Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Business Ideas from MBA 734

The business model that I found most intriguing was Droid College.  The concept presented was to develop a central repository for educational materials that students and professionals looking to refresh their skill sets can rapidly access various documents at no cost.  Having been forced to use Blackboard as an undergraduate and graduate student and now through my employer, I believe that a market for such a service exists.  The Blackboard system is at best slow, unreliable, and poorly developed.  Additionally, Blackboard can only be accessed through a computer meaning that a busy professional often goes days between log-ins and typically relies on at least one other technology to get through their courses.  Even the simple act of downloading a file from Blackboard usually requires two or three attempts before meeting with success.  The system requires a great deal of patience from the user and a great deal of planning as well because trusting the system to be up and running properly when you need to upload a file right before the deadline is a fool’s game.  From past experience, the network usually crashes during exams or a few days before the end of the semester when there are major due dates. 

Perhaps I’m just thrilled that someone else is interested in entering the market space.  Or perhaps it’s because the Droid College presentation covered interconnectivity and being able to use my phone to keep track of deliverables and access course material on the go.  Blackboard has gotten way too comfortable in its market without another major competitor and their mediocre service has declined since I first used it nearly a decade ago.  Innovation is desperately needed in this space and I believe that there is room is a forward thinking service that is promoting ways of accessing its network from multiple technologies.  While I’m not certain how Blackboard’s fee structure works for universities and major employers, the low level of service they have provided their customers over the years would likely result in some attrition when a new, capable entrant came online.  Best wishes to Droid College, I hope the idea becomes a reality because such a service years overdue.