Language Leaders Podcast - Meet The Cofounder of the Fastest Growing Education Company in Poland
The Language Leaders podcast aims to share ideas, insights and inspiration for leaders of online language businesses who want to have a global impact. Find this transcript of the interview between our CEO, Alex Asher, and Michal Kelles-Krauz, the co-founder of Angloville and Tutlo, two truly exceptional language businesses. Enjoy.
Here's the link to the episode if you'd prefer to listen in.
Alex: Hi, and welcome to Language Leaders. I am really excited to be meeting with Michal Kelles-Krauz.
Michal: Yes. Well, first of all, Alex, thank you for having me on the podcast. It's really a pleasure. Indeed, I started off with Angloville back in 2011. It was a micro startup at the time, at a time when the word "startup" was not even a thing in the media or anywhere else. Yeah, it's true that it all started in 2011.
Alex: And did the idea come through university, if I'm getting this right?
Michal: I was studying at the university at the time over in the UK along with a very good friend of mine. Michael Zach was also a co-founder of both of these businesses, so Angloville and Tutlo are the two main things that I'm working on right now. At the time, we were really sort of looking into different business opportunities.
We were both students in the UK. I was doing engineering, he was doing law, but you know, we had this feeling of adventure in our heads and wanted to do something—more than just our typical university career. And at the time, we were really eager to travel. And I remember our first project was not actually educational.
It wasn't in education, but it was a different one. We really wanted to travel, as most university students, we had. Absolutely no money to do that. So what we did is I remember calling Michael Zach one day and telling him, I know I've got it. We really wanted to go to Ukraine at the time, which was, it was 2010 or 2000, early 2011.
And I called him up and said we're going to run a conference. And he was really shocked on the other end of the phone. And his response was. Yes, but we don't know anything, which I said, well, that's not a problem. We'll figure something out. One of our first projects was putting together a conference on the impact of the European Union on Poland.
Ukraine, at the time, was about to organize Euro 2012, which was a football tournament co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. There was a lot of talk about, you know, the benefits of the European Union. And we were... Sort of an essence of that because all of us, me and the other Mike, we were Poles that, you know, went to the UK.
The UK was part of the European Union at the time. So much has changed, you know, in these years, but you know, we benefited greatly from that aspect, and... We wanted to share that in a way, and that was also a great opportunity for us to travel, and it was really a crazy idea, but you know, in the end, I remember we had a friend who was an assistant to Jerzy Buzek, who was head of the European Parliament at the time, and we asked him if he could, you know, hand Jerzy Buzek this little piece of paper, which, which stated that, you know, the European Union Parliament is supporting this, You know, conference which she did, you know, and we had this legitimate paper, you know, from the head of the European Parliament that we later on used while talking to different universities, and we got, you know, many universities to sort of, but the point I'm making is that, you know, this was the, this sort of organizing this conference and, and doing something, you know, entirely differently, just not according to the book, was a spark that, you know Gave the two of us sort of the idea of like, this is something that we should do, you know, because it was so much fun to get up in the morning and actually do something that we really wanted to do, you know, to run this conference, to call up different embassies, different universities, get financial backing from our university, we started that and make it all happen.
We thought, okay, we got to do something like that. And this was sort of our first kind of business-oriented thing. But then. We moved on to researching other ideas and finally found Angleville, which was, you know, something really close to our hearts because both of us, you know, learned the language abroad and wanted to also we were, you know, coming from Poland and, and Angleville as, as you know, but probably not many people out there know is a concept of a language immersion program where we invite native speakers from all around the globe to come and participate in a language, sort of culture, experience. Run in Poland or Italy. Where the local participants, either the Poles or the Italians, meet the native speakers. They're all put in a hotel for a fun week of time. And then during that week, [00:05:00] there's like 12 hours a day of...
One-on-one communication with native speakers, and that's sort of the concept. Obviously, we now don't run only for adults, but also teenagers and kids. We see the structure is a little bit different for those groups. Still, at the time, coming back to the story, we're at university, we were coming from Poland, we really wanted to make Poland more appreciated because we love that country so much. You know, having foreigners come to Poland and, and visit as well as something like, was a little bit that we could do to improve the PR of the country as well.
