Sunday, January 1, 2017

Understanding ed-tech startup space #1

I find it amazing how companies like Facebook, Google and Tesla have scaled without spending a lot of money on marketing. They used strategies to understand their market, their market niches and evolved the product around that, thus eliminating the need to market themselves.

There are lot of applications and services which offer first month free, free rides and bumper sales but yet have failed to evolve as a successful business in terms of profitability.  One of the biggest reason for that is they do not completely understand their channels of reaching out to people and thus end up lacking the focus towards the area where consumers are present. They fail their understanding of the term "target audience".

One of the most classic examples of this kind of failure is TATA Nano. They branded themselves as common man's car in interviews given by Ratan Tata himself. Cars are status symbols and henceforth nobody wanted to buy a "common man's car".  Had they understood the sentiments of their target audience, this sort of debacle could have been very well avoided.

Indeed this what apple is amazingly good at. When you look at their products you wouldn't find the specifications to be great for the price the product is sold at but they just "feel" awesome. They look "cool" because of the slimness and lightness. That is apparently what the consumers wanted, a laptop that had right feel and looked great in terms of design and class.

Now, let's come to education segment of startups. Now this is where things get little tricky. Here the consumer is not the purchaser of the service, especially startups aimed at the benefit of early career stages.Most decisions are taken by parents or schools for that matter. Naturally the crowd shifts towards the more popular culture where more opportunities are present. Unfortunately that crowd contains quite a bulk of students who get demoralised towards their passion and end up not pursuing them with focused rigour which they would have otherwise. Now this is what I have termed "herd grazing education problem". It is indeed a major problem in our system.
(I will discuss the problem of demand and supply of markets and its effect on education sector in my next article. Here I am just pointing out the likes and dislikes of students and the freedom they have to pursue them)

The old-school solution for this segment of problem?  - (1)
Improving career awareness and diversity of options present by conducting talks, seminars and journeys of professionals from all aspects of industry domains. Covering as much diversity as possible in terms of possible career options.

The startup solution for this segment of problem?
Do the same over internet (via mobile app / website).