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The Startup Reinventing Invention Kits

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Description

What are the trends in educational kids’ toys today? How can programming kits be improved? How does an education business start and succeed? Entrepreneur Joseph Greer in Chicago discusses these issues as he describes his STEM education startup, MakeXchange, and its “Invention Lab” Arduino kit. The kit was designed to be more user-friendly and more organized than other Arduino kits. This is the start of Joseph’s goal to make the number one STEM education consumer product company.

Our closing music is “Yes And” by Steve Combs, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

Subscribe and leave episode reviews wherever you get your podcasts. Support Pios Labs with regular donations on Patreon, by purchasing digital teaching materials at the Pios Labs curriculum store, or by buying a copy of the reference book Engineer's Guide to Improv and Art Games by Pius Wong. You'll also be supporting educational tools and projects like Chordinates! or The Calculator Gator. Thanks to our donors and listeners for making the show possible. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of Pios Labs.

Transcript

Pius Wong  0:00 

Toys, Arduino programming, and startup life, all on this episode of The K12 Engineering Education Podcast.

 

Pius Wong  0:12 

Go to the toy store, and next to that chemistry set and behind the rocketry kit, you might find an electronics hardware programming kit. Consumer toys today are increasingly jumping into STEM education, or education in science, technology, engineering and math. MakeXchange is one startup joining that space. I'm Pius Wong. My guest is startup founder Joseph Greer speaking by phone from Chicago where his business MakeXchange is based. Joseph talks about many things, including how his STEM education kits are designed for a better user experience for any learner.

 

Joseph Greer  0:55 

My name is Joseph Greer, and I'm the founder and CEO of a company called Make Xchange

 

Pius Wong  1:00 

And what is MakeXchange?

 

Joseph Greer  1:02 

MakeXchange is a startup I created a little over two years ago, and we create really interesting and innovative STEM education products. Right now we really have kind of one main main flagship product that we're moving forward with right now. And it is a really cool STEM inventors kit that teaches kids how to write code for electronics, and they can wire up their own interesting devices and learn how to write code, put it on a microcontroller, and then use that to control what they create. So it's a really, you know, we've had a lot of fun with it and phenomenal feedback in the marketplace and are really excited about it, especially this holiday season.

 

Pius Wong  1:47 

Okay, that's cool. Yeah, I saw that your inventors kit got an award actually for 2018 from Toy Insider, Top Holiday Toy of 2018 among other toys. How did that happen?

 

Joseph Greer  2:00 

Oh my gosh, it was a big surprise really. I noticed early in the year in my research that Toy Insider among a few other industry publications, that they release a gift guide for the holidays, and I started writing and speaking with some of the writers there, and I just, you know, I asked them if they'd be interested in evaluating my product and they said yes. We had to get certified for child product safety certification, which we're really happy we got that sorted out, and then we submitted our product, and they evaluated it. And we then, you know -- I just I got this beautiful award in the mail. I wasn't really expecting it.

 

Pius Wong  2:51 

Congratulations.

 

Joseph Greer  2:52 

Yeah, so we're putting the stickers on our product right now  just to let people know that we've been selected as one of the top holiday gifts for this year from Toy Insider Magazine, so it's a real honor to get that.

 

Pius Wong  3:04 

That's really great. And so since it's listed in a toy magazine, I'm wondering, is it a toy? Is it an education product? Is it an electronics product? Like what kind of -- It might be confusing for people who are listening. They don't know if it's supposed to be this fun thing or this thing you do in school. What exactly is this inventor's kit?

