Markus Witte, one of the founders of babbel.com, a friendly-user language app, that has made learning a new language fun. At Webit.Festival Europe 2017 Markus talked about disrupting a market, cleared the term disruption and made an overview of his product – the learning app.
Below you can find the main ideas Markus shared before 500 people at the Education Summit @Webit 2017.
What does it really mean to be disruptive?
Everybody seems to be talking about it. The notion of disruption is very fussy these days. Disruption is really about industries, about markets. For the past year only Business wire has more than 2,000 disruptive companies, that’s more than 8 per day.
That is scary!
The problem with this is that companies, industries usually don’t have needs or urges. People do. Just think about it, it is people who want to learn a language and language learning is a real problem.
Markus compares that problem with language learning and its solution as the need for a person to listen to music and going to a live concert. Digital technology is the solution for this problem – for removing barriers to do something whenever, wherever you want to. The old methodologies are good, they do work and teachers are still an important element when it comes to teaching but you can’t have it at your disposal all the time.
What proved to be harder than anyone thought, they started it, and they created solution. None of the babbel.com founders was a language teacher, or had specific knowledge on teaching, so they started disrupting from users perspective. After all, they were users, too, right.
As Markus’s speech goes on, it becomes clear that the initial idea is not about disruption, not about the market, rather than the fact people actually managed to make a conversation in just several lessons. All this through games. But this is not a game. Games are inspiring when it comes to creativity and solutions, but one thing games have is they are self referential and as much as the fantasy of learning just being a game. We usually want other references, as well, we want to make a sensible conversation outside the game.
In conclusion, аll this talk on disruption is somehow pointless.
Why disrupt a market, when all companies, tech people, ever do is solve problems. A user has a problem – the tech person creates the solution and that’s it. The market, the money, the profit comes next, they do.
Let’s talk about solutions more than we talk about disruption.
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