Because, we had a feeling that it's so much underappreciated. I believe it still is. But that's sort of, that was combining a little bit, you know, a lot of things together. One of them was the one that we wanted to. Do something that was fun, that was different than, just studying and having this typical career.
Another thing that was that, in this project, we also found this element of improving sort of the way other people perceive Poland. And, obviously, one of the most important things that I thought we should have started with was that we were giving the Poles the ability to really meet, native speakers and really improve their language communication.
So that started really slowly in 2011, and it's continuing until today, but obviously with a much greater scale.
Alex: just to kind of a hint on that, actually, what has that journey looked like? We've got a good idea of where you started. So, to clarify, where is Angloville now in terms of how many people you're actually helping? I saw some amazing stats.
Michal: Yeah, I mean, we're very fortunate these days to be able to host probably between 7,000 to 8,000 students a year and another 3 to 4000 native speakers from all over the world, really. So it's, it's really been growing. We have camps every week. Obviously, there is a big pileup of our programs in the summer when the kids are out of school.
So the numbers have grown significantly from 2011 when it all started. And we're still a privately owned company. We never used any sort of platform, but it's obviously a different kind of business than most of the startups are.
Alex: Yeah, and actually, that's sort of in a good way. This is one of the things I was very curious about. I definitely want to dig into your experience of building the business in the future.
But I think I wouldn't want to overlook the amazing success you would have with the second company that you developed, and in a way, that's In the middle of our story. Now we're in 2023. You also co-founded a company called Tutlo, and tell me about that company.
Michal: Well, that's also a very exciting project.
So you know, [00:08:00] from the early days, we wanted to take this experience because that Angloville provides online as well. And, you know, we lacked the technological skills to do that. However, at the time, I think it was two, early, late, probably late 2015 or early 2016, when we joined forces with our friends from Warsaw Incubator; these are two guys that are still in the business along with an IT team.
They were thinking at the time of putting together a business that would do language learning online but in a different way. It was because, on demand, this was about to. At the time, there was nothing like this on the market, and it was addressing the need to reschedule your classes constantly.
Cause they were themselves studying the language. And you know, they have the native speaker coming to their office. However, they constantly [00:09:00] needed to reschedule their classes and so on. So. So they came up with this concept, but, you know, since we were, at the time, very close because we were also part of this Warsaw incubator of entrepreneurship.
So they reached out to us to ask whether we'd like to join forces on this project because, obviously, they were lacking all the methodology, the native speakers and sort of the knowledge of the language market in general. And we were very fortunate to be able to come in and help out with this project and sort of started picking up from the idea level to a real company.
What happened is that we started in 2016 and gradually grew the business. Currently, Tutlo is the biggest language school in Poland, and probably in this part of the world as well, Central, East, and Central Eastern Europe. We have more than 40,000 students at a time studying with us. We have probably over a thousand active native speakers who are giving classes on a daily basis.
And we're very fortunate to be able to help many clients and companies with their language skills.
The Tutlo Story
Alex: Phenomenal. I can see how that kind of overlaps, and it must have been very exciting for you. That transition, like you obviously have built this amazing offer. You know, it sounds like an army operation to have the logistics of all of these thousands of students across the world meeting in these physical camps.
And then also to have this sort of tap into the future of online language teaching and being at the very forefront of that in central Europe. I mean, two great stories. I'm going to jump on to a little bit more about where you think language education is going, or particularly, what you have learned over these years.
What do you think is underappreciated? What's something that people, I think, forget or overlook?
Motivation of a Language Learner
Michal: I mean, obviously, there are just different aspects to this question. I mean, in terms of education itself, I think we don't put enough emphasis on motivation. People are losing motivation easily.
That's why part of the system that we've developed at Tutlo is that, instead of pushing an hour class, we focus only on these 20-minute classes that are very short. We try to build this, custom and that people, build within themselves that they would, you know, have a class, it's kind of like going to the gym, , you need to be persistent at it, but you don't need to be extreme, there's this quote once that, someone told me about that really stuck with me is that you know, don't be extreme, be persistent.
And I think that's what that's what we're doing. But in particular with the online education is that you don't need to study for the whole day, but [00:12:00] you need just a 20-minute class, do it twice a week, do it regularly, make sure you have your notebook, your vocabulary, or however else you're learning, and just start going, it's similar with, with, with Anglo, because, it just simply gets you going.
