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Show HN: Finally opening signup on my education for business startup, Learndot
55 points by paulitex on April 17, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

I've been mostly lurking, semi-active on HN for over 4 years. For most of that time, I've been working on my startup, Learndot. I have always wanted to do a "Show HN" post, but I never thought it was ready.

We've now finally launched web signup and using a freemium business model. I feel I can now post and offer something to the community (a new app to try out) and hopefully get good quality feedback.

Here's the site: http://www.learndot.com

Would appreciate any or all thoughts: From pricing/positioning, to design/performance.

The app is written in Sproutcore and backed by an API written in Scala.

Thanks so much,


As others have said, really nice design. I know a little bit about this market (business courses/internet marketing gurus) so here are my thoughts/questions:

1. Are you creating the content yourself? Are you partnering with domain experts?

2. Are you targeting corporations or individuals? Corporations likely have their in house training tools. For individuals and small business owners, "Learning is a competitive advantage" is a very weak message. Most people who would want to buy from you want to know how to get more traffic, how to get cheaper traffic or how to make more money from the leads they get.

You are competing with serious hustlers like Frank Kern and Perry Belcher, both of whom are extremely aggressive at what they do (they've had issues with the FTC) and also extremely successful.

Having hung out in both worlds, here is common issue I see. The HN crowd is generally very bright and talented. They have great design insticts, coding skills and a healthy dose of "do no evil" sensibilities. But they are too soft-core to make money online.

The hardcore internet marketing crowd (think warrior forum) doesn't care about design or saving the world. They make do with ugly 'geocities era' landing pages. But they sure know how to make money online. I would suggest you spend some time in this latter world. You will learn a thing or two that will help clarify your offering, target customer and value proposition.

thx.. very interesting. Can you say any ore about the kinds of things these people do that the smart but unworldly hackers don't, or more places to bury our heads in?

Just a few initial thoughts, not having dug in too deep.

The site looks great, aesthetically. But I wasn't sure exactly what your product was until I scrolled down quite a ways on the homepage. "Make learning a competitive advantage" is a good tagline, but not great for being the only text I immediately see on your homepage. Something based on the "platform for customer, partner, and team training" would serve better.

I'm not certain who your target market is, and I don't know enough about the product to really say, but there is a large gap between $0 for your smallest plan and $250/mo for the next plan. Keep reading and you can get the $10/mo/learner with the free plan (at which point it's no longer free), but my immediate reaction is the large price gap.

I would also echo this: "Make learning a competitive advantage" is vague. It was only until I clicked on "customers" that I got a rough sense of what your product is trying to accomplish.

Also, the "see pricing and plans" button doesn't need to be up on top with your tag line (because its likely that users won't know about your product from the current tagline alone). This should be somewhere down the bottom after someone has gotten a sense of what your product does.

In fact, I think you already wrote your most powerful tagline: "We’ll be the software behind https://learn.MY-COMPANY.com. Just put that up top.

I just concentrated on the front page. The color scheme is quite pleasing :)

Thanks! Definitely sounds like we need to tighten up the message.

This is great. :)

I'm going to agree with the other people who've commented so far in that your value proposition and problem you're solving isn't very clear. It takes a lot of digging just to piece together all the information.

This high LTV customer you're aiming for in the B2B sector is only going to scale really well if you can do an arbitrage through Google Adwords or other channels. This isn't a viral, word-of-mouth type business (for the most part). So you want to lower the amount of time it'll take someone to understand what you're offering after they quickly click on an ad. You should really sit down with people, like your target customers, and ask them, "What does my website offer?" and see how long it takes for them to answer.

I like the design a lot but you need to take full advantage of it with more clarity in copy.

Funny I was just looking for a solution like this and wasn't able to find anything.

I'm confused on why the pricing is a monthly price per learner.

With our internal training we have a set amount of information to communicate to our team. Once they've learned it, they're not going to need to go back to it regularly. It's a one and done situation and wouldn't make sense to continue paying after a team member has learned the info. Why would it make sense for anybody to pay a monthly fee per learner?

Maybe I'm just confused on the market you're going for and how it works.

Hey guys, thanks for your comments, the actual app can be found here.


Would love to hear some feedback on it as well.

I'm doing something similar. Prepare yourself for the glacially slow pace of B2B sales. Lots of big companies get CornerstoneOnDemand for HR, and they throw in a LMS. Lots of companies can't store their material off-site for "security" reasons. For some reason HR people can't figure out how to use an LMS effectively.

On this page: http://www.learndot.com/customer-success/ All your links go to pricing rather than telling me something.

I remember you guys from: http://www.learndot.com/how-to-name-your-startup/ .... I remember posting on that asking if it was logical to spend 9 months on deciding a name of a product.... and here, it's a year and 2 months on... I really sincerely hope you do well, but I wish you'd work faster than the velocity you're pulling.

Nice work! I think the "see pricing and plans" button should be located elsewhere. The first call-for-action button should have a clear benefit for the users. E.g. "Try our learning tools for free" or "Get a free trial" and with small letters for example "no credit card required".

Your landing page structure needs work. I didn't learn what it was until I made an effort to find out. Others don't usually do that. Plus, this is a B2B product. Why not get their feedback and close a few sales at the same time?

Thanks – that's similar to what cooperadymas was saying.

Who did you mean by "their"? We are soliciting feedback on our more B2B channels too. But I'm posting here because a) it's a startup and HN likes startups and b) I like HN and wanted to share. :)

* We are soliciting feedback on our more B2B channels too.*

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this sentence. Do you mean that you are getting feedback from prospects? Or getting feedback from other businesses (that are not prospects)?

By their, I mean businesses who might actually buy your product. That's the only feedback you should really pay attention to. Asking for opinions on HN is good, but ultimately, less valuable than trying to make a sale with a real prospect.

Yes, prospects. Mailing lists, relevant LinkedIn groups, etc.

I generally agree with you, but I think this community has an eye for detail we might not find in other groups.

Beautiful design! :)

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