LinkedIn created a higher-education marketing business earlier this year and has major ambitions for its growth. Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is assembling a brain trust of high-profile hires under a relatively new CEO.
I wasn’t aware of either of these developments until I wrote about them recently for EdSurge. (Hopefully they were news to EdSurge’s readers, as well.) You can read my LinkedIn story here and my TpT story here.
I’ve been freelancing for EdSurge since 2012. Compared to my previous EdSurge writing, which mostly focused on the New York City public school system, these latest articles each look at the activity of a single company.
The LinkedIn piece analyzes how higher-ed marketing efforts could become a driver in the company’s “Marketing Solutions” business, which brings in 20% of LinkedIn’s overall sales. Can LinkedIn convince college and university marketers to spend more money on its ads and other services? If so, how will that outreach shape higher-ed marketing and recruiting, in general?
The TpT story explains how the small company, which operates a marketplace that enables teachers to share and sell their original learning materials online, has more than doubled its staff in about a year. Even more interesting: TpT lured some of those new hires from Facebook, Foursquare, Google and Kickstarter.
Why are people leaving prestigious tech firms to work at a company that’s been around since 2006 but is unfamiliar to most people outside the education community? In interviews, TpT recruits cited the company’s strong mission (“To empower educators to teach at their best”), close relationship with its teacher community members and the opportunity for employees to help grow and shape TpT as reasons for signing on.
Culture and talent matter, too. TpT’s Manhattan office has a casual, collaborative vibe that likely appeals to people who have worked at tech companies and startups. And, of course, talent attracts talent; skilled people want to work for and with other skilled people. As one TpT interviewee told me, “Once you’ve got the first level of great people [hired], it’s much easier to get to the next level.”
Edtech is a big industry and it’s been fascinating to chronicle its evolution, whether from a business, policy or technology perspective. I look forward to covering more of these kinds of stories.