James Rhyu: I think there's still a lot of work we can do to disrupt the model and get better outcomes. And I'm not talking about just outcomes like higher grades, I think better outcomes in terms of trajectories for more jobs and skills that kids have coming out of high school.
Heidi Higgins: Welcome back. I'm Heidi Higgins and you are listening to K12 on Learning. Everyone has a story and each of us is on our own journey. When stories and experiences are shared, you can learn a lot from one another. We can see life from different points of view and learn that any road chosen will have its ups and downs.
My work has provided a sweet opportunity to meet students and parents, topic experts and leaders from around the country who've been willing to share their stories and experiences, all in an effort to learn more so we can become better. Earlier this year, I met two brothers whom I've introduced here in an episode in April. The Wang Brothers, Brennen-Pearson and Julian Alexander are online students, entrepreneurs, and innovators. In that episode from April, the teen brothers talk about how they created an opportunity to educate their peers in the world of finance. After that episode, they expressed an interest in visiting with the Stride CEO James Rhyu, to learn more about him and get advice from someone in his position, someone directly impacting their educations. Well, we reached out and it happened. Stride CEO, James Rhyu kindly accepted the opportunity to meet with these young students. Today, I bring you that conversation, which is a window into a story of successes, challenges, goals, encouragement, humility, and gratitude. It is an honor and a privilege today to welcome back to the podcast The Stride CEO, Mr. James J. Rhyu. We're grateful to have you back.
James Rhyu: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Heidi Higgins: When we last spoke, you were just beginning your journey as CEO. The episode from April, 2021 is still one of our most popular. You shared your vision and your hope for education today, and we would like to catch up and see how things are going. Also here today are two brothers who are products of your vision and work. Brennen-Pearson Wang and Julian Alexander Wang are online students. They're entrepreneurs like yourself and want to learn more about your life's path and get a little advice as they begin their own journeys beyond high school. So before we introduce the students formally, may I ask if your enthusiasm or vision has changed?
James Rhyu: No, I think... I still feel pretty new, by the way. I haven't yet hit my two year anniversary, and I think this is the kind of job that takes a fairly long time to really get used to, at least for me. If anything, the past year and a half has encouraged me to think bigger. I think we can do more for kids, and I think the pandemic's taught me a lot. I think the people that are in this company have taught me a great deal about how I should think about our opportunities, how I should think about the families and the kids around us. I look in my own backyard, in my own neighborhood, and I see a lot of families that I think really are discouraged with what is happening within their own communities as far as education, and often don't know what resources are available to them.
We've generally, including you guys, the primary product that we've usually offered is this kind of full-time solution. And the reality is a lot of people don't want that. I think increasingly with the pandemic, a lot more people do want it, but a lot of people don't want that. And we have a lot of stuff to offer that's sort of in between, if you will. It's not the full-time, you have to go full-time online, but we have a great curriculum product. We just rolled out a tutoring product. So, I think we've got a lot to offer. And I think that in this country, if you think about disruption and you think about all the different sort of industries that have been or are being disrupted, whether it's retail with Amazon or cars with Tesla, whatever it is, education still has not been disrupted, particularly in grades K through 12 education.
And I think that we would all agree, I hope we would all agree, and I think all the data supports the fact that the United States is lagging in education outcomes. I think there's still a lot of work we can do to disrupt the model and get better outcomes. And I'm not talking about just outcomes like higher grades, I think better outcomes in terms of trajectories for more jobs and skills that kids have coming out of high school and things like that where I think they can use them for their lives and not just... I grew up in a generation that was... There was only one mindset, go to college and you're going to be better off than your parents. That was it. And I just don't think that's appropriate for our kids these days. So, I'm super encouraged. I'm very privileged to be able to come to work every day in a job like this.
