Steven has been sitting at the intersection of education, artificial intelligence, and mobile applications for quite some time. Before Memrise, Steve journeyed to the AI realm at EY, where he started deploying AI techniques for real-world applications and benefits. He brought that experience to Apalon, where he was responsible for a portfolio of over 50 mobile applications. This confluence of experiences is tailor-made for shepherding a language-learning company through the explosion of opportunities technology provides.

In your own words, what’s your role in the app business right now?

Wrangling the explosion of technology capabilities into a form that can be usefully accessed by mobile users to accomplish their goals.

How did you end up working in apps? / get started?

Basically, by being a geek who loves to tinker with technology to make things better.

What are you most excited about in apps right now?

I am most excited about focusing the potential of the incredibly broad spectrum of AI technologies into laser-like features that help others accomplish their goals.

Is there anyone you’d like to shout out to who has influenced your journey in the app industry?

Absolutely. A big shout out to Marcin Zaba who has brought a customer-oriented, growth mindset to Memrise that helps us get ever closer to the mark as we try to deploy AI to help people acquire a language.

What do you like most about working in apps?

The ability to put useful tools into everyone’s back pocket is pretty awesome.

What’s in your app tech stack?

Our tech stack is very fluid as the technologies that help our users change quickly. The top things we do with tech today are:

  • Enable wide-ranging conversations in almost 200 different language pairs so our users can practice using the language they are learning.
  • Ingest tons of content and filter by the words and phrases our users understand to practice hearing the language they are learning.

What one thing would you change about the app industry / market? Where do you think there’s an opportunity for apps / or unmet needs?

I think we have only scratched the surface of voice-only apps and services. Giving people the ability to get to the precise thing they need at the moment they need it without being pulled down a rabbit hole of notifications from other apps will help us all focus a bit better.

If you weren’t working in apps what would you be doing?

Helping adults learn to read. I think this is a foundational building block in a world that can be improved by the age-old philosophy: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.”

iOS or Android?


What app(s) have been most useful to you over the last year?


What’s on your Spotify / Music party playlist?

Mark Knopfler’s One Deep River (mellow party)

Any Netflix/ TV show recommendations?

I’m enjoying Hacks right now.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I have run at least one triathlon every year since the 90s to balance out a love of food and good times.

Do you know someone driving change and growth in the app industry? Nominate an app leader here.