Siavash Mahdavi

Dora Palfi - Imagilabs

by MTF Labs | MTF Podcast

Dora Palfi is the co-founder and CEO of imagiLabs, an ed-tech company creating gadgets that make programming more relevant and welcoming for teenage girls. Dora has years of experience teaching programming to children and teenagers as well as advocating for women in technology.

True to her name Dora (“the explorer”) has lived, studied and volunteered in 10 countries across 4 continents over the past 7 years. In 2020 she was named a Cartier Womens Initiative Fellow and selected for Forbes’ Hungary’s 30 under 30 list.



Dubber      Hi, I’m Andrew Dubber. I’m Director of MTF Labs, and this is the MTF Podcast. Okay, so I’m going to try and do my best to make this sound like it’s not some sort of paid advertisement, because it’s not, but what I’m going to talk to you about, well, it’s a product, and so it’s going to be difficult to get away from sounding like “Hey, go buy this thing.”. Except maybe you genuinely do want to go buy this thing. It’s called an imagiCharm, and what it does - in ways that I don’t fully understand - is appeal to young girls such that they want to learn to code. And they do learn to code. Imagine a Raspberry Pi or Arduino but as a fashion accessory. Or maybe a Tamagotchi that you don’t have to feed, but you can teach it tricks. It’s somewhere in that territory.

Now, someone who does fully understand the appeal - because it was her idea - is imagiLabs CEO, Dora Palfi. Dora brought a bunch of these imagiCharms to an MTF Sparks event a couple of years back, and it was a real hit. So I talked to her just before Christmas, at a time where imagiLabs were all over the blogs and newspapers, magazines, and social media, because here’s a gift idea for pre-teens and young teens that’s fun, educational, and mixes creativity and programming skills. So why not?

Dubber      Dora Palfi, thanks so much for joining us for the MTF Podcast. How are you doing?

Dora           I’m great. Thank you so much for having me.

Dubber      You’ve been getting a lot of press coverage recently, I noticed. Tell me about what’s going on with imagiLabs.

Dora           Well, it’s been an exciting period. This is our first holiday season, and we worked hard to make sure that we can reach many young women - and kids in general - with our imagiCharm, which is a programmable accessory. So we worked to be featured on gift guides and to make sure that we can really reach as many kids as possible with the joy of coding this Christmas.

Dubber      So tell me about the imagiCharm, because you say it’s an accessory. What exactly is it?

Dora           Right. So that’s a really tough one for a podcast because I can’t show it. So I would suggest anyone who listens to this to check out the imagiCharm online to see what it looks like. But, essentially, we call it a smart accessory. It’s a small gadget that you can hang on your backpack or your keychain, and it is customisable through coding. Some refer to it as a ‘code your own Tamagotchi’. But, essentially, it is your coding companion that you can bring to life through programming in the imagiLabs app.

Dubber      And who’s it for?

Dora           So our main target group is, I would say, eleven- to fifteen-year-olds, but we also have younger and older users. And the basic premise behind the imagiCharm and our whole work at imagiLabs has been to make it more fun and relatable for girls, in particular, to learn coding. So whenever we test the imagiCharm and the new features of the imagiLabs app, we want to make sure that it’s going to be fun and inviting for girls.

Dubber      Right. So this is something that they can carry around with them, they can write their own programs for it, and it will make shapes and patterns and animations… Noises?

Dora           Well, the imagiCharm itself doesn’t make noises right now, but your phone can make noises, so we actually do encourage creating your favourite design that would blink together with the rhythm of your favourite songs, for example, and the music can perhaps come from the phone or any other device.

Dubber      Okay. So why? What’s it for?

Dora           Well, let’s start with the big picture. Why imagiLabs even started and how we got to the imagiCharm. So imagiLabs was founded by three women who themselves have a tech background, and what we realised is that we really believe that tech is the future, and it is such a powerful tool to create solutions. And right now, women are thoroughly under-represented in tech, so that means that we also don’t have an equal chance to shape its future. And so that is what we essentially wanted to change.

