Navigating Uncertainty on the Entrepreneurial Journey with Sartou Djibril, Enlight Ed

February 1, 2023

Choosing the entrepreneurial route requires navigating uncertainty, being prepared for chaos, and being open to continuous learning and adaptation. In this episode, Sartou Djibril, co-founder and CCO of Enlight Ed, explains how building a strong team, listening to your target audience, and remaining humble can make the journey more advantageous for everyone involved! 

About Sartou Djibril:

Sartou Djibril spent most of her career working for tech companies, helping businesses and organizations to adopt digital solutions to achieve their goals. Today, Sartou is the co-founder and CCO of Enlight Ed, a two-end virtual tutoring platform that increases efficiency for students and teachers. 

How to build a strong team when starting a business?

If you are starting a business, it is important to focus on building a strong team. A strong team can help you achieve your goals faster, avoid mistakes, create a positive company culture, and build a successful business.

Here are a few tips for building a strong team:

  • Hire the right people: Finding people with the relevant expertise and skills is crucial when adding new team members. Finding team members who match well with your company’s culture is also crucial.
  • Provide training and development: After you’ve employed your team members, give them opportunities for training and development. They will learn new skills and perform better as a result of this.
  • Create a positive work environment: A productive workplace is one where team members are appreciated and valued. Team members can freely exchange ideas and collaborate to find solutions to issues in this type of work environment.
  • Communicate effectively: For a team to succeed, communication is essential. It’s critical to let your team members know what you expect of them and to pay attention to their comments.
  • Celebrate successes: When your team achieves a goal, it’s beneficial to recognize your team’s accomplishments. This will encourage them to keep up their diligent work.

By following these tips, you can build a strong team that will help you achieve your goals and build a successful business.

Episode highlights:

  • The startup world is a lot more uncertain than the corporate one, and people aren’t always going to be ready for your ideas. Succeeding in this space requires patience, continuous learning, and making the most of the chaos. (12:12)
  • From the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, focus on building a strong team. Without this foundation, it will be very difficult to get your business to where you want it to be. (27:51)
  • Experience is the greatest teacher. You can learn as much theory as you like, but until you actually put something into practice in the real world, you won’t have the full picture. (28:49)
  • Build your business based on what your target users actually want, not on what you think they want. The only way to do this is by interacting with those users, listening to their insights, and adapting your offering as you learn from them. (30:36)
  • Despite how it may appear, arrogance and pushiness do not have to characterize your approach to entrepreneurship. You can be strong and still remain humble and treat people with care. (41:20)

Sartou’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“For many startups, the incompleteness of the team is one of the main obstacles. It’s hard to get something off the ground if you don’t have the core competencies in place from the beginning.” (27:51)


Connect with Sartou Djibril:

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[00:01:35] A.J. Lawrence: And we’ll kind of talk about where they’re bringing in these tools, and the type of customers and the relationships they’re building for the longer term. So it’s gonna be a lot of fun to kind of go into this.

[00:01:48] She’s the Co-Founder and CCO of Enlight Ed, which is a two-end virtual tutoring platform that basically provides this learning environment, bringing in some AI, different opportunities to kind of enhance the educational system.

[00:02:10] Some of the conversation I think is gonna be very useful for people who’ve come from a more corporate background compared to either a startup or sort of a bootstrapping background. Because Sartou has this wonderful corporate background and her discussion of how that transition in the world changed for her is something to really kind of take into consideration as we go through our own efforts.

[00:02:36] I like how she talks a little bit around how more uncertain the obstacles and the opportunities are for startup world because usually when you’re in a corporate role and you’re going out to customers, clients, et cetera, they have a stronger understanding of what you are providing and what your company usually has more focused.

[00:03:04] But she talks a little bit about playing into the chaos, and that’s a really cool, fun thing about having patience and developing continuous learning. Not just for your own self and your team, but also for your potential clients- that you are educating them around what is possible and then playing and making the most of what the chaos is in your space as things are evolving.

[00:03:35] Imagine being able to provide a learning system in the middle of all the AI that’s going on, the advancement of AI technology right now. That’s going to be amazing and it’s gonna be so groundbreaking if they can land it right. So this is really kind of cool to talk about.

