“Netflix For Professional Development” – Dr. Michael Garbade, Education Ecosystem
Today we speak to Dr Michael J Garbade, the founder and CEO of Education Ecosystem.
According to the company website, the team’s premiere flagship product is a “decentralized learning ecosystem that teaches people how to build complete products in future technology fields.”
Elsewhere in the team’s marketing, it is likened to a “Netflix for professional development.”. Garbade describes the comparison between Education Ecosystem and Netflix in greater detail, summarizing that
“Netflix is a $164B subscription service for watching movies and TV shows. We are developing a subscription based platform for improving your career skills, targeted towards the $360B professional development industry.”
At the time of writing, the latest significant news to come from the team is the launch of the alpha version of their Education Ecosystem ‘Web App’.
Whilst the complete lineup of features and functions are not yet available, the team plans to continue adding new features and pages whilst removing bugs in the coming weeks.
You can sign up for this for free on the official website.
Background of Interviewee
In addition to being the Founder and CEO of Education Ecosystem, Dr. Michael Garbade describes himself as “a serial entrepreneur” as well as a “business guy and Python engineer.”.
To this effect, his portfolio includes co-founding an e-commerce cashback platform named Kyuda, alongside operational business management for several startups whilst working at Rebate Networks.
Dr. Michael Garbade brings experience gained from successful mainstream businesses such as Amazon and GE.
Furthermore: he possesses a Masters in Business Administration and Physics, a PhD in Finance. He is bilingual (English and German) and boasts international work experience from across the USA, Europe and Asia.
With regards to the management of blockchain startups, research shows a number of projects that Dr. Garbade has been involved with. Perhaps most notably Bitcoin education quiz app Bitcoinmillionaire.
The man’s fascination with blockchain, in his own words, began in early 2017, when
“blockchain technology and cryptocurrency was beginning to gain real momentum in the startup world. I had known about it for some time prior but in 2017 it seemed like a real opportunity to add something more to startups.
“More than helping to raise capital, blockchain technology seemed to offer a lot to startups, including the ability to create a central ecosystem for your product.”
About Education Ecosystem
“Education Ecosystem is a decentralized peer-to-peer project-based learning platform for people to improve their job skills in future technologies.
“We are building the Netflix for professional development and targeting the $360 billion professional development market.”
Education Ecosystem is a utility focused blockchain product. This is a virtue which I have long admired publicly in my writing. Unlike many of the industrial ICOs which seek to disrupt highly competitive areas of B2B products and services, Education Ecosystem (as the name suggests) has been created to target the education sector.
As such, it benefits from targeting a relatively mainstream audience. A consumer audience without strict expertise in distributed ledger technology – proving a use-case for real-life applications and potential mainstream adoption of blockchain solutions.
“Our mission is to be the place on the web for project-based learning. Our long-term objective is to be the largest project-based learning library in the world… Learning from real projects is a practical and efficient way for professionals and students to improve their skills and make more money in their career and we want to help our subscribers do that. “
How it Started
Education Ecosystem originally launched as Livecoding in 2015. This was changed to LiveEdu in 2017, reflecting on the changing dynamics of their business from programming focused to multiple fields. Following this, the current iteration of the project was conceived.
“The change to Education Ecosystem became apparent after we looked at the opportunity available to us and what we would be able to build using blockchain technology.
“Education Ecosystem isn’t limited to one product or our internal ecosystem, but allows us to expand and build partnerships with colleges, businesses and more to create one huge ecosystem for professional development. “
The roster of available projects and learning subjects to be offered by the team at launch whilst diverse is fully focused on fast-growing, established and nascent areas of technology.
“cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence (AI) , game development, cyber security, programming, data science, design, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).”
Products, Features and Tech
To the consumer, the product selection is clear and the portfolio of projects on offer comprise the primary value argument here.
Project areas include cryptocurrencies, as well as an overwhelming majority being non blockchain based. Such as: artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, game development, programming and data science.
Dr. Michael Garbade continues to explain the underlying technology, explaining that
“Offline recordings are facilitated through our own code and we also use Adaptive Bitrate Streaming (ABS) technology which improves the entire live-streaming experience.
