Thanks for the opportunity, Steve. By all means, please call me JCron. Anybody listening, if they hear the name Jonathan Cronstedt, they definitely won’t know who it is. Certainly something over at Kajabi, we’ve got some unbelievable things going on. I would even say the industry and the trend lines for the world that we operate in have never been more exciting. We’ve gotten very clear on who we are, what we do, and the term that we’ve wrapped around it is this idea of knowledge commerce, this idea of looking at the different ages that the world has gone through of the agricultural age, agrarian age, industrial age, information age, and what we’re moving into is what we believe is the knowledge age.
The information age didn’t deliver on the promises that we expected. We were all told that technology was going to solve all of our issues. The internet was going to make everything easy and accessible, but all it’s done is give us more overwhelm, more disinformation, and more burden to look at more options that we always feel incapable of deciding between. We believe that knowledge commerce is the answer to that.
Kajabi is designed to equip someone who has knowledge to offer it to the rest of the world for profit or for whatever motives they have and be able to do it without all of the technology headaches. If you wanted to offer an online course or sell your information a decade ago, you would’ve had to have five to ten platforms cobbled together and a whole bunch of different things that put you in the place of being a technologist, not someone who had knowledge that wanted to offer it to the world.
What we’ve tried to do is continue to ask the question of how can we make technology easier and more accessible, but also equip entrepreneurs that may want to either not retire, but rewire and have a new business based on their life experience. Young people entering the workforce that would prefer to choose an entrepreneurial path rather than a cubicle position. Individuals that have an amazing business and would like to add another income stream by teaching others what they do and how they do it. Regardless of the category, we want to be the platform of choice that makes it easy for them to accomplish those goals.
What we’re most excited about is if you look at the Intuit Insights 2020 report, the trend lines for 3 billion new consumers coming online between now and 2020, that have never had access to any of the things that we largely in the United States take for granted. It’s an exciting time to be offering your knowledge online and connecting with the global audience much like what you’re doing here, Steve, with the technology to have a podcast with global reach all from the comfort of your own home.
It seems like you can hardly throw a rock on the internet and not hit somebody who’s selling their knowledge, their new online course. We’ve seen a proliferation of these offerings over the last probably three to five years. Do you feel like we’re heading to a place where there’s too much of it where it’s saturated?
If you’re looking at the course through the lens of a hammer is a hammer is a hammer, then definitely the view of saturation is going to be the one that looks most prominent. How many courses can we have on Google AdWords? The side that I would come from with that is the amount of individual consumers that are seeking connection, not simply information. The reality of it is there’s more than enough information out there that is pre-available, but it doesn’t come with the connection, the personality, and the ability to say, “I want to learn from that person,” which is always answered before, “I want to learn whatever they’re teaching me.”
It’s something where I think there may be too many AdWords courses out there from learning the act of putting ads on Google, but there is still more than enough room tomorrow to launch an AdWords course specifically for vegan chefs or specifically for CrossFit instructors or specifically for gothic music. There’s always a specialization, there’s always a uniqueness, there’s always a personality that can be added that completely changes the addressable market.
We definitely also have the benefit of those three billion new consumers that I talked about coming online that have never purchased anything before. For us, we’ve already been down that road, but for them this is all new and all fresh. Even if you look at the paradox of choice, we live in a world where hyperindividualism is important. I don’t want the same iPhone case that everybody else has. I don’t want the same clothing. I don’t want the same brands whereas in suburbia post World War II, you had three brands to choose from, if that, and all three of those brands were equally appropriate, whereas today you’ve got hundreds, thousands, millions, sometimes of choices and those choices become reflections of your individuality. It’s something that we’ve only seen the beginning of how many versions of how many things to learn that are going to be brought to market.
You make a very important point around relationship. Before this online revolution where education has moved to the internet and you go back, 30 years or 50 years, to where the primary mode of education, at least at a higher level, was through universities. Those of us who were going to a university had our preferences based on whatever connection we may have had with that institution, whether it be with the brand or the image that we perceived or some other affiliation and that drove a lot of choices.
It may not be as new and different a decision as it feels like. To your point, there are lots of opportunities for people to get in and build relationship with a group of people and then offer them something. It’s talked about a lot, but I have seen over the last year more and more people come out and write these epistles on why they think online education is dead and I’m grateful for your perspective on that.
There are a couple of other pieces to that. First of all, the easiest way to generate interest in any market is go and take whatever is the popular trend and say it’s dead, direct mail is dead, television advertising is dead, radio is dead. All of these things that marketers use to gather attention when in reality, even still to this day, direct mail is a giant business and probably is the single largest aspect of charitable donations and political activism. For the medium that has been declared dead so many times, it’s still the most effective and gigantic. Anytime anybody says to me, “This is dead,” I’m like, “Really?” Look five to ten years ago it was, “iTunes killed the music business,” but yet the most profitable music category last year, vinyl records.
It’s in a book called Revenge of Analog, and talking about all of these businesses the digital had pronounced dead aren’t dead and are actually doing quite well. In that case, the most expensive information you can get is bad information. It’s one of those things than anytime you have anybody telling you something is dead, ask what that person’s motivation is for telling you that it’s dead. Go back to Karl Marx, see whom is to benefit from that information. But I also think it’s born out of this paradigm of how we learn.
When you look at the ballooning student loan debt crisis that is no longer translating to predictable earnings, how are we going to educate people when they decide they don’t want to go to college? How are we going to educate people when they are not plugging into the traditional systems that other generations have seen as the only way to do things? How are we going to equip this generation of entrepreneurs that maybe doesn’t want to be location-specific in their career pursuits?
There are so many trend lines that indicate that this idea of learning what I want to learn when I want to learn it, how I want to learn it, and from whom I want to learn it, those trend lines to me are far more powerful. The idea of even saturation and what’s on right now that people are looking at largely is a logical argument. Like, “There’s already a course on that, so I’m not going to make another one.” The reality of it is we are not logical beings as much as we would love to assume we are. We are irrational. How we make decisions is far more emotionally motivated than it is logically motivated. If it weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be 800 brands of toothpaste; I made that number up, but I mean if all it was the logical need of “I need to clean my teeth,” there’d only be one toothpaste, but there isn’t. There’s a bazillion toothpastes because nobody buys toothpaste logically.