[00:03:57] I like how she also brings in the importance of building her team into this kind of chaos, uncertainty, therefore creating a stronger foundation to deal with chaos. I talk a lot or I find very interesting with a lot of entrepreneurs that setting the foundation, being able to do the basic work of what we’re supposed to do, so that way when the opportunities come, luck, et cetera, however you wanna define it, you’re in position to better take advantage.

[00:04:30] And that’s really cool how Sartou will talk about the importance of the team and what she does to build her team into that. Then also just how she talks a lot about being herself as the entrepreneur. Not trying to define herself as sort of this always on, the 24/7 sort of approach entrepreneur.

[00:04:54] She’ll talk about the importance she has in being what she believes she is, and bringing that to her own entrepreneurial journey. So kind of fun. And then just last, you’ll notice a lot and I think it’s kind of fun to just listen to what she talks about, the obstacles, cuz she’ll talk in different areas about obstacles they face.

[00:05:14] But every time she talks about it, she also will kind of say, these are also the opportunities. I find that fun and a learning experience because a lot of times I will go into a situation, and other entrepreneurs I talk to, and when something’s difficult, it is just that obstacle right in our face.

[00:05:42] But when we bring the right attitude, the right mental space and the right just general space to that situation, the opportunities start to come to bear. And Sartou is really interesting in that shoot, we’ll talk about these difficulties, but then like, "oh, but it allows us…". So just pay a little attention to this. All right. Let’s go to a very fun conversation.

[00:06:07] Hello Sartou! Thank you so much for being on the show today.

[00:06:11] Sartou Djibril: Hi A.J.. Thank you for having me here. Nice to meet you.

[00:06:15] A.J. Lawrence: Well, I am really excited to kind of dive in. But I’m kind of jealous that you’re in Amsterdam because that is such an amazing city. I spent so much time there when I was in grad school and sitting in Copenhagen. I used to go down there regularly for maybe the raves, but yeah, still I miss that city. It’s a beautiful city.

[00:06:40] Sartou Djibril: Yes, it is an amazing city. So before I moved to Amsterdam, I actually lived in London for 10 years. I did my studies there and I started my career there. I mean, London is amazing, it’s amazing city. It’s very intense. So I think for me, Amsterdam really represent also like it offers a good life quality that you won’t get in other major capitals. I like the whole idea of getting on your bike and just getting anywhere. It’s easy to get anywhere. I think that’s the part I like most about Amsterdam.

[00:07:15] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, just wandering around. It’s the canals, the different styles of buildings and just the culture. I mean, you turn around and there’s like, oh yeah. Rembrandt sat here, you know. It’s like, oh my God. Everywhere you turn, there’s something truly amazing. When you’re around and it’s just, it is laid back.

[00:07:41] It’s sort of like you get this nice global city that’s like, yeah, don’t worry. It’s okay. You don’t have to kill yourself to enjoy this.

[00:07:51] Sartou Djibril: No. No pressure at all.

[00:07:54] A.J. Lawrence: Very jealous.

[00:07:55] Sartou Djibril: Yeah.

[00:07:57] A.J. Lawrence: Well, I’m very jealous. Well, I was telling the audience a little bit about your background and some of the cool things and just my fascination with Enlight Ed app, you know, what you’re doing there. But before we dive in too much into that, I would love to kind of just, you know, now that you know you went through this Entrepreneur in Residence Program and now that you’re one of the co-founders here, where do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Where are you on your own entrepreneurial journey?

[00:08:29] Sartou Djibril: Yes. That’s a very good question. It’s a question that I’ve been thinking quite a lot about lately, actually. So it’s funny the way we started with this, with Antler, the startup generator. So it’s a little bit, it feels like with the startup generator, you felt like you were in a very controlled and protected environment for quite some time.

[00:08:57] A.J. Lawrence: Yes.

[00:08:57] Sartou Djibril: And then from there you were a little bit let out in the wild. You were standing on your own feet. And we’ve been standing on our own feet for quite some time. We’ve had quite a lot of dilemmas. As the founding team, we will think, okay, should we raise funds or not fund or should we just bootstrap?

[00:09:20] We did decide to bootstrap, so it even feels more that you have to really, you know, you’re a little bit really out there in the wild on your own. So I feel like as an entrepreneur, that’s where I am right now – to navigate a very chaotic world, very chaotic environment. Like how do you seize opportunities and how do you capitalize on it?

