Category Archives: Interviews


KWestions Ep. 27 with Derek Muller – Incorrect Information has more Effect on Learning

How I first heard about Derek Muller, the creator of Veritasium was in the course of his take on education’s current fairhaired boy (not really but let’s use the metaphor), Salman Khan and the Khan Academy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that videos definitely have their place as a tool in education. I am a producer of educational video, Derek is one. There is no doubt that videos do their part to make explain things in a new, visual and engaging way but other tools also have their place. Salman Khan is doing a great job of breaking complex things down and to present them in an easy and digestible way.

To put Khan Academy and its founder in the place of having all the right answers to our problems and sort of being the savior of education is wrong, and the way I see it, it’s also not what he intended to do.

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KWestions Ep. 24 with Christian Arno of Lingo24

For this part of KWestions I had the pleasure to interview Christian Arno, the managing director of Lingo24 and his take on the future of translation online.

Compared with many other start-ups I have had the opportunity to do an interview with, Lingo24 is an old stager or maybe better a nethead as the company was founded in 2001.

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EDUKWEST Ep. 64 with Patrick Randolph of Talkwheel

Along with their official launch, I had the chance to meet with Patrick Randolph of Talkwheel for an EDUKWEST.

Talkwheel are based in SF and the platform allows its users to communicate and collaborate in a very visual way. Although not exclusively designed for education, it clearly makes sense in our context when you think of teachers maintaining thread with their students, seminar groups or student groups.

Read more and watch the Interview on EDUKWEST →

EDUKWEST Ep. 63 with Brad Patterson of SnaPanda

EDUKWEST on tour has always had a special feel to it and as much as I like connecting with great start-up people via Skype, I have to say that I truly enjoy visiting companies when I have the opportunity to do so.

Episode 63 is such an on tour video, I’ve met with Michel Nizon and team of Edulang at their office in Morlaix, France. Yes, innovation can happen in the most remote places and I love that this is possible thanks to working online, connecting with people and the possibility of finding customers all around the world!

Read more and watch the Interview on EDUKWEST →

EDUKWEST Ep. 62 with Rafael Corrales of LearnBoost

I had the pleasure of interviewing LearnBoost’s founder and CEO Rafael Corrales on how came up with the initial idea and how he and his team have shaped it until it became what we see today: a nicely made gradebook with pretty design, easy to create & mangage lesson plans, functions to share student progress with the parents and the possibility to integrate with Google Apps.

LearnBoost is currently free to use and I hope you’ll get a good idea of LearnBoost’s capabilities watching our EDUKWEST but essentially you have nothing to lose, so I’d say anyone interested should definitely go and open an account!

Read more and watch the Interview on EDUKWEST →

KWestions Ep. 23 with Shah Ullah of GrayMatter Foundation

Just a few days ago I first got in touch with Shah Ullah of the GrayMatter Foundation via Twitter and I immediately liked what these young founders are doing. I believe, innovation is not a question of age at all, it may not be the most common thing when the founders are all still in High School though.

Well, it’s maybe at this age only when you still have the outstanding enthusiasm and commitment to just launch and keep going with a project whereas later in life it naturally happens that you think more before you start.

Long story short, as a bit uncommon projects have always appealed to me and therefore I am happy that Shah agreed on doing a KWestions.

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EDUKWEST Ep. 61 with Travis Millman of EnglishCentral

In this week’s EDUKWEST I interview Travis Millman, VP of product for EnglishCentral Inc. Although still quite concentrated on the Asian market, I think it’s a nice product worth having a look at from both teacher and student side.

EnglishCentral consists of three main areas, one is to watch authentic videos dealing with different topics such as politics or entertainment. Second is to learn all relevant vocabulary, also structured according to topics for instance introductions or culture. The third element is to learn to speak or more specifically how to pronounce words.

Looking from a student perspective, I like that it’s pretty customizable and that I don’t have to watch this or that video but define my fields of interest and thus get only relevant lessons for me.

Read more and watch the Interview on EDUKWEST →

KWestions Ep. 21 with Paul Sulzberger – 30 Years of Translation

Yesterday, I nosed into the translator business a little deeper. In my teaching career this has never been an interesting field to me as I basically thought being a native German speaker was simply not sufficient to be a good translator.

My few experiences with translating documents from French or English into German seemed to prove me right as I had the impression that this was a pretty lengthy and tedious process. On the other hand, it made me increasingly curious what translators like about their work and business and why translating or interpreting is not a boring job for them at all.

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EDUKWEST Ep. 59 with Jesse Maddox of TripLingo

I’m particularly happy to share the newest EDUKWEST with you all today as it covers a new new trend that is manifesting itself in online education. What we got out as one of the important results of that recent busuu study is the motivation why people want to invest time and effort in learning a language and that is for travel.

