Maybe You Need a Little EdTech Tae Kwando
These are crazy times. It makes me wish longingly for the good old days, when all you had to worry about was manufacturing, logistics, marketing, sales, personnel, rent and a hundred other things while running your business and trying to stay on the positive side of the ledger.
Now that we are past three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is hard to recall a time when every news story, social media share and conversation wasn’t about the Coronavirus. But remember, every problem you successfully dealt with and every skill you used on a daily basis are still relevant. The skills you used and the wisdom you have accumulated are still sufficient to move you forward. And you still have to worry about manufacturing, logistics, marketing, sales, personnel, rent and the same hundred other things necessary to run your business. So, what has changed?
One of the greatest things you can learn in business (and in life) is there are worse things that can happen to you than getting beat up. I was fortunate to learn that lesson quite young. I attended school in a small southern town in the 60s and 70s and was in the academically talented program. For whatever reason, that program was held at schools in the roughest neighborhoods in the city. I was a precocious kid who was small for his age and had a huge afro and an even bigger ego. I took a lot of beatings growing up, sometimes one on one and sometimes three or four on one. I almost never won a fight. I think my mother noticed that I would come home bloodied and bruised, so when I was 15, she enrolled me in Tae Kwando. By the time I was 17, I never took another beating. Kids would jump me and I would win. Then word got around, and no one wanted to fight me anymore. Having lost some 50 or so fights before I won taught me something very valuable, and that has stayed with me in every aspect of my life.
Being in the education business, you may have gotten beat up quite a bit by the pandemic. But it didn’t kill you. Like me, you have lived to fight another day. All the things you have always done to be successful will continue to make you successful. What you need, in addition to your skills, is some EdTech Tae Kwando. For me, it was learning how to fight, how to discipline myself to deflect attacks and deliver focused effort from practiced muscle memory. For you, it is information about education leaders – their attitudes, what they are thinking, what they believe they need and even what they don’t know they need. Rather than being on the outside, guessing best tactics, you need to be on the inside and privy to the conversations and machinations of technology leaders, curriculum leaders and superintendents. In the next 90 days, a tremendous amount of money will be spent – a large portion of that will need to be spent before the budget year runs out on June 30. Then, CARES Act funds and new budgets will dictate a level of EdTech spending that has never been seen before.
Where to get your EdTech Tae Kwando
As you know, the Learning Counsel is a research and education media organization. We have gathered new information and we would like to share it with you to keep you and your company positive and selling effectively. We have just completed a new Survey and compiled market research. There is a lot of hyped up bad news in the media, but that’s all it is - hype. What you need to know is three-fold:
- Large-sample surveys, not one-off anecdotes. One-offs are stories of Superintendents saying things like “everything should be free right now,” even while they are actually spending less on operations and have had no actual budget cuts. One administrator told a probing sales rep that “property tax revenues will go down, so we’ve had to cut.” The rep believed this was legitimate and spread this bad news. Experts in the real estate market would argue differently, since prices of real estate have gone up during quarantines. Even if someone bails on paying their mortgage, the bank that owns the property would still have to pay the same taxes. In fact, only falling prices and a massive number of reassessments for property value or legislative acts to drop property taxation percentages would have to happen to cause tax revenues to go down. In addition, property taxes are a mere 22% on average of overall state and local revenues. Note, our survey says all key categories have 20% or more of the market in active buy interest.
- Actually talking to top educators as a neutral party. When you’re not trying to sell something, you get totally different truths. Perhaps this is a clue to the fact that many a salesperson is being shut down with excuses that seem plausible.
- Track the spend. Knowing the past record of previous stimulus monies, and the intent of the CARES Act, is key right now. Understanding how appropriations and entitlement programs work to fund education are also critical to explain how the bad news you might hear may be more of a smokescreen and a public relations move while non-educators out there suffer from staggering job and income loss. That’s what happened in the 2009-2012 period, even while the education sector behind-the-scenes added 50% more jobs. Post mortem on the past stimulus is extremely interesting to study.
Let us brief you about what’s happening now and what percentage of educators are currently shopping your tech category. We also have incredible insider information to share from our virtual events with education leaders. You’ll want to review past events, and more importantly, get involved with events we have in June and July. There really is no substitute for helping to lead the national discussion and rubbing shoulders with the most respected tech, curriculum and superintendent leaders in America.
All this to say that having taken your licks out there, it is time to start winning. This is a scary time for everyone. But fear is the real enemy. We need you and EdTech leaders like you to step up to the plate and make sure America’s learners get what they need. It is in your hands. But no more being on the outside looking in. Get your EdTech Tae Kwondo. The real winners will be our children. And that is a fight worth winning.
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. An EP3 Education Fellow, he uses his deep roots in the education community to add context to the education narrative. Charles is a frequent writer and columnist for some of the most influential media in education, including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, EdTech Digest and edCircuit. Unabashedly Southern, Charles likes to say he is an editor by trade and Southern by the Grace of God.