What Did You do in the War, Daddy?
I’m a bit of a news junkie. Always have been. In my 60 years on this earth, I have never before seen one subject completely dominate every news broadcast. Even during the Viet Nam and Gulf wars, the nightly news broadcasts kept a balanced slate of stories. As I watched the news broadcasts from last night, every story was about or related to COVID-19. As most of us sit in our homes working remotely, sometimes it’s hard to think of anything else.
So, here’s my question to you. Are you going to sit idly by and let whatever happens happen to your business? That business you’ve bled for? Sacrificed for? Put every bit of energy in? Missed time with your family for? That business.
Right now, as you read this, stand up, gather your resources and prepare for war. It’s time to go on the offensive. Like hitting the beaches at Normandy, this is do or die time.
First, know your enemy: Fear. Fear of action. Fear of inaction. Fear of what the world will think if you dare to do business during this time of uncertainty. Almost every EdTech company I know is now dangling free solutions in front of schools in order to help. Many of the education media now offer databases of free solutions for schools, also to help. Only everyone seems to be forgetting one simple fact – schools still have money. Their budgets didn’t suddenly get removed. In fact, schools have money, and a good bit of it, that they have to spend this year. They also have a rather large check coming from the federal government to buy additional EdTech for remote learning. Someone is going to get that money. And most likely, it will be the companies that are out there, visible, leading the transition to digital education. Is that you?
Second, form a plan of attack. Because administrators and educators are home, they are now online with much greater frequency than ever before. They are exploring solutions, they are signing up for webinars and virtual events, they are listening to podcasts, each searching for the solution to make their new virtual reality easier. Here are just a few examples: When the Learning Counsel decided to do a series of Emergency National Virtual Discussions, we asked for suggestions and got about 17,000 suggestions in four hours. Considering we only sent this to 215,000 people, that is an astronomical number. An EdTech company we work with picked up a million seats in two days. Another company bested last year’s acquisitions in just one day.
Third, arm yourself with the latest weaponry. Take an active role in virtual events and webinars. Do a guest spot on podcasts. Create targeted whitepapers and briefs. Write relevant articles and publish them in the news media. The more active you are, the better your odds at surviving. But more importantly, the more active you are, the more ground you are going to pick up when things return to normal. Before WW2, the United States was one of many strong countries in the world. After the war, we emerged as the world’s superpower, gaining economic market share in almost every industry. This war we are fighting now is no different. The companies that aggressively fight now are the companies that will pick up massive market share by this Fall and be poised to pick up the onslaught of pent-up spending that is to come.
Contact me if you’d like advice. The Learning Counsel works very closely with school districts, and we continue to speak with them daily. We have some very strong ideas about how to win the war, and of course the real winners will be our children. That’s what it has always been about anyway. So, when they ask, what did you do in the war, Daddy? What will you tell them?
About the author
Charles Sosnik is an education journalist and editor and serves as Editor in Chief at the Learning Counsel. He is an education fellow at the EP3 Foundation, and a regular contributor to some of the most influential platforms in education including the Learning Counsel, EdNews Daily, edCircuit and EdTech Digest.