TripLingo is one of the first startups of this new wave of language learning and traveling. TripLingo is based of the initial idea of founder and CEO Jesse Maddox back in the days he was traveling and working in Asia and was then shaped at Startup Weekend Atlanta where he also found his team.

Read more and watch the Interview on EDUKWEST →

KWestions #20 – How Students find their Focus with Nathan Parcells

When I hear of interesting new initiatives with something educational to them I always like to let you know about on KWestions.

After just finishing an interesting EDUKWEST with InternMatch I was happy to hear that they continue innovating and have another way to bring value to their users. This time, Nathan Parcells co-founder and CMO tells us about an exciting new project called ‘Find your Focus’ which spreads beyond their website or even social media but brings a real life experience in form of meet-ups and speeches to college and university students.

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KWestions #19 with Tim Ridgway of Califone – In Edtech since 1947

When I was looking for a new headset and was asking for recommendations around my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter I got contacted by Tim Ridgway, VP of Marketing at Califone about their newly launched, washable (!) USB headset. He then also asked me, if he could send one to me.

Of course I needed to find out more about this generous guy and his company and so I learned that Califone have been a manufacturer of audio devices and also audio visual tools dedicated to education since 1947!

Needless to say that I had to get Tim for a KWestions about Califone.

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Flashcards – Product or Feature? Part 4 with Andrew Cohen of Brainscape

For this final part of KWestions around flashcard learning, feature or product I invited Andrew Cohen, the founder and CEO of Brainscape on the show.

Brainscape have a scientific approach to the usage of flashcards for learning. The company have already rolled out French and Spanish learning apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and also iPad called Vocab Genius and Vocab Junkie. Don’t miss on trying these out as they’re currently available for free!

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Flashcards – Product or Feature? Part 3 with Ali Yildirim of CoboCards

In part three of this mini series about flashcards and the question if they are an actual product or “just” a feature in the framework of a bigger picture I talked with Ali Yildirim, one of the three co-founders of CoboCards.

CoboCards is a German based startup and I already had the pleasure of interviewing Tamim Swaid, another co-founder of CoboCards for EDUKWEST.

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Flashcards – Product or Feature? Part 2 with Greg Detre of Memrise

In part 2 of my KWestions series with startups in the flashcard learning space I covered a service called Memrise.

Memrise is a UK-based startup which has a clear focus on a more scientific approach of helping people to learn, or as they say on their website

At Memrise, we’re integrating everything we know about the art and science of memory to help you learn faster.

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Flashcards – Product or Feature? Part 1 with Matt Messinger of StudyBlue

Over the past months I got in contact with more and more startups in the flashcard learning and spaced repetition vertical.

As I don’t believe this to be a mere coincidence, I thought it would be interesting to do a little series of interviews with some of those companies giving their opinion on a the space in general and why it is such an interesting one to many companies.

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KWestions for Dave Schappel: Google Algorithm Change

As everybody is talking about the recent changes in the Google algorithm and more importantly the effects of those changes I am pleased that David Schapell, the CEO of TeachStreet, gave me his OK for a quick talk about that.

I felt Dave was just perfect for this KWestions as he has been pretty open about sharing data in the past, so I was pretty confident he would agree to share some real numbers with me and our viewers. And the didn’t disappoint in any sense.

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KWestions for Yoni Cheifetz of Lightspeed Venture Partners

I had the great pleasure of talking with Yoni Cheifetz, Managing Director Isreal at Lightspeed Venture Partners for this KWestions episode.

Due to the discussion around the recent modifications in Google’s algorithm and their almost immediate effect on some businesses in the online education space and beyond I couldn’t leave out this opportunity and ask Yoni for his expert opinion on that matter.

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KWestions: Palabea receives 1 million Euro Investment from the IBB

News from a veteran amongst the language learning communities: Palabea that had first launched its service in 2007 in public beta just received an investment of 1 million + Euro from the Investitionsbank Berlin Brandenburg (IBB) which turns the language learning community into one of the best funded startups in education 2.0.

I was lucky that both Regine Haschka-Hellmer, CMO and Matthias Spanic, CSO of Palabea agreed to get interviewed for KWestions on short notice.

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KWestions for Michael Schutzler – the eBay of Language Learning

Sometimes there are slow news weeks and other times you can barely keep up with all what’s happening.

Well, the company of my interview partner for KWestions episode 11 definitely falls under the second one as they introduced a bunch of interesting new features to their language learning community. I always enjoy having a talk with Michael Schutzler, CEO of Livemocha, not only because of his experience as CEO, his extensive knowledge but also due to the fact that he is always open and accessible and shares insights other people prefer better not to share.

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KWestions for Jon Bischke – Future of Education & the Reputation Graph

Jon Bischke, serial founder of startups in the education space and currently entrepreneur in residence at Battery Ventures gave me the opportunity to interview him via email.

As he is one of the thought leaders in the hackedu space, you should follow Jon Bischke on Twitter and learn about his thoughts on the future of higher education, the Reputation Graph and more at

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