What we have also found out through our own research and through secondary research is that a lot of girls are just as interested in tech as boys are until the age of eleven, but in the early teen years, this interest starts to decrease. And it’s not just the interest, but rather the confidence and the sense of belonging. And that is exactly what we wanted to change. We wanted to make sure that girls feel like tech is for them and that they have fun learning coding skills.

Dubber      Okay. And, presumably, there is a creative aspect to wanting to get into code. Is it people who don’t see themselves as technology people… Kids, particularly. Is it kids who don’t see themselves as technology kids but see themselves as creative kids that would want to play with something like this?

Dora           Yeah, that’s an interesting aspect. Definitely, our language and communication is inviting to the kids who would already be interested in tech as well, but what you were perhaps referring to is that actually, yes, creativity is one big pillar and aspect of our solution. And let me just trace back to, also, the origins of the imagiCharm and the actual solution that we’ve built.

So we started out as a user-centred design research project. This was during my master’s degree at KTH in Stockholm. And so what I essentially did was working together with girls, with the end-users, and trying to identify design features for an imaginary product that they would want to use to learn coding.

And so the things that we observed and found out was how much our target end-users - so girls in their early teen years - enjoyed self-expression and creativity, how much they enjoyed being social and doing things together with their friends, and also that their phones are the number one device that they use. And so that’s how we decided to essentially bring coding to the phone. So lower the barrier, lower the friction to starting to code, but also to make sure that it is a creative process and that essentially we introduce coding just as a tool to create things, to make things, to achieve whatever you’d like to achieve.

Dubber      Right. And when you say ‘coding’, you’re speaking about a specific computer language?

Dora           So, right now, yes. imagiLabs teaches Python with our current solution. But in the future, we are looking to expand the offering so it really goes beyond that. It is about coding in a particular language. I think it is important that we teach a real language that is directly transferrable to later coding in the computer. But it is also about learning that you get error messages when you run your code, and you can write comments, and you should write comments so that others can understand how your code works. It’s not just necessarily about the particular language and the syntax but about a lot more around development and computational thinking as well.

Dubber      Okay. So the outcome of this, ideally, is that there’s a generation of people who know how to write computer software.

Dora           Right. I think that is a big part of it, but also that there is a generation of people who have the confidence that they can write computer software, because I think what happens is that when a lot of us get to college or get to our first internship, we might feel like we don’t belong. And so having had that experience that “Yes, I am a coder. I can create.” and also having had the experience that coding is difficult, and it’s challenging, but it is also fun and rewarding will allow this generation to stick with it and to think of, as I mentioned, coding as just this tool that you can essentially apply to the problems and to the fields that you would like to dive deep in.

Dubber      Right. So it makes me wonder, what sort of kid were you?

Dora           Curious. I was certainly creative. I used to love arts and crafts, but I did also like science and math. And I must admit, I had this particular experience that I really enjoyed science, I really enjoyed mathematics - so the STEM fields in general - but because I was a girl, I was encouraged to perhaps gravitate towards biology or becoming a doctor, and I was never suggested to think about engineering or computer science as a viable path for me.

Dubber      Right. There’s an educational underpinning in this which is more than just “We want kids to be able to learn how to code.”. You’ve gone deep into the educational methodologies of how people learn and structuring the lessons around getting people to go from zero to up and running with imagiCharm. What’s the educational basis for this?

Dora           Yes, that is correct. Some of it has really just come from our research and, of course, experiences seeing how kids learn, but, as you’ve also mentioned, we’ve done quite a bit of research into the actual pedagogy and the methods. And so what we use - called constructionism and constructivism – essentially, we encourage girls and boys using our product to construct the knowledge along the way and really learn by doing. And so we believe that learning happens when you’re engaged, and you’re probably most engaged when you’re at the edge of having fun and being rewarded but also being challenged. And so we really try to recreate or create that experience.