 

Joseph Greer  3:22 

Yeah, that's a great question. It's a little bit of everything, to be honest. But the thing I really love about it is that a kid can take this thing, and within a few hours put together their first little electronic device. And once they see how code that they write -- and it's real code -- goes into a microcontroller to control something they wire together, I mean, there's no pun intended, because we use LED lights, but the light bulb really comes on for people. So I guess I'd kind of couch it that way. And to describe it, I'd start off with, many of your listeners who are engineers or have an engineering background probably know exactly what I'm talking about. But I was really surprised to learn that most people don't know what this thing called an Arduino is. And it's a really interesting -- it's a funny word, and it's got an even more amazing history. So the Arduino is a small microcontroller. It's like a little circuit board. And that serves as the heart and soul of our invention kit. And what you can do with this is you can connect wires into the circuit board and then connect different things to those wires, like LED lights, small DC toy motors, servomotors, speakers, or even little toggle buttons that you can press, or potentiometer knobs, and then you can combine these things in many different ways. And you write the code that creates the logic that then allows your system to function. So it's really amazing. But what I really love about this -- I'll preface this by saying, I'm not an engineer, and I kind of started this off as an interesting journey. But the story behind this is, about I think it was in the early 2000s, a group of Italian design professors in Italy, they were struggling with a problem they saw their students spacing every single year. Their students would come up with -- They had to have a senior project where they'd come up with a design for some cool new, I don't know, Italian electronic espresso-type machine. And every one of these students had to struggle with the microcontroller circuit board design process. What they saw was that these students were reinventing the wheel every single time. And it was taking a significant amount of their efforts. So the professor's sat down. They said, You know what, over beers at a bar, where a lot of great ideas come from, they said, Why don't we come up with this design for, like, this little circuit board. And we'll write our own programming environment that you can write your code with on your computer, and you'll be able to connect that circuit board to your computer with a regular USB cable, and then wire what you want up to it, and we'll make it really flexible. And they went ahead and they did this. And when they were finished with the design, they made it legal for anyone on the planet to copy it and to manufacture it and they named this microcontroller after the bar where they did all their drinking and studying. So it was called Arduino, Italian for little strong man. And they created this little microcontroller, and very soon, this became an industry standard. And it's a professional prototyping tool. And the cost of developing any kind of electronic device that you might come up with, immediately dropped from tens of thousands of dollars to under a hundred bucks. So this is a tremendous revolution. It's a new industrial revolution, brought on by this amazing little microcontroller. So when I learned about this, I bought a kit online. And I was really excited about it. And before I know it, the first project, I wired up a little LED light, I wrote some code that made the light turn on for a second and then turn off for a second and then repeat that over and over again. And when my code finally worked, and I had wired everything up, and I used a resistor, so I had to learn a little bit about Ohm's Law, which the science teachers will understand about, I mean, it just blew my mind, because you know, I've written software before, but the whole idea of writing software and how it got onto a little card that maybe made your coffeemaker work the way you wanted it to, was like black magic to me. I had no idea how it happened. So when suddenly this occurred, it was like the heavens parting and the angels singing. I was like, Oh my gosh. Why isn't everybody doing this? So that's kind of really what got me started on this amazing journey a long time ago.

 

Pius Wong  8:39 

Okay, so you learned a lot about the Arduino on your own, and it sounds like you started with someone else's kit. And I guess you got an idea for how to improve it?

 

Joseph Greer  8:49  

You know, it didn't come that quickly. My original idea was, you know what, I love teaching, and I understand that probably around 50% of your listeners ore teachers from Texas, and I'll say that even though I'm in Chicago and I lived in Chicago for a long time, my mother was my third grade science teacher, and more importantly, she was a third grade Texas science teacher, you know, cheers repping for the the Texas side here. She also sent me to the principal's office once. But that's a totally different story. We're not going to get into that here.

 

Pius Wong  9:27 

But that's cool. So you you've been around this ecosystem of education. Actually, that was gonna be one of my questions. What is your background? It sounded like you learned about electronics, or you had coded in software before, but you weren't really, really into it. What did you do before you started MakeXchange?