It's a great thing for a start because, you go in on that camp, you have 70 hours of one-on-one conversation with native speakers, and this really gives you that motivation. You build relationships with these people. And then you want to continue. You have that appetite to continue.
And where it brings, so I think it's like a pleasure of learning. It should be there. It should be natural. You shouldn't have to force yourself. You know, looking at, say, an hour and a half, hour and a half class that is awaiting you is just simply probably too much at the time. You should have that flexibility of being able to study wherever you want and just for, , short times.
And then you need some, a booster at the beginning, which, you know, we provide in the form of angle though, because this business is overlapped in a way. So I think that would be the element, fun and just probably shorter sessions.
Alex: Those are two great points. So, making things fun and making them shorter, but I think one of the things I really agree with you on as well is this concept of motivation being the hardest thing to solve.
In fact, even when I was writing my book LangTech, that was probably the number one thing that people were like, yeah, we've got all these technologies that solve many problems, but they don't solve the motivation piece. And what I really liked about what you said was it seems like you're just removing the inertia bit, which is actually sometimes the hardest thing. Just like a gym, sometimes the hardest thing is just putting on the gym gear.
And I'm in. I've got nowhere to go. So I better learn some English skills while I'm here. And likewise, the tutelage by making it so easy, you've kind of already got your gym gear on [00:14:00] there. Do you do that by subscription, by the way, through Tutlo? ,
Tutlo's Innovative Business Model
Michal: it is a subscription-based business. I mean, it's quite innovative in its model, but yes, indeed. At the end of the day, it's a monthly subscription that you pay. We have sort of us, I mean, going back to the finances. In the online business of, in the online education business, the big, because of the motivation factor there's, there are two things that are really crucial for everyone that, that sort of has a business in that field is that you need to be very careful about your client acquisition costs, which is, you know an important element.
And then there's another element that is quite important, which is the, well, the lifetime value of the client and the monthly fee that the client pays. And a lot of the times your monthly fee is much lower than your plan of position cost. Therefore, you know, we understood that very early on in the business, and we are working with different institutions, [00:15:00] financial institutions to overcome that problem.
In a way that, we get most of our financing upfront. Therefore, we're able to sort of finance the client acquisition cost at the same time, allowing the client to pay in monthly instalments rather than everything up front, which is the which is, which is something that we do in Tutlo, and this also gives us the space to grow.
The business is because we're not so dependent on the monthly sort of fee not covering the acquisition cost of our clients.
Alex: Just what you mean by that is that the lifetime value of the customer is higher than the acquisition cost, but it takes you a long time to get there. And so you just bring that lifetime value at the front, and you use a kind of financial mechanism.
Michal: Exactly. We work with banks and, therefore our [00:16:00] clients. We are getting most of our clients, obviously not every one of them; some of them pay everything up front. However, most of our clients are supported by financial institutions, and they simply pay the instalment to the financial institutions, whereas we get the money upfront, and therefore we're able to finance the growth and the acquisition costs.
And this is really, this has really been a crucial sort of one of the crucial points in the business to move forward and also gives the client opportunity to sort of the split up the payment into. Smaller instalments and also we're, and we're working really with the motivation.
That's another thing that we're because obviously it's like a gym. So a lot of the clients are motivated because something has happened in their life. I know they've been on holiday, and they realise that their language skills are not up to the standard that they wanted to. And therefore, so they, they come to us but you know, with time, usually their motivation but we have systems in place that help them [00:17:00] out with our motivation and we're really, you know, considering, in general, the usage of so the, the, the percentage of clients on the market, generally on the market that buy different educational products and the sort of the usage of these educational products.
On the market, in general, it is generally low, and in our case it's quite high and still rising. It's really at a very good level at the moment, which is also good feedback of us that our product is very good. And also that the clients are happy with you know, continue it. So that's pretty important.
Alex: I think that's so critical, and you've hit it right. People will have extremely fluctuating motivation levels. And knowing that, particularly when it comes to language and knowing how long it can take, which is actually why they make such great customers because it takes a long time to learn a language. If you can keep their motivation and trust, I mean, you've got them [00:18:00] for a long time.
Michal: Exactly. That's why we, we sort of, we don't want to be just so the difference between sort of Tutlo and other schools that are out there that are online as well. It's not only the fact that we give you the tutor on demand so you don't have to schedule a class, but we don't want to simply be like a tool for conversations.
