How Artificial intelligence will be empowering students in the classrooms of the future - Lomit Patel SE2EP2
On today's podcast we'll be talking about STEM Education as well as exploring how Artificial intelligence will be empowering students in the classrooms of the future. We explore the opportunities and some of the risks, and offer advice to parents. Our special guest, Lomit Patel, is the Chief Growth Officer of Tynker, the world's leading edtech platform that has helped more than 60 million kids learn to code. With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, Lomit has played a critical role in scaling growth for startups like Roku, TrustedID, Texture, and IMVU. He is a parent, public speaker, author, and advisor, with a wealth of knowledge on the use of AI and automation in startups, as well as mobile technology marketing.
AI Generated Transcription
Jamie Buttigieg: Hello parents, and welcome to Parenting in the Digital Age, where we explore the challenges and opportunities of raising kids in a world filled with technology. Today, we have a very special guest with us, Lomit Patel, the Chief Growth Officer of Tynker, the world's leading EdTech platform, that has helped more than 60 million kids learn to code. With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, Lomit has played a critical role in scaling growth for startups like Roku, TrustedID, Texture, and IMVU. He's a parent, a public speaker, author, and advisor with a wealth of knowledge on the use of AI and automation in startups, as well as mobile technology marketing. Now, on today's podcast, we'll be talking about a topic that's very near and dear to my heart, and that is STEM education, as well as exploring how artificial intelligence will be empowering students in the classrooms of the future. Lomit, it's my absolute honor and pleasure to welcome you to the show. Please share with our listeners in your own words what you do and what you are passionate about. Lomit Patel: Well, first of all, Jamie, thanks for having me on the show. Excited to be here. And yeah, just to let the listeners know about... My core focus, not only at just Tynker, but for the last 20 years I've worked with a number of different startups. And my role is pretty much all around growth, but it really encompasses once a product has a product or service, how do you take that and really scale that growth, and turn that product into a billion dollar valued business? And so my role encompasses everything around how we acquire customers, how we retain, how we engage customers, and more importantly, how do we monetize those customers? So once you build a business that has millions of users, how are you able to figure out the right business model around those customers? Jamie Buttigieg: Indeed, that's quite a big scope. One of the things that I guess we're both fairly passionate about is STEM education. You are an outspoken advocate for STEM education, especially inspiring students with Tynker and beyond. In your view, or how I should say, in your view, can the education system do better? And follow that up with perhaps, what excites you about STEM education at the moment? Lomit Patel: Yeah, so a big reason for me being really passionate around STEM is because I obviously work in tech, and I've pretty much seen the whole evolution around where the future of work is going. And a lot of the jobs are really going to... It's all around automation and AI is playing a big role in that. And so ultimately, I think all of us are consumers of tech in some way, shape or form. Whether we spend time on our mobile devices, or anything that we interact with is pretty much written by some line of code. And so ultimately, what I'm passionate about is really getting kids really excited around not just being consumers of technology, but really understanding how it's all made. And so whether you end up growing up to become a coder or not, it's always helpful for everyone to really understand how technology is made and how coding plays a role in empowering a lot of that. And so that because of that, plus I would say my greatest title is being dad, just being a parent. And one thing that really excites me is just how quickly my kids and a lot of their friends are really able to pick up a lot of this technology. But the big difference really comes down to they were exposed to this growing up in the environment and schools that they go to. And there's a huge difference between schools where this is offered versus schools where this isn't. And so for me and our big mission at Tynker is really to democratize access to STEM education, and we know that coding plays a key role in that. And so the way I see schools, and I'm primarily talking about the school system in the United States, it's not really offered as a core subject in most schools. And so ultimately, what happens is there's a subset of kids that are really growing up on this technology and have that advantage over kids that don't. And so what I would love to see and what Tynker really believes in, and I think it's not just for the US but for the entire world, it's to expose as many kids as possible to STEM education, and really get them to really learn about the fun ways of how coding works. Because coding is pretty much like learning any other language, in the sense that if you get exposed to it early and you make it fun, then kids are more likely to stick with it. And the more they stick with it, just like with anything else, you'll get better at it. And I feel no matter what happens in the world, there's always things that kind of connect us, and learning STEM could be a universal language that whether you live in Sydney, or you live in San Francisco, or Singapore, could be something that connects the community of people all around the world. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, you're right, Lomit. And coding itself has so much positive impact, just in terms of helping kids build those neural pathways, building problem-solving skills, and that helps them across a broad range of subject areas, not just STEM, which is really important. So you talk about schools having coding or an increase in focus on coding and some that don't. What do you think is the barrier there? What's stopping schools? Is it knowledge? Is it money? Knowledge perhaps? What's your view on that? Lomit Patel: So my view is, I feel at least in terms of knowledge, there's enough studies that have been done now, so people know the value of having coding as being part of the core curriculum. But I think the bigger challenge is it's less about the knowledge at this stage, but it's more around the funding. And Jamie, it always comes down to the money at the end of the day, right? Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, absolutely. Lomit Patel: And so at least from the conversations that I have with a lot of educators, as with anything in life, it really depends on how the incentives are set up. And if the school system puts certain subjects as being the core subjects, whether it's reading and math, or learning a second language, and those are the ones that get the funding, then the schools are going to overindex on providing that in the curriculum to ensure they get the funding from the different sources. And so I feel it really just comes down to really making coding become a core part of the curriculum, and that will really remove a lot of the conflicts around whether we should be investing in this subject versus that subject, and it will just become part of that. So then it's less about the schools needing to make these trade-offs internally. Jamie Buttigieg: And that's really what it does come down. It's that combination of trade off. And I'll speak for Australia as well. We see government has its KPIs and they are focused, as you said, on literacy and numeracy for the most part. And so if that's the government's focus and that's what schools are getting measured and tested against, then the kids are learning to prep for those tests. And then So some of these other subjects, which could be equally as important are getting left by the wayside. Now, I want to switch directions for a second, just talk about your book. You've written a bestselling book on Lean AI. And there's a lot of mainstream discussion recently about ChatGPT, Google's Bard. But firstly, can you tell us a bit about your book? And then perhaps I'd like to explore your thoughts on how AI might impact the future of education in the classroom. Lomit Patel: Sure. So Lean AI, the book that I wrote, it's part of the Eric Ries The Lean Startup series, so it's part of that bestselling series. And the book pretty much talks about... And I really wrote it from a business standpoint on how AI is used to really grow a business, primarily a startup business. And so it really talks about different use cases around how you can leverage AI to really enable you to get better, faster and smarter about really using your customer data because there's so much data that we have on customers. But data by itself isn't really that valuable. It only gets value if you can really draw insights out of that data as quickly as possible, to really figure out who's the best customers that you should be targeting across different channels, whether you're doing paid advertising on Google, or Facebook, or other channels out there. And then use that data to really figure out, what's the best personalized messages you can use to really relate to those different audiences that you're targeting? And what are the right personalized experiences that you need to try and offer on your product or service when users come in so that they're able to see the value as quickly as possible on what you're offering? And so the book really goes into into a lot more details into how startup businesses can do that, but it's really related to more than just startups because any business... I mean this book came out couple of years ago, but I still get so many people reaching out to me. Because what started off with startups has been applied to many different industries now. And I feel especially now, with things like ChatGPT, that's just another extension of how AI is just becoming more part of our mainstream culture as far as businesses, for the most part, are getting swallowed up with all of this data. And it's really hard to just have people and armies of people trying to figure out the meaning. So you have to leverage technology, and that's where AI really does do a good job to really help you understand that. And ultimately, for me, the way I see the future of education and where AI is really being applied and will get applied, it's ultimately going to be able to help us create better outcomes for our students by really personalizing learning. And I feel for the most part, the way the education is set up, it's set up to really cater to people in the middle, which is the mainstream. And it really isolates people that are either on either fringes of either being gifted or needing some extra help. And so I feel AI will be able to really augment the support that teachers get because it's really hard. That's a really hard job to do. And I feel AI is really the same sort of tools that a lot of companies use in businesses to really give those tools to teachers, to really enable them to be able to provide better personalized lesson plans, and really achieve better outcomes for each individual student, as opposed to just catering to the middle. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, I think you're dead right. I made a few notes before the show. But in addition to that personalized and perhaps adaptive learning, even things like tasks such as marking and grading, that consumes so much of an educator's time. Imagine if AI can take a lot of that off their plate. It would free up educators to create more personalized, in-person practical experiences for those better-learning outcomes. And even to the point of being able to predict performance. Perhaps there's a day when, maybe it's not too far away, when we're able to... And the ability to predict the student's performance or how they're going to perform in a future test, rather than just testing and say, "Well, okay..." It's kind of a lag measure. We're looking at the test result going, "Well, okay, we better do something about that now." But having AI help educators be able to predict the future outcome allows us to get early intervention, and allows us to get to those student outcomes before they become a problem, potentially. There may even be a world where perhaps organizations in the hunt for talent are making job offers to kids in grade nine because of this predictive element. Who knows where it can go? But there is some exciting and promising outcomes there. So with that... Actually, I want to go back a step before I ask my next question, about risks of AI in the classroom. You talked about the lean startup and using AI for growth and for personalizing messaging and so forth. Give me a practical sense of what that looked like, say in Tynker. So for those people, parents who are listening to the podcast who are perhaps business owners, I know I'm taking a bit of a tangent here, those parents who are business owners, what would that look like in a practical sense? What does that actually mean? Lomit Patel: Yeah, so I can give you two use cases where we try to apply AI for helping us to grow the business. One is around, we have a budget, like an advertising budget. And ultimately, our goal for the advertising budget is to really get the best return on investment for that budget. And so the way to do that, it ultimately comes down to running as many experiments as you can to really figure out what's the best users to target on different platforms like Google and Facebook, and what's the right messages that really resonate to enable us to get the best conversion rates to bring those users into our platform? And that's where we use AI, for the most part, where we run these different ads, but we create these.... Where ideally what we want to try to do is create templates in where we're testing different headlines, and different images, and different call to actions. And all of this has really happened asynchronously, where the AI is really looking at different audiences, and they're trying to predict exactly what you had talked about, Jamie, in terms of other users that have come from these audiences, how did they react previously? And they try to create and predict that what's the best experience on the ad to show them at this given point, that will get the best outcomes? Which for us, is to try and drive the most efficient traffic to our website and our app. And so that's one thing, which ultimately, the more experiments that we run, the better we've been able to reduce our costs to acquire customers. And then the second use case, which is very similar to what you'd mentioned in schools, is once you bring these users in, there's different parts of our product that really appeals to them, whether we're targeting parents or we're targeting teachers for the most part. And so the messages we only use to show the value to a teacher about Tynker is going to be completely different to a message to a parent. And then if you break parents out, it really depends on... A parent of a six-year-old is going to be completely different in terms of what would resonate with them versus a parent of a 13-year-old. And so creating those different experiences, that's where AI really helps us. And then if you take that another level, parents in the United States versus... Because we have a lot of users from Australia too. Again, we have to create different experiences because somebody coming from Sydney's going to be looking for something different from somebody coming from San Francisco, at least in terms of how we talk about the product. Jamie Buttigieg: And so creating those, well, I guess hyper-personalized messages for that acquisition journey. Do you employ AI to develop the copy and creative? Or we're just talking about the testing and the identification of those users and how to serve it out? Lomit Patel: Yeah, so right now, we use it for serving it out, but we also we want to start applying more of the ChatGPT part into our offering, where we can start having the AI come up with a lot of suggestions around different messages as well. For the most part, there's probably hundreds of thousands of variations that are happening in the background that people don't realize, but once you add AI with the ability to come up with its own variations, that will take it to millions of different variations. But that's the thing that excites me because one of the things that's really come out of this pandemic that we all gone through is that all of us become more dependent on digital, and so we've created these digital habits. And so part of those habits is that we have higher expectations with the different, whether it's businesses or institutions that we interact with. And so what necessary used to be a nice to have when it came to personalization is really a need to have. And so the better you can continue to get at really creating these hyper-local experiences, the better you're going to get about not only acquiring users, but also really retaining those users. Jamie Buttigieg: And I think the wonderful thing about products like ChatGPT and becoming mainstream, and this is a great