Developers, and Freelancers:
Change Agents in
Presented by Keith Garton and Randi Brill
How many years have you
been in the educational
Can we guess at the average number of years?
It’s in the cards!
You’ll see index cards.
Please write down the ONE
question you want to have
answered for you before you
leave this session.
We’ll answer as many questions
as time permits.
BUT, if we are not able to answer
your specific question and you
don’t feel it got answered in the
PLEASE as us before you
The Essential Question!
Whether you’ve been in this
industry for 5 years or for 35
Can you do business
today the same way you
did a year ago?
The Simple Answer—
Not even close.!
• Every successful educational
developer, educator, or
freelancer) has to work
differently in today’s turbulent
publishing environment.ago, won’t
What worked even a year
So, what do we do?
• How do we all come to grips
with the dramatic changes in
structures, expectations, and
• Where do we all look for
“what’s next” opportunities?
What are the rules?
• How do we best capture and
respond to the changing
demands we all must face?
• Can financial restrictions bring
powerful new opportunities
when innovation is part of the
The Fab FOUR
• Publishers • Developers
• Educators • Freelancers
• Every contributor has a view.
• Every contributor has goals.
• Every contributor struggles.
• Every contributor worries at
• Every contributor contributes.
has a TOUGH time
understanding the views,
goals, struggles, worries, and
the other three!
Publishers depend on educators for
ideas, market data, and of course,
revenue. Publishers rely on developers
and freelancers to assist in the creation
of products that educators need and
Educators depend on publishers
to create strong products to meet their
classroom needs. Most educators don’t
know developers and freelancers assist
in the creation of these products or that
we could help them, too.
Developers depend on publishers for
business and accurate market data from
educators. Freelancers often work for
developers as well as publishers. It’s
rare that developers or freelancers work
directly for educators. Will it be?
Developers and publishers hire
freelancers to help create products.
Freelancers depend on publishers and
developers for their livelihood. Many
freelancers were educators at one time
and have a wonderfully strong sense of
To succeed, contributors
To collaborate, contributors
So, a few introductions are in
Seymour is a publisher of K-6
products and books for
•Seymour’s view starts and ends with products.
•He needs to hit his margins and cover his costs.
•His goal is to have five top-selling products.
•He struggles with debt. He can’t spend a lot.
•He worries about paying the staff and more layoffs.
•He and his boss worry about shareholder value.
•He has to stand up and defend his product in Texas.
•He can’t have any more errors! What a mess!
•He needs accurate, great product—fast and cheap.
Kara is an educator, a top
district administrator, and an
teacher—all in one.
•Kara’s view starts and ends with the children.
•She’s responsible for increasing those test scores.
•She needs her teachers to cover the standards well.
•She struggles with money. Bus fuel takes a lot.
•Yet, she’s on the stimulus money committee.
•Kara worries about the safety of her kids and staff.
•She wants products that will help kids read better.
•She brings food for the kids who have no breakfast.
•Yesterday, Kara found a knife in the girls’ room.
Donna is a full-service
K-12 developer with a
creative staff of 60. Her
company is 20 years old.
•Donna’s view starts and ends with creative ideas.
•She needs to sell and deliver great product results.
•She needs her staff to create accurate products.
•She struggles with money. Payroll takes a lot.
•She worries about publishers cutting more projects.
•Donna worries about investing in new tech/staff.
•She needs a lean staff and reliable freelancers.
•She believes innovation is the key to engagement.
•Engaging students could mean fewer dropouts.
Franklin is a freelancer. He
works out of his home. He
used to teach gr. 6. His
content area is science.
•Franklin’s view starts and ends with content.
•He needs to work and be able to get his kids at 4:00.
•He misses being part of a school. It’s isolating.
•He struggles with money, so he works all the time.
•He worries about where the next project is.
•Franklin worries about when his checks will come.
•He needs a faster Internet connection to work.
•He dreads calling new clients. He’d rather write.
•He can see himself in the classroom as he writes.
All FOUR Contributors
• Share a passion for the power of
• Want the very best products possible.
• Are committed to creating excellent
• Worry about money in some way.
• Worry about selling/the economy.
• Struggle with balancing priorities.
• Genuinely believe there is a better way.
All contributors add value and
will benefit from new ways of
You are a contributor and you
need ideas, so we are going to
give each contributor group
All contributors have many
issues in common.
