign up for this free event on June 29th (click here to sign up) so you can catch these chats and riffs with the viewers on networking opportunities. If you are an early stage startup founder based in Pittsburgh, you should apply to pitch your startup (click here to apply). Expect a two-minute live pitch, get feedback from local VCs and maybe even win our pitch.
I can’t wait to see you there!