“We have just started shifting over to wowza cloud for live-streaming and video storage as we are experiencing larger viewer levels.”
Key products, services and features include live streaming of lessons and projects, the project system (a narrative and practical way to learn), interactive live chats, desktop downloads for live-streams and projects, and tutorials.
Partners, Not Competition
Dr. Garbade is appropriately confident in the disruptive potential of the Education Ecosystem platform.
He goes as far to state that a number of existing identified rivals not “as competitors but instead as potential partners.“ and in consideration of such entities (including Coursera and Udemy) he hopes that
“these companies can be distribution channels for the projects available on our platform via our API.“
Rather than looking out and comparing their achievements and progress to that of their peers, the team is,
“focused on our internal ecosystem but in the future we plan to make money mainly through B2B and B2G sales. We plan on launching our B2B and B2G sales channels in 2019.”
That is not to say that the company is introspective however, as they claim to be available on a global scale (counting subscribers from 194 different countries).
This international approach goes for the Education Ecosystem team as well, which operate from two geographically disparate offices: in the USA (Los Angeles) and Kiev (Ukraine) with some team members working remotely around the world.
In addition, Garbade states that they
“Also offer product evangelism for blockchain projects and other companies as well as custom skill training for employees. If a project wants to expand their ecosystem by finding more developers then we are the platform they can come to find them.
“We tell their target audience about their technical products and teach them with practical video projects how to build real applications on top of the platform. For example, there could be custom projects created for teaching EOS developers on our platform.
“For companies, this involves creating custom training for their workforce in whatever areas they require. Blockchain development for instance, is one of the fasting growing fields, so companies will want employees trained in this area.”
Ecosystem and Token
Education Ecosystem boasts a pool of approximately 13,000 project creators since the release of a beta version of a very different iteration of the product in 2015.
The team hopes to reward the “best” of these creators with a blockchain based token which they are calling the ‘Education Token (LEDU)’. This will theoretically incentivise them to put their greatest efforts into their work for the platform.
According to Dr. Garbade, the
“Project Creator Acquisition program is how we search for and hope to attract new project creators to our platform.”
The Education Token is currently in circulation with a total supply of 217,789,857 LEDU, in addition to a market cap of $778,192 at the time of writing (CoinMarketCap).
Marketing indicates that it is currently listed on the following exchanges: Bitforex, Mercatox, Exrates, Livecoin.net, and IDEX.
“The ecosystem consists of two networks, namely the internal ecosystem and the external ecosystem.. internal ecosystem participants are project creators, subscribers, community moderators, project quality moderators, and API application developers…
“External ecosystem participants are businesses, schools, libraries, colleges and online education companies.”
When looking towards the future, Garbade concludes that the Education Ecosystem
“Targets for Q4–2018 include: conducting our first ecosystem governance poll, launching our testnet and releasing the first versions of our web and android apps, providing a LEDU wallet for all product users and adding fiat trading pairs.
“Once we release our testnet we will also start running mainnet tests and plan to launch the full version of our web and android apps in Q1-2019.”
It’s a platform which this writer plans on following for the foreseeable future and one that is backed by a number of interesting associates, who can often be held as standards against which a project can be judged…
“We’ve partnered with Decentraland University. We also recently joined two associations, Ethereum Enterprise Alliance and the Linux Foundation.
“For our partnership with Decentraland University we will create a series of project videos that demonstrate how to build on Decentraland.
“Our platform will be made available for Decentraland users to showcase their talent and monetize their content.”
He continues that:
“Decentraland University District will provide LAND parcels on the Decentraland University Campus, where content related to this partnership can be created. Decentraland University will also screen some of our content in a VR environment.
“Membership in the EEA will allow Education Ecosystem to collaborate with other industry leaders using ethereum-based technology to produce industry standard, open source blockchain solutions.
“Finally, membership in the Linux Foundation will also us to collaborate on the Hyperledger project as a means of advancing cross-industry blockchain technologies.”