I'm probably more towards the end of my career than I am in the beginning of my career, to get to this point in my career where I can do something that I believe is going to be very meaningful in the country and helping a lot of people. It's very, very, just very privileged to be in this position.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you for that enthusiasm. So, I've been waiting to introduce you to these fine young students. You might say that these young men are products of your vision. These accomplished young men attend Washington Online High School. And in addition to being outstanding students, together, they've used technology and their passion to become entrepreneurs. They've created SkaiTube, a social venture that focuses on financial education for Gen Z. Their community is built on virtual trading games, again, teaching their own generation, and frankly, a little bit of another generation here too. My conversations with them have enlightened me to the things that I need to be learning and understanding, and it's just a privilege to be able to visit with them. Brennen Pearson Wang and Julian Alexander Wang, why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourselves.
Brennen Pearson: Just for some background. My name is Brennen-Pearson. I'm a senior at the George Washington University Online High School. This is my fourth year in the school. Both Julian Alexander and I are very involved in our school community. Last year, I was a student council president, also president of the debate club. Julian Alexander and I, we co-founded two clubs together, which are the YES Club or the Young Entrepreneur Society Club and the Chess Club, so very involved in the school community. Actually with the YES Club, we managed to create the first merchandise for our school to bolster the school pride and school spirit that we were looking for. So within the school, we've had some really fantastic experiences. With that, I'll hand it off to Julian Alexander.
Julian Alexander: My name is Julian Alexander. I'm a high school junior at GWHS. I actually just turned 16, so feeling a little bit older. And like Miss Heidi mentioned, yes, we co-founded SkaiTube a little while ago, a little shy of two years ago, I think.
And like Miss Heidi said, it's a social venture platform promoting financial literacy through basically a simulated investing toolkit for both educators and students. Really main focus is engaging people our age and finance. So, it's more of a hobby than a chore. Our sort of background came from three years ago. And my brother and I were sort of chatting on how we can essentially make money by not doing any really physical labor. And so our parents decided to let us venture into investing. They said, "Just put up some money that you got from your grandparents and buy Apple stock." And this was, I think back in 2016, around that time. So, we were doing pretty well. The market was good and we were making money. We felt like genius's of the world. And then it came down to sort the pandemic time and we lost a little bit of money.
I won't mention any dollar amount. And we wanted to really learn more about financial concepts. And we started looking at services and resources. And we found that a lot of free resources out there were not super legitimate and they weren't teaching us the right things. And then when we found good services with quality education, it was paid for. And as teens, we don't really have any money or budget to afford that. So, we decided let's try and create a community of people our age who are interested in investing and finance, where we're providing quality education while also engaging our peers and having a real fun learning process. So, that's just a little bit about us.
James Rhyu: You're far ahead a lot of adults that I know, for sure. And financial literacy, it's not just something that kids need to learn. It's something that a lot of adults still need to learn, but I think they do, and all the research would suggest that learning about financial acumen at a young age really can help as you grow into adulthood and get your first job. So, I'm super supportive. The idea is really good.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you. And man, I have to tell you that as I've been able to watch some of their online activity and be a bystander as they held competitions online, I have been blown away. And so the multiple generation learning, they're not just speaking to their peers here. This is a great opportunity, as you mentioned that there's some adults that need this instruction as well. They have asked to ask you a few questions, Mr. Rhyu. And if it's okay-
James Rhyu: Of course.
Heidi Higgins: ... we'll let them have a chance to do so.
James Rhyu: Go easy on me, right?
Brennen Pearson: Absolutely. Well, I guess I will start off somewhere close to home. I'm a senior, so I'm applying to colleges, which is,,, I don't know if you remember, but it's a very, very painful process. So, the whole college process is really crazy. We hear a lot of horror stories from our friends. I'm very interested in business, entrepreneurship, innovation, so I'm targeting a lot of the top business schools in the country. You went to UPenn Warden, which is obviously the best of the best. So, I wanted to ask you, why did you choose UPenn, and why did you choose finance as a career path?
