Making the move...

Dan Shafer revolutionary.dan at
Mon Mar 20 18:59:05 EST 2006

OMG, Judy, two things we can agree on in, what?, less than a month? Perhaps
the end of the cycle is imminent!


I spent two years once trying to sell a product into the "education market."
(I use quotation marks because in my experience -- which may well have been
unique for all I know -- there is no such thing as a "market" called
"education".) Here's what I ran into (enough years ago that some of it may
no longer be valid and it specifically applies to K-12, not secondary):

1.  The decision-maker is often hard to find. This was a real deal-blocker
for us. I'm not kidding. In one case, we found out that the key decision
maker in determing what software a school district (a large one, at that)
would buy was the nephew of the superintendent who worked as an outside
consultant. He wasn't on an org chart and we could not make a direct
presentation to him. That was the extreme but it was only a matter of

2.  Educators often cried poor-mouth, seeking deep, deep discounts that
would have resulted in our inability to stay in business but then they also
wanted reliable tech support (including pre-sale) and training.

3.  Too often, educators felt justified taking our proprietary software and
duplicating it for their fellow educators, on the same basis as #2, i.e.,
they were under-funded and under-paid.

Now I'm not going to argue that educators are adequately compensated let
alone overpaid. And I know that in the U.S. at least the priority we place
on education in our budgets is horrific in contrast to the lip service we
pay to the importance of education in our society. But even programmers have
to eat (though they seem able to subsist of Jolt and Twinkies for extended
periods of time, with the odd pizza tossed in for good measure.) But what
does seem to me to be the case is that, as I think I hear you saying,
educators seem (in general) to be OK with taking advantage of people who
supply software technology to make their jobs easier but are not OK with
others wishing to take advantage of their good nature as altruistic
participants in the social discourse.

And at the end, I just find this very interesting, not necessariiy negative
or problematic.

On 3/20/06, Judy Perry <jperryl at> wrote:

I suspect that there are remarkably few educators who would apply
to themselves the sentiment that they seem to demand of software

Dan Shafer, Information Product Consultant and Author
Get my book, "Revolution: Software at the Speed of Thought"

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