Hello from Our New VP of Partnerships and Distribution Strategy

It’s been a month since I joined OpenSesame, and it’s time to say a few words about what brought me here. I’m an outsider to the elearning space, but this is not the first time I’ve switched industries. Be it UCaaS with RingCentral or Identity and Access Management with Centrify, what excites me are big problems in big markets that can be solved by technology and an innovative business model. I believe that enterprise elearning (particularly the content side) is one such market.

The last few years have seen massive innovation in the edtech space. Organizations like Khan Academy, MOOCs (Coursera, Udacity, EdX) and platforms like Canvas are revolutionizing our primary and secondary education systems.

We have also seen sea change on the platform side of enterprise learning. Innovative companies such as SuccessFactors / SAP, Taleo / Oracle, Saba, SilkRoad are enabling companies to deeply integrate employee learning and skill development with other aspects of Human Resource Management (and generating billions of dollars of value in the process).

Yet, all of these innovations have not spurred changes on the content side of the equation. Since the creation of training courses often requires subject matter expertise, most content developers focus on only one or two topics. As a result, there are hundreds of companies creating enterprise elearning courses and many thousands delivering classroom-based training.

This makes the task of compiling a comprehensive employee training program for a large, multi-faceted company incredibly difficult. This is the problem OpenSesame is solving. Following in the footsteps of such platforms as iTunes, eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba, we are putting marketplace dynamics to work for the benefit of our customers. We created the first and the only open marketplace where course developers can list their courses, and our enterprise customers can purchase courses that load directly into their Learning Management Systems (LMS) with just a few clicks.

So what exactly are these marketplace dynamics that make OpenSesame so unique?

Breadth of Content

OpenSesame offers more than 22,000 courses from outstanding content developers including Atomic Training, Cegos, VuBiz, Enspark, Webucator, Vado, CompuWorks, Syntrio, Maestro, Sonic, Vivid and other—more than 430 providers in total. This is by far the single largest library of enterprise learning content in the world!

Content Quality

Marketplaces are subject to market forces. Since the library is very large, a search on virtually any topic yields multiple results. Much in the same way as there’s little demand for restaurants with a two-star rating on Yelp or products with a two-star rating on Amazon, there’s little demand for courses with a two-star rating on OpenSesame. This creates a powerful incentive for course developers to constantly improve the quality and freshness of their content. Additionally, our curation team works tirelessly to make sure low-quality courses never make it onto OpenSesame in the first place.

Customer Delight

There are many benefits stemming from OpenSesame’s obsession with customer satisfaction, instilled in the company’s culture by the founders Don Spear, Josh Blank, Tom Turnbull and Aaron Bridges.

  1. Excellent technical execution: Like Steve Jobs used to say, “It just works”. The demo / try / purchase process is frictionless. OpenSesame works closely with content providers to ensure all of our content is SCORM standard-compliant and works in all Learning Management Systems.
  2. Flexible business model: From the desire to satisfy our customers comes the single most flexible business model around. In an industry where most business is done through large up front purchases, where only a small fraction of courses are used and contracts lock customers up for many years, OpenSesame is committed to offering our customers exactly as much content as they need with the business terms they require. We offer our customers everything from a single course license or a Pay-Per-Use arrangement to an unlimited use subscription and custom course bundles. It’s whatever the customer wants, however they want it.
  3. Fanatical customer service: Zappos proved a delightful user experience can create a billion dollar company—and we obsess about customer service just as much. Every phone call is immediately answered by a highly-trained, highly-competent professional ready to address any question—from payment and billing to technical troubleshooting. And for our administrators, learning and HR professionals, we even offer a free Course Concierge service, designed to help you create the best and most comprehensive training program for your organization.

It is for these reasons hundreds of companies like Dish Network, Greyhound and 5 Guys and thousands of individual users have become OpenSesame valued customers.

And it is for these reasons, I was delighted to accept this position.