In this post, I want to clarify why I picked up this idea, and how I came to it.
Firstly, I had 2 ideas to verify:
- Language learning service/app
- Video editing tool
Idea #1. Language tool
After talking to several people learning a language, and searched through multiple language forums on Reddit and Facebook, I found the idea – a community / tool giving daily tasks to you to develop all your language skills. And it looked like it was pretty cool. But I didn’t know how to solve the problems:
- Too big competition (from my impression, everyone uses Duolingo, and at least half a people is happy with it)
- Too much specific content to produce.
The second problem looks scarier to me because honestly, I’m not a content producer. I just stupidly hate it. Well, I can bear it only if the topic is in my competence. A solution could be to find a partner to produce it. But this problem is even less scary than the first problem. I just couldn’t imagine how I would compete with Duolingo and services like that have tons of great content. Yes, they are rather silly, not effective, but easy to use, and often free, and unfortunately, most people are not ready to pay for language apps.
Idea #2. Video editing tool
I reject the idea with a video tool because it’s probably too technically overwhelming. I have some kind of raw prototype, I spent almost three months on it, and the only things it can – just to show you a video file and cut a fragment from it (not precisely). So, I would spend a year alone to make it competitive. But it would be okay if I would find a niche. I didn’t. Probably just because the video is not my favorite hobby (although I love watching videos, movies, and documentaries) but I don’t have a passion to make movies. So, I could be pretty weak in it.
I tried to tweak the idea and came to LMS for language courses but was not sure how it would look and work. Then I made one more move and changed language courses to programming courses. I realized this idea was not new to me.
Idea #3. LMS for creating programming courses
Around 2 years ago, I wrote the idea about LMS created specifically for programming courses in my Google document (I have a special doc for ideas, there are actually two of them because the first one became too big and Google Docs worked too slow). The LMS market is huge and the competition is enormous but not among niche LMS. I don’t know if they even existed then. Suddenly I remembered about an existing solution I saw on IH recently, I checked it and was not impressed at all. Then I started looking more carefully and found 2 more LMSs in this niche. It didn’t look promising at all but… I found the competitor’s Twitter account and found it’s growing! Growing pretty fast! And even his solution is completely different from mine, I thought “there could be a thing”.
Sharpening the idea
I found several people and had 2 video interviews and 3 chats (how I did it I’m describing here https://seacat.blog/how-im-looking-for-a-good-idea/). Also, those days several super-successful coders released their coding courses that sold for half a million (!!!) dollars. Of course, I understand, there is something special in those people but anyway, it means that people are ready to pay for good courses, especially if they are interactive, interesting, useful. All the people I was talking to were passionate software developers who desired to share their knowledge and invented their own solutions because there was nothing on the market.
Of course, there is a potential problem: coders may require too much from LMS – they always want too customized, too special solution. But couldn’t I create it for them?
But… there are so many courses!
Another, pretty motivating problem, are the existing programming courses themselves. I learned a lot, and still learning, and know the learning a new programming language/tool/framework/library could be a hard challenge. I also see that 98% of courses are video-based, and honestly, it worked for me only if I had to learn something what is pretty easy – it’s not suitable for complex things. Learning by just watching videos is a super ineffective and time-consuming way. On the other hand, most interactive courses I saw were boring to the death and I could finish none of them.
So, the overall idea is to make a platform where programmers could create and sell their own courses that would really teach people. Not entertain them, not waste their time but teach.
The problem looks pretty easy at first but actually, it’s almost impossible. Do you know how many people who bought programming courses, ever opened or started watching them? Do you know how many of them finished the courses? The first number is around 30-40 (it’s my assumption plus I read some observations about it long ago), and the second it’s around 8 (for Coursera, see here https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/moocs-on-the-move-how-coursera-is-disrupting-the-traditional-classroom/ ). Reason? Courses are deadly boring and people don’t get what they really want.
So, my goal is not to create “yet another LMS” but “LMS for courses that help people to achieve their result” and this is a hard task that can’t be solved fast. But I have tons of ideas and I’m going to create the platform, test all the ideas to find better ones, and really help people – teachers and students, both.