Analytics · Education

Looking to develop an 'alexa for education'. Good/Bad Idea?

Partha Deb Looking to improve high school math by design

March 28th, 2017

I understand its a long shot, but what I am getting at is developing an intelligent system using student level analytics to 'know' an individual and develop a 'personalized' education companion.

Nikhil Gupta Product Head | Intrapreneur | Tech Innovator | Product n Growth Expert |

Last updated on March 30th, 2017

Good idea or Bad , well u need to test it . i.e -

First Validate for Product - Market Fit, But is it enough , Well it is not .

Even after Validation of Demand .i.e. Product Market fit is done it does not equate to :

Business Model fitness : What Value n Why, Impact , For Whom , Channels , Willingness to pay , partners , Key Activities and Cost drivers.


Sustainability fitness - i.e Repeat Buyer Fit , Upsell Fitness ( from Product to Product Lines)


Strategic Fitness - Barriers and Switching Costs and Law of Increasing Returns and Diminishing Costs.

"All Need to be architect-ed rather validated : "

1. Product Market Fit n Segment fitness

2. Business Model Fitness

3. Sustainability Fitness

4. Strategic n Economic Fitness

However at the minimum , Product Market Fit and Business Model Fit : - needs to be validated first before you even think of defining your MVP."

Now, How to validate your Product Roadmap for MVP?

1. Do Focused groups Discussions : over a meet-up group with Potential - customers , consumers and other Stake holders to understand the pain points and identify Common Denominator that can be solved.

2. Conduct - One 0 One Discussions and 100 Dollar Tests , i.e. - out of 100 Dollars where will u spend your money on 1st , i.e 1st 40 dollars of what and what , next 30 USD on what and Next 30 on what .
"This generally gives a fair idea where folks are ready to spend their money on first and clears a lot of clutter which traditional surveys don't capture."

3. Similar to a 100 Dollar Test is KANO Analysis - which figures out Must Have , Hygene , Good to have and What can be dropped from users perspective.

4. Create a Dummy Proto-type have more than 2 ideally 4 to 5 -can be on paper , white board , wire frame , clay modal , wood mould or 3 d printed and see what works and what does not.

5. Dummy Landing Pages, A/B Test and Face book forms to test lead generation and for getting prospects this allows you to test the market demand .

6. Product Advisory Counsels - i.e Find Influencers , Evangelists in Value chain and involve them as part of your Advisory board across Cities - They meet once quarterly over a hang out - Will give suggests, Over see your road map - which can then be tested for demand and experience validation and they Over time act as act as great marketing channels to spread the word.

7. Customer Advisory Boards - Like product Advisory boards make customers co-creators who also act as channels to evangalize in future.

8. Use Videos by weaving a Story that connects with your brand . There are several tools like Widyo , VIMEO etc to allow you to make emotional and conext related videos and spread the word through Social channels incl Whats App . etc .

9. Use Kick starter etc to crowd fund idea or campaign its a great way to letting people know you exist.

10. Big Tip: Try Pre-bookings in Validation and Alpha stage may be a much lower price , this acts as a good signal to test demand and also acts as a Target line for startups to stick to for Go to Market launch.

11. Use out of box thinking - Ex- like getting on a radio show by asking them to play a song etc and over there when on air announce your brand . There are many ways to get traffic and find the common denominator problem to solve.

12. Impt - More than competition , Talk to your competitions customers and ask them what works n what does not. Dont push yourself on them but be authentic and understand what works n what does not. This is one step most startups dont do but is very very effective.

13. Do Map out Customer journey mapping using Human Centered Design Approach to understand end to end customer journey , obstacles and risks.

14. Ethnography Study - Observe people with similar products n sevices . Prepare an ethnography map i.e. What do People - Say, Think, Feel and Do. Video record those moments with their permission if - What PEOPLE Say, Think, Feel and Do are not in concurrence then there's a signal that things are not as what they appear it helps to remove noise from signals and help you dig further if theres a pain point or do they really love what they say.

There is nothing in business that works better than Networking n relationships at the end of the day.

---- To Identify the Business Model Fit ----

AFTER , you have found out the Gap its impt to understand the Business model , the value chain analysis , Vertical and Horizontal integration , Unit economics of Product n Service and Sustainability vis a via by also understanding your Competition.

One Key to Business Model is: Value Chain Configuration across the Vertical Chain: i.e Whom to collaborate with , Partners , Evangalists and Who you compete with .