use case for those small business owners listening or those startups listening, and I guess that's a perfect use case for us, you've got Tynker at this end helping 60 million students and you've got Skill Samurai at this end, we're an in-person coding school, learning centers, but we'd have few resources, we don't have a marketing team, we've got smaller budgets. And typically or historically, with a startup, you create one or two or five ad variations to a consumer or to a bulk, and you'd try and throw mud at that approach. And more sophisticated organizations would have 240 ad variations of creative, and copy, and targeting and all this sort of stuff here. So ChatGPT for those small business owners listening is a great tool, and it's a great use case to ask it to create multiple ad copy variations based on these different customer types or based on the problems that these customer subsets are facing. So I'm not going to say it levels the playing field, but it does to some extent. So it is an exciting time for startups and small businesses, right? Lomit Patel: Yeah, I think ultimately my hope with AI is... It's kind of like the internet because the internet really provided access to information that a lot of people didn't have. And what I see AI doing and tools like ChatGPT is ultimately, just going to the internet, it's confusing because there's so much information there, it's really helping you to personalize the piece of the internet that you need at that given moment to really answer the question that you are looking for. And so a lot of people go to search engines, whether it's Google, to do this, but I see now where people will be less dependent on needing to go to a search engine and really going to a tool like ChatGPT and other tools. And this is just the first variation, but there's going to be so many more of these. And with anything, Jamie, as you know, the more people that start using ChatGPT, the smarter it's going to get because it's going to be able to learn from everybody else using it. Which is why I would say for any small business user out there, take advantage of it because not only are you going to benefit, but you're going to help to make it better for everybody else. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, without question. So let's get back to kids for a minute. What are some of the potential risks and benefits, I suppose, we've talked about some of the benefits, but mainly the risk of AI in the classroom? And how can we, as educators or parents, mitigate some of those risks? Lomit Patel: I would say, first and foremost, the risk is really we want to keep the data protected as much as possible. I mean that's non-negotiable that data is being handled responsibly. But beyond that, the other part of AI is it's like anything, I mean it's like us, as humans, for the most part. It's like the more that you spend your time on, the better you'll get at that, and that can be inverse too. If you spend your time doing the wrong things, you'll create the wrong habits. And so the thing that we need to be careful about AI in education is that we are ensuring that it's getting really good data to really train those models, and that it's not overindexing. For example, if the model isn't diversified, then it's going to end up creating outcomes that probably favor certain types or groups of people, which may not be the right outcome for other groups of people. And so I feel it's really important to ensure that it's being used to create the right outcomes for every student. And so part of that goes back to who are building these AIs for the most part, which is why I think you and I are so excited about getting more and more kids into STEM. Because ultimately, the more people that are represented at the table that are building these technologies, the more that it's going to be built to really represent everyone's interest. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, that's a unique take. So what advice could we give to parents, so now flipping the table a bit here, on how we can support our kids in developing a strong foundation in AI and technology and coding? What advice would you give to parents there? Lomit Patel: I would say kids naturally are curious, and so curiosity is there. It's really about helping to ask them the right questions. So generally, having those conversations that naturally happen when kids either play... I mean, for example, kids like playing games or listening to apps, just ask them questions around what they like about it, and have they ever thought about how that was created? And just try to spark that curiosity on, how is that really made? And the truth is there's so much engaging content out there whether you go on YouTube, you can share that, just to spark that curiosity. But I would say for the most part, it's just exposing kids to all facets of technology, and just letting them be able to gauge that curiosity for themselves. And for the most part, I mean what we've found, and we do a lot of research on kids, and one of the reasons why the Tynker product does really well is because we've really gamified the experiences on how to teach coding. And so I feel the more you can gamify something for kids, the more they're likely to be able to have fun doing it, and that's the key part. If they have fun doing it, then they'll be more likely to continue to grow their interests in those different areas. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, that's well said. Just giving kids the opportunity to be exposed to those things. Sometimes it's hard for parents though, particularly older parents who may not be in touch with tech, to know what those opportunities look like though. I don't know. I just think of someone like some people in my peer group who aren't tech-focused, they've got sort of young kids or pre-teens. Where does one start to expose kids to those opportunities? Is it just as simple as Google searching, signing up for some free trials and just seeing what works? Or is there a resource we can suggest? Maybe a broad question, but how would you help parents who maybe aren't tech-focused expose their kids to these call elements of stem? Lomit Patel: Yeah, I mean would start one place where I know a lot of kids spend a lot of time, which is on YouTube, just doing a simple search around STEM. And ideally, as a parent, I would do the search first and take a look at some of that content and really see what's appropriate for kids, and just start sharing some of that with them. Because I know kids like... Content which is more visual is easier for them to absorb versus something that they need to read initially. I would start there. The other thing is just if there's different museums around science, kids love going to that, or at least I've taken my kids to that from a young age, and that's kind of helped bubble up a lot of curiosity. And then the third thing is just look out for... There's a lot of platforms out there, whether it's free or paid, around STEM and coding. And as you said, Jamie, for the most part, it's not really just about coding, it's really understanding concepts. And what comes out of that is, at least at Tynker, what we've found is that we've actually ended up building the world's largest community of coders because there's so many kids that have got into this and then they start telling their friends about it. And what we find with new kids that generally don't really know a lot about coding that end up coming into Tynker, they start doing a project, which obviously isn't going to be that easy when you're first starting out, but there's a huge peer support group that exists on Tynker. And so other kids start interacting and saying, "Hey, can you help me do this or that?" And that's how a lot of other kids interact together. And it ends up building this huge team project that ends up happening and that I feel, ultimately, kids learn best or get into something when they find other friends that are doing something similar. And that community piece can either be created organically if you know kids at the same school that do that. So one of the things that I used to volunteer at was creating some kind of science community project for kids, which was a way to get kids that are really into learning about things to try and do that. And if that's not offered at school, you can try to find a community online where you can get together with other parents because the truth is all of us parents aren't going to be that super tech-savvy because technology changes all the time anyway. But it's just a matter of getting together and finding other groups where people want to go on that journey with you, and be open to exploring. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah. And you touched on a couple of great things in there, and one of the things we see certainly in our own learning centers is that coming together and kids finding their tribe. You guys have built an amazing global community. We see quite a large number of neurodiverse kids as well, so those with a ADHD or autism, who may be somewhat socially excluded in certain school circles. Maybe they're not the sportiest kid in school, or they may not manifest their intelligence the same way as other kids in the mainstream school system. So bringing those kids together, finding their tribe, these inclusive, diverse spaces. I mean, of course I'm always advocating for coding schools, but the local science club, every community's got a science club. And these are great places for those kids to come together in an inclusive, diverse space. And bring those disciplines that science, tech, engineering and math together, so that kids can develop those pathways, build those problem-solving skills that will serve them across every subject. It will serve them in life forever. And I think as much as I love coding and online screen activities and making them productive, just other advice for parents too is to look at offline STEM activities. Google things like science experiments that we can do at home, and find something that's age appropriate and get kids in the kitchen or outdoors, creating these experiments, or rockets, or whatever it may be, to bring those disciplines together. I think it's a great thing that all parents and a great way for them to encourage kids to find that love of STEM. Lomit Patel: Yeah, that's a really good point. And what I would add to that is you'd be surprised if you reach out to science teachers in schools about the idea of, "Hey, could we maybe create a science club or something?" How open they really are to that. For the most part, they obviously are teaching science because they're passionate about it, and they don't really have enough resources, just like with a lot of other teachers. So having some parents provide that support to help create some kind of club, I'm sure a lot of them would be open to that idea. Jamie Buttigieg: That's killer. And you've touched on something else there that's really imperative is parents working more closely with our educators and our teachers in schools. I often hear teachers cop a lot of the blame, so to speak. "Oh, my kid's struggling at school." It is not the teacher, it is the system that the teachers are bound by. In Australia and the US and globally, we have some of the best educators in the world, the most passionate, giving, empathetic teachers that I've ever seen in the work that I do here, and it's the system. And if you involve yourself in the school, involve yourself in that parent-teacher communication or creating those programs like science clubs, that's a winner. So