Flat World Knowledge is pioneering a new way to create and distribute textbooks. The model combines open licensing, online access, and print-on-demand. In this week's episode, host Jon Udell discusses the model with co-founder Eric Frank and CTO Jon Williams.
Eric Frank is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Flat World Knowledge, a venture capital-backed new venture publishing free and openly licensed college textbooks. Flat World Knowledge has raised over $10 million in private investment capital in the past two years, and has grown from 0 to over 40,000 users in just one academic season. They are launching a classic disruptive model in the face of the $8 billion textbook publishing market. Eric brings over 14 years of success in higher education publishing. He has held positions in sales, editorial, and marketing at Thomson (now Cengage) and Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. Prior to starting Flat World, Eric was Director of Marketing for Prentice Hall Business Publishing, a division with annual sales in the hundreds of millions. There, he managed a team of marketing managers and marketing communications staff, and supported over 160 sales representatives.
Eric is a frequent speaker at conferences on the subjects of innovative business models, open-source publishing, and the transformation of the publishing and media industries. He has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, Time, Wired, NPR, ARS Technica, and numerous other media outlets.
Jon Wiiliams was formerly the Chief Technology Officer for iVillage (a division of NBC Universal), the #1 online destination for women with 31 million unique monthly visitors. Prior to that, he was CTO of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, a division of Kaplan, Inc, a Washington Post Company. In this position, he improved upon technology learning products serving up to 35,000 students a day, while simultaneously leading a long-term strategy shift towards open source development, resulting in a 26-fold improvement in website performance. Prior to that, Jon was CTO and Senior Vice President of Grey Healthcare, one of the world's largest healthcare communications companies, where he created and launched an entirely new e-business division, generating $2.3 million in new revenues in two years. Before joining Grey, Jon served as a consultant and technology architect for numerous media clients including AOL Time Warner, Scholastic, and Oxygen Media.
This free podcast is from our Jon Udell's Interviews with Innovators series.