[00:09:48] So I think by being as self-sufficient as we are, it’s also a little bit- you’re trying to do as much as you can with minimal connections and an established network. So it’s this, I don’t wanna say survival, but it is. We’ve been in a survival mode for quite some time, but we are also trying to see, okay, how can we switch mode a little better? Like getting into the thriving mode. It’s an interesting stage that we are in right now.

[00:10:28] A.J. Lawrence: As an entrepreneur, that phase is in hindsight it’s one of the more fun phases, but in there it is also one of. Having gone through there, and I always remember feeling like okay, I know this can work. But like how to choose what is going to create the impact we need? What choices where there’s just so much in that. That focus in trying to understand, as you said, your resources, your time, your effort. Finding that balance to what’s going to help you thrive.

[00:11:15] You know, that is, it’s a learning experience because you know, I know in my case I kept making lots of mistakes and then eventually finding something. But it was like by the time I did, I’d be like, okay. You know, but later.

[00:11:33] Sartou Djibril: Yeah.

[00:11:34] A.J. Lawrence: Are you finding the way you approach this sort of uncertainty changing as you experienced this? Cause I know you had some really cool corporate experience ahead of this and then the program. But as you go through this period, do you find yourself as situations come, as you guys continue to adapt and grow, do you find what you’re doing to kind of prepare for the uncertainty changing?

[00:12:06] Sartou Djibril: Yes. So I think one thing that we are learning, and it is an ongoing learning experience, is when you are operating with anything that is not mature yet, as a company, we are not mature.

[00:12:31] A.J. Lawrence: Mm-hmm. .

[00:12:33] Sartou Djibril: The innovation that we are developing, the market, is not really mature yet so we are constantly learning how do you approach that? The corporate world, what we are used to, we are used to targeting established markets with something that is established. But now, we are like at the other end. How do you approach, how do you deal with people who are not ready for what you’re doing right now?

[00:13:07] So this is something that we are learning every day. Right now we are struggling with some institutions who has, you know, like the main challenge is just to get the teachers in one room together and talk to them about our solution, having workshop and so on. Only that step is quite challenging.

[00:13:33] So for us, it’s not about you can’t link the growth of the business to people being ready for what you’re doing. You have to find other angles, like how do you get there? How do you take those to small steps to get where you need to get? And how do you wade this out a little bit as well?

[00:13:57] This is not ready for the innovation yet, so this is, we are getting a little bit more mature in ourselves right now, if that makes sense.

[00:14:11] A.J. Lawrence: No, it does because we’ve seen this with sort of like enterprise where it was the concept of 5-10 years ago of bring your software to work type of approach. Where it did seem like there were software solutions, like Slack and all these, you know, small workload that really didn’t make sense in a large enterprise. They made sense in groups, sort of classrooms within larger organizations, and then for the end user, you know, the employees back then, but now your students. It’s something that would make the students life and their abilities that much better.

[00:14:55] But the concept is yeah, foreign to the organization, the educational systems. You and I were just joking and I was kind of complaining about, oh my God, how structured the education especially now coming back to the US having been living abroad, how much more structured everything is.

[00:15:17] What are some of the things you are looking to do? Because I noticed you do have the ability for students who are taking the WISCA and I know in the US that’s the Wisconsin, blah, blah, blah, blah. I forget, the Wisconsin Educational Testing System. I don’t know if that’s what it is for you also. But for the Math, I guess the Netherlands Math Exam, for a specific type of math exam the students have. Is that one of the ways you’re trying to change it?

[00:15:57] Sartou Djibril: Yeah. So as a beachhead market, we actually started with a teacher education program, so students who wants to study to become primary school teacher. So here in the Netherlands, the challenge is there are not enough primary school teachers who are graduating from universities to address the teacher’s shortage in primary education. And then one of the reason why there are not enough primary school teachers who are graduating is because they’re lacking the math skills. They’re not passing these exams.

[00:16:42] And as a primary school teacher, you have to teach all subjects, right, including mathematics. So it’s one of those subjects that you really have to master quite well to be able to be a primary school teacher.

[00:16:55] So we did identify this problem together with some teachers. We did a little bit of brainstorming sessions with them before we developed this curriculum. And they specifically asked for this kind of content to help these students with mathematics skills and to pass this exam, which is mandatory in Netherlands. It’s called the viscat.