And so a lot of the learning that happens in our universe – or as they call, through the imagiLabs, the coding concept – I think, tries to cater to the fact that some of us learn in more creative ways, as we explain. And I love this analogy with human natural languages. So just like if one wants to learn English, some of us might want to watch TV and listen to music and really be more creative, and some of us would want to understand the grammar and the rules more. And so we want to recreate this flexibility, as well, that you can get creative, you can play with the colours, but you can also get deeper into understanding the actual logic behind the code.

Dubber      I can imagine if you start out with the premise of you want people to learn how to write computer programs that you would create a software start-up. But you created a hardware start-up. Is there a huge difference in that? Are the challenges similar? How does it work?

Dora           Oh my god, yes. Talk to any investor, and they’ll be like “But why hardware?”. But this was essentially the outcome of our initial research, and we saw that this tangible aspect of it was so rewarding. Seeing something that you programmed on your phone light up on an actual physical other device is just so rewarding, and we’ve just observed this over and over and over again. And so we see that, actually, the hardware component adds a huge value. And probably especially for Gen Z, who have been growing up with their screens, with their phones, with apps, it maybe even is more meaningful to have an additional physical touchpoint in this whole experience.

But, of course, we are also conscious of the cost associated with the hardware, and that, first of all, it might not be affordable for all, and also just might add additional complexity. So, actually, our software itself is useable without the hardware. It’s possible to use our simulator to preview the code, and we do have classrooms and users who use our solution that way.

Dubber      So you can use only the software if you want to.

Dora           Yes, it is possible. It is not as much fun, but it is definitely possible. And perhaps in the future we will be able to expand on it. But I think the hardware has given, to us, this limitation. I really believe that creativity can happen when you have the right set of limitations and framework. It’s much easier to get really creative when you have some constraints, whereas if anything is possible, it’s much harder. So I think that’s what the hardware has given to us. It’s so actionable.

Here’s this little gadget, and you just have to start creating on this eight-by-eight pixel grid. Whereas if it was purely a software, it would almost be overwhelming. You could be creating such complex things. But with our eight-by-eight LED matrix where it’s quite limited in the amount of different art that you can create, this constraint actually makes it easier, I think, to get started. It’s less overwhelming. And I think that has also been really helpful for our users and for our students to get started.

Dubber      You mentioned investors a little while ago. I know you started with a Kickstarter campaign. What’s the trajectory been like from a business perspective? Have you built on that and simply just funded through sales, or have you now got this big bank of massive investors behind you?

Dora           So it’s been a mix from the start. Well, in fact, we actually started our company - legally founded the company - when we had our first customers who wanted to pay us. So from day one, we had revenues, and that was part of it. But, as you said, we also had a Kickstarter campaign, and already, then, we did have some angel investors. So we’ve been lucky to bring in both financial support but also expertise through our angel investors. And so until today, it’s been mostly individuals, and, for example, KTH - the university where we started - has supported us financially. Staying an incubator in Stockholm has been part of our journey. It’s been a mix of revenue and individuals supporting our journey.

Dubber      And presumably… Because your Kickstarter was maybe two years ago. Is that right?

Dora           Actually, no. It’s only been a year and a few months. A year and a half.

Dubber      Okay, a year and a half. Have you had any graduates from the imagiCharm who’ve gone on to programming at what you’d call a higher level? Have you got any of those stories?

Dora           Yeah. Well, because our users are somewhat younger, not quite yet. But I do have two examples now that I’m thinking of. So Music Tech Fest was essentially our first big appearance, and this was with our 3D printed prototypes back in 2018. So one of the girls who attended that particular workshop, our first workshop, she has been an imagiGirl since then. That means she’s one of our ambassadors. And she kept continuing to learn to code, and now she has been participating as a mentor in some of our initiatives. She has recorded her own tutorials. And so she continues to learn to code. And one of our other imagiGirls, who is probably one of the oldest ones - she’s seventeen now - she did a summer internship with us, actually, and continued coding and is now applying to university to study computer science. So some of the examples are starting to appear, but the majority of our users are still somewhat too young for that.

Dubber      That’s an amazing outcome to have that sort of trajectory already. Because I remember at MTF in Stockholm in… What was it? September 2018?

Dora           Exactly.