 

Joseph Greer  9:46 

Well, I've had a very diverse background and experience. In college I lived in Germany for a year and a half. I've traveled extensively, and my first job out of college -- well, in college, I created a company called Oregon Book Connection. I went to the University of Oregon and had been very entrepreneurial-focused my entire life. I was the kid with the lemonade stand. I was the one going door-to-door selling potholders that my sister and I had made. When I got out of college, my first job -- I really didn't want to do the same thing every day. And so I went with a company called Anderson Consulting. And today they're known as Accenture. But that gave me a very broad experience of different industries, different products and verticals. And I just loved it. I was always solving different kind of problems, and I did quite a bit of development there too. From there, I went to the Bay Area, the height of the dotcom boom in 2000 and worked for a startup called LoudCloud, which was Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz's first startup after Marc Andreessen had founded Netscape. And so I actually worked with those guys quite a bit during that time. Then I went to England to help expand the European operations there. And I ended up staying there for six years. It was a phenomenal experience. I started my own consulting company shortly thereafter. And that brought me back here to the States. I've had clients in China, South Korea, Asia, Europe and the United States. I love learning new things. So, you know, after a few years of doing that on my own, I ended up -- I was accepted at the University of Chicago for their MBA program. I graduated in 2015. I focused on entrepreneurship. And that's really where I kind of started this, this company. I really didn't know much about the Arduino or programming or hardware, but I started learning about this thing called the maker movement, 3d printers, and laser cutters, and this new kind of fourth revolution, the new industrial revolution, that is sweeping the world and creating an entirely new wave of innovation. My initial idea really was kind of to create some instructional videos and make great instructional videos, build an audience, and then try to figure out how to monetize that audience. But the real kind of aha moment for me happened when I had two interns I had brought in to help me with the video production. And I gave each of them an Arduino electronic invention kit that I'd been using maybe two or three projects in for each one. And I said, Hey, guys, if you are going to make a series of videos, you need to know how this works. So I gave them the boxes. I said, open it up, and I'll teach you the first project, and we'll go from there. And when they opened up the box, and their eyes landed on this -- They get really disorganized after you use a few projects, these kits do. And when these interns looked at what was in the box, the look on their face was just a look of pure terror. And you know, it's rightly so, right? It's intimidating, especially when you're looking at a box, and there's a bunch of Ziploc baggies, and most things are loose. But that look on their face really was the crystallizing moment for me. And I realized this wasn't so much more about the kit itself. It was about the user's experience, their emotional reactions. And you know, I realized if their emotional reaction is what most nontechnical people, including children and adults, feel when they see something like this, then we're shutting a huge door, and we're putting a massive barrier to learning, unnecessarily, in front of such a huge audience. And if we could just solve that problem and remove that intimidation barrier, who knows what new great inventors and minds could emerge from this? So that's where I really kind of started taking a step back and trying to pinpoint identify what about the product were the triggers for these negative emotional responses. And then, you know, from there, we just iteratively started tackling the design until we came up with this kit, which is, you know, I love it. It is beautiful. It's incredibly functional. It takes seconds to open up and start working with, and even less time to clean up and put away. And if you're in the middle of a project, and you close it up, when you open it up again, it's right where you left off. And it just turns out, too, that schools, teachers, and libraries, when I started showing this prototype to people, they loved it. You know, I interviewed many different educators to try to understand the market a little bit better. One woman I spoke with, she had a nonprofit. She said, You know, I tried to teach Arduino programming for my nonprofit, and I bought 60 of these invention kits similar to the ones that I had purchased. She said, Joe, do you know what happened when I was done with my two week class? Those kits were so messy, the wires, the LEDs, all the components, we had to dump each one of those 60 kits, all their contents onto a massive table, and sift through each piece by hand, and then hand-pack the Ziploc baggies with the right components, and then repack all the boxes, and then stack all the boxes back on the shelf again. And she said, Joe, you know after I did that, I just never wanted to touch it again.

 

Pius Wong  15:42 

I'm looking at your kit right now, and I don't think I see Ziploc baggies in yours.

