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Lomit Patel, of Tynker, on translating kids’ love of Minecraft into a passion for software coding

I was eager to catch up with Lomit Patel, Chief Growth Officer at Tynker, the world’s largest coding app for kids. Tynker is used by over 100 million children worldwide, with a strong presence in schools. The company’s ultimate goal is to help every child learn to code before graduating from high school.

We discuss the catalyst for children getting into Tynker, which often leverages their love for the popular game Minecraft, where they can create modifications requiring coding skills. As Lomit observes, “once they start playing around with these tools to create different modifications on Minecraft, it kind of starts that flywheel around creativity and how coding, for the most part, is kind of like just learning another language, whether it’s like English, or Spanish, where once you start sort of practicing it, it becomes a lot easier.”

We chat about Tynker’s large collaborative online community, where kids help each other, creating a positive peer pressure environment, and touch upon the issue of AI, which is integrated into Tynker to help kids learn to code faster and problem-solve. A new feature, “co-pilot,” assists kids in their coding journey, functioning as a tool for enhancing coding skills rather than replacing them.

Pivoting to Tynker’s marketing strategy, Lomit explains that Tynker uses both B2B and B2C strategies. In the education sector, word of mouth and teachers’ recommendations play a significant role in adoption. On the consumer side, SEO is crucial, targeting keywords related to coding for kids and Minecraft. Tinker’s influencer marketing strategy involves partnering with popular Minecraft YouTubers and Twitch streamers to showcase the platform’s capabilities and encourage organic endorsements. Paid marketing efforts focus on Google and Facebook to reach parents.

Another key pillar of Tynker’s marketing strategy involves collaboration with large brands. As Lomit explains, “we work with a lot of these big brands, whether it’s Microsoft, or Google or Apple, which have education arms and are really into helping kids learn to code. We do a lot of partnerships and strategic initiatives with those types of organizations. And another one that we’ve just recently done a partnership with is the Spelling Bee, where we are the Spelling Bee’s actual coding partner.”

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