Bucking the Trend – the Brain Behind Snapask / 教育界的革新 - Snapask

(按此看中文版)

HSBC Prosperity Hall is delighted to have Mr. Timothy YU, founder of Snapask, as the guest speaker of the first SPECIAL Hall Night Talks in 2017. The sharing took place in Multi-function Hall B on 17 January 2017. The attendance was incredible and filled the venue to overflowing.

Bucking the Trend – the Idea of Snapask

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Timothy kicked off the special evening by sharing with us his journey towards a successful entrepreneurship. When he was a Year 2 university student, he set up a small tutoring group for secondary school students. The business expanded quickly. With the support from his friends, they set up a small tutorial centre together. However, after running the centre for 2 years, he realised that it was hard to further scale up the capacity of his business.

“There is a trend in the tutoring industry that many centres attempt to expand their business by opening more classes and replacing live tutors with recorded teaching videos, I wanted to change this trend.” said Timothy.

Timothy went on to explain that the tutoring industry is inefficient as the tutors do not try to understand their students but only focus on spoon-feeding them with exam materials.

To facilitate understanding and efficiency in teaching, Timothy believes that one-on-one teaching is the optimal mode of tutoring. Such belief drove him to think of alternative ways of teaching and learning. For example, he tried to have smaller groups of students every class, instead of a traditional big class with up to 50 persons. However, soon later, he realised that the plan was not feasible. He then turned his head to the possibility of using mobile app to achieve one-on-one teaching-and-learning. This is the skeleton idea of Snapask – a mobile application that is now worthy of HKD$100,000,000.

Today, at the age of 27, Timothy is already the CEO of Snapask Co., a company that have over 150,000 users in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, with a market valuation over one hundred million Hong Kong dollars.

Snapask – The “Uberfication” of Education

Snapask is an allocation to match students with tutors online. It allows students to ask questions and receive replies from tutors within a very short period of time, if not immediately. This mode of tutoring takes care of the special needs of each individual students, and offers unique solution to suit that need.

“We are just like Uber, but for education.” said Timothy.

Aside from his idea, Timothy also generously revealed to the audience his secret method of enhancing tutoring efficiency and user experience of Snapask. Timothy and his team made use of computer programmes to collect and analyse the data of students’ learning behaviours. What’s more, they would ask their users questions to proactively test students’ concepts and understandings towards different topics and types of questions, and their answers would also be collected and analysed. All of these functions can be done just by several clicks, using a smartphone.

“You always fail the first time.”

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Despite the great success of Snapask, Timothy’s journey towards success was never all plain sailing. He shared with the audience the not-so-glamorous side of his journey. Before the business was developed into a million-dollar company, Timothy has tested and experimented with different modes in realizing his concepts. For example, he once used a Facebook page as a platform instead of an app. He also set up a website to sell mock papers. Although none of these ideas was adopted in the end, it was these failures that finally built the great success of Snapask.

“You always fail the first time,” Timothy said. “But you should never hesitate to experiment what you believe.” he added.

“Now is always the best time to start.”

Timothy has a clear objective – that is to change something in the current education system. He hated to see students being fed up with standardised materials, and his aim is to provide personalised education to students that is truly helpful to each and individual student.

As a young entrepreneur who first started his business at a timid age, Timothy advised that whoever wants to start their business has to start early – “Now is always the best time to start, start experimenting your assumption and learning how to start the business.”

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How did this talk inspire you?

“I try to be more well-rounded in all areas. It’s good to be an expertise in your area, but also open your eyes and be keen to learn everything in other areas.”

–   GAO Ya, HSBC Prosperity Hall, Year 2, Creative Media, Mainland China

“You can achieve anything if you really put your mind into it. Timothy is a very young entrepreneur. He started off at our age! He also wasn’t a computer science student, but he ended up being the founder of a mobile application company. It makes me realize that you don’t have to be an expertise in a certain field to be able to succeed in that area.”

–   Jason CHAN, HSBC Prosperity Hall, Year 4, School of Law, Hong Kong

How important do you think is IT in our daily life?

“The presence of mobile application has really sunk into our life. We study and workout with the help of mobile apps. It has become a habit and made everything more convenient and easier.”

–   Vipul AGARWAL, HSBC Prosperity Hall, Year 3, Environmental Science, India

Based on the testimonies of our resident, it is apparent that the talk was a huge success. Let’s look forward to the next SPECIAL Hall Night Talk!