 

Joseph Greer  15:47 

Yeah, you know there are when you start off, but you're right. Why not have trays? So we created these custom designed, stackable trays that you can easily get the pieces in and out of. When they stack on top of each other and they've gotten a separate box -- if you go to our site at www.makexchange.com, that's a shared E, you can see it. It looks like a book, which is kind of cool. I sort of remember the, you know, the Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne opens the Bible up, and he's got the chisel cut out, like his own secret. And I thought wouldn't it be cool if you had a book that you can open up and it would be your own invention workspace? And that's really kind of how this idea formed. So you open it up, and there are two separate boxes inside that are kind of mounted inside, and one has all the electronic components. So you open that up, and you can take the trays out everything's where you need it. But we also separated the electronic components from the wires because in our research, we found the wires contribute to a significant amount of that anxiety that people see when they open In one of these kits up. We tried a lot of different things, but there really aren't many great ways to organize loose cables. So we just had a separate box, made it opaque. You could shut the lid ... all that chaos. And then when you open up the components, it's all neat. It's actually quite beautiful when you look at the red, the yellow, the green LED lights, and everything else. And it just is way more appealing. And when you open up you feel like -- People tell us, I feel like I can do this. So that's really exciting to see.

 

Pius Wong  17:32 

So you're not bashing the Arduino. You're loving the technology of the Arduino and the fact that we can use LEDs and potentiometers and wires to put all this together, but your product, your inventors kit, is a lot about the organization of all of this stuff. And you've kind of got the toolbox and the tools all together in this package.

 

Joseph Greer  17:52 

Absolutely. There are so many amazing products out there in the market in the STEM education space and more coming out every day. And what I kind of decided was, first, I didn't have the budget to compete with some of the other companies out there that are making these really interesting and intricate, proprietary, interlocking pieces. But sticking with something that's an open standard is really a huge benefit, we found, right? Because when you're learning on this platform, you're not just learning coding and electronics and concepts in circuitry. But you're working with an actual tool set that is used by professionals to prototype inventions of all kinds all over the world, which is great for any kid or even an adult. So sticking with a commoditized toolset, and then innovating on the format, is really I think what kind of sets us apart from other options in the market today.

 

Pius Wong  18:58 

Teachers and parents and even engineers listening, they're probably familiar with the big companies like Lego, for example. They have robotics kits, but I'm sure that the price for that is much higher. And people aren't necessarily using Lego microcontrollers in their products when they go out into the real world, whereas Arduino is used. I'm wondering if you were trying to make alternatives to these fancier kits. Was that your original goal, to kind of have this other open source option?

 

Joseph Greer  19:28 

You know, it worked out that way. But I can't say that initially that was my target, because, you know, I love Lego. And I think that what Lego has been doing with their Mindstorm products is really innovative. But you're right. When you have a proprietary product or tool set with interlocking components, it can be very expensive. And when you look at the market, you see that with companies that have created their own products. It's interesting that you, you mentioned that. I've actually had kids tell me that they had learned on some of these tool sets in school, but that they -- One young gentleman told me, he said, I kind of felt like I was still playing with a toy. And I really wanted to make -- I really wanted to know that I was doing real programming, or working with real electronics. And I think that's kind of a big difference when people use our kit, and they recognize, oh my gosh, like, this isn't just, you know, a kid's sort of intro thing that gets you ready for the real thing. It's the real thing. So I'm really proud of the fact that the feedback we get from kids and adults who use the product is that they really enjoy it. They feel like they're on the way to actually learning something valuable.

 

Pius Wong  20:58 

Is there a special age range that you think is the best for using your kit? Like, is it targeted towards a certain person?

 

Joseph Greer  21:08 

Absolutely. I would say that the ideal age would be around 10 and up. And of course, your child's ability to pick up the skills and go through the different projects that come with our project guide would vary from child to child, and you know, parents know their  kid best. I've had some seven-year-olds who have received these as gifts, and they've ripped through all the projects. And then famously, if you go online and you look up Arduino inventors kids, you'll see some very famous kids who've made some inventions that started with Arduino, and they were like, five, but these kids are pretty brilliant, too. Not every kid can do it, but we've seen a broad range, I'd say 10 and up is really a great place to start.

