This past April, Fast Company’s Alice Truong wrote about Duolingo’s plans to offer online language certification. Now Duolingo is revealing more details of the ambitious program today, called Test Center. Available in an Android version on the Google Play store and a version for Google’s Chrome web browser, it puts Google in the standardized testing sphere.
Online freelance and offshoring giant oDesk and Carnegie Mellon University (von Ahn’s alma mater) are the first organizations to confirm they will work with Duolingo’s standardized English-learning exam. oDesk has confirmed they are using the application to verify that applicants speak English, while Carnegie Mellon is currently conducting testing on the platform.
“Odesk works with freelancers,” von Ahn added. “Most people who hire freelancers from oDesk are in the U.S. or (native) English-speaking countries, but many freelancers are abroad. Many people on oDesk say they know English, but there’s no way to verify it; this will show their oDesk certificate score in the profile.”
Additionally the smart home / Internet of Things spaces are both hot right now. Khosla saw us as one of the few companies in the space with a product that solves a real problem for people, as opposed to simply “connecting things”.
“I’ve never dyed my hair,” Jessica Chastain says.
Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, August 2014.
Chastain, Julianne Moore, Domhnall Gleeson, Amy Adams, Karen Elson, Madison Stubbington, Florence Welch, and Shaun White—these are today’s fire starters.
I think what Sheryl Sandberg said about the importance of “leaning in” is very true but it’s not sufficient. Because if you are leaning in to a door that is nailed shut, you are just going to get bloodied and tired of trying to push that door open. So you have got to have the next level, which is, “how do you open up those doors to the ever-bigger roles?”
In my book Startup Life (that I wrote with my wife Amy) I said that one of the key things that has made our relationship work is that I realized “my words had to match my actions.” After about decade of telling her she was the most important person in my life, and then being late to dinner, canceling things at the last minute because something else came up, or taking a phone call without even looking at who was calling when we were in the middle of a conversation, she’d had enough and our relationship almost ended.
My biggest behavior change 14 years ago was to focus hard on having my words match my actions, and my actions match my words. Simple to say, really hard to do.
Of course, it also works in a business context. I’ve learned, and deeply believe, that it’s the essence of being authentic. You can have any style you want – these two things just have to match up.
It actually opens up doors for people who would never have gotten to interview based on their CV,” says Ms Morse. Some managers initially questioned why new recruits were appearing without any prior relevant experience. As time went on, attrition rates in some call centres fell by 20 per cent and managers no longer quibbled. “I don’t know why this works,” admits Ms Morse, “I just know it works.
The company whose name has become a synonym for photocopy has turned into one that helps others outsource everyday business processes, from accounting to human resources. It recently teamed up with Evolv, which uses data sets of past behaviour to predict everything from salesmanship to loyalty.
For Xerox this means putting prospective candidates for the company’s 55,000 call-centre positions through a screening test that covers a wide range of questions. Evolv then lays separate data it has mined on what causes employees to leave their call-centre jobs over the candidates’ responses to predict which of them will stick around and which will further exacerbate the already high churn rate call centres tend to suffer.
I think the beauty of Twitter lies in how it doesn’t preordain how it should be used. Rather than tell users what to message or what problem Twitter is solving, Twitter instead just offers a powerful platform then leaves the door wide open and the users themselves evolve its application.