We're much more than that with regard to Tutlo. Is that, you know, you're basically buying a course, and there's a course behind the scenes, and it's so if you're. So working with two, if you're a customer of Tuplo, you usually have a course that you're doing and it's really cleverly structured so that you see some content, that you're working with, whereas your teacher sees a different content.
Well, obviously, it's the same. It's related. It's the same thing, but he also has this tip. So ask this question, you know, use this word that gives a specific structure to the program, regardless of the [00:19:00] fact that you may be having a class with a different tutor. So that sort of you know, facilitates the the continuity, doesn't it?
The continuity, the smoothness of the process. Regardless of the fact that you may be using different tutors at a time, you may be able to, if you want, that's important to you. You can obviously have the same tutor over and over again, but you know, if you want to get to know different accents, you want to try different tutors, you can, no problem. And it's not only, as I'm saying, it's not only a tool for conversate, for random conversations, it's a course. And we also know, as you have rightly said, that language learning is a process. It doesn't, you know, it doesn't happen over a month or two therefore, we don't usually offer packages that are that short.
Our usual packages are at least 12 months long. So that's what we, and we believe this is the way that, we can really help our clients, you know, improve. So having a process being consistent, working with the client's motivation and helping him out with covering the costs.
Alex: I mean, honestly, it's, it's totally sounds world-class to me. I think this almost jumps to a question that I was going to ask. And it kind of, because it makes sense now why you were considered one of FT's Europe's top players. 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe. I mean, that sounds like it's a very proud kind of milestone, but I was wondering that's kind of one result of you doing all of this great work.
What's, is that a milestone you're particularly proud of? Or is there another milestone that you're particularly proud of?
Milestone for Michal
Michal: I mean, I it's, it's really something, very important. Happy to be, you know, financial times as, as, as, as sort of noticed us, and it's really something that, that, that we were really proud of, but, looking at these two businesses with, when it comes to Angloville, you know, I'm really proud of the fact that, you know, when I was a teenager because a lot of our clients are at Angloville, there are teenagers that, you know, each other wasn't doing their summer holidays and, you know, they, you.
Basically, go out on these camps where they have, you know, plenty of native speakers. Some of them are, you know, students of top world universities, and they get to talk to them. They find out about, different opportunities that they can't go to universities abroad. They can do a gap year. Literally, the world of opportunities opens in front of their eyes.
And, you know, their happiness, which is expressed in plenty of reviews or... Or simply in the fact that, you know, over 50 percent of our clients that, you know, go on our camp will come back another year to the camp again, which is, you know, an outstanding number. This is something that I'm really proud of with respect to that business.
And basically the, the, [00:22:00] the satisfaction level of our clients and the fact that, that you're going to come, you basically have no idea you have to talk English, that's it. So that, so that element, obviously in the end, I think, you know, we're probably the sort of language that the number one travel, educational travel operator, you know, in Poland at the moment, which is also something, you know, that we take great pride in but it's just happened.
You know, somewhere along the lines, we weren't, you know, striving to become the biggest or anything else. We just were really focused, on giving people the right experience. So that's something I'm really proud of with that business when it comes to Tutlo, which is obviously a much larger business today.
And as I said, a number one language school in Poland when it comes to some of the, the size and the numbers but also just, just, just, as you said, just being able to, you know, we have this kind of mission statement within the founders that, you know, we want to be, we [00:23:00] want to like deliver.
The native speaker to every home household in Poland, you know, regardless if you're living in a big city or, or a smaller town or if you're going to like a school that is, you know, the best school in Warsaw, or, or you're just somewhere in a smaller town. In the rural part of Poland, we actually give you that access as well. Constantly on demand without any barriers. So what you said exactly is just making it really smooth. That's probably something that I'm really proud of when it comes to that business. And obviously, you know, all the other factors, you know, the, the, the, that the Financial Times has acknowledged that growth.
That's very important to us as well. But I don't think, you know, along with other business founders, I don't think that's something that we. That, you know, that was our goal. Our goal was somewhere else that just came along the lines, but it's really happy to hear this. I'm really happy to hear this, too.