Dubber      Yeah. That was a real eye-opener because you did have this big group of girls who were all working on these… They look like toys. And I guess that’s deliberate, but there’s a really serious educational outcome that comes from that. Do you see this as a toy, or do you see it as an educational device? How do you think about it?

Dora           Yeah. It’s funny that you mention this, actually. I think one of our favourite quotes, an imagiLabs quote, is - it’s from Steve Blank - that “Disruption on the first day always looks like a toy.”. In fact, this is written on our PCBs. And so, yes, true. The imagiCharm itself is a toy, but imagiLabs as a company, of course, stands for something bigger. And there’s nothing wrong with toys. They have such a big impact on our learning and how we grow up. So, certainly, it starts as a toy, and it’s an easy step in, but then it becomes something bigger.

And, of course, as I mentioned, I really believe in this edge of learning and fun, and it has to happen together. So all the gamification that comes into play. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t use all that knowledge that we have about how people have fun to actually help them learn, and so that’s where we try to use all that knowledge that we have about toys and entertainment and actually apply it, then, to acquiring skills.

Dubber      Do you see what you’re doing as a political thing? Is there a political dimension to what you’re doing?

Dora           Interesting. I haven’t thought of it that way. I’ve never studied that way. We call this as a movement, so there’s definitely that aspect to it, and we definitely take stands on what values we stand for. So, certainly, that is extremely important for us, and that’s essentially the basis of what we do. At the end of the day, we are building this company because we believe that we need more diversity and equality among the creators of technology.

Dubber      Is that easier in Sweden than it might be in other places, do you think?

Dora           Yeah, that’s also an interesting question. So I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and have had a couple of conversations, because as much as Sweden is one of the most gender-equal countries, when it comes to tech and the start-up scene…

Well, first of all, in terms of investments going to start-ups - VC funding - I think it was something like less than two percent of VC funding went to all-female-founded tech companies. And when you look at the percentage of the ICT employees, actually, women are less than twenty percent in Sweden as well, which is pretty much the EU average. So it’s interesting that this problem is just as big here as in other parts of Europe, and maybe even bigger than in certain parts. So maybe people are more open to the idea of it, but it is still a huge issue.

Dubber      Is it any easier to have a start-up in general, all-women-led or otherwise, somewhere like Sweden?

Dora           Yeah, that’s also a great question. I do think that Stockholm, or Sweden, is a great place to start a company. In fact, I never really meant to start a company, so to say. That wasn’t my goal.

So it happened that I was studying in Stockholm. I was really passionate about this problem. I had a solution that emerged from one of my courseworks. And at the time, I also was taking a few entrepreneurship classes. I got involved with the start-up scene. I attended a couple of events, and I just heard all these inspiring stories and pitches, and people just going for it. And there was also so much support, both in terms of financial support like applying for a grant to do your first prototype, that it suddenly didn’t seem like an impossible thing to do. It was just a natural and fun challenge to get started building your own thing.

And so I definitely think Stockholm is a great place for that. And there’s also definitely a lot of knowledge in the ecosystem. There’s a lot of people who have built companies themselves and are willing to pay it forward and share their learning.

Dubber      I was going to ask about that because there are some really big start-ups, or that started as start-ups and are now massive unicorn companies. Is there that kind of nurturing of passing down the knowledge from bigger success stories in the tech arena within Stockholm?

Dora           Yes, one hundred percent. So that’s definitely been part of, I believe, what has made us achieve so much in so little time, that really, really busy people are willing to give you their time and knowledge when you show that you are working on something hard that you’re passionate about, that you’re doing something meaningful, and that you have a specific ask and a specific question and you know why you’re asking them. And so, yeah, the ecosystem has been so open to just support new initiatives.

Dubber      I know there’s a lot of awareness of these sorts of technology projects. There’s a lot of talk about innovation within Sweden. But that comes with people being cautious and people being very aware of things like the privacy implications of things like that. And I know with things like smart devices and smart toys, particularly, there is a concern about things like surveillance and privacy and those sorts of things. Do you come across that? Do you run up against it?

