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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blockchain based research journal

I have written this presentation for iHack Hackathon. It is a basic web application which leverages Blockchain technology to increase the pace of innovation. Questions in comments section are highly appreciated. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Understanding ed-tech startup space #2

In this debacle I would concentrate more on basic idea of learning. I won't be comparing the intent of learning (say, Online Test Prep or skills connect startup).I think this is a part which each edtech sector startup asks itself is how to stimulate learning to the target audience. In case, where target audience is between classes 4-10th grades, the accepted approach is usually to use games for each topic to make learning more addictive. In higher classes and skill development scenario, the approach is more tilted towards using demonstrative videos / lecture videos to help the learner learn. There are also very few domain specific websites which allow users to learn computer algorithms in a highly addictive manner but they cater only to programming audience.

Most of the educational websites have certain amount of traffic but that does not mean they are for sure the best approach, at the same time also stating the fact that just because it's done does not mean they must have approached things in a wrong way.

Nonetheless, I would like to give few points :-

  1. Ed-Tech startups are not working at all on Artificial Intelligence (completely automated and personalised learning system) that helps learners learn better. 
  2. Startups need to understand the current segment very carefully before proposing a change. You can't shift things in a night. Change would happen gradually only and a strategic approach is needed that would propose change in current system rather than create a new system altogether. (My opinion is biased) 
  3. Public-Private relations hold a major key. You need to make that work out in your benefit.
I would be adding more to this article, after I complete my research on various education startups and how they tried to simulate learning to their target audience. For now, I would like to sign of on a note saying that don't try something new just because it is something new. In my next article I would focus on the demand-supply of college education with industry. So definitely keep tight.  :-) 


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).