 

Pius Wong  22:03 

Cool. I also saw that you have a paper airplane launcher available at MakeXchange. Is that also an Arduino-based project that you can get?

 

Joseph Greer  22:12 

Yeah, absolutely. I make that kit myself. And we're we're getting more requests for it. So I'm putting together another production round for that. But man, people love this thing. and science teachers love it too, because it is comprised of eight interlocking wood panels. And then you combine those with the motors and the electronic components that come in the kit to create this paper airplane launcher that you -- Essentially it's got like a -- You use the servomotor with a cam and one of the potentiometer knobs so that you can change the trajectory angle of the launcher. And you also can control the speed of the motors that spin, and you've got two wheels that rotate opposite each other. And then you feed that paper airplane through a slot in the middle and it shoots it off. We've gotten flights up to 100 feet with this thing. So it rips it out. I had a group of children come into the place where I work called mHub Chicago. It's a kind of a manufacturing startup incubator. And they range from kindergarten to third grade, and we paired younger and older children together and gave them a stack of paper to create a paper airplane launch contest. And I was able to use our launcher as a control, and we use that to teach the concept of the scientific process. Create your airplane, you know, what's your hypothesis about how it's going to fly? Then you test it, and you observe, and then you try to figure out, why did it behave the way it did, and how do I change it? What do I think is going to make it better? The kids just eat it up. And we had so much fun. So you don't even really have to do the coding with that to make it fun for kids. And that was really our first accessory. And our longer term vision is to incorporate that in a series of other accessories with this product and then also have additional kits that, you know, have increasing complexity later on.

 

Pius Wong  24:25 

And I agree that is a great use of your kit. I mean, I might have mentioned to you before, in my science class, I tried to do a paper airplane -- It's a classic lesson about teaching the scientific method and aerodynamics, and your launcher would have been perfect had I had it in the classroom to standardize the launch. But maybe for the future, I'll check it out. So it sounds like in a way, you're kind of building a company that's competing with maybe Arduino itself or Sparkfun or Adafruit, like, these other electronics and maker companies. Part of what I'm wondering is, how do you build a company like that? Because my understanding is that education businesses are really hard to fund. How has it been starting MakeXchange? Do you find that people invest in education or in electronics like this?

 

Joseph Greer  25:21 

Yeah, we've raised some seed round funding last year that helped us get our first production round in place. And it's been tough. But what we've seen with the product, this one in particular is that, people who have worked with these kind of tools before when they see it, they are like, Oh my gosh, I love this thing. This is amazing. But if you're not as familiar with it, if you're a parent -- You know, if you're a parent and you're buying a STEM kit, you don't really know what you're buying. You want to buy something that's going to make your kids smarter, right? And if your friends tell you something's really good to go for, you go ahead and you get that. And so I think that's sort of been the biggest challenge for us really is that, is educating the market on the product and what value proposition it provides, because it's really hard to understand that just from looking at a picture. So when we demo it to different people, that's when we get the O.M.G. We really need to have this. So we've seen Fat Brain Toys has picked us up. Myscienceshop.com. We're in talks with the largest supplier of furniture and equipment in schools and libraries in North America, who has told us that STEM education has been their fastest growing segment in their product line, and that this kit, in and of itself, fills a segment in their product line that they have a big gap in right now. And they're really excited to move forward. So we're in talks with them. And we have other things that are moving forward. So we see the growth happening. It's growing, it's growing faster. And you know, you definitely have to be persistent and stick to it to see how it goes. But we're really excited about not just this product, but also what we've got kind of in skunkworks, ready to come out, too.

 

Pius Wong  27:24 

That's pretty fantastic. Real quick, then, before I ask you about your future plans, what is the startup scene like in Chicago? Are they pretty supportive, then, it sounds like, of education?