James Rhyu: So, I'm living it as well. My son's a high school senior. We're going through the same thing. Well, I'll answer your last question first, and then I'll circle around because I think it's somewhat relevant. So, it just so happens in my family, I'm the dumb one. I have two older brothers and a father who all went to MIT. There was sort of this presumption in my family that I would sort of follow in their footsteps and go to MIT. And I went to visit my brother when I was a senior and he was at MIT. I was just looking around thinking, man, I don't fit in here. And I realized actually, I wasn't smart enough to go there. And I think that self realization is sort of what prompted me to look at alternatives beside MIT. And I was very fortunate because I was able to get into the University of Pennsylvania. And I joke... I have some friends from college and we go away together every year, about 10 or 12 of us.
We just did it this past weekend, so I just saw them. And we were talking. We always sort of joke around, if we were trying to get into Penn now, none of us would get in. Went there during an age when the admissions, I think the percentage of people who were accepted was higher. I went there because I knew I didn't want to be an engineer. And that's what my brothers and my father did. I was a little more mathematically inclined. I was not good at the reading, writing. I realized later, how important that is though, and I think I realized maybe a little too late. I really had some catching up to do in my career in terms of being able to really read and write and communicate effectively. I think it's really an important skill that often doesn't get taught as much as it should.
But Penn's obviously is a great school and I love going there. But I think more importantly than where you go is what you do with whatever opportunities presented to you. If you look at CEOs of Fortune 500 or all the big companies in the country, you're going to see representations of CEOs from all different schools, some of them that never even went to college. They've just all taken advantage of whatever opportunity presented to them. And so wherever you end up, I think that's the more important thing. The other thing that I think that's really important that I really try to impress upon my son is I think it's important to go through life with gratitude and humility. And if you go through life with gratitude and humility, then actually, you're going to be happy wherever you go because you have an opportunity to pursue. I think your parents, I don't know them, but I assume that they've given you a lot of great opportunities.
They're going to give you more opportunities and to go to college and things like that. And I think that if you approach all of that with gratitude and humility, then you're going to have an easier time making the most out of whatever you go, whatever you do. And it's something that I'm always trying to remind myself. You get to the highest spots within a company and it's easy to think that you've made it and you're such a great person and you're so good and all this other stuff, and it's not really the case. There's a lot still I've got to learn. I'm still new to the job, as I said earlier. And I think that it's really important just to approach things with that gratitude and humility. And I try to live my life that way. I encourage my son to do the same. I would encourage you guys to do the same.
And so therefore, wherever you go, or if you don't go anywhere, you can approach it with a really positive attitude and make the most of it. And I think it sounds like no matter what happens to you guys, you're going to be successful. And that may take paths that you didn't even expect.
Brennen Pearson: Absolutely. Well, thank you for the advice. I think my parents would definitely agree with you on a lot of those points. Sounds very familiar to us. And I guess to follow up on that, so after you graduated from Penn, you didn't want to become an engineer, so you took... I mean, I guess looking at your career path, it is, at least to the regular person like me, it looks a little bit unconventional because you were formerly an executive at Match, which is one of the largest dating sites in the world, and now you're CEO of Stride, which is one of the largest e-learning companies in the world. I'm just curious, do you notice any similarities between the world of dating and the world of learning?
James Rhyu: For sure. For sure. I'd say the biggest thing in my career that I've been very fortunate as I've been around a lot of disruptive companies. Match was a disruptive company. You may not know, but Match is the company that brought us Tinder. Online dating as a category, they pretty much invented. Tinder pretty much launched online dating into the mainstream, Match was a disrupt was a very disruptive company. I was with a company called SiriusXM, which is way before you guys were born probably that we started it, but in its day, it was a very disruptive technology and a very disruptive company. So, I've been around a lot of disruptive companies, disruptive technologies, and I've been very fortunate to do that. But I think more importantly than that is I have had a very unusual trajectory in my career, for sure. I started as an accountant, by the way, that's where I started my career after college.
