Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Posts Tagged ‘education

I am reading the transcript of the conversations held by the Union Square Ventures, and reading a quote by Sir Ken Robinson (who is now fairly well known in the education circles for his TED Talk). In the talk, he quotes a note from the book “The Empty Space” by Peter Brooke. In a way of not breaking what he said, Let me quote him.

   There was a fantastic booklet a few years ago by a
   guy called Peter Brooke.  He’s a theater director,
   if you ever come across it.  He wrote a book called
   “The Empty Space.”  And he asked himself this
   question.  He was concerned most theater and is —
   loose entertainment — it’s not invigorating.  It’s
   like a passing time.

   His thing is theater as a vibrant,
   social and cultural force.  So, he also analyzed
   what goes wrong with the theater.  So, he asked
   himself this question.  He said, What is the heart
   of the theater?  What is it?  What is this thing we
   are talking about?  And to get to it, he started
   the process of subtraction.  He said, “What can you
   take away from it and still have it?”
   And he said, well, you can take away
   the stage.  Take away the script.  You can take
   away the lighting.  See what’s going on, you take
   away the curtains, and you can take away the
   building.  You can take away all the crew, and you
   can certainly take away the director.  All of that
   is very easy.  Take it all out.
   The only thing you cannot remove from
   theater is an actor in a space and somebody
   watching.  That’s the heart of it.  And if either
   of those parts is missing, there is no theater.
   You need a performer and an audience.  Theater is
   that relationship.
   And he said you should never add
   anything to that relationship unless it improves
   it.  If it gets in the way, if it encumbers it, if
   it makes it more difficult, you shouldn’t have it.
   And that’s his problem with theater.  Everything is
   a distraction from the main business.

More than once, and whenever you do find yourself trying to redefine an industry, change the way a system works, or maybe even build an ecosystem, these words are good to turn to. Define the basics of what makes that system work, and see how it can be re-tuned, rebuilt and made to work better. You have to go back to the basics, if you want to redefine.

I get a lot of mails from folks looking for answers to various things. For the consumption and benefit of the masses, I’ll post some of them here – ofcourse after protecting the identity of the person

Dear Vijay,

As a quick intro i am senior IT professional at Pune and i have been trying to find my way through the India startup scene and i am currently based in Pune still in a full-time job. While i have been trying to bootstrap my idea to be able to sustain the model and step into the startup world gradually through self funding it tends to drag and takes too much time. I have realized the only way is to be able to try and secure some external funding and step out full time with all the risks etc.

What are your thoughts on the Internet Learning space, and who are the right people to get in touch with in the VC/Angel circle who would be interested to hear me out on this 🙂 .. I have been trying to get in touch with IAN, as well. I know that is for startups who are established and running.

Appreciate your inputs, at the same time no issues if you cannot respond on this. Will catch you on the internet chat on Saturday with some other questions.



It’s a pleasure to hear from you. There is always time for a conversation 🙂

Contrary to popular belief, is not for “established” businesses, but teams and companies which have figured out what they want to do, have a prototype, and are ready to launch and get into the world of business. is, in most cases a launch platform to attract the attention of people who matter most in that context.

Coming back to your point, there are a lot of skeletons of people who have touched the “learning’ space. Pricing, content, delivery models, all of which are quite complex issues to solve. Apart from Heymath, I cant think of any successful e-learning initiative that has been launched.

Now, coming back to your question, unless a team is already formed, a company is in place, and a prototype is built, and can be tried on atleast a sample market, no one is usually keen to fund – unless you know the investor personally for a long time, but that seems to be rarely the case (we wouldn’t be having this conversation otherwise). Everybody will give you the time for that first meeting, but nothing much will come out of it. Your choices get limited to either, personal money, or bank loans to start with.

Another option is to try incubation centers. They will help keep your other cash burns low, bring the risk on matters such as validating your idea, the market, hiring people etc, and you just have to manage to live with a “lower” salary, that is usually given as stipend. It’s an option to consider, especially in a complex problem as education.

If you need some suggestions on this front, I could help. I hope this answer was of some benefit.