Like many aspects of life, PCClasssesOnline.com has changed and evolved over time since I created it three years ago. Here is our little story…
Everything started off originally under the name of Tech Talk America. It was a podcast where Allen Gallant (our current GM), Ben Pegg (who has co-taught our GarageBand classes), and I would get together to talk tech and teach people how to better use their gadgets. It went well for the first year, but it quickly became difficult to teach technology without the ability to show it. I proposed the problem to Mark Collier, a colleague of mine who was a genius at web design and he agreed, the best delivery system was an online classroom. On the final episode of Tech Talk America, I announced the plans for PCClassesOnline.
I originally went with a business model that very closely resembled most other online services where members would pay $200 per year which gave them access to unlimited online classes. The initial launch wasn’t amazing. For the first several months there would be plenty of weeks when I’d show up to teach an online class and I’d only be teaching to a handful of people. Thank God I had a second job!
Enter the Shark Tank
Two weeks after our initial launch I received a phone call from a well-respected marketing guru who had been following me since Tech Talk. He asked if I’d ever considered auditioning for the television show, Shark Tank (internationally known as Dragons Den), a reality-tv show where entrepreneurs go in front of the ‘sharks’ to pitch their ideas in an attempt to receive an investment. A few days later I applied online and received a call back from the show’s casting producer. Eight auditions later we got the final call that we’d beat out 30,000 other businesses. At this point we had only been in business for a few months.
If you caught the episode, I assure you that you only know a fraction of what really happened. While I’d love to disclose all the details, my non-disclosure contract with ABC is still valid until 2017 (so stay tuned!). The sharks hated the idea and told me that these days everyone knows how to use a computer. While this blow initially stung, it turned out to be a GIANT blessing in disguise.
A few months later I started playing with different business models to see if we could convert the website into a free service that generated revenue through means of advertising instead of membership fees. The answer was YouTube. Thanks to YouTube’s advertising abilities we were able to convert all our previous content which had been stored within Vimeo and open the site up to the general public.
Today, PCClassesOnline.com has over 200,000 members who attend either our live or pre-recorded classes from almost every country on Earth. Thanks to YouTube’s translation services, many of our most popular classes have been translated via subtitles into over a dozen languages.