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So as you know I work in this world at a startup. We are not trying to disrupt anything (though someone once said "we want to do this but it disrupts fair use!" which is so lol I can't even... What we are trying to do is revolutionize how course material gets into student's hands in a way that's good for pretty much everyone. And it's SO HARD. Because we're not trying to disrupt (aka Screw Over) anyone, we're trying to bring all the players to the table (which just happens to be ours so okay) and get them talking to each other.

I haven't seen this but ... do they know the problem is that the consumers of textbooks are captive consumers? And that getting the people who can change the market (aka the faculty) to do anything is near impossible (welcome to my day job!)? The idea isn't the worst but...

Is our model lucrative? I guess we'll find out. I'm sure our VCs want it to be though we are pretty conservatively funded that it's hard to feel like a startup in the Valley in the way people think of them as being. (Plus, we're both managed and run by actual grownups. I think our average age is probably on the north side of 40).

Lisa Schmeiser

Mary-Lynn, these kids had NO IDEA. They saw textbooks as another random consumer good, and they clearly had no idea how the textbook market worked at all. It was a breathtaking example of people who assumed that being young + male + techie would be enough to get money.

And they got it! From Mark Cuban, of course.


Part of the problem is that nobody who isn't familiar with the business would believe how stupid and venal it actually is, and how so much of it consists of companies straight-up colluding with each other to screw the user.

Which is, really, where a lot of this "disruption" comes in. It's not that they don't understand the rules; it's more like they're asking why we're playing that particular game.


Keep in mind that we see basically ten to fifteen minutes of an hour-long pitch--and half of it's put together in post-production. Whenever I'm watching and they skip something critical, I generally figure that they did talk about that but it wasn't interesting TV.

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