EdTech Startup Wisdom

John Faig
2 min readDec 29, 2023

John McDonald from Next Studios shared his startup wisdom and I found much of it extremely insightful for EdTech startups. The major takeaway is that the buyer and user are different people in schools. As a result, faculty and staff can derive value from a product, but they don’t write the checks. It is critical that you show value to the actual buyers — principals and supers. One way that they can derive value is through an “insight” sandbox, where they can see the benefits of the product based on mock datasets. Additionally, they might also like to see how valuable the product is for teachers and students through a periodic update email.

Targeting principals/supers is a slow process. Including administrators in the user research will serve two purposes. First, it will help understand their problems and how value can be created. Secondly, it will create a few touchpoints toward relationship building. Identifying a particular type of administrator or school who would be an early adopter makes the user research especially valuable. Interviewing teachers will help with product directions and can also provide background about their principal/super. Ask the teachers about school-wide initiatives and priorities.

💎 Solve a problem and build features for the BUYERS.

💎 Delivering value without getting paid is CHARITY.

💎 Build your business model around the BUYER.

💎 Find out why customers have AVOIDED solutions to your problem (see Customer Forces tool from Lean Stack)

Selling to Administrators versus Selling to Teachers



John Faig

Learnaholic. EdTech expert and startup mentor. Enthusiastic about AI and Learning Engineering. Ask about RevOps consulting.