Writer:   Jason CHAN (HSBC Prosperity Hall), Natasya Viona CHANDRA (Jockey Club Harmony Hall)
Photographer:   Yikki LAM (Lee Shau Kee Hall)

~~~

滙豐業昕堂在本年度舉辦的第一個「業昕之夜」中,榮幸邀得Snapask的創辦人兼行政總裁余佑謙先生(Mr. Timothy YU)分享創業心得。座談會於晚上九時在綜合禮堂B舉行,成功吸引大批宿生參與,場內座無虛席。

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教育界的革新-Snapask

余佑謙先向聽眾講述自己在大學時期創業的經歷。他在大學二年級時成立輔導小組,替中學生補習。在累積一定的學生後,他與朋友合資開設小型補習社。其後兩年學生人數穩步上升,高峰期達五六十人之多。可是,當補習社運作達兩年之際,余佑謙在擴充規模時遇上瓶頸。

他解釋:「在補習行業有一個趨勢,許多中心會以播放事先錄製的教學影片取代真人導師教導。雖然此法確實能解決導師人手不足的問題,從而提高生意額。然而就教育而言,這並不是一個好的趨勢。」余佑謙認為在這種趨勢的影響下,補習導師往往只能灌輸學生一式一樣的應試祕笈,而非因材施教。余佑謙始終認為「一對一」是最理想的補習模式,因此他並沒有跟隨「播片」趨勢去擴充其補習社的規模,反而嘗試透過電子應用程式去達至「一對一」教學,這就是Snapask的概念由來。時至今日,Snapask已是一家擁有15萬用戶及估值達1億港元的公司。

Snapask - 教育界的Uber

Snapask為學生在線上配對合適的導師,學生和導師可透過文字、圖片和語音在線上即時交流。這種教學模式能讓導師對症下藥,學生遇上疑難時亦能快速獲得解答。余佑謙形容:「我們就像是教育界的Uber。」

不要害怕失敗

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除了分享Snapask的概念外,余佑謙亦分享了Snapask成功的祕訣。他和他的團隊充分利用Snapask作為電子應用程式的優勢,收集有關用戶的學習模式及習慣等數據,再加以分析。此外,他們亦會透過Snapask主動向學生提問,測試學生對不同類型題目的理解,從而為學生提供合適的教導。

雖然他在Snapask取得成功,他也曾在創業時遇到挫折。例如他曾開創一個賣模擬試卷的網頁,卻以失敗告終。這些失敗經驗造就了現在的Snapask。余佑謙表示:「我們未必在第一次嘗試時就成功,但我們必需堅持自己的信念。」

現在是最好的時機

在座談會中,余佑謙展示出一個清晰的目標-對現今的教育模式帶來改變。他不希望學生接受填鴨式教育,所以他致力推廣度身訂造的學習模式,幫助有不同需要的學生。

作為一個在大學時期創業的年輕企業家,余佑謙建議有意創業的學生盡早作出嘗試,因為現在就是最佳的時機去開始、實驗及學習。

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這次講座對你有何啟發?

「 我期待自己在各方面都可以做到面面俱圓。有專長是好事,但也要時刻提醒自己對身邊的事物保持開放的態度,對學習要保持熱情。」

── GAO Ya(滙豐業昕堂,創意媒體系二年級,來自中國大陸)

「毅力可戰勝一切,只要你下定決心去做一件事情,事情必可實現。余先生是一位很年輕的創意者,在我這個年紀已經開始開始其創業之路!他雖然沒有學習電腦的背景,但卻成功地成為了手機App平台的始創人,這令我明白到你無須將自己局限在某個專業領域,只要你勇於嘗試,成功就在不遠處。」

── 陳可誠(滙豐業昕堂,法律系四年級,來自香港)

IT對你來說有多重要?

「手機App程式對我們的日常生活實在影響太大了,我們每天工作和學習,都離不開App的幫助。它們已成為了我們生活的重要部分,令我們的生活更便利和充實。」

── Vipul AGARWAL(滙豐業昕堂,環境科學系三年級,來自印度)

這次講座正評如潮,希望大家繼續支持下一輪業昕之夜!

文:   陳可誠 (滙豐業昕堂)、Natasya Viona CHANDRA (賽馬會群萃堂)
圖:   林奕淇 (李兆基堂)

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