Choose Your Language

Archive for May, 2012

Out From The Depths of the Innovative Language Learning Lab – Part One

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Peter here.

For many learners, it’s been a long time.

For many others, please allow my to introduce myself.

My name is Peter Galante, founder of the engine that allowed Innovative Language Learning to grow from one website into a full-fledged language learning company.

For several years, I’ve been locked in the language-learning lab working on a colossal content project. We’ve made some serious strides since our inception, and several product prototypes have begun to reach market. Our creation will power innovative language learning products for many years to come.

We’re seriously excited about sharing these with you, because frankly, we owe you. Actually, we owe you everything. Your support has powered our growth from a podcast to a language learning company.

Thanks to all of the support from all of our incredible learners, we’re counting down to two major milestones:

  • 200 million lessons delivered
  • 27 language learning websites

So, I thought it was a good time to get my head out of my lab, and…

First, say “Thank You!”

Second, share our story of how we got here.

Rewind to the Start of the Revolution – December 2005

In the beginning, there was one person. Writing, recording, recruiting, improvising, persuading, coding… whatever it took to release a language lesson a day, I would do. Growth was exciting and motivating. The community grew. The team grew. Passion for our product and its reception fueled the expansion from one language to two, and we didn’t stop there.

Fast Forward to the Present Progress – May 2012

A team of 20 incredibly gifted full-timers, network of hundreds more around the world, and an alumni of extremely talented people have taken the company from a Japanese language company to a language learning company. From 1 site in 2005 to 23 (going on 27 in July) in 2012, plus several hundred iPhone and Android applications, e-books, and iBooks. In short, if there is a digital language learning market, we’re probably in it.

You can view the time line here.

The Journey is the Best Part

Along our journey, there have been some remarkable stories that were never shared. There were successes and failures that we never took the time to talk about. Not sharing the story of how we’ve bootstrapped our way to this point without outside funding or investment is one of the biggest regrets I have.

It’s a story of passionate and clever people who have been pushing themselves to the limit to provide high quality language learning material.

Share Our Journey  

Things are moving full-speed ahead. The goal of this series of blog posts is to introduce you to our team. Share our successes and failures as we strive to create a better product.

So, Part One: Say Thank You.

I would like to thank all the people who have supported us.

I would like to also thank all of the people that have helped build this.

We’ve met some incredible people in our journey, and we’re excited about the many others we’re destined to meet!

Countdown to 200 Million Language Lessons Delivered

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Peter here.

Well, you’ve gone and done it again.

It seems like just yesterday we reached 100 million lessons delivered, and now we’re currently on pace to reach 200 Million.

200 Millionth Lesson: Estimated Delivery in July 2012

Here’s a closer look at the numbers:

Audio Lessons

  • Current Download Total: 170 million
  • Monthly Average Downloads: 3-4 million


Video Lessons

  • Current view total on YouTube: 17 million
  • Monthly Average: 1 Million views


This is a remarkable feat!

Looking at these Impressive Numbers in a Different Way

So what does 200 million lessons mean, anyway?

Well…if the running time of each lesson averages 10 minutes (10 mins is conservative), that comes to 3,805 round-the-clock years of language lessons delivered. (Round-the-clock Year: all day long, every day of the year)

Note: this is just the running time of our audio and video lessons, and doesn’t include time spent on applications, website usage, Audiobooks, iBooks, and all of our other products.

So how remarkable are these numbers?

How many teachers would it take to deliver the same amount of lessons?

  • 631.1 teachers working for 30 years could cover deliver the same amount of lessons
  • 18,933 teachers working 1 year, or
  • 3,786.6 teachers working 5 years (about the same amount of time we’ve been in business).

Of course, this is in NO way a knock at teachers. We have the utmost respect for educators. We’re educators too! We feel our service complements the service teachers and tutors provide. It’s a testament to the power of combining technology with the passion of a small number.

How Far We’ve Come started with 1 person (me) and now employs about 25 full-time people and a small army of part-time workers and contractors spanning over 25 languages. Over the lifetime of the company (around 5 years), products have been created, designed, recorded, edited and published by just a few hundred passionate people. We’re a small team looking to deliver big things.

Over the next few months, leading up to the 200 million milestone, I’ll be sharing more news and stories from behind the scenes at to celebrate just what we do here. Thank you again, to every single listener out there that has downloaded, subscribed and joined in on our passionate language learning community!

Peter Galante is the founder of and he’s currently learning Chinese.

Our ‘Farewell, Pim! Welcome Back, Kim!’ Tea Party

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Today, we bring you a blog post from Motoko, lesson creator, host and Office Party Planner! Motoko will be sharing more posts on our blog, so check back often and leave a comment!

On the 17th of April here at Innovative Language Learning, we had an afternoon tea party.

Although Kim (a member of our Business Development Team) moved to Hong Kong, last week she came back to Japan for a brief visit, so it was her ‘welcome back’ party. Meanwhile, Pim (host of is going back to her home country to have her baby, so it was her ‘farewell’ party.


We all ate pastries, chatted, and enjoyed ourselves.

There was a choice of pastries: strawberry, green tea, custard… It was really hard to choose!

By the way, everyone, do you know what a shikishi is?

It’s a plain piece of card that measures roughly 20cm by 20cm. Actually, because it’s quite thick – about 3mm – it might be better to call it a board. It usually has a piece of Japanese paper pasted to one side of it. In Japan, when there’s a celebratory occasion, or someone is leaving, everyone writes a message on this piece of card. At ILL, too, when someone has something to celebrate or a staff member is leaving the company, we present them with a shikishi.


First of all, we write the name of the person in the middle. This time, it’s Pim. Then, so that the person we’re giving it to doesn’t see it while we’re writing on it, we put it inside the Secret File.

Everyone in the office then takes it in turns to write a message along the lines of ‘Congratulations!’ or ‘See you!’ before passing the card to the next person. Of course the company president also writes a personal message.

When everyone’s finished writing their messages, we decorate the card and make it cute and colorful.

Finally, we give it to Pim! She seemed really pleased with it. We’re going to miss you Pim!

Bonus : The True Face of ILL