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Comments and Suggestions Thread, Replies to my blog post in EduGeek Stuff; @SYNACK - I like the ideas for managing diversification and the idea for polls and product testing are great too. ...
  1. #16

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    @SYNACK - I like the ideas for managing diversification and the idea for polls and product testing are great too. There are currently sites that offer similar things - testandvote, ciao, mysurvey etc. etc.

    i used to work for a telemarketing company that got paid per person they could get subscribed to free magazines such as IT week, computer world etc. we could survey the membership with a similar form and all those that want the mags can sign up, that could then be sold to the publishers...

  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    our technical forums are possibly some of the best there are on the net, especially for providing solutions to higher end non-home based technical problems. So do we create a seperate 'BusinessGeek' site and share the same technical databases, after all, problems are problems! Then create seperate forums to deal with particular issues faced by businesses? The same could go for the NHS. A MedicalGeek site perhaps?
    It would seem that you have achieved that holy grail of a forum / social networking / discussion site, i.e. you've built up an actual, coherent community of users. The feel of the site is different from other question-and-answer sites in that you can actually come to EduGeek for a discussion with your peers, a limited set of people who know and care about the same things as you. Exactly how to go about achieving this magical build-up of a community of quality users is a question with an illusive answer, but I'm guessing that knowing your community (or "market", or whatever you want to call us) well, i.e. by being part of it, has a lot to do with it. You might not be in the same situation with a different focus.

    EduGeek as a site has a very specific, focussed audience, IT technicians and the like who work in schools. Don't underestimate the power of Google - having answers to questions that your audience will be typing in to Google gets you traffic, and some of those drive-by searchers will stick around and become part of the community. That might not work in other situations - other sections of society don't turn to a Google search as their first port of call and might simply never find your business / NHS / etc site.

    When it started up, EduGeek was pretty much the only site that catered for its specific niche audience - IT technicians that work in schools. "Business" or "the NHS" is rather more wide-ranging, and you'll be competing with existing sites. Experts Exchange, in particular, and StackOverflow seems to be planning to expand or spawn an offshoot to answer IT questions. IT-in-schools is a somewhat strange subject, too, being oddly disorganised and unregulated compared with other fields. I'm guessing that NHS hospitals have a rather more rigidly structured IT support system than most schools - you don't see hospitals being able to buy random bits off eBay and plugging them in to see if they work like we do. There might be less call for a community site in a situation like that.

    Funding is now getting an issue.
    Hmm. How to "monatize" a community without them all getting fed up a leaving? Darned if I know.

    If you haven't already, take a look at StackOverflow and listen to a couple of the podcasts over at IT Conversations. It's a great site, very well made and thought out, and Jeff and Joel are an entertaining, and occasionally insightful, listen. The site caters for programming-related questions, with a community of people asking and answering each other's questions. Interestingly, the community part of things seems to pretty much run itself, and the software was written by a small team (4 or 5 people). I gather they are planning to expand to create another site to use the same concept for IT-related questions. If they do then I can see you losing some of your audience to them, especially the Google-driven traffic.

    --
    David Hicks

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    I already know of 3 major players in the education market whoes techies use EduGeek for solutions,
    Have i misunderstood? are you saying when they receive a call from a school to their helpdesk and their first response is to 'Geek IT' ?! WOW cool.

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    Re BETT comments

    Going to BETT gets profile raised - obviously gets sponsorship in and raises profile.

    I just want to exchange ideas with other people working in the same industry, like I used to do working as an engineer in my previous job.

    Most of the "proper" members work either alone or in (very) small teams and benefit greatly by being able to tap into a vast online Educollective which would be impossible to do any other way.

    Don't need (a lot of) sponsorship/profile raising for that.

    However, I completely understand how the admins like doing what they are doing but its not where I'm at

    regards

    Simon

  5. #20
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    I think mediGeek and busiGeek could be winners. I now work for the LA and there's no peer support at all. I still rely on this place. So add 'laGeek to the list too . eduGeek has a unique angle not catered for on MSFN, minasi.com etc or the softer education related forums.

    The first conferences that I was lucky enough to attend were really excellent. I fail to see the real significance to the site, even though it's great to meet up. BETT I don't see much significance for either. If it's a service then why are we paying to provide it? Seems backwards. Maybe by now our brand is strong enough on its own? In comparison to other BETT business attendees what's our ROI? Even if that's offset by future projections?

  6. #21

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    We am the collective.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Most of the "proper" members work either alone or in (very) small teams and benefit greatly by being able to tap into a vast online Educollective which would be impossible to do any other way.

    Don't need (a lot of) sponsorship/profile raising for that.
    Many of these future 'proper' members attend BETT and either join up on the day or on return home, this increases the collective and thus your enjoyment of it. We meet many schools who have not heard of us, and so being there as a help point allows us to get the message out there. There are certainly more than 12000 edugeeks out there!

  7. #22

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    To be fair, we already have a LOT of members who work outside of education, in fact I've noticed a hell of a lot work in the City of London, and it would just be nice to try and give them their own space, and as has been mentioned before, there are plent of question and answer forums, but making a real web community (especailly one this big) takes effort from everyone and I'm just so glad we've managed to pull it off!

