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Staff feature interview: Dominic

Staff feature interview: Dominic

It might seem like so, but Geniebook isn’t entirely run by robots with a few teachers to host live online lessons. Far from it! The people working behind the scenes are all wonderful, enthusiastic people with a deep respect for learning and knowledge-seeking.

In this article, we managed to get Dominic, our Senior Product Manager for a quick sit-down chat about himself and his work at Geniebook, and even what he thinks about education in general. Have fun reading the interview!

Q: Thanks for speaking with us, Dominic! To begin, what are your personal views on education? What kind of student were you when you were younger?

I think education is a lifelong process. I enjoy keeping an inquisitive mind and absorbing knowledge from whatever I can read, whether it’s books or magazines. It’s important to enjoy the learning process - I guess that’s why I was always bad at languages, but had decent grades and didn't need to study as hard for Science and Maths, since I was always engaged in different science and maths-related activities and research projects even outside of the classroom. Even now, I still enjoy doing courses and picking up new skills that are relevant to my work or personal life.

I’m not much of a believer in rote learning, either. To me, learning should involve understanding concepts thoroughly and their practical applications if there are any; when you apply what you learn, you internalise the concepts faster and better as a result.

The easiest way to do so is by teaching - during my schooling days, I would teach my classmates concepts rather than revising topics on my own, since I learn better by teaching people anyway. When I teach, a lot of concepts suddenly become clearer to me, even though I was doing it to help others gain a better understanding. I like to think that my exam results improved solely by teaching my classmates.

Q: What do you think about the fact that you’re working in EdTech now?

I didn't have much tuition growing up except for languages, and I had had prior experience being a tutor myself for a while, so it has been interesting to reflect on my experiences and circumstances while working in a company like Geniebook.

To me, education is a very important part of society. And I think that joining Geniebook is less about advancing my career and more about exploring an area of interest, I would say. It’s a chance for me to understand a little bit about how formal education can be conducted online, and how parents and their children approach education in the present day. It's been an interesting learning journey for me.

In terms of what we’re doing here, what’s exciting is that the student data that we have can be utilised by our AI to possibly transform the way students learn. So if we know a student's personality profile traits, based on what they have attempted and accomplished, and generate a method that can teach them in the most optimal manner, that would become a whole new way of bringing value to the student.

Q: Tell us a bit about your career experience before joining Geniebook.

I started my career with sales and business development roles in the tech industry, but eventually I wanted to build solutions in the tech industry so I decided to take a product design course to learn how to design digital products.

When I finished the course, I joined a travel company and started working on product backlogs and writing requirements for different feature builds. My previous role right before Geniebook was the head of product, managing a team of six staff members working on both internal and customer facing platforms.

Eventually, one of my ex-colleague that joined Geniebook and recommended the company to me, pitching it as something interesting and exciting. I have always wanted to work on a product that is focused on retention and user engagement in the area of education, so it didn’t take much convincing for me to join up.

Q: What is your official title at Geniebook, and what do your job responsibilities look like?

Right now, I’m a Senior Product Manager. But I first joined as an IC, an Individual Contributor for our GenieClass product. Then I started to take on more responsibilities. Nowadays, I manage the entire Geniebook product lineup for our customers, as well as our internal software tools that help us all do our jobs. I also lead a team of Product Managers who focus on improving the user experience by students, parents, and internal staff.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

This probably relates to my penchant for tutoring other kids when I was a student, but I enjoy coaching the team on different product management skills and also seeing how we can increase our student learning experience.

I also enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my work. For example, trying to understand what users are thinking when they use Geniebook is one of the more interesting things to work on; figuring out their needs, how they fulfil them with our products, and what we can do to make this process easier for them.

In order to get an idea of what our customers need or want from Geniebook, we have to get into conversations, conduct feedback, survey, testing, that sort of thing. Sometimes demands can change based on certain trends, and we have to constantly upgrade the software to suit. But when we test an idea for an improvement and it works, it's really quite satisfying. Maybe it’s the prospect of identifying and solving problems that interests me the most, like figuring out a series of puzzles.

Q: Tell us about your personal life! What are your interests? Are there any that’s related to learning about things or about tech in general?

Like I mentioned earlier, I enjoy learning different things during my free time, so I would start a new course every once in a while. I started picking up chess about two years ago, and I also do a few different sports, like fencing and badminton.

It’s the aspect of figuring out solutions to problems that appeals to me - a lot of the sports that I do involve trying to understand my opponent's strategy and mindset and then trying to win by devising a counter.

In some ways, winning is about learning as fast as possible and using that knowledge to your advantage.

Thanks again for the opportunity, Dominic!

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