Over the last 24 months, it was hard to find an aspiring entrepreneur who did not start their pitch with “free to teacher” model. Unfortunately, it is also hard to find a company for which this model actually worked. We can point to hundreds of casualties: entrepreneurs who used their scarce resources to build free products and then did not have the cash to build the feature sets needed for the paying customers.
The bottom line is this: “free to teacher” rarely translates into “paid for by administrators.” If you are selling to teachers, build a product that teachers are willing to purchase. If you are selling to school administrators, build a product that school administrators are willing to write a check for. So unless you are Edmodo (and we’re pretty sure most of you who are reading this e-mail are not), it’s time to move on from the “free to teacher” model and focus on selling to customers who are willing to pay.