Dora           So, actually, that hasn’t really been a big question or issue for us when it comes to the imagiCharm itself because the imagiCharm doesn’t really have those capabilities. It doesn’t do anything on its own. It literally just connects to your phone through Bluetooth, so it doesn’t add that extra complexity.

So the privacy concerns that we do face are just essentially regarding our app, and that is obviously important. And so with our small company and limited resources, we definitely still dedicated a lot of time and energy to making sure that our privacy policy is in place, and we have the right system set up for reporting in our app, to even have profanity check in the coding environment, and to ensure that this is a safe and supportive environment for children.

Dubber      I know you said you started this by thinking about a problem that you identified and that you thought needed to be addressed. Presumably, there’s an endgame of this where there is no longer a problem anymore. Have you given any thought to what that might look like?

Dora           Yeah. So that’s actually a great point. We will not need to exist any longer when half of the tech workforce will be women. Until then, we have to be around. But it also goes beyond that because, of course, there will continue being an important factor to have diversity in the industry.

And so to give you a full-circle vision of ours, we say that one day we would love to set up our own fund and start investing in the girls, the women, who first learned to code with our platform and with our product. So, essentially, that’s where this should all be going. Having more diversity among the creators of technologies, having more diversity among the founders, and everyone using tech.

And, of course, as we discussed, it’s not just a local problem in Sweden, but it is also a global problem. So if you think of it more from a UN SDGs perspective, it’s about not just gender equality, but it’s about quality education and, essentially, reducing inequalities. So this should be the case globally.

And that’s actually also something that we are excited about with our solution being mobile-first. That, actually, mobile devices are becoming more and more prevalent globally, and they are way more accessible than computers. And so this should be something that is possible in the future, for anyone anywhere in the world to essentially learn to code directly on their phone.

Dubber      You talked a little bit about being an all-women-led technology company. Tell me about the team. Who’s involved, and what are the complementarities between you?

Dora           So in terms of our founding team, that’s correct. We’re three female founders, and we actually all met doing our undergraduate degree at NYU in Abu Dhabi. So we come from a rather international background. We all have worked in tech but in very different aspects.

So Beatrice, one of my co-founders, is the electrical engineer and also has a master’s degree in machine learning. Paula has been a software developer. Interned at Google when she was eighteen. So she was the ultimate lead developer for us. And I’ve been more focussed on the UX aspect of the product and now have taken on the business side.

But, of course, it’s not just the three of us, and we’ve been lucky to have part-time teammates and also interns throughout the process, even before we were able to hire our first employee. We’ve gotten so much support. But right now we have two more full-time employees as well as a couple of interns and a couple of part-timers. So our team is about eleven people right now.

Dubber      Wow. So presumably you now have some lessons not just for people learning to code, but learning to start up their own companies.

Dora           Definitely. Well, we touched upon, I think, the most important aspect of it. What I always point out is “Start with a problem.”. The solution can change so much. And to get through all the difficulties and the hardships of starting a company, it really has to be something that is meaningful for you. And so I think starting with a problem is one aspect.

Then what I always say, also, is “Find the people that you want to work with for a long while on this particular problem.”. So the team is extremely important because, again, there will be days that are tougher than others, and we can - as you also said - complement each other and uplift each other when it gets tougher. So I think these two are extremely important.

And I think something that has also been part of our journey from the beginning is just getting out of the building, testing with your potential customers and users, and not being too ashamed. Rather, just being humble about what you are building and just taking all the feedback, taking all the input. Not getting discouraged, but facing the reality as soon as possible. I think that’s extremely important as well.

Dubber      The problem is the starting point, but the solution might change. Was the Charm always going to be the solution?

Dora           No, actually. We started from this idea of having a programmable phone case, which girls were extremely excited about, that they could customise the look of their phone. But, obviously, it was a bit more complicated to create a phone case because there’s so many different types of phones, and it also has to be really thin and nice and well designed.