[00:17:22] A.J. Lawrence: Okay. Yeah.

[00:17:23] Sartou Djibril: So that’s how we started. But I think it is, at least here in Europe, I think it’s because we started in Belgium as well short after that, and we’ve identified they have similar issues there or similar challenges with the mathematics skills.

[00:17:41] The math skill is where they struggle most so I think it’s a sweet point to focus on. And we at the moment, we are also exploring how we can we go international on this challenge for this particular group. To prepare future teachers with mathematics skills.

[00:18:04] A.J. Lawrence: You know, what was in the US now, I think there’s other issues beyond just education. Preparing for education in the US or specifically how teachers are valued. But I was just seeing something. It’s over 50% of the school systems, the school districts, that’s how we usually divide ours in the US, have a staffing shortage. A lack, not enough teachers, a teaching shortage. And that is incredible that you have this app.

[00:18:40] I think US we also, not every area, but a lot of areas do not pay and they create rules upon rules. And we’re talking about structure compared to other types of jobs. People who have talents that could be teachers don’t.

[00:19:00] Sartou Djibril: Yeah.

[00:19:00] A.J. Lawrence: But then just finding skill teachers. I know I had looked years ago, after the first big Dot-com crash when I went from being in some agency you know, oh, we’re making all this money, da da, and boom, I’m broke.

[00:19:21] I had looked at being a teacher and the fact that I had math, I had a science degree. I mean, they were jumping like, oh my god, you know. And then a really bad tech job came that was offering me twice what the teachers salary was going to be.

[00:19:38] Sartou Djibril: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:19:39] A.J. Lawrence: So it’s tough just finding that. But then the educational needs of helping teachers or helping people who wanna be teachers then expand to be able to provide math. Cuz that is so important. That’s a very cool thing. As you guys kind of identified that and expanding it out internationally, are you changing how you approach?

[00:20:05] I guess mostly in Europe, it’s country based. While the US, it’s usually regional, our regional state by state and sometimes locality by locality. Are you sort of adapting how you approach this now that you’ve identified this is being more of an opportunity than sort of a more general approach with the school systems?

[00:20:28] Sartou Djibril: So we actually, we decided to start in higher education. We’re focusing on higher education right now. Not only teacher education, but also there’s a reason why we are very passionate about teacher education. Because this whole idea of preparing future teachers, making sure that more teachers graduate and meet the needs of the job market, I think that’s a very, very interesting, problem to address.

[00:21:05] It is a higher education challenge and that’s why we start in higher education. I think that it’s easier. When it comes to higher education, it’s easier to find commonalities across borders. I think at school level, the curriculum can differ quite a lot between country to country. Whereas higher education, specifically with Mathematics, we don’t believe it’s gonna change that much between countries.

[00:21:39] I think there’s only one way of learning math. You know, Mathematics is an exact science so like developing mathematics skills, there should be a universal approach. So that’s what we are betting on a little bit. Like at least as an entry level, we should be able to find that entry point with any country and any region.

[00:22:12] So I think that’s one of the reason why we were very keen on starting in higher education. And then if we wanna move on to other subject, Chemistry, Physics, Economics, the platform itself is quite curriculum agnostic, subject or even language agnostic. We should be able to move to different regions quite easily. That’s the assumptions that we have right now.

[00:22:44] We started in the UK already and in Ireland. We don’t see like two big differences at the moment between teachers, the way they teach at that level of education.

[00:23:03] A.J. Lawrence: So maybe a quick dive into, you know, you’ve had this corporate background ahead of time. And then you went into, why did you go into the program? The Entrepreneur In Residence program?

[00:23:18] Sartou Djibril: Hmm. Yes, that’s very interesting. So I have thought about first like on a personal level, it is a little bit in my personality, you know, this need to be autonomous, to be independent.

[00:23:42] One thing in my behavior previously in the corporate world, one thing that I was very keen on is always, like I always had customer facing role. So for me, it was always about helping customers, addressing their needs and problems and always trying to see, okay, how can I leverage the internal resources to get what my customers need and so on.

[00:24:10] In doing that, I experienced a lot of obstacles, a lot of internal politics, internal challenges just to get things right. Getting things right in in the world of corporate is not always an obvious, like it is not something that you can do that easily, strangely enough. Most likely, you’ll always step on someone’s foot.