  8. #23

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    The first conferences that I was lucky enough to attend were really excellent. I fail to see the real significance to the site, even though it's great to meet up. BETT I don't see much significance for either. If it's a service then why are we paying to provide it? Seems backwards. Maybe by now our brand is strong enough on its own? In comparison to other BETT business attendees what's our ROI? Even if that's offset by future projections?
    We started doing the conf to provide some sort of 'training' for those who receive non and to get people from Microsoft et al to show us their shiny things. The confs are also good for networking, and only those who have not yet attended one can't see the point. Those that do attened all have a great time.
    As for BETT, we get the stand (in a prime spot) for free. That in itself is worth about 5000. We have to provice insurance, furniture, electrics (just over 2k for that lot alone!). The return is worth it though. We get to meet the bosses of all the big players (most of the big companies lurk on here to see what we are saying), discuss the issues we are currently facing. And many of these companies either choose to sponsor, donate kit\prizes for confs etc or just extend offers of 'help' should we ever need it.

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    Many of these future 'proper' members attend BETT and either join up on the day or on return home, this increases the collective and thus your enjoyment of it. We meet many schools who have not heard of us, and so being there as a help point allows us to get the message out there.
    To actually get more "proper" members, you'd direct mail/email every school in the country (or use existing members to recruit other members local to them in a sort of responsible pyramid scheme )



    Anyway, I know the admins love BETT and all that goes with it - so I don't want to negate what they like doing - I just wouldn't do it myself

    I just want/like Edugeek to be THE place for ICT/anything with a plug on it in schools/colleges

    regards

    Simon

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    Have i misunderstood? are you saying when they receive a call from a school to their helpdesk and their first response is to 'Geek IT' ?! WOW cool.
    Yup. And one MAJOR name has more people coming to EduGeek for support on it's products than they do on their site! Thats why almost all of their tech support guys are members

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    And one MAJOR name has more people coming to EduGeek for support on it's products than they do on their site! Thats why almost all of their tech support guys are members
    Well, there's your business opportunity, right there - providing managed discussion and help groups for education-related products. Companies needn't bother running their own boards, which always wind up looking rather under-populated and sorry for themselves, they can simply point over here to a ready-made bunch of users, a load of which will probably already be using the product and be able to help.

    For a certain fee a company could get a dedicated discussion group, with their own logo and whatnot, and some assurance that the forum will be properly moderated (i.e. companies needn't worry about unsubstantiated "Gah! This product is a pile of crud!" style posts). In return, we the users get some assurance that someone from the company making the product is actually paying attention on a reasonably regular basis, and that "Product X sucks because of specific reasons Y and Z" or "What this product really needs is more..." style posts might actually result in a better product somewhere down the line.

    --
    David Hicks

  12. 4 Thanks to dhicks:

    leco (16th February 2009), SimpleSi (15th February 2009), SteveMC (16th February 2009), webman (16th February 2009)

  13. #27

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    I agree that software/hardware vendor support forums could be a could idea - Hexus do something along those lines for a few consumer related IT companies and it seems to work pretty well.

    As others have mentioned, I'm not sure that the Healthcare / Business sectors would create a similar community-feel, as technicians in those organisations (small businesses aside) tend to be able to call upon a larger range of 'in-house' skills and colleagues than are available to the average primary school's IT tech, so would possibly be less inclined to join in the general banter that gives Edugeek such a unique atmosphere.

    As it happens, the company at which I work (DataSwift) is heavily involved in both NHS and Education (albeit in a geographically constrained area!), and whilst some of the problems encountered are similar, the approach taken to fixing them does vary.

    Stephen

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    I like Dhicks suggestions with regards to selling dedicated boards to vendors. This would help all of us. We could mention a product is rubbish and a post could direct us to the vendors section where they discuss how we got to that opinion and possibly resolve the issues with the product. Issue could possibly be a misconfiguration?

    Also a few more ideas. You could possibly expand on the Eduprojects a little more. Say sell some video tutorials on how to do things and customise your Edu Joomla installs. You could possibly create some podcasts and sell them in iTunes.

    You could also possibly create some small iPhone apps. The guy who made the iFart made a bomb over the Christmas period, selling his at just the 59 cents mark. I think he cleared just over $3,000 after Apple's cut as well.

    The Anti-Apple guys are gonna beat me senseless now

  15. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Idea number four is more time consuming and probably not viable but adding a seporate wiki to group author a book about the best ways to set up a school network and its impacts and challanges could possibly make some cash in a printed form.

    Funny you should say that I am currently about to start project on very similar lines but will be released under cc but may mileage in looking to link into printing service to offer a print edition.

    watch this space on jobs this week to get it sorted.

    Russ

  16. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Well, there's your business opportunity, right there - providing managed discussion and help groups for education-related products. Companies needn't bother running their own boards, which always wind up looking rather under-populated and sorry for themselves, they can simply point over here to a ready-made bunch of users, a load of which will probably already be using the product and be able to help.

    For a certain fee a company could get a dedicated discussion group, with their own logo and whatnot, and some assurance that the forum will be properly moderated (i.e. companies needn't worry about unsubstantiated "Gah! This product is a pile of crud!" style posts). In return, we the users get some assurance that someone from the company making the product is actually paying attention on a reasonably regular basis, and that "Product X sucks because of specific reasons Y and Z" or "What this product really needs is more..." style posts might actually result in a better product somewhere down the line.

    --
    David Hicks
    Watch this space, we are already working on it. In fact, the company mentioned worked the latest release of it's device software on comments and criticisms found within EduGeek.

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