Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Death of Distance, Part 73

The Death of Distance, Part 73
The Washington Post published another story on how US kids are turning to offshore tutors to help them with their studies.

As you know, I think this is a great example of the death of distance (FYI--I can't take credit for the phrase--though I came up with it independently, it turns out that a book of that name came out in 1997!). Of course, just because it's happening doesn't make it a great business opportunity for you, the humble reader.

The problem with offshore tutoring as a business is twofold. First, the barriers to entry are nil. The same things that make it so cheap for you to start such a business also allow anyone else to do the same. Second, this is a service business, with all the associated difficulties in scaling.

BUT...can you think of any such service that requires some special expertise, and doesn't require a linear staffing model? That might be a good opportunity.

3 comments:

Justin K said...

Going into the business may be easy, but what about Web2.0-ish AJAX enabled applications to facilitate the process?

An app which is a mashup of Basecamp, Meebo and some video sharing service for the burgeoning offshore tutoring market!

Chris said...

Great point, Justin--this could be a "picks and shovels" kind of opportunity!

Gabe Morris said...

skype + ebay + festoon
and you're already 75% there

the only thing that's missing is the storefront where tutors can show their experience, resumes, post some sample lessons, comments from past users

some companies heading in that direction-
nuvvo.com
jyvepro.com
probably skypebay itself
and a few others in semi-stealth mode