[00:24:37] A.J. Lawrence: Mm-hmm.

[00:24:40] Sartou Djibril: I think that’s one of the motivation and also the need of being autonomous. It’s what always made me explore the path of entrepreneurship, but at the same time, there’s always a little bit of something that’s just holding you back a little bit. You just don’t have the strength and the courage to take the leap.

[00:25:08] I think for me, the moment a friend of mine actually did the Stockholm Cohort, the Antler Cohort, one of the first ones, she referred me to the program. When they contacted me and told me about the whole concepts, I just felt this is the time really to take that leap.

[00:25:29] A.J. Lawrence: Mm-hmm.

[00:25:31] Sartou Djibril: So that’s how I started. I think it was also a little bit like a result of a little bit of maybe a personal crisis maybe. When you just got to a point where you felt something has to change. And what was happening when I was in my previous company, typically people just jump from one corporation to another, a lot of people left at that time. And that’s something also I wanted to avoid because I knew if I went to another corporation, most likely the same cycle would be repeated.

[00:26:09] I wouldn’t really experience any radical shifts or anything if I stayed in that world. So this was the perfect moment to really make that change.

[00:26:26] A.J. Lawrence: When you were in, because a lot of my understanding of EIRs are sort of based on having talked to people in corporate ones and then some of the more the VC-funded back ones, it’s either a) someone who has experience and is just sort of sitting around and helping with different companies until an opportunity shows up.

[00:26:52] Sartou Djibril: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:53] A.J. Lawrence: And then in the corporate one, it’s someone who’s trying to support the creation of internal companies out of company IP or company opportunities. Did you find the part, like one, you talked about it being like a protective environment earlier. Was it helping you learn what it was going to be? Did you practice entrepreneur, or were you working on the creation of Enlight Ed app as part of this? What sort of happened for you during that to then get to Enlight Ed app?

[00:27:32] Sartou Djibril: Absolutely. I think one thing that was very interesting, although it was a very intense experience, one thing that was very useful and valuable about this particular program was the focus was very much on building the team.

[00:27:51] Because I think for many startups or for many entrepreneurs as well, the incompleteness of the team is one of the main obstacles. It’s hard to get something off the ground if you don’t have the core competencies in place from the beginning. Cuz you don’t really, you just don’t have the means to recruit people. You have to be self-sufficient.

[00:28:16] So I think having a strong team is really an advantage. So I think the program was very good at that, this exploring who should you work with to start with. It was a very bumpy, very emotional process to get there, to meet my co-founders. That’s where I met them.

[00:28:39] A.J. Lawrence: Okay.

[00:28:40] Sartou Djibril: So I would say, the bit that I experienced mostly in the program is the building the team. It’s not as much because how you actually work on an idea and how you take an idea off the ground, I don’t think you can learn that until you really get out there in reality.

[00:29:05] A.J. Lawrence: Yes.

[00:29:07] Sartou Djibril: Once you start talking to customers, you don’t know what you need to do until you do it.

[00:29:15] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, there’s so much. The lean methodology canvas, all the different things, but the reality is it doesn’t mean anything until you’re out there and customers are specifically, specifically that dollar one. Or currency one, sorry, American.

[00:29:35] But that first actual transaction where like, wait, you’re gonna give me money for this ? Wait.

[00:29:43] Sartou Djibril: Yeah, yeah.

[00:29:43] A.J. Lawrence: Is this real? It’s like, oh my God. There’s economic value in what we’re doing. Oh my God.

[00:29:52] Sartou Djibril: Yeah. I do have to add also. One more thing is, we did actually meet our first early adopters as well through the program. So it is a little bit like sometimes, the program also, apart from just building a team, it does provide you with the initial network that you need. That first early adopter who is willing to tell you, okay, this is what’s missing in education.

[00:30:23] There are a lot of EdTech solutions out there and e-learning solutions and so on. But these early teachers will actually tell you this is what where we are still struggling and this is where we need a solution. And I think the worst thing that can happen is if we just build an MVP based on you second guessing what your user want. It would be great, it’s very useful if someone actually tells you this is what we need.

[00:30:51] At the end that’s how we did build an MVP, as a result of that interaction with these two teachers that we met through the program. So that’s also definitely valuable. I think that’s when a structured program can help a little bit.

