Today’s guest on the EdTech Startup Show is Andy Rahden.
Andy Rahden is Shmoop’s CEO and passionate about progress in the digital learning and educational technology arena. Before hopping aboard the Shmoop train, Andy was the Vice President of the Pluralsight Creative, Design, and Engineering business unit. Armed with his passion for democratizing education, Andy built teams at Pluralsight from the ground up to forge strategic partnerships and create a world-class customer experience.
Since his early days as a Mechanical Engineer at Baker Hughes, Andy has always enjoyed solving problems, from mechanical stress tests to Marvel-worthy teams of super-employees. Before Pluralsight, Andy made his way as an all-rounder at Autodesk, where he directed global teams through all elements of improving customer experience. He has also worked for the largest SolidWorks reseller, where he provided in-person training, worked with customers on implementation, and provided guidance to companies transforming their design process.
Andy Rahden and Mike Soldan, Shmoop’s Chief Experience Officer are now focused on bringing the latest technology to the K-12 learning space to ease the stress of the learning environment. Andy couldn’t be more excited about progressing, at lighting speed, what Shmoop’s founders Ellen and David Siminoff started over a decade ago.
During this episode, Andy and I discuss:
- Andy’s career before he was the CEO of Shmoop and how his background in engineering and design have led him to what he is doing now.
- How the people Andy has worked with have influenced how he thinks about making decisions at a professional level
- The meaning of the word ‘Shmoop’ and how it applies to the concept of what Shmoop does as a company
- The valuable tools Shmoop provides for teachers and students for grades 6-12
- Andy’s observations about school closures due to COVID-19 and Shmoop
- The free learning Shmoop has provided to over 3 million students across the country that were not previously customers of Shmoop
- Why there is a drastic difference between where students live and what kind of education they receive
- Why founders at Shmoop wanted to use a form of engagement rather than the traditional methodology early on
- How they use humor and a little bit of flare in their content to increase engagement. “Even when you are learning E = MC squared”
- How Shmoop is able to provide a tool to access the students’ minds for teachers that are working with them
- Shmoop’s new technology called Shmoop Heartbeat that is expected to release before the 2021 school year.
Time-stamped questions from this episode:
>>>(0:42) Can you talk about the meaning of the name Shmoop and what you do?
>>>(2:38) As a CEO, what’s your focus?
>>>(10:23) What differences have you noticed as you’ve made a shift into your role at Shmoop?
>>>(19:09) How does your background in engineering and design help inform your work?
>>>( 22:10) What were your first days at Shmoop like, and can you give any suggestions for people who might be in a similar situation?
>>>(30:15) What other influences do you think have had an impact on your way of thinking?
>>>(34:22) Can you tell me a little more about Shmoop applying for a patent for the first time?
>>>(41:17) Are you able to talk at all about the mechanism of assessing the students readiness to learn?
Links from this episode
- Shmoop for Schools and Districts
- Shmoop for Teachers
- Amar Hanspal at Bright Machines
- Andrew Anagnost at AutoDesk
- Digital Promise Website
For Shmoop Inquiries:
Andy’s Social Media Info:
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