Show and Tell: David Keyes

A Q&A with an IXL Program Manager

July 15, 2015


Life at IXL

Meet David Keyes, the fearless leader of our flagship product, IXL Math, in this employee Q&A!

The Basics

Name and title: David Keyes, Program Manager—IXL Math

Has been at IXL for: 3.5 years

Hometown and current city: Grew up in Palo Alto, Calif. Currently lives in Millbrae, Calif.


Life at IXL

What did you do prior to coming to IXL?

I was in graduate school at University of Colorado, Boulder, where I got my Ph.D in math. I’d always been interested in teaching—I worked at the on-campus tutoring center in college and went to graduate school to be a professor, but decided I didn’t like the math research component of it. A friend sent me a link to apply for a position at IXL and I actually got the job before I defended my thesis, so it was really nice to have the job lined up!

What do you do at IXL? Give us a taste of what a typical day at work is like for you.

I started as a product analyst for math, writing the questions and explanations. Two of my favorite problems that I designed were graphing parabolas and graphing circles. Now, I still work on math content, but I’m reviewing my team’s work and making decisions on what topics we should update or add next. I work with the engineering team pretty closely as well. I also work with the sales and marketing teams, and once a year I get to go to a sales conference.

What skills/qualities does it take to do your job?

Very strong writing skills and a really strong math background are important so that you know how to explain difficult concepts in a short, simple, and easy-to-understand way. You also have to know your audience and be able to write in an age-appropriate way, because we work on pre-K through precalculus content.

What do you like about working at IXL?

I like the people—everyone is really smart, very friendly, and interested in helping others with education. I feel like my job is a good mix between an academic job and a private industry job in that we hold ourselves to a high level and want to get things right, and are willing to invest time in that. It’s really awesome that there’s a job that exists where I can think about math all day and think of ways to make it accessible and fun for people!


Life beyond IXL

What do you like to do in your free time?

Sports and family take up my time. I like chasing my 2-year-old daughter around—she’s talking but it’s only understandable by me and my wife! I watch Giants baseball (I try and go to about 5-10 Giants games a year), Cal basketball games, Cal football games. I play basketball sometimes, and I manage our company’s softball team.

How would your best friend describe you?

He would probably say something mean about me first! [laughs] But he would describe me as loyal and sincere, probably to a fault.

What was your favorite summer vacation growing up? What’s your ideal summer vacation now?

All of my extended family is in Los Angeles, so my favorite summer vacations were going down there, going to the beach, and hanging out where it was really warm. Now, I’d love 3 days with just me and my wife at home doing nothing! Or, I’d want to travel to visit friends that we have around the country.


Just for Fun

What was your favorite childhood toy?

A basketball—we had a hoop in the backyard and I’d shoot about 1 to 2 hours a day. I started playing when I was around 5 years old.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Leftovers, fruit salad, a lot of condiments like BBQ sauce and different kinds of mustard, and It’s-It ice cream.

Would you rather have a third eye or a third arm?

A third arm, because I feel like you could be more efficient with a third arm than a third eye, and you could multitask.


Want to join David’s team? IXL is hiring Math Curriculum Designers in San Mateo, Calif. and Raleigh, N.C.! Apply here!


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All Comments (4)

somto July 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm

i like ixl


Natalie July 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

IXL math is fun but sometimes I don’t understand stuff how it is explained. After I mastered 100 skills, I have a hard time mastering the 110 for another award.


bob August 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm

ixl is not fun


The IXL Team August 14, 2015 at 9:09 am

Hi Bob, we’re sorry you feel this way! If you have suggestions for us, please share them at


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