[00:31:11] A.J. Lawrence: In creating that environment, 1) to allow you to step out of the world of everything else you need to do to keep going. But then 2) the network of the people you can interact and the potential partners, clients, funding, et cetera. That’s really cool.

[00:31:31] Sartou Djibril: Absolutely.

[00:31:32] A.J. Lawrence: But you know, as you’ve talked now that like getting out and changing. What types of things, now that you are having to adapt to one, sort of realizing how educational organizations work, trying to find that product market fit given the different systems and going to changing a little bit more to universities and their education of teachers and et cetera, what type of things do you work on for yourself to be able to better adapt to the changes you’re seeing in your business?

[00:32:13] Are you working with a coach? What types of things do you think help you get better? As you’ve said, you’re changing and adapting, what do you think is helping you there?

[00:32:29] Sartou Djibril: Yes. I think for us as a team, I think we’re very close. We always make sure that whatever that’s on our mind, whatever that’s weighing us down, we really talk about it. We make sure that we like clean the system as often as we can.

[00:32:57] A.J. Lawrence: Mm-hmm.

[00:32:57] Sartou Djibril: It is a frustrating experience. But in terms of culture, I think what helps us quite a lot, we have a very close relationship with the customers as well. For us, it helps a lot to really get as much insight as possible from them, like getting a real view of it on education. I think that’s the only way we know or learn how to constantly adjust and adapt to this chaotic world. So for us, most of the insight, not coaching per se, but most of the insight and inspiration is coming from customers right now.

[00:33:49] First, the early adopters are the ones that are, they’re not only enthusiastic but they’re also very, very keen on changing the way they teach, changing the results, the learning outcomes, and just like improving education in general. It’s something that they’re really working towards and they see very clearly how we can add value to their pursuit and to their ambition.

[00:34:20] So for us, a lot of the inspiration is also coming from them. Just listening to them like how they want to change education because we are just an enabler. It’s not in our power to change education. We just give them the tools to do so. So for us, it’s really staying as close as we can to them and just keep listening to them.

[00:34:47] So for the time being, I would say the teachers are our coach.

[00:34:52] A.J. Lawrence: That is cool.

[00:34:54] Sartou Djibril: They are teaching us how to be better entrepreneurs, I would say.

[00:35:02] A.J. Lawrence: Well, given that you are still early in this journey of creating this and finding the way to bring this larger, how do you go about not just defining success for the company which would be adoption of your product in the educational system, but more of what is going to be success for you as an entrepreneur? How are you looking at what that success is going to be? How do you define success for yourself as an entrepreneur?

[00:35:50] Sartou Djibril: Do you mean how in the long run, in the short term or?

[00:35:55] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, I mean for you, right. We can go long term, but like right now. I know as an entrepreneur, I would make myself miserable because I would say, okay, this is what we’re gonna do, and then we kind of get up here. And I would never get, sorry guys, I’m on a podcast and I’m doing hand gestures. I would set these really big goals and then work and kind of move the team and try and get everything.

[00:36:27] And we would gain progress. But I would feel that we never hit the goals I set. So I’d be like, I didn’t do it. And then, I would step back over time or I had a coach eventually who said, okay, look back on this. Cuz I was saying I never, you know. I fail at all this, it’s not working, da da, da.

[00:36:49] It’s like, take a look at this. It’s like, yeah kind of have been doubling every year. You wanted to triple. Yeah. And there’s other examples of that. But like, yes, you didn’t do X, Y, Z, but you did X and Y, which is pretty, you know. That ability to look at what success is and to kind of understand what it really means.

[00:37:16] So what are you looking at right now to be success for your abilities as an entrepreneur? We can talk about the company separate, but like for you, what are you kind of saying, you know what, this is good. I do this and this is you know. And once again, I’m doing my thumbs up.

[00:37:40] All right. So, how do you make sure that you are looking at what you’re doing as an entrepreneur?

[00:37:51] Sartou Djibril: Yes, so I think personally when I look at success, I want to look beyond financial growth. Because I always think if financials is the only thing that we are looking at, we actually had this discussion within the team a while ago.

[00:38:12] If we only look at the financial metrics, so why are we doing this? Why are we still not with our corporate jobs? Because that’s guaranteed.

[00:38:23] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. You make the money there.

