Altschool

I’m a big believer in Max Ventilla’s vision for the schools of tomorrow. I’m really sad it had to end this way.

Disclaimer: What follows are my opinions, without any data to support it.

Schools are a hard business. Selling software to schools is a hard business.

Let’s say you’re a B2B SaaS company. You ship a feature, or a new product, you know if it is working in a few weeks/months. Your customers and your data will tell you. This tight and small feeback loop makes sure you build what your customers want, they can immediately see an impact in their lives or business, so you can make money to sustain and grow.

The problem with solving for K-12 education is the really long feedback loop. You only see the impact of your schooling years later.

What complicates this is, in those years in between there are a lot of different variables (college, mentors, access to opportunities etc.) that either screw your outcomes for the worse, or work so well that they take all the credit.

Would you pay me $1000 a year for my software for the next 10 years, and only then MAYBE you can see the value of it. Any sane person would say no.

Which is why I’ve come to believe that real progress in the K-12 education space will not happen bottom up. It will happen in the skill market first (higher education), and only make its way to schools in the form of an optimization. You can already see this happening with companies like Lambda School (Huge fan of them too).

I hope I’m wrong.

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