Numan on 2 years at Nomadic

Apr 26, 2024

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Robert M. Burnside: First of all, congratulations on your April 19th two-year work anniversary! How’s it going for you working at Nomadic? What’s keeping you here?

Numan: I think it boils down to the team. We have a bunch of nice people here. I mainly work with the tech team. It’s great knowing that we’re working on a project together, regardless of whatever the piece of work it is. Just being together like that, you know? The team is number one; that’s what really stands out for me.

Robert M. Burnside: If someone asks you, “What’s it like to work at Nomadic?“, what would you say?

Numan: It feels rewarding. You feel satisfied with the stuff you’re doing because you have fun and all that. But at the end of the day, you need to know that the work you’re doing means a lot. That’s what you get from it. That’s the feeling I get where every piece of work is appreciated, no matter how big or small. There’s also something completely different about it. I’ve worked in companies that were unnecessarily corporate, where it made your life uncomfortable. It wasn’t too much about the work you were doing but more about whether you followed procedure or something. So rigid that you didn’t feel comfortable. You just wanted to clock in your hours. With Nomadic, sometimes on my holiday, I can’t wait to get back. I can’t wait to get back and do this work.

Robert M. Burnside: What do you find meaningful about the work you do?

Numan: One of the reasons I chose Nomadic before coming here was that I’ve always been interested in technology directly related to education. I have always wanted to build products in this space, for the longest time. My dad’s a head teacher at a school, and essentially, everyone in my family teaches. So, I’ve always been interested in learning and how by using technology, you could make it so much better. In the past, although it was a completely different environment, I was always teaching younger people. It matters to me here at Nomadic that deep down what I’m building is technology that is essentially helping someone Up-skill or learn something new. In every piece of work I do, I see how it’s going to fit in and how this piece will help someone learn.

Robert M. Burnside: That’s part of the reason I’m here, too. I love learning, and I love to help other people with their learning. It’s interesting that your family is in the field of learning, too, and you’re sort of taking the family’s love of learning into this tech area; you’re bringing tech into the area of learning.

Numan: Even in the simplest of topics, I’ve always liked to teach others something I didn’t know at their age, to try to convey whatever I know. I think that’s been in me, you know, that’s how we are as a family. Doing the work at Nomadic only amplifies that.

Robert M. Burnside: So, you’re wanting to use technology to advance learning. And you’re right at this point in time when we’re going to have to learn how to use all this generative AI. Is that interesting for you?

Numan: It is. Even before coming into Nomadic, I was messing around with AI before it became a buzzword like it is now. I just thought it’s going to unlock education for a lot of people, where it was expensive to get dedicated private tutors and stuff like that. There would be a chance to use AI to make learning cheaper for everyone in some ways, just coming from a perspective of private tuition. I come from a really religious family; we recite the Quran. There’s obviously a lot to it in terms of the art of learning it and the science. But as a family, we know it well and we teach it to people. When people are first learning, they need an online tutor to practice with. That’s where I was using this particular piece of AI that was essentially a speech recognition software. I packaged that up so that when someone recites, what they’re doing is speaking the Arabic, to measure how accurately they were speaking. The software then gives them feedback on their accuracy and schools them on how to say it, essentially giving them an AI tutor on the phone. There was also a secondary feature I stumbled upon with this project: you jump in the app, share this invite, and you have a group of friends who would recite and take turns, reciting a verse each. The idea is simply that through practicing together, you create a supportive environment. The more experienced in the group naturally help those who are less familiar, fostering a communal learning experience that is both engaging and effective.

Robert M. Burnside: That’s interesting, because having your friends involved makes the learning process very motivational and engaging. It’s quite similar to the Nomadic idea that learning together not only creates engagement but also enhances knowledge. Thanks so much for sharing the story about your family and the background for why you’re here at Nomadic! It seems we all share this passion for learning and helping others learn.

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