Ed Tech, Investors and Bunnies


rabbitTRUE STORY:

When  I was in the seventh grade, our school had a speech contest. I wanted to win simply because I was that obnoxious kid who had to win EVERYTHING. So, I worked really hard, did research, followed the exact format, practiced in front of a mirror, all of the things you’re supposed to do.  We all gave our speeches to the teachers and they selected two finalists, me and another student. So, then they had the two finalists give their speeches again to select a winner.

Here was the deal … we gave our speeches to the second grade class and they voted on which one was the best. My speech was on water conservation and the other finalist’s speech was on  … bunnies !

Comments from the audience included,

“I liked the speech about bunnies because I didn’t know what the other lady was talking about.”

I’m not saying that investors are like second-graders, nor that they don’t understand educational technology. What I often find is that investors DO understand ed tech and they have no more interest in it than second-graders do in water conservation. Investors have said to me, absolutely correctly,

Education has a long sales cycle. You need enough money to keep developing technology while waiting for a year or two until you can get through the approval process.

Ben Parr, in his Tech Caucus newsletter, says start-ups should not get involved in education, or in fact in

Any Industry with Lots of Government Bureaucracy, Including Healthcare, Education, Energy, and Government. “These markets are bad for startups because they are highly regulated, unionized, have very long sales cycles, and are slow to adopt new technology.” From another member: “It’s a paradox. While these markets are SCREAMING for disruption, the time frame and the cost do most small companies in.”

His caucus is completely correct about the bureaucracy, slow to adopt and the cost of marketing to institutions. I understand that if an investor is looking to get a quick return on investment that selling to school districts is going to take a lot longer than getting people to buy customized jewelry designed online or  an online marketplace for hats from around the world.

We’re doing it anyway, exactly for the reason that the second member of his caucus stated. These markets are SCREAMING for disruption. It’s not because teachers are unionized, either. It’s because teachers are seriously over-worked, under-funded and not involved in educational technology design nearly often enough – but that’s my next post.

 

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People often ask how they donate our games to a classroom. It’s super-easy. Just click on the link to a buy a game and when you select which game(s) you want you’ll have the options to buy for yourself, give to a child, classroom or school.

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