I spent about 10 years overseas, by the way. And I lived in South America, I lived in Europe, I lived in Asia. So, I took a very sort of circuitous route in my career. And I think what I learned from all that is I've tried to really accumulate experiences. Some of them were life experiences that I was trying to accumulate, and along the way I got some professional experiences. Sometimes it was a professional experience that I was going after. And by the way, I accumulated a lot of good life experiences along the way. I'm sort of an accumulator of experiences. I still am to this day. I'm a big accumulator of experiences. And I think when you accumulate experiences, you then learn how to bring those experiences to life in your everyday, whether it's your job, your family, your marriage, your whatever. And I've been able to do that I think a little bit.
And I've been very fortunate to get a lot of experiences. I've taken some risk. I think that's sort of an element of... Going abroad is not for the faint of heart, especially the way I did it. You got to take a little bit of risk sometime. And I think it's better to do it at a younger age when you don't have as many sort of responsibilities and other things that may prohibit you from taking that risk. So, I never imagined that I would be the CEO of a company, by the way. That wasn't my aspiration or goal. I was accumulating these experiences and I was enjoying the job that I was doing. And then the opportunity presented itself and I was able to take advantage of it, I think. But I really think that for everybody, accumulating those experiences with gratitude and humility, that's what I would say.
Brennen Pearson: Yeah, definitely. Just as a side question, which one was more fun to run, in your opinion? Was it Match, was it SiriusXM or was it Stride?
James Rhyu: I would say fun... I don't want to compare them too much. I'll say this. I think Stride is the most gratifying company that I've been with because of the way we're able to help people. At Match, we were helping people find love, and that's great and that's hugely gratifying. But I think here, when you're able to change the trajectory of kids' lives, as a parent, as an adult, as a citizen of the United States, helping the country with what I think is their educational problems, that's just a very, very gratifying place to be in my career, I think. And so I would say that this is the most gratifying job. And I'm hoping, actually it's my last job too. I'll go on record to say that. Well, and you never know what's going to happen, but I really can see that what I'm trying to do to disrupt education is going to take five or 10 years. And I'm 52, so that puts me into my sixties, I hope. And then hopefully, I can sort of sail off and peacefully into the sunset. But you never know.
Life often offers twists and turns that you don't expect. And so whatever twists and turns, hopefully I'll take them with some level of dignity, but I do hope that I can continue to impact the lives of children positively for many years to come.
Brennen Pearson: Right. Well, I mean as a student, I hope the same. I think that we're all very happy with the direction that you're setting for this company. And in terms of Stride, you talked about how you're still settling into this role and that it is a new experience to you. What are some of the biggest challenges that you've had to manage as a CEO of this company? What's the appeal to investors? How are you addressing that value proposition? I have to ask.
James Rhyu: Yeah, I think the biggest challenge for me is people. I'm a little bit of an introvert. I've been pretty public about saying that I have a fear of public speaking. Actually, if you were sitting right here next to me and held my hand, you'd feel that it's a little clammy. So, these kinds of things are hard for me. So, the whole people aspect of the job is hard for me. Dealing with... We manage over 10,000 employees. We did an all hands meeting a couple weeks ago, and I was talking about the tutoring platform. I was touting the fact... We just launched the pilot of it this fall, and I was touting the fact that our tutoring platform is, I believe for grades K through 12, the only tutoring platform, the only national tutoring platform that uses state certified teachers. Because a lot of tutoring platforms, they offshore the tutors to another country.
And I said, I come from an immigrant family, but I think a lot of families do prefer a US based teacher, and I think that's important. And the fact that their state certified is important. And it just happened. One person... I think we had about 5,000 people listening live to the session, and one person accused me of being racist by making that comment. And it's hard not to take those things personally. So, the people side of... And I'm not alone, by the way. I think most CEOs are in a position where their targets often. Maybe they're not targets by the majority. Maybe it's a target of the minority, but they still end up being targets. And I think it's hard not to take that personally sometimes, or when you're called something that you in your heart don't believe you are. And I think that most people who heard my comments did not in fact believe that they had a racist undertone, but somebody did.