Alex: Yeah, I, I think that's, it sounds like you're coming from a really good place, particularly you're making your kind of [00:24:00] vision and mission very much about what you hope and expect for your students and customers to have. So I'm really excited for you as well. One of the things I was kind of curious as well is, do you feel that that, I mean, that must have emerged over time, but tell me about your sense of how you've had to change and transition as a leader, you know, leader of one business most of your energies still split between both businesses or do you have one that you focus more of your attention on and how do you develop, how have you felt that you've developed as a leader?
Michal: It's a pretty tough question to answer, to be honest. I mean my, most of my energy is still divided into the two of the businesses, which is obviously too low. Has a board of directors not only the, now as a founder, sort of, we, we, we support the business on an everyday basis, solve, solve most of the biggest problems when they arise.
However, it's a relatively big business today. We have probably 400 people on board or more that are working, excluding the teachers the tutors. So obviously I'm not working with everyone anymore. I'm working mostly with the, with the board. Mm-Hmm. . Whereas the board works with the most of the heads of, of different departments.
So and then, you know, in the beginning, the first-ever contract we signed with a client. Of my own writing and by the way, I'm not a lawyer so, so you can see that transition there but I'm still, I still sort of try to be as present as possible when it comes to Angleville I'm also there's also sort of a board of directors in that case that, that sort of does most of the action I try to help them out when they sort of, when there's problems that arise but also give them the right flexibility to just to, just to be independent, you know, because it's a much smaller business of about 60 [00:26:00] people maybe working full time.
I mostly work with the directors of different departments and and help them out. But as I said, trying to give them as much freedom and an opportunity to sort of solve the problems themselves.
Alex: Yeah, well, it sounds like you're definitely emerging into that into that leadership position with a strong standing. And in fact, I was sort of wondering, particularly, you know, there'll be people that might be listening in that are starting, you know, to become leaders as well, you know, what sort of piece of advice would you wish somebody had given you in that early days, and you've kind of almost mentioned how you're kind of Moving into this higher level leader, particularly working with the board.
But when you're starting out, you know, there's a lot of hands on busy work that you can get carried away with. What, what sort of habits or mindsets or practices would you suggest for somebody?
Michal: I mean this is a very tough question. I don't feel that, you know. [00:27:00] I'm probably at the level yet to, to be able to give anybody any advice, you know so, so I, I couldn't really say.
Alex: What about for you, Michal? If it wasn't, let's say it's not for somebody else. Let's say if you reflect on your own growth story. What habit practice or mindset has been pivotal for you and your two companies' success?
Michal: I mean, I'd probably just say that, just be there with the right people. I really was really fortunate to find the right people along the way.
So, Michael Zak was the co-founder of AngloVolta and also co-founder of Tutlo. I met him when I was in high school and travelling when I was 17 and toured the U. S. without, you know, having the proper right to do that because we were still underage. But we did, and these people, you [00:28:00] know, also like the guys that are working with us in Tutlo, Tom Mc Diamond, also Andre, who's our CTO Andre Vic, you know, these are just extraordinary people and that, that you can always bounce your ideas, ideas from with, you know, and, and then you can really move on, move forward with things.
So just, you know, I was I was, very fortunate to be able not to do all these things on my own, but just have the right people and I, I got to tell you one thing that I was really struggling with when I was younger, because you know, when I started, I was literally starting fresh out of university and, you know, going into a startup area, I was not as popular as it is today.
So if I had, I could give myself advice to my younger self, I had this, you know, time zone, I was, you know, my brother, who's, a board member of one of the banks, you know, in Hong Kong at the moment, and everyone else from my city. A lot of my close friends were already starting in there, in big companies, big corporations and moving up on the ladder.
And I was sort of on my own on this other road, and this road wasn't that pretty, you know, cause you have to like to write a contract or, you know, there was no one else to help you. And it was much less sort of flashy than the jobs of my friends at the time.
Alex: I totally understand where you're coming from. We had the exact same experience.
Michal: So I had my moments of weakness when I was thinking, Oh, am I really doing the right thing? That I, you know, maybe I should just, just go and just work with with one of these corporations. You know, I had actually, you know, I had actually two degrees because I was a civil engineer and also I did finance and accounting at the Warsaw School of Economics. So, there was this other route that was really looking easier and planned and organized. And you know what your sort of next step is, so for me maybe I was a little bit, undecided where this is something that I should do or not, but at the time, you know, I had, I remember Mike was like with me and he was really, you know, full and focused and, and, and he may help me sort of to, to get that confidence that I needed.
