The Secret to Duolingo’s Exponential Growth: Lessons from LinkedIn

Aadil Verma

Hatched by Aadil Verma

May 13, 2024

3 min read


The Secret to Duolingo’s Exponential Growth: Lessons from LinkedIn

In a world where language learning has become increasingly important, Duolingo has emerged as a leader in the industry. With its user-friendly interface and gamified approach, the language-learning app has experienced exponential growth in recent years. But what exactly is the secret behind Duolingo's success? And how does it relate to the cringe-worthy nature of LinkedIn?

One commonality between Duolingo and LinkedIn is the desire for recognition. Just as LinkedIn users strive to catch the eye of prospective employers by broadcasting their wins, Duolingo users are motivated by the desire to showcase their language-learning achievements. Whether it's completing a lesson or earning a high score, Duolingo users are eager to share their progress with others.

However, the way in which these achievements are shared differs greatly between the two platforms. While LinkedIn users often wrap their wins in fake humility or BS lessons, Duolingo users are more straightforward in their approach. They simply want to celebrate their accomplishments and show off their language skills. This authenticity is perhaps one of the reasons why Duolingo has been able to maintain such a dedicated user base.

Another common point between Duolingo and LinkedIn is the element of competition. Both platforms tap into the competitive nature of individuals, spurring them to strive for excellence. On LinkedIn, users compete for attention and recognition from potential employers, while on Duolingo, users compete for high scores and leaderboard rankings.

The gamified nature of Duolingo is a key factor in its exponential growth. By incorporating elements of gaming, such as achievements, leveling up, and challenges, Duolingo has made language learning more engaging and enjoyable. Users are motivated to continue using the app in order to unlock new levels and earn virtual rewards.

In contrast, LinkedIn lacks the same level of gamification. While users can accumulate connections and endorsements, these features do not provide the same sense of progress and achievement as Duolingo's game-like structure. As a result, the engagement and growth on LinkedIn may not be as pronounced as that of Duolingo.

So, what can we learn from Duolingo's exponential growth and the cringe-worthy nature of LinkedIn? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace authenticity: Instead of wrapping your wins in fake humility or BS lessons, be genuine in your achievements. People appreciate authenticity and are more likely to engage with your content if they perceive it as genuine.
  • 2. Incorporate gamification: If you have a product or service, consider incorporating elements of gamification to make it more engaging and enjoyable. By tapping into people's competitive nature and providing a sense of progress and achievement, you can increase user engagement and drive growth.
  • 3. Focus on user experience: Both Duolingo and LinkedIn prioritize user experience, albeit in different ways. Take the time to understand your users' needs and preferences, and tailor your platform or content accordingly. User satisfaction is key to fostering growth and maintaining a dedicated user base.

In conclusion, Duolingo's exponential growth can be attributed to its authenticity, gamified approach, and focus on user experience. While LinkedIn may be cringe-worthy at times, there are valuable lessons to be learned from both platforms. By embracing authenticity, incorporating gamification, and prioritizing user experience, you can increase engagement and drive growth in your own endeavors.

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