Back in my pre-startup life running corporate development for a large educational publisher I saw dozens, if not hundreds, of education technology companies passionately focused on solving a single problem for instructors, students or administrators. While the focus should have simplified everything they were doing very few of them emerged from the morass to become compelling, scalable businesses with sustainable economics. Why is that?
WordPress, the content management software created by Matt Mullenweg, already powers over 23% of all websites on the Internet.
With the acquisition of WooThemes the company has now the potential to become a major player in the online education market, both in terms of reach and revenue.
The Internet opened up huge opportunities for tech savvy tutors not that long ago. If you had a basic understanding of how to set up a website, a bit of SEO and online marketing knowledge, chances were high to grow a tutoring business from a local customer base into an international operation. Skype, tutoring platforms and marketplaces, YouTube and social media represent only a handful of the new tools tutors had at their disposal. Glory days.
Online education radically transformed the long held notions of time and space as it related to educational delivery. We saw commercials highlighting a working parent attending an MBA class in their pajamas. Schools promised compressed timeframes that allowed for a faster time to completion, and extreme flexibility was promised allowing us to fit classes into an already hectic life. That wave is cresting and rolling back out to sea, but its legacy is that it forced everyone to re-think when and where learning could happen, and how fast a degree could be earned. The next wave will challenge those same notions, and force us to rethink that paradigm again, but how exactly that happens could surprise you.
Etsy, a global marketplace for handcrafted goods, had its IPO last week. On the first day of trading the company closed with a solid plus of 86%.
While I won’t get into a detailed analysis of Etsy’s business model in this article, or whether I think the company to be worth $3 billion, I will say that it is reassuring indeed to see a company that isn’t selling a digital, social service or app but handcrafted physical products, has achieved to gain traction among a global user base.