This week, the weather is supposed to be perfect for a vacation. Judging by the lack of commuter crowds and number of “out-of-office” messages I’m getting, many people have taken advantage of the hot temperatures and blue skies.
I wish I was joining them. However, July and August are busy months for Listenwise.
The main selling cycle for U.S. K-12 education—our primary market—closes at the end of June or July. But there are still purchase orders to chase and some lingering deals to close. We’re also preparing for the next school year sales season so that we’ll be ready when teachers and administrators return to school.
Before our sales activity ramped up, we were focusing on our product. Working during the summer makes sense for our team for a couple reasons. First, we hire teachers to write our lesson plans and create our assessments. During the year, they’re busy teaching! The summer is a great time to tap their expertise. Because our content isn’t developed on news-cycle type deadlines, we can work around their schedules of professional development workshops and family vacation.
Furthermore, we try to have major product updates roll out before the school year is fully underway. That way teachers are getting trained and up to speed on the right version. We have a lot of onboarding and support to prepare for back-to-school time. Of course, we will have more updates throughout the year—that’s part of the great benefit of delivering products in the cloud. But the ebb and flow of the school year has such a big impact on how they get adopted that we always try to keep it in mind.
Wondering what we’ve been up to? Well, this summer alone we’ve published new product functionality which provides a lot more options for using Listenwise in the classroom for school time. Most notably we’ve added student listening links for an easy way to let students access our podcasts on their own devices. Secondly, we added language challenge levels to help teachers find the right content level for their class instruction. We’ve also redesigned our teacher dashboards, added streaming audio to our current events, and added many more new lessons.
And most exciting for us (and still in progress) we’ve been working on a large, new product component that is now in beta testing, so stay tuned for more on that later this fall.
With all this hard work, I’m giving my team a huge “thank you.” And we’ll definitely be getting some drinks on the sunny patio downstairs. It’s not the same as a beach vacation, but it’ll do the trick.
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