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Posted on Friday, Dec 16th 2005

Gus Kawasaki had asked me to check out Filmloop, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, and I am traveling for the next 4 weeks … if any of you would want to try the software and send me your feedback, that would be terrific … I am hearing good things about it.

Speaking of travel, I will probably be writing considerably less for a good chunk of the next 4 weeks, so if any of my readers have interesting thoughts to share, I would love to get a hand from you, in keeping the content refreshed.

For some portion of my trip, I will have email access, and I can post stuff. For about 10 days in the middle, we’re going to be in very remote places, and I don’t plan to access the Internet at all. I will, however, write with a nice ink pen, in my beautiful journal, and some of that writing, I will publish here when I get back.

I miss writing with a nice pen, on beautiful paper, in magical settings … something I used to do often, until I traded in my allocated pen-and-paper journal writing time for this Blog.

In return, I now have you – my readers.

You give something, to get something, I guess!

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—– Original Message —–
From: “Madhu”
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2005 9:35 AM
Subject: The Business of Education >>> Big Barriers + Big Bucks

> Hi,
> An interesting session is in progress at TiEcon 2005 in India –“Entrepreneurial opportunities in Education”
> There is a huge void, inefficiency, Need/want (Philip Kotler) in the education domain which can be exploited. With a billion plus population and very unorganized, opportunities exist for the persistent entrepreneur.
> It has already been growing at more than 25%-30% here in the US. Companies performing exceedingly well here in US with unique models and whose business models can be emulated in INDIA are…
> 1)Blackboard Inc. (BBBB)
> ===============
> Blackboard has more than 3,000 licenses with 2,225 institutions, serving students from kindergarten through graduate school. The average licensee pays close to $29,000 a year, and customers are renewing at a rate north of 90%.
> The firm is making inroads internationally and a commitment to translate its software into 8 languages by the end of this year.The company just bought its largest competitor, another small-cap company for $800 million.
> It has IT products to:
> * build online connections between campus groups,to personalize information and to conduct e-Commerce; support teaching, learning, research, archival, extracurricular, and departmental activities that require the central management, tagging, sharing, reuse of electronic files.
> * on- and off-campus commerce, online e-commerce, meal plan administration, vending, laundry services, copy and print management, and student and staff identification; enables clients to establish an integrated student debit account program for charging incidental expenses, such as meals and academic materials
> * enables students and faculty to use their university identification cards as a form of payment off-campus; help professors and students interact by sharing syllabi, homework assignments, grades, and cooperative research online.
> 2) LeapFrog Enterprises (NYSE: LF)
> =====================
> Has a niche model with its electronic learning toys for toddlers to teens.
> 3), Univ of Phoenix (Online Virtual University), and Aristotle Corp
> ( have very interesting revenue streams.
> ICFAI in Hyderabad is working on the Univ of Phoenix model.
> 4)Electronic Whiteboards – An Exciting Growth Area
> ===============================
> Electronic whiteboards allow teachers to break the antiquated classroom model and make interactive learning an everyday habit. Market in US is growing at 25%
> 1 in 4 of educators use an electronic whiteboard for instruction, according to a recent study by Quality Education Data.
> Some simply work as copy and capturing devices. Some of the more expensive models have computers and projectors built in. SMART Boards allow teachers to capture notes on the board, save them in a database and post the notes to a Web site. The boards also allow teachers and students to write on the board with special markers. Mimio and e-Beam manufacture attachable products that can turn blackboards and whiteboards into interactive boards
> Example: In Overland Park, Kansas, which has 18,000 students and 29 schools, teachers are making use of about 40 to 50 interactive whiteboards

Sramana Mitra Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 9:21 AM PT

Sramana, got a chance to download and check out filmloop. Here’s some observations/comments:

1. Did not wow me: It is a marginally innovative idea on playing loops of content -static pictures mainly that you can select. Seems to be geared primarily to advertisers more than end users.

2. Usability: Had problems with the proprietary download, and general usability. New downloads of loops do not automatically play immediately and can get frustrating.

3. Technology: Seems to have ignored newer technologies completely such as RSS, AJAX, FLASH and seems to have opted for old client server tools. That in my mind will be a barrier towards adoption. Consider Google Video, YAhoo! TV, and other such sites that have richer content and no downloads

4. Community: this will need to have to build some critical mass and creation of contributing community (a la Flickr) in order to make the site have interesting content.

5. APIs: per the previous observation, needs to have more developer extensions built in… owning the desktop with a proprietary tool helps manage the advertisers but will lose audiences looking for simplicity.

Net-net: I’ll pass for now, thanks… until a better version come along.

Raj Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 9:49 PM PT