SSi - the latest news and/or thoughts about the whole project


Shall I get the ‘Back Office Gubbinator’ business cards made up?!.. :wink:


You think I don’t already have them? :rofl::rofl:


Ahem, yes, here’s your regular Monday update, no, don’t check your calendar, just let it slide, okay?.. :wink:

Main news this week is that as @Stine can confirm I have been working very hard on my Alfie Solomons accent, and can now keep in character long enough to drive Catrin to the point of violence. :wink:

In SSi stuff…

  • got a couple of custom lessons done for the TUC, waiting to see what they thought

  • looking forward to upcoming meetings with the Wales Development Bank and another possible investor

  • still working on the book content, and gradually realising it’s going to take a while!

  • faintly stressed with how busy Carol is and how challenging fitting enough Welsh in will be, but I still have every faith in her hugely impressive speed of acquisition, so I’m sure we’ll still be fine :scream:

  • we’re almost there with a new sales page for our Spanish course (which has been delayed for ages because of internal problems at the company doing it for us) - so that’s going to be a really exciting step, as we start to run some traffic at it and see how the results hold up…

  • we’ve got a board meeting coming up on the 2nd of October where we’ll be looking at intellectual property, how to move forward with further investment, salary and employment terms, internal company structures and governance/management - we’re all on a learning curve, but we’ve got some hugely valuable experience on the board now, which is fantastic news…

So the overall picture is:

We’ve got a month coming up where we’ll be running some fresh Welsh ads and some new Spanish ads, to try and speed up our growth while we’re continuing with investment talks, and we’re also working hard to build a genuinely professional structure for the whole project (which I appreciate probably sounds quite boring, but which is what will make it possible for us to start to produce a decent number of new languages in 2020 :slight_smile: ).

As always, don’t hesitate to ask any questions… :slight_smile: :heart:


Update for this week:

Delighted that Carol has had a burst of acceleration and is now nearing the end of Level 1, so my heart-rate and blood pressure are right back down again… :wink:

Yes, this week should be launch week for our Spanish course, hooray… :slight_smile:

Had some big steps forward with the book content - realised I can re-purpose quite a bit of stuff that I’ve written previously, so that should dramatically change the timeline for getting something to the publishers…

And I’ve started work on the model for our first English course - we’re still in discussions with our new contact with a large Chinese company, so that might be an important source of acceleration for us…

And it’s not long until the first day of filming for our new video ads that are being developed by, so that’s increasingly exciting - and Jesse, Beca and I are going to be down for a day talking comms/marketing with Memet and Dave next week.

So mostly this week I’ll have my head down creating English content and getting the book tidied up so I can see clearly how much more writing I’ve got to do…

And then I’m looking forward to re-building the Welsh course through the algorithm - not necessarily to change what we’re currently offering through the medium of English, but to make it possible to start to produce the course through the medium of lots of other languages…

So for those of you who’ve been waiting hungrily for more languages via SSi… that really is looking like an early in the new year kind of thing now, for at least another three or four… :slight_smile:


5 posts were split to a new topic: Sound perception and pronunciation

Slightly truncated version for this week!

I was off in Edinburgh for the weekend, to support my friend Mabon who was speaking at the AUOB independence rally there - which papers are suggesting had about 200,000 marching, which seems entirely plausible from what I saw…

It was a fascinating weekend, but it didn’t involve much sleep! We had to get up at 4 on the Saturday morning, and we got back at 2 on the Monday morning…

So I spent a couple of hours in general catch-up mode yesterday afternoon (it takes a LONG time to get home to Carmel from Cynwyd!) - and more on that today, as well as a ‘getting the ball rolling’ call with Ruth Jones, who I’m going to be doing some intensive coaching with on Saturday…

Then tomorrow Jesse and Beca and I will be off down to Cardiff for a meeting with Memet and Dave (the folk who are doing the videos for us) - and then Jesse and I will be staying down until the Sunday for me to do the Saturday training.

So all a bit chaotic this week! And my brain probably isn’t clear enough to be doing any decent long-term strategic thinking at the moment - although in casual bits here and there, I think Jesse and I are pretty close to figuring out what the next few steps are with our next round of investment… :slight_smile:

[andddddd… breathe!]


Hi, sorry I’d I’ve missed you mentioning this but is level 3 for the Spanish course anywhere on the horizon?

