Published: June 13th, 2023
min read
The Letter

The June Letter: Father's Day

Team Ello

Ello’s new monthly email series for parents and teachers is full of recommendations and resources.

Dear Readers: 

We're excited to share with you this special Father's Day edition of The Letter. In it, we feature two Ello dads: QA Manager Eliachim Ongaro and Co-Founder and CEO Tom Sayer. Read below for their perspectives on parenting, productivity hacks, and all things Nairobi party buses. Wherever you find yourself this weekend, we wish you and yours a safe, relaxing, and memorable time with family!

The Ello Team 

P.S. You can subscribe to Ello’s newsletters here.

P.P.S. We're hiring.

Ello Father's Day

Eliachim Ongaro

QA Manager @ Ello

Relentlessly tenacious until we do it!

1. Advice For Project ManagementSet ambitious standards that you are reasonably comfortable with and stick to them unwaveringly. Plan meticulously, and establish clear boundaries to avoid veering off track. Assemble a diverse team, communicate effectively, and adapt gracefully to changes while maintaining a keen eye on the budget. Celebrate each milestone along the way. 

2. Productivity Hacks: Harness your best mood and motivation for ultimate productivity! Go all-in on important tasks. Ride the wave of efficiency! Remember balance, rewards, and self-care matter too. Try the Pomodoro Technique for bursts of work and short breaks. And Rescuetime is one of the best productivity, focus, and activity-tracking tools I have used.

3. One of Nairobi, Kenya's Best-Kept Secrets Is...We have these awesome buses called Matatus (Mah-tah-toos) that are basically party buses on wheels. They're decked out with super cool decorations inside and some seriously bumping music systems. Unlike Subway trains and Ubers, not everyone knows about these bad boys until they set foot in this city. It's like stumbling upon a hidden treasure!

4. Tip For New Dads: If you let mama convince you to stay with your bundle of joy for a prolonged period of time when she’s away, then you are sure to appreciate every second of her presence moving forward.

5. Why I Joined Ello: Because I feel proud to contribute to its mission of helping children learn how to read. It's an incredibly important goal and there's nothing quite as fulfilling as being part of a child's success story from their early years. Additionally, Ello is filled with amazing people, some of whom I've known for a long time.

6. To Help My Son With Reading I...I always help my eight-year-old with his homework. I also engage in interactive storytelling sessions that captivate his imagination while enhancing his vocabulary and comprehension skills. Additionally, I provide him with a diverse range of age-appropriate books, encouraging his curiosity and fostering a love for literature. Through patient guidance and regular reading exercises, I create a supportive learning environment that boosts his confidence and nurtures his reading abilities.

7. I find inspiration in: Listening to people who’ve achieved extraordinary feats in life including Eliud Kipchoge. He is an incredible marathon runner who has achieved remarkable things in his sport. His accomplishments are beyond what I can even imagine. Whenever I watch him run and listen to his speeches, I feel inspired and motivated to push myself.

8. What are you most excited about for Ello V2? With the introduction of Digital-Only Reading, children will now enjoy a highly interactive version of Ello, offering an expanded collection of books to delve into. And by further harnessing the extraordinary potential of AI, Ello will emerge as the ultimate reading mentor for kids, firmly establishing itself as the top choice.

9. I Recently Learned That…The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds. 🐔

Read With Ello Father's Day

Tom Sayer

Co-Founder & CEO @ Ello

1. Why You Started Ello: I believe that education, and maximizing the potential of every child, is the most important thing we as a society can do. Every other problem that we face, can be solved if we help the next generation thrive and be in a position to solve them. I got deeply involved in the philosophy of learner-centered education — where we put the child at the center of the learning — and then with Elizabeth and Catalin, saw the potential for technology to truly revolutionize how children learn. Reading is the first step on this as reading is the gateway to the rest of learning.

2. Best Entrepreneurial Advice: Just do things and learn from them. Oftentimes, we want to do the best version of something because we want to do our best work, which often leads to us doing nothing or doing things slowly. No entrepreneur knows exactly the right thing to do. So it's much more useful to do something quickly and then learn from that experience and do the next thing.

3. Productivity Hack: Having a calendar-scheduling link. It's crazy how many people don't and how much time is spent organizing meetings.

4. What’s next for Ello? In the short term, we're completing our mission to be able to teach any child to read from start to finish regardless of resources. There are lots of exciting new features and changes ahead to deliver this. The current version of Ello is probably a third of the product we have planned for this year.

5. Dad Lesson Learned This Year: Make it clear when you really mean something. We say "no" and give instructions to our children constantly, and it's hard for them to understand which of them you really care about and which of them you're just saying as a preference. I say, ‘Do X Y Z, or there will be a consequence.’ to indicate to Oli that this instruction is one that he has to listen to. That helps him filter through the noise. To instill a love of learning in my son, I try to approach the world with the curiosity of a three-year-old. Kids feed off our energy so much, and if I am loving relearning the world, he will love to learn.

6. To instill a love of learning in my son I…try to make sure that I approach the world with the curiosity of a three-year-old. Kids draw so much energy from their parents, and so if I am loving learning with him, then I believe that he will also love to learn and that the natural curiosity that every child has will flourish.

7. Book I’ve Gifted The Most: The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik. It describes that some parents see themselves as carpenters who are trying to take raw materials and create something that they have predetermined. And others are gardeners who believe that it's their job to create the environment in which that child will grow, but they don't know exactly what the child will turn into. Alison argues and I agree that the latter is the right approach.

8. To me, work-life balance means…Making sure that the time I spend with Oli, I am 100% focused on him, and the time I spent at work is focused on work. And to the extent possible trying to keep the two separate rather than let them bleed into each other and feel like I'm doing a bad job at both.

9. Tip For Ello Job Applicants: Read the job description!! :-) We put a lot of thought into exactly what we're looking for and so if you directly address the job description in your resume, cover letter, and interviews, you're likely to do really well. For us, the job description isn't just a quick marketing piece, it's the foundation of the entire hiring process.

10. I Recently Learned That…Groundhogs aren't mythical creatures! I moved to Pennsylvania and we have groundhogs which I'd only ever seen in the movie Groundhog Day.

Read With Ello Father's Day
Happy Father's Day! 🐘

Ello is hiring. 

Ello is growing! We're hiring for full-time positions. Know someone who may be a good fit? We would greatly appreciate any referrals and email forwards.

“We loved Ello! I liked the encouraging feedback throughout the book. I also loved that Grayson earned points at the end for reading and also for asking questions about those tricky words. It made him feel empowered rather than “less than” for needing help..."
- Stephanie D.
The Letter