thank you for bringing that up. Lomit Patel: And one other thing, just to echo on what you said, we've done a lot of research too, and I've read a lot of research. Because ultimately, the students that end up thriving, especially with a lot of other challenges that tend to go on outside of school or whatever, it really comes down to that partnership that parents build with teachers, because ultimately that relationship is really important to really support the child from both sides. Yeah. Jamie Buttigieg: Well said. Well said. I want to divert course for a minute. We've got a few minutes left, and I'm mindful of our time together. This is sort of maybe a little bit away from parenting and back to business, more for my own personal curiosity and for those parents with businesses out there. But as a tech entrepreneur, can you speak briefly about the challenges and success stories that you've faced over your 20-year career in marketing technology to kids and to consumer buyers? Let's delve into some of that cool marketing stuff, some of the wins and maybe the challenges you've had along the way. Lomit Patel: I would say the challenges with marketing to kids or marketing to anyone when really it comes down to really understanding who your customer is. And the truth is who your customer may be in the early stages of your company is going to evolve as your company continues to grow and you're going after a bigger piece of the market, or broadening the appeal of who you need to go after to grow that business. So what I would say is... My whole philosophy, it's not just with business, but it's with life too, I would say the real key skill is really to learn, unlearn, and relearn as much as possible. So pretty much what you're learning at certain stages of growing your business or where you are in life, you're going to have to unlearn some of those things because what got you to where you were is going to have to be different to get you to that next level. And you're going to have to relearn new skills or new ways of approaching ideas on growing a business. And so the challenge to marketing to kids for the most part is that you can't really market directly to kids. And so it really comes down to marketing to people that can really help influence kids. And so for us, the two key stakeholders, first and foremost are parents, and then it's the teachers. And so the question is how can you get better at creating partnerships with both those audiences? And the better you can create relationships with both those audiences, and ultimately create this community with both those, then the more successful you're going to get with helping to influence the kids. The other thing that we found, at least in terms of marketing to kids, is to really figure out... Kids for the most part like to do things that are fun. And so as an example, at Tynker, a big part of what we do is offer a whole slew of things around helping kids learn how to code from basic building blocks around coding, to really learning text-based languages like Java and Python. But ultimately, we gamify it because we sort of make it into projects where kids can learn how to learn AI and machine learning, and how that applies, and how they learn doing projects around creating apps or creating different projects around music. And one other project that a lot of kids love doing on Tynker is all around Minecraft. So we get millions of kids that come into Tynker to really learn how to modify their different Minecraft creations, and then put that back into Minecraft. And so what we've tried to do is make it really easy for kids to discover Tynker whenever they're searching on Google for things around Minecraft, or whenever they're on YouTube looking for videos on how to do things around Minecraft, and there's a really strong chance that they will see something about Tynker show up pretty early on in that search, and that will lead them into Tynker, where they'll be able to get exposed to all these fun and easy tools that we offer them to really create these different creations around Minecraft. But once they create those projects, then they have to create an account to save the project. And at that stage, that's when we ask them to give us their parents' email address because then the parent can provide the permission for the child to create a Tynker account. And that's how we indirectly are able to market to kids. And we look for other creative ways like that, how kids are searching for things and what are fun projects or things that we can offer free for kids to really get them to really learn about Tynker? And then get them to tell their parents about Tynker to create those accounts for us to market to. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, that's great. It's a unique perspective, and that bottom-up approach, as opposed to that top-down parent or teacher-driven approach. And for parents who are listening who maybe aren't business people or aren't marketers, we talk a lot about coding, but it really is, particularly if you're struggling with your child, we'll call it tech addiction or too much screen time, coding is really just a neat way, it's a healthy way to get kids, while still on screens, getting them to have a healthier relationship with technology, to be less distracted by technology and to be more creatives as opposed to consumers like you said at the beginning of the show. So yeah, don't discount coding, parents. Get into it and get your children into it if you can. Okay. So on a lighter note and just to round things off, one question... Well, a couple of questions I'd like to ask. Is there anything that perhaps I didn't ask but should have asked in today's discussion, Lomit? Lomit Patel: Those are always good questions. I mean, what I will say is because I know you and I have a shared passion around STEM and coding, but I think hopefully this comes across to anybody who's listened to this show, wherever they are in the world, that coding is something that can unite everyone. And it's really a unified... It's just like speaking a language like Jamie and I are speaking English right now, or the American English and then the Australian English. But the truth is what we've found is that the sooner you can get kids exposed to coding, the more they're going to be able to really create a love of learning of coding. And then the second part, regardless of whatever your kids are interested in or not, the other skill that I would put out there is that in this day and age, especially with how technology continues to disrupt so many things, the future of work isn't really set or defined as being in a certain way, it's going to continue to evolve. What I learned when I came out of university isn't necessarily what I'm doing today. I've had to learn and grow along the way. And so the biggest thing that I would encourage everyone to be is just be a lifelong learner. Just continue to be curious and just continue to be a lifelong learner. And by just embracing being a lifelong learner, you get less hung up on the outcomes of what you're looking to go to, and you really just start enjoying the journey around just learning new things. And as you start learning and loving doing new things, you'll naturally get to the outcomes that you want to get to, which is ultimately to be able to create skills that will enable you to be able to live a good life. Jamie Buttigieg: And to me, that is one of the core responsibilities of a parent. If you can help your child develop that love of lifelong learning, in my view, you've done your job as a parent. And it's easier said than done, but that it's something that we always strive for as parents. A bit of a fun one to start to wrap up is, if you're able to go back in time and to give your 10-year-old self one piece of advice, Lomit, what would that piece of advice be? Lomit Patel: So I think I touched on it, but pretty much be a lifelong learner. Because what I found is that, looking back at my career, the biggest success really came from really learning, unlearning and relearning new ways of doing things. Because ultimately, when you look at life, there's things that aren't really going to necessarily change that much, but the way you approach making those things better for people is where you add value. And so as a parent, for example, and I'll take myself as an example, I couldn't necessarily parent my kids the same way that my parents parented me because that style isn't necessarily going to work today, so I've had to adopt and evolve my parenting style, and it's more around being more engaged and really having those conversations where kids feel like they're part of the decision-making process, as opposed to just being told top down in terms of what they need to do. Because ultimately, that builds the confidence in them when they're going into whatever careers that they end up going into, where they have the confidence to speak up and have engaging conversations to really solve problems and get to an outcome, versus just being on the receiving end of just being told what to do. And what I will say is, in order to really be successful in your career, depending on how you define that, but if you really want to get to the C level, it ultimately comes to less about all of the hard skills, like coding or whatever that you may know, but it's a blend of that as well as really having the soft skills around how do you influence people, how do you communicate, how do you connect with people? And those are the things that really start off, to a large extent, on the relationship that kids have with their parents. If parents engage their kids early on, they will build those soft skills and confidence as they grow up, and those are the skills that will take them far in life. Jamie Buttigieg: Yeah, well said, Lomit. And kids model stuff. They will model your behavior and your values, and so it's important for us to lead by example. So where can listeners find you online? Those that want to connect or learn more about you, learn more about Tynker, how can we find you? Lomit Patel: Yeah, the best place to connect with me is on LinkedIn. If anybody goes on LinkedIn and just search from a name, Lomit, L-O-M-I-T, Patel, P-A-T-E-L. I'm always putting out a lot of content there around education, around growing startups. So feel free to reach out to me if anyone has any questions. I always try to get back to people. I have my own personal blog as well, so that's another place where you can see a lot of my articles. It's pretty much my name, lomitpatel.com. Outside of those two places, yeah, I would definitely encourage people, if you have kids that are interested in coding and want to get access to free resources, go check out tynker.com. We do have a free offering, so a lot of people get started that way. Just to spark that curiosity in their kids. So T-Y-N-K-E-R.com. Jamie Buttigieg: Fantastic. Lomit, thank you so much for your insight, your generosity today. I know that I certainly got a lot out of it. I know our listeners as parents and those business people got a lot out of today's discussion. Thanks again for your time. Lomit Patel: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Jamie Buttigieg: You're welcome. Cheers. Bye for now. Lomit Patel: Bye.
If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai Coding and STEM Academy for Kids. Skill Samurai offers afterschool coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit www.skillsamurai.com.au. This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academywww.skillsamurai.com.au
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