Knee Jerk Reactions

By , posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 1:32 pm.

I know I’m guilty of this myself, but I caught myself wondering while I was out for a run this morning… is the edtech-sphere disliking the BB Collaborate announcement because of some real concerns with regards to BB and how they do things to those systems that they acquire, or is it something more “religious”?

Part of me thinks that it might be more the later. The religion in Higher Ed at least seems to be one that sees “large corporate” as something that doesn’t really understand Education. We (edtech) will take the offerings from those corporations that are not directly within the Education market and use them for all their worth (MS Office anyone?), but when it comes to the Education market proper, it seems that we like the “little shops”. We like the local, the agile and the ones that really understand the ultra narrow niche that each of us find ourselves in. So maybe that is why, when an 800lb gorilla like Blackboard shows up and starts to climb the towers, we start to react the way we do. “How can that gorilla understand us?” we ask, “we aren’t the same as that other institution down the hall/road/river/planet, we can’t use the same tools”. I don’t know if this is right or not, but I think it is certainly something that I’ve thought myself on occasion.

The other part certainly seems there being kernels of truth in the former. BB, as a corporation will make choices that are designed to improve it’s own operations and deliver profit to the shareholders on an annual cycle. So this means that as the company grows, things that are not moving the the proper direction are going to get left behind. It also means that it gets harder to get to your “go to people” that were able to get answers from when the acquired company was smaller.

Is this a good thing? I don’t know, but I know that like any reflex, it is not likely going to get any better. After the reaction is set off, reminding us that there is a process there, these events do a couple things really well. They remind us that it might be time to think about what we really need when we are using system x or y and if we are willing to give whatever that is up, and they also remind us that it’s good to have options and that if you stay still for any given amount of time, you will get swallowed.

2 Responses to “Knee Jerk Reactions”

  1. Ken Bauer says:

    My reaction is based on how bad I think BB as a product is. When I see them consume other companies it makes me think one of two things can happen:a) BB gets to be a better product from this as does the product rolled into BB's foldb) BB stays pretty much the same and the purchased product withers and diesBased on the quality of experience I have had with BB, you pretty much know that I lean heavily to the latter coming true.

  2. Raj Boora says:

    History suggests that the latter is the case – I've got part 3 on my blog now.

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