So for the listeners who are not from Sweden, in Sweden there’s this concept called PRAO when fourteen-year-olds get to intern for a week at a company, and we were lucky enough to have three PRAO interns with us for a week. And I showed them the prototypes of the phone case - which was also 3D printed - and they were like “Okay, this is just not going to look good. The idea is great, but it’s just going to be ugly.”. And then we brainstormed with them, and that’s when we created the imagiCharm.

Dubber      And is the Charm always going to be the answer?

Dora           And that’s exactly what I was also going to mention. It’s just the first step in the journey. That’s how we look at it. And the answer really lies in the community, in the content. And I just know that we will have to continue innovating and listening to our users and stay on top of trends, and just keep creating solutions to make tech and future skills more accessible and inviting to the ones who are currently underrepresented in the industry.

Dubber      Are there any other problems in this domain that you would like to see solved but don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to address with your own company?

Dora           Oh, wow. Well, there’s certainly a lot of problems in the industry, and I’m not even sure what comes under this domain. For example, I also feel quite passionate about financial literacy and freedom, and when it comes to the gender aspect of it, as well, it’s similar to tech. The whole finance industry is also extremely male-dominated.

And then, of course, I am very conscious and aware of the other sustainability aspects of all the solutions that we’re building, and the environmental aspect of our solutions. And, of course, for example, things like “Oh. Can we even have plastic in our product? Is that sustainable?”. These are the hard trade-offs that you have to make when you’re laser focussed on one particular problem, that you can’t necessarily be one hundred percent perfect in every aspect of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

So there is a lot of different fields that I, personally, have an interest in. But I think, also, part of being a start-up founder is that you have to say no to so many things and just stay focussed, and that’s really, really tough.

Dubber      And now you’re running the educational pop-ups. How did that come about?

Dora           You mean educational workshops and events?

Dubber      Yeah. Just turning up in places and essentially running labs.

Dora           So it was part of our product development process. So the way how the imagiCharm was born, the way how our curriculum was born, every step of it was tested in the real world. And it’s funny to think about it. That we were asked to do a workshop, and we were paid to do it, but that also forced us to have to develop more content. And so we consulted our way through building these new parts of our solution. And so I think that is really great for us because we get real-world feedback.

And here, I think, actually, the fact that people are paying you to do something that turns into your product is really important because if people are paying for a service, you have to deliver good value for them, and you also get to test in real life if this is adding value to them. If you just do things for free - people are not paying for it - they are maybe also not giving you an honest feedback whether this is good or not.

So, essentially, I think that has been part of our philosophy. To get out of the building, as I mentioned, and see if this is creating real value for people, and how can we turn what we’re building…

So these labs. We love doing them. I personally love to teach. I’ve always been teaching. That was my first job, even as a teenager, tutoring. I loved that. But then the next step to it was how to make this more scalable. I can’t show up in every classroom in the world, so how can we turn our concept into something that’s more scalable? And so we love doing that and continue doing these labs, but also always thinking about how to scale it up, how to empower others to use our concepts to teach.

Dubber      And by scale it up, do you mean educational curriculum? Actually putting it into schools?

Dora           Potentially. We’re actually running a pilot programme here, or we’re participating in a testbed for ed-tech start-ups in Sweden. So it’s being tested in schools - and I, myself, had the chance to sit in one of the classrooms, which was really exciting - as well as in a few international schools in Europe. So we’re starting to test that out.

Dubber      Fantastic. And how’s that looking?

Dora           It’s been really exciting. Really great feedback so far. And, as I mentioned, I managed to sit in in multiple classes, actually, and get the feedback directly from the students. And I love getting feedback from students because they are just much more honest than adults, and direct about what was good and what wasn’t. So there’s definitely room for improvement, always, but it’s just been delivering a lot of value to students learning to code.

Dubber      Right. Presumably, it’s not for everybody. It’s not going to sell everybody on the idea of programming being for them.

Dora           Correct, and it shouldn’t be. And I think that’s also circling back to the idea of having to stay focussed as a founder. You also have to know if you’re pleasing everybody, you’re not pleasing anybody. You can’t make a difference by trying to make everybody happy. And so instead of going for the breadth, we really want to go for the depth of it, and that’s where, especially, our consumer focus comes in.