And, and then just, you know, from there on the first, the two of us later on, you know, a bigger group. My co-founders, we sort of progressed and went beyond it and, and it's probably been the best decision I could have made right now. Yeah, because, you know, what I value the most is kind of the, so the freedom of of choosing what you do of you know, being where you want to be.
In terms of, you know, geographically even, you know, I, I love to travel working remotely. Yeah. And this, you know this sort of path has brought me to the place where. Where I can do it. So I don't know. I mean, if I would be giving myself advice from my younger self, I would just stick to the [00:31:00] right people, like and just I guess.
Michal: Don't be afraid sometimes. Yeah. Yeah.
Alex: I, I wrote down here that, you know, and, and certainly was my experience as well. Like everyone is nervous about starting something, everyone's like, Oh, do I do it? Am I capable? Should I do it? There are so many reasons not to do it, but just to do it anyway. And at least you'll learn regardless.
Alex: And it feels like that was your experience. So, thanks so much for sharing that with me. In fact, another thing that you've sort of just shared, and I think it's really worth kind of tapping into before we finish up our conversation today. This is what you're working on at the moment. You've got an amazing initiative working with Ukrainian refugees in Poland, if I'm not mistaken.
Do you want to tell me a little bit about that? Yeah, that, that initiative, what you're doing, and I'd love to learn more.
Michal: Yeah, sure. I mean, this was a particularly important right when the war started because of Poland's right on the border with Ukraine. And, you know, even though I'm not a particular fan of the Polish government, I think they've acted to the challenge of the time.
They opened up the borders and allowed people to freely move in. And that's one thing that they've done. But also the, I have to say that at the time, the Polish society, Has really you know, acted in a way that, you know, was absolutely fantastic. And I have to say that, you know one of my passions is history.
And, you know, if you're really into the history, there have been a lot of, you know, low moments between Poland and Ukraine, the Ukrainians, you know, and the Poles. And, and, you know, and this has all been put aside and, you know, people were coming, you know, to the borders, bringing... Refugees to their homes and, and the whole, the Polish society has really stepped up to the challenge, and you know, it was just fascinating how the country united in the help during those very difficult days.
Unfortunately, they are still going on, but at the time, there was a big influx of refugees. You know, millions of people have come to Poland over a very, very short period of time. And, you know, obviously, different businesses were doing differently. To help. You know, some people were just, you know, coming to the border and bringing people and with buses, you know, inside the country.
So, so that other people were taking them to their homes and so on and so on. There were a lot of, you know, people that would, you know, I call it money and, you know, help out with different equipment or, you know, basic needs and so on. And at the time. We thought as well you know, within Tutlo, Tomek and Damian and also the Tutlo team.
Because, you know, this the operation, the COO of Tutlo is actually Ukrainian as well. And, and we were thinking like, what is sort of our input in this? And[00:34:00] and since, you know, we were an online business. We thought that, you know, a lot of the people that came are struggling with the language, the Polish language, and and they, you know, they can't get by that easily, so we quickly put together using our, you know, online mechanisms kind of a platform where we started teaching Polish.
You know, Ukrainian refugees that arrived in Poland. And that was really popular, you know, within the last few months of the conflict. And hopefully, it helped some people to... To make that transition, to make those very difficult times a little bit easier. And, you know, just to be able to, you know, focus on something different.
Then get by in your country a little bit easier. So that was something that we did. And that, that, you know, quite significant popularity at the time. Obviously, right now, it's slightly different because a lot of the refugees have come back, but it was. It was a good initiative, and we're really proud of it.
Alex: I mean, there's so much to be proud of. I think, as you say, there's a, there's a country pride, and I think there's obviously something that you did that has made a big difference. What was the name of that? Or is that the Tutlo platform that allowed Ukrainians to sign up?
Michal: Exactly, that was a project within the platform that allowed people to sign up and there were teachers there, sort of constantly, and they were helping with the basics of the Polish language. Obviously, the two languages, Ukrainian and Polish, are interconnected; they're similar, and they're from the same language group, so it's a lot easier for a person from that place to learn. However, it's still a challenge. So, we try to reach that gap there.
