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Fired from Startups, the Art of Reinventing and a MasterClass in Change – londonbusinessblog.com

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Just like a the company’s success shouldn’t cast a halo on its vertical’s brethren, a company’s layoffs don’t quite mean its competitors are equally screwed. Instead, I think changes within a particular startup can be used as benchmark questions for their larger market; in other words, we can use the micro to better understand the macro.

With that in mind, I want to talk about MasterClass’s decision to lay off 20% of its staff, about 120 people, in all teams. The staff reduction, according to CEO David Rogier on Twitter, was made “to adapt to the deteriorating macro environment and become self-reliant more quickly.” Put another way, the company — which sells subscriptions to classes taught by celebrities — is looking for operational discipline and needs to cut staff to get there.

The layoffs put a spotlight on the premise behind MasterClass. When I first reported on the company in March 2020, I got stuck in the field of ambitious learning.

[MasterClass] also touches on the audience’s innate curiosity about how famous people think and work. MasterClass is kind of pulling on that idea by also offering classes that basically don’t make sense to be ‘digitized’. Think of high-contact sports, such as a tennis lesson from Serena Williams or a basketball lesson from Steph Curry. Or just general comments from RuPaul on self-expression and Neil deGrasse Tyson on scientific thinking and communication.

Despite its flashy array of stars, MasterClass isn’t selling admission, but instead a window into one’s work calendar. Celebrities don’t interact with students on a daily basis, and sometimes not at all.

About a year later, I came back to this idea while trying to figure out what MasterClass fame meant to edtech. Fiveable founder Amanda DoAmaral said at the time that MasterClass raises the bar for content quality across edtech, while Toucan founder Taylor Nieman pointed out that MasterClass faces the same issues “as so many other consumer products trying to save time.” steal from the very busy days.”

So what is MasterClass? A high bar for edtech quality? Or a more educational Netflix?

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