So schools are a great opportunity to reach a lot of students, but exactly what you mentioned now is really important, and that’s why we’re keeping this B2C focus because we think we can achieve a depth of difference for the ones who are open to it. And it’s not like everyone has to become a programmer, but we want to make sure that the girls who initially had an interest for it, or have a spark of interest, they have a space to deepen that interest and connect with others who have the similar goal.

Dubber      Right. Because there’s a tension there, I think, because you talk about this in terms of literacy, and it’s a word that you’ve used to describe this. And literacy, when it comes to reading and writing, isn’t something that is for some people and not for other people. Everybody should read and write. Is that going to be the same for programming, do you think?

Dora           I think there is a level to it that should be for everybody. I think everybody should have what we call computer literacy, technology literacy, to be able to use technical tools and perhaps to not think of coding as a black box. So I do think that a minimal level of exposure will be important for everyone. But then, it’s the same extent. Everybody can write and read, but not everybody writes novels and poems. So there is just a different depth to it.

Dubber      Interesting. So what are the upper limits as far as the literature of imagiCharm is concerned? What are the poems and the novels that people can create on that?

Dora           Yeah. There have been some really, really exciting projects that went beyond our initial idea. So one of my favourite projects was this dice project. So one of the users who’s used the random module in Python to turn the imagiCharm into a dice, so every time you run the code, it throws a different number. So you can use it for playing board games. We had one of our superusers turn the imagiCharm into a tool that would randomly select whether they should watch Netflix or do their homework.

Dubber      Presumably weighted quite heavily in one direction, too.

Dora           Potentially. If she figures out how to do that, that’s also a great achievement. And so there’ve been a couple of really fun applications, and it can get quite complicated when it comes to the logic and the mathematics to it.

But I think what’s important is, again, that this creative coding in Python is the first experience that we want to create and make it accessible. And we’ll be looking to launch new courses and concepts to potentially teach a different programming language. Or the next thing that we’re looking at, perhaps, is game development. So creating more interaction and more collaboration among our creators, among our users.

Dubber      Right. Is there a community that’s formed up around this online? I’m old, so I think of Facebook groups, but there must be some sort of place where people are coming together, talking about their projects.

Dora           Yeah. Great question. And, right, the age aspect of it is interesting. Of course, as the fundraiser/marketer, I’m trying to understand “Where are our users hanging out? Where can we create communities for them?”. And so there is a community aspect to the app itself, as well. So our users can have profiles, and they do have descriptions in their profiles, and it’s possible to share the coding projects within the imagiLabs app and comment on them. But we also have a Discord server. I don’t know if you know about Discord, but it is the more natural place for Gen Z to hang out, and so that’s where most of the discussions are happening right now.

Dubber      Wow, fantastic. Well, I’m really looking forward to you coming and bringing imagiCharm and your educational methodology to MTF Sparks when we have that next year in the summertime. It’ll be fantastic to have that. I’m really looking forward to seeing that.

Dora           Same. Really, really looking forward to it.

Dubber      Fantastic. Dora, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast. I really wish you luck with it. It sounds like it’s going really, really well, and I can see why. It looks like something that I want to use to learn how to do programming, if that’s any indication whatsoever. But thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.

Dora           Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

Dubber      Cheers.

Dubber      That’s imagiLabs CEO, Dora Palfi, and that’s the MTF Podcast. You can find the imagiCharm at www.imagilabs.com. And this has not been a paid commercial, and other educational smart devices are, I imagine, available. You can find MTF Labs at www.mtflabs.com and @mtflabs on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I’m Dubber, that’s @dubber on Twitter. And this week’s episode was edited by Sergio Castillo. The intro music was by Indonesian electronic music composer Lux-Inspira. This music in the background now is by airtone. And the MTF audio logo, as always, was created by Run Dreamer. You’re going to hear that again in just a second. Stay safe, have a great week, and we’ll talk soon. Cheers.

Subscribe on Android