As with other subjects but especially with mathematics, it is difficult to take yourself (mentally) back to what it was like to be a beginner once you’ve become proficient. Math is a language AND a skill AND a tool, but for many there is a wall of anxiety, a negative mindset that prevents them from buying in and learning what math is and how to use it. All that said, I am impressed that the founder, Eli, had such a convoluted, unconventional journey through education and that he was able to produce such an effective visualization tool/platform. The team clearly is able to do the difficult task of harkening back to what it was like to struggle with equations and the “aha moment” of visualizing the line described by an equation.
But the question is: is the founder a strong role model for would-be entrepreneurs? I struggle with this, not just because of my own bias as an educator in the public school system, but also as a believer that education is highly valuable and people should not give up when it seems like the system doesn’t work for them. I’m not sure I could encourage others to follow in Eli’s footsteps, dropping out of school to pursue a dream. An interesting quote I hear in an interview on CBC Ideas talked about how it doesn’t seem to make a difference that we include ethics as part of the curriculum for programming and design education in post secondary, because the people making new apps are not taking those courses – many of the entrepreneurs and up-and-comers are drop outs. One could imagine if Eli had more formal training would he be even more innovative, or less, or the same, but with more informed and thoughtful design elements?