 

Joseph Greer  27:40 

The startup scene in Chicago, in my opinion, is the best kept secret in the American startup scene today. You have -- Because it's in the Midwest, first of all, just geographically, it's a phenomenal location because you're equidistant pretty much from most of the major -- from both coasts. But additionally, when you look at Chicago's history, rich history in manufacturing and industry, from the ground up, you really are seeing a renaissance in this area and some of the most innovative startups in the country. You've got GrubHub, Groupon, billion dollar companies that have been started right here. You've got a tremendous -- You've got the University of Chicago, you've got Northwestern, you've got Loyola, you have so many -- DePaul. You've got so many great educational institutions here, as well. It's kind of a mecca for great brains. And what we're seeing more and more is a tremendous amount of innovation in the startup space, a lot of risk-takers, a lot of bright minds. So Chicago has been phenomenally a great place. I don't think I could have picked a better place to launch MakeXchange, really.

 

Pius Wong  29:00 

So you mentioned that different vendors are picking up the inventor's kit and your other products. How would people actually get a demo of the stuff? Because, like you were saying, sometimes it's hard to judge just based on like a photo online or something. How could we see more of it?

 

Joseph Greer  29:17 

Yeah, great question. So we've got a YouTube channel, Vimeo channel, and then of course at our website at www.makexchange.com. We have some videos and some great photos of the product that can show you what it looks like in action. And also you can take a look at -- You can see a little bit of what I'm really proud of is the project guide that we put together. I really went all out on this one and did not skimp at all. It's a 62-page, full-color, spiral-bound project guide that we created from scratch. One thing we noted in looking at other similar kits was the way that project guides were laid out we felt could be a lot better. And so we developed our own notation guide. Our Arduino-compatible microcontroller, we have color-coded plastic pin headers where you put the pins in. But then we use those in our project guide. So like a yellow box means it's one of the pins on the yellow piece of plastic, and the blue one is blue. So with that color coding, it makes it really easy for for anyone to quickly understand how to wire together their solutions. And then we include the code. And we have troubleshooting and some extra challenges for each one with 14 different projects. But you don't have to stop there, because if you go to Google and you Google Arduino beginner projects, there are literally hundreds of thousands of hits that you're going to find online. So you know, start with the basics, work your way up, and getting on board with the Arduino microcontroller with MakeXchange is a great place to start.

 

Pius Wong  31:05 

Cool. Yeah, your tutorials sound like you don't necessarily have to have a teacher in front of you explaining what to do. You could just look at your booklet, basically.

 

Joseph Greer  31:13 

Yeah, we've even had teachers just take that and go straight with a booklet and build their classes around one or two projects and work their way through. We have some companies that specifically deliver STEM education that are building programs around our product. One is Sparkaverse out of the Bay Area, phenomenal company. Definitely look at those guys out there. I think that they're leading the way in kind of how to think about STEM after-school programs. They're based out of Palo Alto. We have several other companies that have moved forward with us, and they just love the product and they've simply used the manual. That's it, and that been their curriculum,

 

Pius Wong  32:01 

Yeah. So I'm sure that you have lots of plans. You mentioned that you're still doing skunkworks, I guess. What is in the future for MakeXchange and what you're doing?

 

Joseph Greer  32:11 

Well, this may sound ambitious but I really want to make I want MakeXchange to be the greatest STEM education product company on the planet. And we're starting off with our kit. It's called Inventing with Electronics for Beginners, we've been talking about. Its title sounds kind of like a book because it looks like a book. It's labeled Volume One, and we have in plan Volume Two, Three, and Four, two will be advanced sensors. Three will be the introduction to network connectivity, or IoT, the internet of things, so you can connect your microcontroller to the network and do all kinds of great new projects from there, and then four will be on to the Raspberry Pi, which is like the Arduino. It's an open source industry standard little circuit board, but it's actually a computer in itself, which takes you to a completely new world of inventing. And then we want to have a minimum of three accessories for each of those kits that you can buy. We're evaluating an option for a monthly subscription program. But in the interim, we're focusing strictly on our first product line, making sure that we get our name out there and that people understand who we are, what we're doing, and continue making people happy and getting these tools in the hands of more kids out there.

 

Pius Wong  33:32 

Well, Joseph, that sounds like a really ambitious, like you said, a very challenging endeavor. Good luck with that. I think that that's fantastic. And I imagine that you have a big team helping you as well. Is there any one else you want to shout out before we close up here, anyone else that people should know about?

 

Joseph Greer  33:51 

Well, I think my wife Karen is probably the biggest cheerleader for me. Most of the work I've done actually has been through some contractors that I brought on board, short term, but ultimately I'm pretty much the main guy running it here. I'm doing everything, but we're knocking it out of the park. Got a few people who are still helping us out. I think I'd like to mention definitely in mHub Chicago. That organization's been incredibly helpful to me. Its founder, Bill Fienup, MIT grad who came up with an idea to create this great place where innovative minds can share tools and ideas. You know, definitely, I think I'd have to totally call those guys out. And then the Polsky Center at the University of Chicago has been very helpful in putting me in touch with the right people and the right support. But definitely my wife, Karen. She's put up with more than she should.

 

Pius Wong  34:57 

I'm sure. As a startup founder, I'm sure you definitely have a fast-paced life there. Thank you so much for speaking, Joseph.

 

Joseph Greer  35:04 

Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.

 

Pius Wong  35:09 

That was Joseph Greer, CEO and founder of MakeXchange. If you'd like to get to the MakeXchange Invention Lab, and you're listening before the end of November 2018, Joseph actually set up a special discount code for listeners of this podcast. You can order a kit online at the MakeXchange website and use the special discount code k12engineering10. That's the letter K, the number 12, engineering, and the number 10. When you use that code on the website, it'll give you a 10% off discount, as a thanks to listeners. Get links to the MakeXchange website and to anything else we mentioned here today in this episode's show notes. You can also just visit my podcast website for all of that. Just go to k12engineering.net. Thanks for listening everyone. Review the show, share the show, follow us on Facebook, tweet me and send me suggestions on what's interesting to you in engineering education today. Special thanks to the supporters of the show on Patreon. Your donations make all this possible. To find out more about how to donate to the show and let me know that you're listening, go to my Patreon page: patreon.com/pioslabs. And if you donate $1 a month, I'll give you a shout out on the internet. It's the least I can do. Our closing music is from the song "Yes And" by Steve Combs, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Go check out the rest of his music. The K12 Engineering Education Podcast is a production of my independent studio Pios Labs in Austin, Texas, where I work on multiple engineering and education projects like this one. So until next time, thanks.

 

Pius Wong  37:10 

Hey, it's Pius one more time. And if you're listening to this now, I know that you're hardcore. Because you love the show, or you just fell asleep listening to this while you had this running. Either way, I just want to give you an update, because I promised -- Rachel and I both promised that we would give you an update on our application to South by Southwest next March here in Austin, Texas. Well, as you recall, we applied to do a couple sessions. We wanted to run a meetup for podcasters in education. We also wanted to run some sessions talking about why teachers might leave the K-12 teaching profession and go into technology and engineering, and vice-versa, why people who were engineers before like myself might end up going to teach, like I do now as well. And unfortunately, we didn't make it. At least that was the latest news that we got, we did not get into South by this year, not as presenters. And so I am disappointed a little bit, but at the same time, I know that we put together good proposals, and I know that we're not going to stop proposing to do cool stuff here in Austin and at South by and at other conferences. So you can still stay on the lookout for us. And we'll keep on going. That said I'll be in Austin and so will Rachel, and so if you're here in town for South by Southwest, just say hi. We'll have coffee, we'll meet up downtown, you know, go to the Hideout Theater and talk about the engineering of improv, or the engineering related to the elections that have just happened, or the engineering related to cryptocurrencies, just whatever is on your mind. I love learning about new stuff, as I'm sure you all do if you're listening to this podcast, and it would still be great to connect with you if you're really enthusiastic about all this stuff. So, on behalf of Rachel, myself and all the supporters of the show, thanks for listening this far and we'll keep on going.