[00:38:25] Sartou Djibril: Yeah, exactly. So what are we looking for here doing this? I think for me personally, it’s an opportunity to really, anything that I wasn’t able to do previouslyin my previous role in corporates and so on, like any bad practices that I experienced, like, okay, how do I get this right? How do I do things better?

[00:38:58] Like related to customers, how do you express this and how can you show the difference that you wanna make? I think that’s what I’m looking for, that difference. How do you materialize this difference?

[00:39:22] So for example, if we have teachers as customers, I do want to see from their side how are they able to make education better? How do they improve it? Interestingly enough, we’re working with a couple of teachers where we are doing the research product. We have a lot of data that we collect with our platform. We are able, actually, we can dig into the data to see, okay, how do we gradually improve the skills of students and teachers themselves can measure this.

[00:40:03] I think for me, I see this as a success. You know, when you see your customers improving things. This is what I wanna see more of, and this is how I would like our business to be shaped moving forwards really. A world where customers can clearly see how things are moving for the better.

[00:40:37] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, having that value generated. What’s so interesting about that is so much of the traditional definitions of success, financial success would generally occur in line with that value creation.

[00:40:54] Sartou Djibril: Yeah.

[00:40:54] A.J. Lawrence: Which is by putting the value first, you’re creating something. And yes, you have to have the infrastructure, that revenue generated profits, the operational delivery, all the things that are the nuts and bolts. But you crafted into that, wow. Doing something that gets things better.

[00:41:21] Sartou Djibril: And just to add to that as well, I think we always equate the success of our business with a lot of stress, a lot of big egos most of the time, a lot of arrogance, and so on.

[00:41:45] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah.

[00:41:45] Sartou Djibril: I mean, for me you can be a very tough person yes, but in a nice way. You can still be very humble and very humane. And that’s very much also a little bit our approach. We know where we stand. We don’t let anything or anyone compromise what we believe in. But at the same time, for us, there is just no need to be that arrogant and very, you know, the typical behavior that you see in the startup world. Like overinflated egos and things like that. I think also changing that norm a little bit. .

[00:42:38] A.J. Lawrence: That’s what I’m hoping because well, as we’re seeing with the whole Twitter battle, maybe in the top side the egos are still quite there, the me first approach. But I do think, especially in the global startup scene, Silicon Valley maybe is still stuck in BroTech world because of it’s worked before, so therefore let’s keep doing it.

[00:43:09] But it does seem like you have a more focused, or at least conversations I have with entrepreneurs like yourself and others you know, outside of those. It’s more about creating the concept that they find valuable to see in the world and then having usually with the prism of autonomy, personal autonomy. Because large corporations sometimes don’t treat talent that well and it’s not the most fun when you’re a talented person and you’re being driven for stuff there.

[00:43:50] So entrepreneurism has that value. But even on top of that, oh, I can see something that I find important occur, and to do it right, you have to play it by the rules of actually generating business. It’s like, oh wait. You have to do all that stuff.

[00:44:11] Sartou Djibril: Right, yeah.

[00:44:12] A.J. Lawrence: It is a fun concept to be looking at and it’s cool that that definition is so important to you.

[00:44:20] Do you think though, going forward, let’s say, 5, 10 years, you do become sort of this integrated into the upper educational system and then because you’ve been training teachers through it, maybe they’re starting to pull it down into the junior

[00:44:43] Sartou Djibril: To the K-12?

[00:44:48] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah, the non-college, sorry, non university educational systems. Wow, I’m having a fun vocabulary day today, folks. But let’s say, the students who used you within the university setting then start filtering into the educational system at large.

[00:45:06] Enlight Ed app, you guys start expanding. You become sort of this change within the opportunity. What is your long-term success going to look like for you? Not the company, but like for you. As an entrepreneur, what are you defining your long-term success as?

[00:45:32] Sartou Djibril: Yeah, I think long-term success, which is also obviously a little bit tied to the success of the business as well or the vision that we are striving for with what we are doing. It’s really, we are working towards essentially a paradigm shift in education. We started with higher education to enable that. This whole idea of preparing future generation of teachers with not only math skills, but also getting very familiar with effective teaching, digital teaching tool, helping them build these digital skills.

[00:46:30] Like how do you combine teaching methodology with digital tooling? How can you use technology to multiply your efforts? One thing that’s gonna be a reality is the teacher shortage. Even with more students graduating, teacher shortage will always be there as a problem.