I feel bad that somebody did, because that certainly wasn't the intent. So, I think to me, getting used to the diverse set of people issues I have to deal with... I'm sort of a bad case study because I have something like 15 or 17 direct reports and most organizational design consultants would tell you maybe six or eight. So, I have more than twice number of direct reports. So, I'm directly managing a large number of people and there's a lot of diversity in views, opinions, backgrounds. It's, I think, a little hard for me to really manage all that. So, I'd say that's probably the biggest challenge. The shareholder piece of it I think is interesting, because since I've become CEO, our stock has done okay. I think we've recently sort of gone down, but I don't really watch it every day. I'm not too..., I think I sort of take the long term view and that's what I try to tell our shareholders.
I have a vision to disrupt technology and education over a longer period of time in a much more mainstream way than we've done it historically to reach more customers. I tell people that the problem often with education is, particularly in grades K12 and particularly in the brick and mortar system, is that the schools and the education system, they often don't treat their customers like customers. I think that's a problem. It's a problem in education. And I really advocate for us to really think about our customers like customers. Doing this with you guys, that's in that category. See? Because there's a lot of CEOs I think that wouldn't spend the time with our customers like this, but as it turns out, all three of you are my customers, and it's important for me to keep that in mind. So when I have an opportunity to interact with my customers, I'm going to learn something from it too.
So, I think just it's a relationship. I think it's really important to keep in mind because the education industry, I think they look at their customers as an entitlement because they've always been an entitlement. You live in a neighborhood, you go to that school. Nobody has to convince you of that, right? And so the schools feel entitled to those customers. And I just think that's... Even if you are entitled to them, I just think you got to treat them customers. That's sort of part of the vision that I try to share with our investors in disrupting the system over a period of time with technology and thinking about our customers like customers. And I think that we've had a number of investors who buy into that. It's hard because investors have short memories and they're short term focus, and so have to keep reminding them, but it's one of the challenges of being in the job. It's a fun challenge.
Brennen Pearson: Speaking of long term mindsets and customers, I had just one quick question, because personally as someone who likes to invest as a hobby, I also have sort of a long term mindset. I like looking at the fundamentals of companies. And I was wondering how much growth, potential growth do you see in the e-learning space regarding all the K12 education? I know Stride is also really delving into adult education now. And now that we're sort of going into a post COVID era, how do you see that growth and consistency?
James Rhyu: The state funded alone part of education, meaning the amount of money that states put into the public education system is over 500 billion a year. So, think about trying to disrupt an industry. You usually look at large industries that are right for disruption. And I think actually, there's probably three industries that come to my mind that are large and ripe for disruption still, and that's healthcare. I think there's a lot of disruption still left in healthcare. I think the government. If you qualify that as an industry, I think our government could operate more efficiently, irrespective of a party affiliation, by the way. I'm not advocating any party affiliation, but I think our government can operate more efficiently. And I think education. Turns out I have no expertise in healthcare, and I think I have very little to add to that space. I think I have very little add to the government space. I guess almost by default, of the very large industries I think that you can disrupt still, education's pretty close to the top. And by the way, you guys are trying to do the same thing with what you're doing.
That's a disruptor. You may not think of it as a disruptor, but it is. Financial literacy is an educational tool that I think can be disrupt, sort of the way we view education. And so going down the path of trying to disrupt education, at least for me, it's just such a large market because there's so many facets to it that need disruption. I mean, you guys don't appreciate this, but in your neighborhood, wherever you live, I bet if you walk to the bus stop where your neighbors take the bus to school, if they do, you'd see kids carrying these heavy backpacks on their back. There's no reason, in today's day and age, that kids would have to carry 20 pounds of books around. We have technology that should be able to supplant the need for kids to wake up with back pain every morning because they're carrying these heavy textbooks.
So, there's so many angles to education that I think are large markets. I mean, the textbook market alone is a 10 billion market in K12 education. So, there's just a lot of different angles I think that need disruption. Over 60% of parents think that they need a tutor for their child. So, the tutoring market's right for disruption. So, it's just a lot of things I think that we can do within the education space to give, I think our youth a better opportunity for tomorrow, careers. In this country, one of the few countries in the world, by the way, that don't give high schoolers a focus on career education. I think we can do a lot more there, and we're trying to do that. So, there's just so many opportunities, I think, to play the long game.
