Karen Francis: To that end, we are paying a lot of attention not just to the individual course certifications but series certifications. edX is leading down this path. One of the next things that we’ll be introducing on our site in the next couple of months is the ability to upload your certification and then attach it to your official transcript. You might go to high school and you have a transcript from your high school. You don’t want to go to college the way that other people might think about it. You know which skills you want and you want to be able to prove to an employer that you’ve mastered it. You will be able to take that certification and attach that to your official transcript.
Sramana Mitra: You are maintaining consumer records on their certifications and transcripts?
Sramana: Let’s explore your continuing education business in greater detail.
Gary Matkin: Continuing education is dominated by people who want convenient, high quality material that is very relevant. Cost is not the primary concern. If you can provide courses that meet those criteria, then you are in the market, and that is what we service. Convenience is enhanced by putting the courses online. We also have those classes on the evenings and weekends, but the online aspect makes it possible for working adults to take any class online.
Sramana: What percentage of your continuing education courses are delivered online today?
Gary Matkin: A little over half. >>>
Emil Sayegh: Fast forward to 2014, what we are seeing right now in the market is both of these models hitting a point where frankly they’re becoming less useful as a monolithic type of offering. Companies out there want to be able to benefit from the ability to grow very quickly with the cloud offering for the right applications but also need a solid performance of what used to come with dedicated servers for certain applications like databases and Big Data applications. All those applications need very high I/O still need traditional infrastructures.
Now, you’re in a dilemma. I put my front-end web infrastructure on something like Amazon cloud or Rackspace cloud, but then where do I put my high performance computing needs? Very few companies have been able to bridge those two elements. What we’re seeing is the emergence of hybrid cloud, which allows customers to essentially spin up front-end web resources in a cloud environment in a utility-based model and then have their back-end on robust dedicated gears. >>>
Sramana Mitra: I have a bunch of questions on that. These are, again, trend questions. One of the big problems with the Internet, in my view, is that it’s a free-rider and free-loader population. What percentage of your traffic are paying users as opposed to people looking for free courses?
Karen Francis: The only way I could answer that right now would be to give you metrics on the paid course sales. I would say we’re too early for that. Most of the people on our site are connecting to free courses. I think that’s largely because they don’t know that they’re available yet. We’re really at the early stages of adding the courses. We’re just getting exposure now for those people who are willing to pay.
Sramana: Are there other models that you could envision being successful?
Gary Matkin: Another option would be to start selling advertising. Somehow they should use the names they have for advertising or marketing.
Sramana: Everything you have mentioned works well for UCI. For Coursera, that is a scary thought that nothing monetizes significantly in the short term. That is a problematic situation for a venture-funded firm.
Gary Matkin: It is and I don’t think Coursera, edX, or Udacity will last very long. >>>
Cloud hosting, as companies scale, is moving from public cloud to hybrid cloud. More in this discussion.
Sramana Mitra: Emil, tell us about Codero and yourself so that our audience can get to know you a bit.
Emil Sayegh: I’m Emil Sayegh. I’m the CEO and President of Codero. By way of a quick introduction, Codero has been around, as a company, since 1992 in various names. It started as a small corner computer reselling shop in San Diego. Quickly, the Internet came about. They got into shared hosting, domain name registration, and web design. The company grew and evolved into dedicated hosting and managed hosting, and later cloud. In 2006, Catalyst Investors out of New York came and purchased them. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Does that mean that you catalog Pluralsight and TrainSignal and all of these course providers?
Karen Francis: Not everyone but if we don’t, it’s because we just haven’t contacted them yet. We’re really out there. We have a business development team seeking new course providers. You can also go to the site and say, “I have five courses. How do I get them on?”
Sramana Mitra: Now you get to pitch me why I should put out a course on your site.