[00:47:00] So how do you work with that effectively? How do you counter it with digital technology? So for us is contributing to that needed paradigm shift. I think for us, or for me personally, that would be a success if I see that happening. Actually at the moment, our impression is that teachers don’t have that much confidence in technology.

[00:47:31] How can we change this? So if I see this happening, I consider that a success and I’ve done a great job as an entrepreneur. .

[00:47:48] A.J. Lawrence: Very cool. As a parent with children in various levels of the education system and soon to go off to university, so if I survive, that would be one thing. But it would be great to see this because it’s frustrating as a parent.

[00:48:16] Every parent thinks their kids are special and unique and amazing. But as parent, it does feel so frustrating that the learning system, they’re being forced to learn things that sometimes don’t really flow into the real world. You know, they’re more of check boxes of what they educate, of what you should know because that’s what everyone has always learned versus, oh, this is what’s happening, here’s the education. Here’s what allows you to think about these types of changes. The ability to think versus the ability to learn.

[00:49:01] So I really, really, really hope to see you guys succeed because it is really needed in the marketplace.

[00:49:10] Sartou Djibril: Yeah, exactly. It’s also just creating, because right now it’s very natural for teachers to with a whiteboard, putting the instructions up there. Just writing up, okay, kids, this is what you need to learn. Pay attention. As natural as that field, it also should feel very natural to just put their instructions in a digital tool. A digital tool that replicates exactly their mode of instructing really and explaining a subject, that they should feel comfortable with that.

[00:49:52] And also the advantages of that is once it’s in a digital format, it’s there for anyone to use at any point over and over again. There’s a recycling aspect of it as well. So there’s all these bits that is just, it should be obvious for them. Teachers are not there yet, but I think like when this is normalized, it should just be obvious to them.

[00:50:25] A.J. Lawrence: I hope. Because yeah, you’re starting to see in some areas and definitely some of the online education but it’s so on the fringe, but it’s starting so I hope it goes further. I hope, like I said, you have great success, just so my children and other listeners and everyone at large just has a better educational experience in general.

[00:50:59] That would be great. What’s the best way if someone is curious about what you’re doing or interested in what’s happening? What’s the best way for someone to reach you and where should they learn more about Enlight Ed?

[00:51:16] Sartou Djibril: Yeah, that’s very easy. So we always encourage half an hour demo session. We are actually right now in the process of recording a lot of videos as well that we are gonna post on the website for anyone to view.

[00:51:34] Right now, there’s a lot of information on the website as well, some videos just to get an idea of what the solution is doing. It’s very straightforward. There’s some sample exercises as well on the website for anyone to just click through it without signing up or anything. It’s very easy to click through and just test if you wanna solve a math exercise.

[00:51:58] And also just to see what does it mean if you are struggling students. If you don’t know the solution, what kind of guidance do you get just to get this. You really experience this is the kind of help that you would get from a teacher. You get it through this tool.

[00:52:18] So there’s plenty of these possibilities. But if teachers want to talk to us, this easiest way is really there’s a Calendly button that you just book half an hour with us. We’d be happy to help you out. I think that’s what we always encourage teachers. I mean, it’s hard to just from one media, from just one interaction to see, okay, this is what we want. We always encourage, let’s just talk. Let’s develop relationship and see how far we can go. And it always helps, with that half an hour demo to start with.

[00:52:59] A.J. Lawrence: So yeah, we’ll put then in the show notes. Everyone, we’ll make sure you can find a link to the app, I mean to the site. Sorry, your site is .app, enlighted.app. And then also to your account and also your LinkedIn. So if anyone wants to reach out to you personally, they can also.

[00:53:19] Well Sartou, thank you so much for spending your afternoon, my morning. And I can’t wait to see what you guys do because this is so cool, what you’re trying to do. So thank you so much for coming on the show.

[00:53:35] Sartou Djibril: Thank you very much, A.J.. Pleasure.

[00:53:43] A.J. Lawrence: This episode of Beyond 8 Figures is over, but your journey as an entrepreneur continues. So if we can help you with anything, please just let us know. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone who might learn from it. Until next time, keep growing and find the joy in your journey. This is A.J., and I’ll be talking to you soon. Bye-bye.

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