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It’s not immediately front-and-centre, but we are about to start running some test ads for our new subscription set up for Spanish, and we get some decent results there, then Level 3 will come very much into focus… :slight_smile:

Last week was a fair old whirlwhind - absolutely knackering, but hugely valuable - we had a brilliant day with Beca and Jesse getting to know Memet and Dave and starting all sorts of excellent lines of conversation and planning, then I had a pretty full-on day on Saturday doing intensive tutoring with Ruth Jones (who is going to do superbly)…

And now this week, by contrast, is going to be fairly truncated… for the first time in over ten years (okay, in fact for the first time since we got married!) we’re taking a couple of weeks off, to try and do a serious de-stress, with as LITTLE ‘thinking about work’ as possible (although since we’re going to be staying with Jesse and Krysthel in an AirBnB in Greece, well, there might just be one or two strategy discussions at least… :wink: ).

So between now and Thursday (when we get the train to London) I’m going to be trying to tidy up my virtual desk, to get a few intros/outros written for the 6min course, and to get a video presentation finished for Cardiff University…

And that’s pretty much all I can fit into my mind right now! We’re also full speed ahead on implementing a bunch of changes that were decided in our last board meeting a couple of weeks ago - Justine is heroically taking over all the financial/procedural work, Iestyn is moving to Director of Quality to focus on building a culture of continual improvement, we’re ramping things up with more professional systems for the kind of bread-and-butter stuff we’ve not always been as strong on as we should be - in fact, the minutes of the board meeting will be available before too long, and we’ve decided that we ought to publish them openly for the whole community (except for commercially confidential or individually private bits, of course).

So, minutes coming before too long (we’re going to be meeting as a board monthly for the next few months, while we get the new structures really hammered out), and Catrin and me disappearing for a couple of weeks from Thursday onwards.

Please look after the old place for us while we’re away… :wink: :heart:


I hope you both enjoy the break :grin:

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Enjoy your well deserved break.
We’ve gotcha covered :wink:

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Please look after the old place for us while we’re away…

Of course we will. I have lots of ideas that I can’t wait to try out :laughing::smiling_imp:
Delighted you’re going to have an overdue break “because you’re worth it” :smile:

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Καλή διασκέδαση και καλές διακοπές :slight_smile:

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You probably dread seeing questions like this but I’m going to ask anyway… Have you considered doing a Danish course?


All very exciting!

I was at Insole Court (twice!) on Saturday, (my mum is in Under Milk Wood which they’re taking to Malta tomorrow). At the end of the day she mentioned seeing Ruth Jones so did I miss bumping into you @aran? Sounds like you were a bit busy though!

I hope you all have a fabulous well-deserved holiday!

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Holidays! Next it will be weekends.
Have a lovely time, blue skies, sea …

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Yup - we just need to finish getting in another round of investment, kick on with our Spanish course, finish building our English course, and then start ploughing that income back into building more courses in more languages… :slight_smile:

Oh, no way?! We were enjoying listening to the singing bits, even when they meant we had to stop filming… :joy: We were in the reading room, just opposite the reception desk - but I was only allowed out about twice during the day - pity I didn’t bump into you on one of those!

The person in charge was very entertaining - she (or someone else) had told the TV production company that there wasn’t going to be anything on that day that would make any noise - which turned into a series of apologetic ‘Oh, apart from the musical version of Under Milk Wood’… :joy:


And we’re back from an incredibly refreshing fortnight off - the first time we’ve taken that much time away in the last decade! - go and follow Catrin on Facebook if you want to see about eight million pictures… :wink: :joy: And thank you very much for not burning the place down…:wink: [If you’ve messaged me while we were away, I promise that I’ll be doing my best to get back to you, but it may take a week or two…]

And boy what a difference it makes to get a bit of energy in the tank…

This week, I’m mostly playing catch-up - I’ve got a potential investor meeting today (and a talk about SSi in Pwllheli tonight), then a mad one-day dash to Cardiff and back on Wednesday to talk through tasks for the participants in the TV show we’re working on at the moment, and then a trip to Chester on Friday to talk through some of the options for a possible investment/partnership test with a big Chinese company… so pretty handy that I’m feeling energetic right now!

The main focus for the next couple of months is pretty much 1) investment, 2) TV, 3) building the first version of our English course and 4) pressing on with an SSi book - and also continuing to fine tune all our processes (aka Justine’s doing all that! :heart:).


… try to pace yourself, that’s a hectic schedule. Take time to smell the roses. x


Diolch o galon, Ali :heart:

It’s just a kind of manic first couple of weeks back in the saddle - should calm down a little after that… :wink: