Eating our own dog food

What the team is learning from our masterclasses—it’s work in progress

Founding Fuel

[Image by athree23 from Pixabay] 

Dear friend,

I want to talk to you about something you will hear more often as a valued member of the Founding Fuel community.

Since September this year, we’ve been experimenting with a video-based learning format with a closed group. We haven’t spoken much about it in the public domain because we were still testing it out. On Friday evening, we did our fifth session of the “Masterclass”, as it is called.

My colleague and co-founder Charles Assisi anchored an hour-long session on Being Indistractable with Nir Eyal, Israel-born American bestselling author and behavioural consultant. While we’re still learning and fine-tuning the end-user experience, we’re now confident we can do this well and create strong learning outcomes for everyone. Basis formal and informal feedback coming in, I think we have a winner on our hands.

Watch our promo video for the session with Nir Eyal.

The Net Promoter Scores have been 9/10. In other words, a little more than 90% of participants said they would recommend it to their friends and colleagues.

But it wasn’t always like this.

When we organised the first Masterclass at the end of September, everything that could go wrong went wrong. Our London-based speaker was extremely knowledgeable on the future of Brexit—but we couldn’t hear him well and the session on Zoom, the US-based software we use to connect everyone, was terribly unstable. I’m glad we didn’t abandon the exercise right away.

Instead, our core team put their heads down to make a series of incremental changes. And basis user feedback, paid attention to the tiniest of details.

The result? We’re now attracting interest and active participation from a quality audience of smart entrepreneurs, senior executives from blue chip companies, and educators.

You may ask: What’s there to learn about running a webinar successfully?

The answer: There are many things that impact the final user experience. From gaining the attention of a discerning audience, figuring out how to communicate the theme of the session, on-boarding interested users, fine-tuning the actual experience, to finally helping a community of learners internalise the lessons. But there’s more ground to cover.

For the sake of brevity, allow me to give you a better sense of just a few aspects: We are aware we must steer clear of the noise and shrill conversations on television and social media that has pervaded our lives and create space instead for deeper, reflective conversations. Curating audiences for these live learning sessions is tough too. How might we attract and build a vibrant community of learners?

Given our current levels of distraction, keeping online audiences engaged for a 90-minute session isn’t easy. The challenge then is: How might we build user interactivity into the experience? 

Framing the theme for the sessions and expectations around it is critical. How might we build context and equip participants adequately, so that the speaker can take off at a higher level is another question we wrestle with. And finally, how might we help the community consolidate the learnings that emerge after a session is done with?

I’m not going to explicitly spell out all the answers. Except to say that we’re now ready to have more of you experience our live Masterclasses on Zoom in the future. And on occasion, when you don’t have the time, either because you’re travelling, plain busy, or something urgent has cropped up, we are ready to offer you curated reading and watch lists—like this one here—along with a recorded version of the Masterclass conversations.

Do join us as we explore exciting new ideas and practices together that promise to change how we live and work.


Indrajit Gupta

For Team Founding Fuel

Stills from our masterclasses

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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