I'm a Warren Buffet investor too, by the way. Fundamentals, long term. I've gotten a little bit out of my lane over the past couple years. And I've got killed this year, so I'm sort of licking my wounds on my investment portfolio this year. But I'm historically... I've been doing personal investing for about 30 years and I manage my own portfolio to this day. And I love... I've got a group of friends that we talk about stocks and stock picking and things like that. And it's fun. I'm very much... It's one of my hobbies, for sure, that I really enjoy.
Brennen Pearson: I definitely see in my own school, at George Washington University Online High School, what Stride is doing for financial literacy is truly exceptional. And I know my own school, we're adding more of the personal finance aspect in our curriculum in sort of electives. So, it's really amazing to see how you guys, as a disruptor not only the educational world, are also sort of creating an opportunity for people to learn financial literacy. And I was talking with my brother when we were starting SkyTube, financial literacy is sort of a subject that's swept under the rug usually. And not a lot of people talk about it, not a lot of people focus on it, even though it's essential. And it's similar to the education industry as a whole, where people like to talk about other things, technology, all these semiconductor chips. But education is really the foundation of how society pushes forward and advanced. So, I think it's amazing how Stride is progressing. And I think this kind of leads me to my next question.
And I think you already answered some of this, but what do you see as some of the biggest differences in the traditional classroom in person schooling compared to Stride's K12 online learning? And how do you see... Do these two industries coexist, or would you say that, looking into the future, online learning is going to become a dominant primary way to learn?
James Rhyu: In my lifetime, they're going to coexist. In your lifetimes, maybe there's a broader shift that takes place. But I think in my lifetime they'll increasingly coexist. I think the big difference between of the brick and mortar education institutions and online, and particularly what we do, and I think the philosophy that I have around what we do, we do one thing really uniquely well that you alluded to as well in your education. We are able uniquely to meet families, students at their point of need. Brick and mortar schools, because they almost by default have to teach to the lowest common denominator, they're unable, actually, to meet many students at their point of need. And I think in online education, the diversity of needs now is so great for students and families, much more so than 10, 20 years ago. And that diversity of need is difficult to be met, I think in a brick and mortar school where everything has to be standardized.
And so I think online education in an increasingly diverse society is able to meet families at their point of need. And I think that, to me, is the single distinguishing key factor of online education that I think is... It's harder for brick and mortar school to do that. But I think over time, what I'm hoping is that as brick and mortar schools adopt more technology and online tools into their classrooms, we have a product that's essentially a digital textbook, but it allows the teacher to push specific lessons to each student. And we're just piloting this product now. I'm actually hopeful that by next fall, we're going to offer it to all of the programs we manage, including George Washington Online High School, where the teachers can then actually push content on an individualized basis to each student while still teaching the overarching lesson. See? But some students that maybe need a little more remediation, they can push a little extra work towards them.
Some kids who are a little more advanced, they can push more advanced stuff to them. And they don't have to feel like they're pushing everybody in the same direction. They can push kids in their individualized directions. And I think that if you bring that technology into the classroom, I actually think the brick and mortar schools, I don't say that I hope this, but in some respects, if we do our jobs really well, the brick and mortar schools could put us out of business on the online programs. And hopefully with these other products and services that we do, we'll be able to build up large businesses in those areas. I don't think that's going to happen, by the way, because I think they're a little too slow to change. But actually, if I had my way, I would almost say that I'd rather, some of the other things that we're doing got a lot more mass market adoption because then what we could do is we could bring your experience at George Washington online high school.
We could bring a lot of that into the brick and mortar classrooms, that flexibility, the ability to customize the trajectory for kids. And I think that really would be the answer, because if the brick and mortar schools could adopt some of these techniques, I think the educational trajectories of their kids would improve.