More than 20 ideas
can work for you.
5 KEY ACTION AREAS
• Forge New Partnerships:
• Create Innovative Products: Did you
WHAT notice that
• Deliver to Market Sooner: missing?
• Work in New Ways: HOW HERE!
• Share the Risk: WHY
• Who else needs what you need?
• Who else needs what you offer?
• Can you offer your services or partner
with others to expand your base of
• Can you expand your
reach/opportunities by subcontracting to
others for some work?
WHO: Forge New
Partnershipswith other local districts
Partner with school districts • Partner
• Partner with tech/print pubs • Invite 4 local publishers to visit
• Form alliance to find new • Ask parents who they might
• Sell online/ebooks/new • Create a blog to network with
• markets 10 freelancers
Meet new • others EVERY ad (FL/FT)
• Run ads to recruit new talent • Ad any advertiser to your list
• Research 10 new publishers • Contact five developers via
• Partner with 2 other email
developers • Engage in social networking
• What can you offer that is new to your
• What just seems logical to you but not
• What can you build out of assets you
already have created?
• Can you build something new that others
will want that will cost less to create?
WHAT: Create Innovative
Productsyour teachers to contribute
Use asset-reuse publishing • Ask
• Research innovation: all • Motivate by offering incentives
markets • Ask publishers to review the
• Hire people who innovate all ideas
day • Ask a developer to work for free
• Hold an idea contest in-house
• Research innovation: all • Create new product ideas you
• Redistribute staff: shake it up! • Share them with a trusted
• Play “What if We Couldn’t. . .” developer
• Go big, go small, go trade! • Collaborate with other
• Make a simple prototype to
Deliver to Market
• How can you shave 2 months off
• Can you beat others to the punch?
• Can you save money by spending less
time on the project?
• Does an early release give you a sharp
edge or does it tip off your competitors
WHEN: Deliver to Market
Sooner summers wisely and get
Redistribute staff assignments • Use
• Hire more resources help
• Offer a bonus for early • Publicize the end date
completion • Set a district goal; share
• Reuse existing content updates
• Hire extra staff/TOP/FL •
• Volunteer for district to compete
• Create additional shifts • Offer to work unique hours
• Partner with 24-hour • Suggest you can help save
• Cut unnecessary steps in • Do blitz assignments
Work in New Ways
• How else could you deliver results?
• Do all of your processes still work?
• How can technology help you to
achieve faster, cheaper, and better
• Can you offer to be part of an early
research team in exchange for other
HOW: Work in New Ways
• Do some projects 100% outside • Build-Our-Own Content
• Create new products with old • Self-publish—with help
content • Don’t become a publisher;
• Work in 100% digital workflow partner
• Trade 100% internal reviews for • Respect what/who you know
• Offer to use all client content Be willing to travel for work
• Offer to work on spec • Be an innie/outie combo
• New internal/external • Invite others in area: scope+
workflows • Invite others, other areas:
• Do 100% virtual reviews services+
Share the Risk
• How can you function as a true partner?
• How can you benefit tomorrow from risk
• Can you help to publish high-risk programs
by offering to take on some of the risk?
• Can you put together a group that is willing
to help fund new, innovative programs?
WHY: Share the Risk
• Sharing upside can open • Share the content ownership
doors • Offer to trade with other districts
• Offer up other markets as • Ask developers to share risks
benefit • Co-publish with publshrs/devlprs
• Require re-dos on sub-par
• Offer to cap services fees • Offer to work on spec to show
• Pay extra when you are late ideas
• Ask for on-time bonus
• Offer to work for royalty • Offer to do one free sample
• Give volume discounts • Offer to fix work of others for
• Offer money back if not thrilled!
As a contributor,
did you hear at least
that could add value
to you and your enterprise in
these tumultuous times?
What did you
THE BIGgest IDEAS!
• We all need to work differently.
• We all need to work together.
• Opportunities WILL come from new
people, places, and new things we
• Opportunities look different and may be
less obvious, but will come right into
focus when we look differently for them.
Remember Dorothy. . .
Your BIG Question!
Actually, ours to you:
Did you get an answer to the
ONE question you wanted to
have answered for you
before you leave this
And good luck to you all.
(After all, Dorothy had
a lot more in her corner
than just the right shoes!)