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Micro-pivoting (part 1)

Micro-pivoting (part 1)

A micro-pivot happens when a small part of your business experiences a slight tweak. Since working on the Tutorpass’ secret master plan, I have had the chance to reflect more on the platform’s short-term premise. Am I going in the right direction?

I enjoy having the freedom to change my mind about things.

Often, it can be a challenge if you’ve built up a position defending a point of view for an extended period. There’s too much pride at stake. But a lack of humility can condemn you to pointless meandering if you don’t critique your sunk costs routinely.

Over the last couple of months, I have developed a dislike for Tutorpass’ marketing efforts.

The copy feels generic.

The landing page no longer excites me about the platform.

Admittedly, I was still figuring out stuff when I put it together. I thought it was a decent first effort. But right now, it no longer represents how I want to market the product.

I’ll break down how I got to this point.

The course creator community

Spending time with the course creator community has been eye-opening. They are my core target market, so it makes sense to learn as much as possible from them.

Here are a few things I picked up:

  • Course creators were happy to make use of several tools to run their programmes, e.g. Twitter (audience building), Notion (data), ConvertKit (mail), Discord (community) and Zoom (events). Everyone has their own “minimum viable stack”. The issue with this setup is the operational overload it creates. You end up needing a course manager to handle these platforms while you focus on creating delivering content. As a result, there is a strong case for automating the interactions between these services.
  • Course creators have gripes with the limitations imposed on them by all-in-one platforms (Teachable, Thinkific or Udemy). However, they appreciate that they take away a lot of the operational overload involved with managing their own “minimum viable stack”. As course creators become more established, they are more inclined to transition to their own “stack” and build a team around their offering. They will rarely switch to an all-in-one platform.
  • Bootstrapping a two-sided network (instructors and learners) is very difficult as this space is pretty over-saturated. You require a ton of venture capital to make a dent. Course creators have so many options, so your new platform is probably not that revolutionary to them. I recall a conversation with a course creator who suggested I look at Teachable instead of building out my platform. For her, there was not enough differentiation in what I was attempting to do.

Given the innate inefficiencies of managing your “stack” or creating and running a good course, several consultants have popped up, charging between $500-$50,000 to help course creators on different parts of their journey. I’m not sure how to feel about this. These arrangements seem symptomatic of a broader ecosystem that, by design, is fragmented.

Next steps

I’d like to see better tooling for course creators. At the moment, this means doubling down on Tutorpass’ strengths as a product. It also means dropping some proposed functionality, such as community management.

Tutorpass should be “the fastest way to create, share and watch learning experiences”, mainly because:

  • Creating a course can be a time-consuming, burdensome, expensive process. It doesn’t need to be this way. You should be able to create, share, and watch learning experiences in no time. In short, I’d like Tutorpass to be the Canva for learning experiences. The platform should have you either teaching or learning in under 30 seconds. Fortunately, the product already serves this function, so the marketing needs to be updated to reflect this.
  • After interacting with the course creator community, I’m hesitant to label Tutorpass as another all-in-one hosting platform. It might be better off as an integration layer in a course creators stack, used to speed up the flow of information between instructors and learners. As mentioned previously, there is also a better business opportunity in automating the interactions between disparate services in a course creator’s “minimum viable stack”.
  • A shift in marketing language opens up several use cases outside of the traditional course creator fold. There are teaching and learning opportunities everywhere, for example, onboarding new joiners in a hybrid working environment. For Tutorpass to be a product that many people can use, there needs to be almost no friction in how it gets instructors and learners to their desired goal.

The abovementioned is the first part of the pivot that I aim to complete in the next few months. There is a second part, which I will cover in the next post.

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