Shortly after a random group of tourists wound up acting as catalysts in my process of developing an idea for my social network website, I started researching for social networks that had similar themes to the website I had in mind.
Two of the countless websites that appeared on my screen stood out to me the most and ended up being my source of inspiration and aspiration as I hope that what I create will someday be as successful as they have been.
Hey, a girl can dream.
Duolingo – Luis Von Ahn
Luis Von Ahn the CEO of Duolingo, a free language-learning platform, grew up in Guatemala surrounded by people who unfortunately weren’t very well off resulting in many struggling to get an education. Because of his experience, he strived to create an educational platform that would be available to everyone, aimed especially at those who struggle with money issues. Similarly to him, I aim to create a social network that can be accessed by everyone since I believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn if they truly wish to regardless of your social class.
iTalki – Kevin Chen
“Our belief is that helping people connect is helping students that were previously unable to get access to native teachers, and teachers that were previously unable to teach students outside of their cities.”
Kevin Chen, co-founder of a language-learning website called
iTalki, considers interaction with native speakers essential when one is learning a new language. This is incorporated into iTalki by allowing users to search for freelance teachers and then scheduling a lesson with them. I share Chen’s opinion in that it is important for one to communicate with people who are native speakers of the language being learnt as this offers a more advanced understanding and knowledge of the language. Many would agree that going abroad is one of the best ways to test your skills as you would be interacting with native speakers on a regular basis. Giving users the opportunity to contact and communicate with other native users/teachers online gives people who cannot afford to go abroad the opportunity to have a similar experience.
Many language-learning programs and websites tend to only allow the users to interact with an artificial program which can be quite boring and repetitive. As opposed to websites such as Rosetta Stone and Babbel, I thought Duolingo and iTalki had more interaction with fellow users which in turn created a nicer community and made it a more enjoyable application/website to use.