Shahanshah Manzoor, one of the leading tech entrepreneurs in the world, joined MobileAppDaily to share some of his experiences and expertise for our readers. During the interview, we got to know about his business strategies, career struggles, achievements, and more. Furthermore, we are including the QA format of the interview that we had the privilege of organizing with Shahanshah. So, read until the end for some amazing insights.
Hey, thank you, too! I am doing wonderfully well this morning, and I hope it is the same with you over there. With the worst of Covid behind us in this part of the world, we are looking forward to a great time ahead.
Scaling up the corporate ladder is an exciting thing. It feels great to reach new positions and grow step-by-step in the career. But becoming an entrepreneur is a different ballgame. Here, you need to be passionate about the people, their interests, their values, what motivates them to do better, and a myriad of other highly subjective and fluid factors. And, if these constitute one side of the scale, the other consists of technologies, tools and processes, and other physical things, and finding a way of applying them optimally to your organizational situation through your people.
I discovered midway into my career that I could challenge and push myself by handling these aspects and balancing them, as I have been curious about the interplay of these factors. This is when I transited into the entrepreneurial role. The reason I chose this particular industry-Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)-is that this is the ideal medium for those who want to learn the exact skill whose absence is hindering their career prospects and wants to provide education for all at a cost-effective approach. This industry gives me strong opportunities to test and improve my entrepreneurial skills as well as my human side, as I have always been fascinated by how businesses and technologies can make a difference in people’s lives.
Scary…well, not really in the literal sense, but I did face some anxious moments. This part consisted mostly of being in an industry where some truly formidable names were around. Having said this, we realized that this should be more of an opportunity than a weakness because the online learning market is an ever-growing field with space for players of all sizes.
I had the innate confidence that with the kind of resources at my disposal, I could surmount the obstacles and steer clear of the bottlenecks. The asset that gave me the highest confidence is what I consider my biggest strength today: my team.
That brings us to the second part of this question. Having built a highly motivated team that loves challenges and wants to constantly improve, looking back at the way we have overcome our challenges, from the time we started off, in late 2017, brings a smile to our faces. It all seems like yesterday!
Across the board, SimplivLearning believes in a single philosophy: our customer is our raison d'être. We are here for this entity. So, who is our customer? It is the learner, the person who wants to improve their learning and grow in their career. I would call our customer by a better name: our learning partner.
We want to equip them with whatever it takes to help them bridge their skills gap and become more suited to and sought after by the industry, Right at the beginning, we told ourselves that if we cannot serve this partner, there is no point in being in this business. It is around this central point that our organizational culture and ethics are built. As Mahatma Gandhi said, a business should function for the customer, and not the other way round.
We have ingrained the understanding of why our learning partners come to us, into every employee at SimplivLearning. Serving this partner is paramount to us. We do everything it takes to acquire a partner and enhance their learning and attain the satisfaction of having offered them what they looked for. It again gives me sufficient gratification that SimplivLearning enjoys a prime place in its learning partners’ minds when it comes to the support they receive from us.
We would become more comfortable with technology if we grasped and sized it for what is at its core: its ever changing nature. That change is the only constant has been told many times from Peter Drucker’s time, but nothing could be a more apt fit for that adage than technology. Well, it is rooted in science, and isn’t it the DNA of science to keep self-inquiring and changing with time?
If technology did not evolve constantly and continuously, it wouldn’t be what it is. This is a great opportunity, as well as a challenge, because technology takes in only those who are up to date with it and grow with it, and leaves out those who don’t. It does no one any favors by hand holding them on its forward journey. As technology grows, so should you. So, the more it evolves, the better the world becomes. An organization that does not realize this falls by the wayside, simple!
The big thing with leading people is that they are humans, not machines. Each person is unique, and every professional comes with their own set of attitudes, values imbibed by their upbringing and circumstance, idiosyncrasies, tastes, individualities, sensitivities, egos, and a million other things. Unifying and homogenizing these divergent traits toward achieving the organization’s goals is where the challenge really lies.
Like I said in response to an earlier question, I saw this as an opportunity to enhance my own understanding of people, which I love doing. So, this point, plus the realization that management skill lies in honing these different attitudes in the pursuit and accomplishment of a common goal, has given me the confidence of meeting this challenge.
When I started SimplivLearning, the first point I drilled into my team is that this is a service industry, where we cannot falter or loosen the guard for a single moment where customers are concerned. The way of building trust in our customers, rather, our learning partners as we like to call them, is by being available to them at any time of their need and fulfilling their expectations all the time, each time.
The vast range of courses we offer are curated keeping the exact learning needs of our learning partners. Our partners choose what is ideally suited for them. We also offer our learning at the most affordable price in the market. Our learners realize that they get enormous value at a fraction of what they would have to pay elsewhere. How this has built trust in them is evident from the fact that a vast percentage of our courses are bought by partners who come from referrals.
Our operational processes are built proportionately to our three modes of learning.
First, we offer short-term courses on a wide variety of topics. We have more than 6000 courses in topics ranging from anthropology to technology, and from personality development to yoga, which our learning partners choose and complete at their own pace, from wherever they are.
Second, we offer Virtual Classroom Training (VCT), where long-term courses are taught in person at designated times of the week. This is ideally suited for professionals who want to take up high-quality learning for purposes such as passing exams in technical areas that will further their career goals.
Third, we have course bundles, which group and assemble a bunch of courses related to each other by content, topic, and relevance, all at a much more affordable price than if each course in the bundle is bought separately. Our operations teams work in tandem with marketing and support in line with the requirements of each of these modes of learning.
Absolutely important. Let us face it, technology pervades every area of the work scene. It is impossible to separate technical skills from the corporate world. So, technical skills are a sine qua non here. We are pleased to tell you that a high proportion of our technical courses get picked up by corporate executives. We have been fueling and meeting their learning needs and have been consistently matching their requirements and expectations.
MobileAppDaily enhances SimplivLearning’s growth in a significant manner. Yours is a highly reputable mobile platform that educates its clients about the latest happenings in this sphere. Since a decent share of our courses is through mobile phones, we have a lot to gain from platforms such as yours, as it gives us a good level of exposure to your target audience.
Thank you Shahanshah for joining us and sharing these insights. We are sure that these thoughts of yours will inspire many more entrepreneurs and readers from all industries.
Cut to the
chase content that’s credible, insightful & actionable.
Get the latest mashup of the App Industry Exclusively Inboxed