Third time’s a charm.
I took a different approach to this email. Instead of emailing it directly to our International CEO, I included our North American CEO and all the Executive Vice-Presidents that I knew about.
It worked. I’ve managed to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the Executive VP of Marketing for the first week of December.
Now I just need to make sure I know what I’m talking about.
I edited out the return email from my employer here. My better judgment escaped me for a short time, as it’s never a good idea to publish information not intended for public consumption without permission.
From: Hurst, Tyler
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:18 PM
To: O’Connor, David
Cc: Cohen, Peter; Scardino, Marjorie; Ethridge, Will
Subject: Thoughts on Web 2.0 and Social Media offerings
Why doesnâ€™t Pearson have podcasts? Why arenâ€™t we interviewing actual teachers, showing them what weâ€™re working on, and them asking them for input in a transparent, completely public setting? We could ask them their views on teaching initiatives, problems in the classroom and what they would like in order for this to work. Having regular, informal conversations would be a great way to really connect with our clients instead of just marketing to them.
Iâ€™ve heard of the projects Corporate Communications has been working on, but over-produced author videos is just another way of using old media techniques in an entirely new realm. With emerging technologies like Twitter and other Social Media applications, it doesnâ€™t seem that Pearson has immersed itself in the real phenomenon, which is a conversation with our prospective clients. After attending PodCampAZ (www.podcampaz.org) Iâ€™ve realized there are so many little things that small companies are doing that are making them extremely successful. All of us from large companies (Pearson, Intel, Microsoft) were there only for our own benefit for side projects. Thereâ€™s such an untapped talent pool there.
How great would it be to have iPhone versions of our products? EnVision Math-lite? Sure, not every student would be able to access it, but it would be a free download. The ability for teachers to upload short quizzes for further review would at the best least be a compelling news story.
It feels that the education market is always about ten years behind the tech world, and I understand we move with that, but why canâ€™t a small portion of what we do be looking ahead? If itâ€™s intimate, conversational and easily accessible, people will listen. Techies will listen. Pearson will be recognized as not only an educational giant, but a forward thinking company capable of setting and influencing policy rather than just making what we have better.
1. Intel, IBM and Mozilla (Firefox) have techs that monitor twitter allowing for nearly real-time feedback for people with questions. That could be an excellent free tool that teachers could use to do the same. Search.twitter.com would be all that is needed. I used this to find out about problems regarding video footage and bloggers at a San Antonio conference earlier this year. People really appreciated it, although I made it clear I could offer them no real solution.
2. iPhone apps would be a great way of accessing extra Pearson content. Teachers could offer mini quizzes and extra learning for those that were interested or had access. Sure, not everyone has an iPhone or iPod Touch, but a ton of kids do. Mobile internet use is sure to supplant the desktop for most users.
3. Podcasts are a great way of getting our message out. Imagining touring out customers, interviewing second grade teachers, high school instructors and college profs about our material? Short, five-minute snippets easily uploadable to iTunes or YouTube and properly tagged. You could even interview our own people, especially designers, programmers and writers about how our products are made and where they come from. Considering we look to many like a faceless company, this could be a huge step in humanizing what it is that we do.
4. Iâ€™d love to help with any of this. I see so much potential in Pearson and am disappointed to see that we tend to try to reinvent the wheel (what is Pearsonville supposed to be?) or rely on amateur footage (search YouTube for Pearson, what you see will make you cringe a little). This project wouldnâ€™t take a lot of money, just someone who knows what theyâ€™re doing.
Thanks so much for your time!