Hi there! I’m Nick Synodis, founder of Xathlon (pronounced “Zath-lon,” but I won’t be upset if you say “Ecks-ath-lon”). A little about me: I’m obsessed with learning, quality, and optimal experiences. I earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Statistics and was exposed to the “science” of learning through research in machine learning and its applications to educational psychology. While I was doing that, I co-founded and ran a company called Decademy for almost five years which made an entire suite of learning materials for Academic Decathlon and promoted the mantra “Don’t just memorize. Learn.”
I then decided to trek into the industrial world, applying my love of business and statistics to manufacturing, working as an industrial engineer and project manager at a medical device company. My business partner at Decademy and I decided to close shop and venture off on our own for a bit, even though we were making a product that everyone loved. During this “time off” from Decathlon, I became a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, honing in on my desire to optimize the quality of systems and products using statistical methods.
I didn’t stop thinking about Decathlon, though. In fact, I came back to the idea of participating in building “the future of learning” over and over again. So, after much deliberation, I decided to create Xathlon.
Xathlon creates educational experiences with quality at the core. We specialize in creating simulated competitions for Academic Decathlon. We believe there is no better way to prepare for a competition than competition itself. So, our tests mimic the official rounds as closely as possible, right down to the way the questions are asked. That way there aren’t any surprises on competition day. As a bonus, our tests serve as competitions themselves — teams are able to submit scores on Xathlon tests and compete with others from around the world.
It doesn’t stop there, we also have a Facebook group for general discussion of the curriculum and Decathlon. So on top of being able to compete virtually, coaches and students are able to communicate with teams outside their typical locale.
Our top priority for all of our products is quality. That means we are heavily focused on creating a system for test writing which focuses on making sure that all our questions have one correct answer, that they are grammatically correct, and that they follow a similar format, style, content, language, difficulty level, and nuance of the tests students will see in official competitions. Because of our unique approach to releasing the tests as competition sets, we are also able continuously improve our tests throughout the year based on customer feedback.
We thrive on your continual feedback, and of course, your participation. Please contact us if you have any questions about Xathlon, if you are interested in subscribing for the year, if you’d like to host an in-person or digital scrimmage using our tests, or if you think there is any way we can provide you value.