Brennen Pearson: Absolutely. I was thinking education, it's a very traditional industry. And like you said, the traditional brick and mortar schools are slow to change. And what Stride is really doing is really innovating in a traditional space with technology, with personalization through the technology for high schoolers who want to apply that same innovation into different industries that they may be interested. What would be sort of your advice, whether that's in the industry of finance business, the medical industry, like you talked about, or technology?
James Rhyu: We're going through this exercise ourselves, because as we launched products into the marketplace, I've got to manage teams in how they look at that exact question. So, this is actually very real and personal to me right now. The first thing I think is you got to figure out what problem are you even solving? Because if you don't really understand what problem you're solving, then what problem your customers you think you're solving for them. So, I think you got to figure out what problem are you solving for people. In your case, I think some of the problem you're solving is financial illiteracy, and that's a fairly prevalent problem, by the way, right? So, that's the problem you're solving. In your case, it's a problem you're solving. The second thing, which I also, if I read correctly, the second thing I think you have to do, the word that I keep using to our teams is you have to do it in a compelling way.
By the way, you could write a document about financial literacy and post it on a website. That would address a problem, by the way. It's a real problem. You could address it by posting a document just with thousands of pages of information on a website. Say, "Hey, I've addressed a problem". But nobody would be compelled to read that. So, the way you guys, I think, have approached it is, in order to really reach customers in a way that they want to adopt your products, you have to do it in a compelling way. You have to make your products compelling in some way. There's a lot of ways to do that, but I think that's the mindset you have to have, is you have to think about how or why is my product compelling for people to use.
Brennen Pearson: Definitely, definitely. And I think you basically summed up everything that Brent Pearson and I have been talking for just ages on SkaiTube. And that's exactly... When we're cold calling, cold emailing professors and different organizations, we've done pretty well since our first game. We're partnering with several different schools in Africa, Shanghai, China. But when we're talking with I guess traditional figures, leading figures, leading companies in financial literacy, they don't really want to change. And what we want to make SkaiTube is not only an accessible platform, but like you said, a compelling one, where people our age are interested to go on and to actually take a look and take a leap of faith into financial literacy. And I think a lot of our peers have told us finance is sort of a daunting subject. A lot of people think that it's sort of a hard to get into subject, hard to learn.
You have to have all these different mathematical expertise. You don't, right? It's actually pretty simple. And when you get into fundamentals, when you get into investing how to actually make generational wealth, it becomes a very interesting topic that doesn't just rest with you while you are a teen or if you are a college student taking out student loans. It rests for you when you are even retiring and you are leaving money for your grandchildren. So, I 100% agree with you on the compelling factor, and I think that's why Stride is so successful today. They've made online learning an attractive alternative to education and really revolutionizing the way kids can learn and in putting it in that innovation aspect that really makes it appealing to customers.
James Rhyu: Absolutely.
Heidi Higgins: Absolutely. Look like you've helped create Mr. Rhyu.
James Rhyu: Well, maybe I should invest in it.
Heidi Higgins: I told them I'm in line. I've already learned so much because they use actual stocks daily to monitor the things that they're doing, and I am so impressed by the things that I've gathered from them. These are two compelling, I'll use your word, young men who are going to go places like you. And I think it's exciting that they chose online education as a vehicle to project them where they want to be. I think it's also exciting that they have a future that looks bright and they have come to the CEO for more advice. Any last words that you'd like to-
James Rhyu: Well, I'd really like to continue to follow your progress, so please keep me up to date on where you end up for school this year. Hopefully you get your choice. But like I said, wherever you end up, I'd really encourage you to approach it with gratitude and humility. But I'd love to see how your financial literacy, where it goes. And so please keep in touch and let me know how things are going.
Brennen Pearson: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
James Rhyu: Thank you guys.
Heidi Higgins: Thank you for listening to K12 on Learning, sponsored by Stride. To learn more about online public schools powered by Strive K12, Stride career prep programs that foster lifelong learning, or any of the private school or individual course offerings, please go to stridelearning.com or k12.com. Special thanks to Tree KStudios for providing the music for us. Remember to subscribe to this podcast and feel free to leave us a good review. We hope you'll join us next time for K12 on Learning.
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