How to do this i can discuss over all as its to large to type :)

------- -------------

How to find tech co-founder ?

1. Go to tech meet-ups and discuss . Before u choose a person on Skill set you both need to Bond.

Its like Band of Brothers who stick in peak and valleys .

That only happens when we go beyond just finding Product Gap and Business Model , i.e. Why we do it in the First Place ?

1. What impact does it serve.
2. How valuable it is for you and for your potential customers.
3. Whats the collective DNA , Culture and Moral Compass you want to build together .

These in-tangibles will make you find the right person and not just the skilled person . This requires time and superior networking.

--- All the points above dont require money - expect for Facebook forms but require Time and Commitment .

If u can give that and follow the steps you surely gota get it right after a few rapid itenrations and failures .

Being Agile , responsive and have tightly integrated Feedback loops with Customers and Stake holders from Idea to launch will help.


Sell your Impact , Vision and Why you exist to do this . People dont just want mechanical guy who has found the right Product Market fit but associate with Authentic people who will be ready to charter rough Waters in tough times , because they Believe in the Impact ..

"Be Authentic and Give them a Human Moment to people and they will stick......"

Roy Maxey Entrepreneur with several ideas who is extremely passionate in what I believe in.

May 14th, 2017

Good idea, I'm trying to have something developed similar

Gopi Chandrasekaran Entrepreneur

February 8th, 2018

Hi Partha, this is a good idea and I am also in same thought process of developing it... I am into Education business Can we connect for a brief discussion to collaborate... my email ID is

Partha Deb Looking to improve high school math by design

April 4th, 2017

I am still in very early stages of conceptualization. I do want to spend some quality effort in market research for this first. Any suggestions on good strategies?

chris williams Solutions Architect - Sitecore MVP at Perficient

March 28th, 2017

How are you tracking student level? I have a contact you should touch base with email me at and I will make an introduction.

Michael Barnathan Adaptable, efficient, and motivated

Last updated on March 28th, 2017

It's a very positive sign that you're asking this question before building! But we may not be the right people to ask: do you know any students or teachers that you can interview? Get a sense of their pain points and use those to refine your idea.

From my understanding of the education industry, there are some attempts to profile students in this way out there (e.g. Coursera and other MOOC platforms have been experimenting with this), with less in the area of personalized help devices (though I recall that one such device had recently been lambasted for "spying on kids" due to the way it was communicating with the cloud and a fairly high-profile hack on its servers). Building the two together would certainly be compelling and novel in my eyes, but also presents some challenges: in particular, how would you obtain the information necessary to understand a student's life situation? (Given FERPA, schools can't share this with you unless students sign waivers with your company). Also think about what you can deliver that would be compelling to the students, their parents, or their schools - this is what will get people to buy your device.

Best of luck with it!


Mark Dostie CTO of Artificial Intelligence Dev

March 28th, 2017

Hopefully a good idea as I am working on the same thing...

Nikhil Gupta Product Head | Intrapreneur | Tech Innovator | Product n Growth Expert |

Last updated on March 30th, 2017

Also Voice interface augments user experience however it is a feature not a product or a business model per say - here Content generation is key , and Education tie ups .

One good Product and Business model i like using voice interface and i belive will integrate with Alexa and Google home is Toy Mail . Have a look at it .

Over time they will be adding Educational Content to it to make it playful and interactive for Kids -

Shirish Chandrakar Data and Technology - I am loving it

March 31st, 2017

That is a billion dollar question and my two cents on it.

Loads of people trying to solve it from different angles depending on where they think the problems is there. Some approaches -

- content

- engagement, delivery and access

- Gamification and community building

- evaluation practice and test

- one-to-one instruction

- etc etc

I have mulled over it in the "lazy" moments of my life specially after becoming a father. I would think key is to identify what you think the problem is and then see if technology is the right tool to solve that.

My thoughts were to start with a hybrid solution because frankly if you want to "know" the student and develop a "personalised" companion/tutor, you need serious amounts of data with right granularity which right now doesn't exist or is super fragmented in the brains of teachers, school/tutor/coaching reports or systems. At least with a hybrid system one might be able to find the right problem in education process, find/fine-tune the solution and then "technologify" it.

Happy to discuss more if you are very keen as it is something close to my heart.

Best of luck.

a a .

March 30th, 2017

Hi Partha, is your "individual" already using something similar? Is s/he already paying for it? Are there any other substitutes? Do you have people signed up on a email waiting list? ...