Kindness of Strangers


The running of a startup wears one down. Raising of funds even more so. You pitch. So, you expose yourself to the judgement of others. That judgement is often harsh – delivered with little understanding, but, must be taken as gospel coming from investors. Tim put us down – while telling us how they helped a company with just an idea grow, he told us – don’t bother to apply to the accelerator – with 1.4 million downloads, we don’t have the traction to be of interest to them.

But, I finally met a kind investor – Jian. He told me the same things that everyone else did. He did not put money into the company. But, he was kind, and he was encouraging. He asked about the mission, not just the financials. He even recognized how being a mother gives me a unique perspective. He was genuinely impressed by the accomplishments so far, and did not try to play them down. Thank you, Jian. Your kindness helped me finally accept some very tough conclusions.

I remember another kind investor, David, who wrote us a letter of recommendation for our grant application. He was the first one who believed in us, and what we are doing. Having brought up and taught his own kids, he could relate. Thank you, David, for your support.


Many times, I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task I have taken on. I must change how math is taught in schools. If we keep drilling and testing kids the way we are, we will continue to turn kids off math and science. Sometimes the weight of the huge task seems too much. I have to build game based content for K-5th grade – most likely by myself, most likely without funding, most likely without pay. I forget why I signed up for it in the first place.

Teachers at the ISTE conference told us, to get them enthused and supportive, developers should just pay the teachers. The money I have earned from sales this year, is allocated to pay for the neighborhood school’s tablets – to test the app I am building for them. I don’t have any to pay the teachers to use the product.

Why do I bother when everyone would rather I just stop?

Then I see the picture on my basement office wall sent by @BreteauFound of kids in South Africa playing with Kids Phonics, and those in Sri Lanka playing with Kids Measurement Science, and pictures of my own kids testing the apps, and learning so much more.

As @OChemJulie put it, it gives one a kick in the butt. I have no right to complain. Thank you @BreteauFound, @OChemJulie, @mr_isaacs, @CornDogArt, @DennisDill – for kind words and a kick in the butt 🙂

I can do this, I can make a difference, 1 kid at a time.


Kids in South Africa playing Kids Phonics.


Kids in Sri Lanka playing Kids Measurement Science.


Me and my kids testing apps together.

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