Alex: Is there a further stage of that? Or did you feel that that was a project that it needed a lot of time, at the start, and then it's just an ongoing support structure?
Michal: No, no, that was, you know, we, we saw that, you know, the dynamics of, of, of sort of the influx of people to Poland slightly changed.
So That project was very important at the time. And it's sort of, it's need has somewhat seized, but you know, the war is, unfortunately, going on for, for so long at the moment. And a lot of the people, even though, you know, they're coming from really harsh conditions, you know, where you don't know whether, you know, your neighborhood is going to be bombed or not, but they're really very proud people and very, and they, they simply, a lot of the people have come back. So it's sort of balanced out. And also, you know, those that are here, they've, they've learned, you know, the basics of the language already. So sort of the, the need for that product is seized, but at the time it was really. Really very helpful.
Alex: Amazing. Amazing. I'm sorry. My last question just before we finish up really is, is there something about the future of language education or online tutoring, both of those areas that you understand quite well that you're sensing like, how would you, or how do you feel like you are looking to the future and navigating your positions within that future?
Michal: Very good question. I mean, there are two sides to this question. Obviously, since I'm running or co-running two businesses in the field of travel business, so educational travel. I think a lot of it, will stay unchanged because it sort of addresses the different needs. So one thing that you want to overcome the language barrier, but another thing is that there's also an opportunity for the parents to send their child on a, on a camp where not only, will they study, but also for the parents who will also be a week off in a sense.
It's funny, but it's, it's [00:38:00] probably, you know, it's, it's part of the motivation as well. So, I, I think this will, this will... Remain sort of unchanged for a good time, you know, time in the future. Whereas when it comes to the online industry and online businesses in general, you know, you're probably very well aware of all the things that are happening right now, AI and so on.
On Artificial Intelligence
So, probably the easiest question would be to ask what's not going to change. But even that I would, would be hard to answer. But obviously, we're going to be seeing. I'm much more sort of involvement in AI, perhaps, you know, an AI tutor that will somewhat, to some extent, help the clients to practice.
So there may be, there may be a great shift of, of, of how we're learning, but at the same time, you know, I was like, you know, I think we should be really getting ready for it. And within Tutlo, we're currently sort of trying to develop and. And see that how this technology could be useful for, you know, for the clients, the business for us.
It's not quite ready yet, but it's very close to be ready. And I'm sure a lot of the, especially big tech companies that are doing education will, will probably be, are probably already very advanced in this. We're also trying not to stay behind. But there's, on the other hand, I've read this you probably, a lot of people have read this book, but it's really a very good book, I find Sapiens by Harari. Yeah. It's a fantastic book. And I wrote this quote where he says that in the sixties. We were, you know, we send people to the moon. Yeah. And everyone was predicting that, in the eighties and the nineties we'll be like colonizing Mars and so on . And then at the time, no one has, at the time, no one has predicted the internet.
Michal: So, when something seems very obvious, sometimes it may just take an entire different path. Although, in this case, it's probably unlikely. It's probably we're gonna be seeing [00:40:00] exponential growth of ai. Yep. So I think that's part of it. Although I want to believe that, you know, this human connection and, you know, being able to, to, to learn where real person and we'll be there, and people will still strive for that because that's absolutely wonderful to have that, you know, human factor in your learning. It greatly, you know, works on our motivation.
Alex: I think that's a really big part, though, isn't it? It's that motivation. And I think we're having to be very conscious now, I think with possibly the, how good some of these tools can get, we're starting to go well. Just the same reason that somebody still wants to send their child, even though they could learn English with a week at home with a private tutor, potentially it's just, it's not the same experience, and it may not be what they're really, the end outcome is. So, I also have the sense that AI feels like an ad rather than a substitution for much of education.
Michal: Absolutely. And obviously we don't know which way it's going to go, but. But I, I feel that, you know, it could be, could very well, you know, enhance the, the way we're learning, but and it will definitely change the industry somewhat.
And I hope... That, you know, and I feel that this human element is still very important to us.
Alex: I totally agree. Totally agree. Michal, it has been such a pleasure talking to you. I've really learned a lot from you. And I really admire what you've been able to create with Angloville and with Tutlo.
Check out our other episodes of Language Leaders here.
Be notifed of our new materials!
Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur.