#7 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) & A New Credit Card

We go over the last week of operations and how we've streamlined things. Also this weeks idea is around a new type of credit card.

Hey folks,

This week has been about how we actually deliver the value that we’ve promised in our EntryLevel launch a few weeks ago. We’ve been trying to manage our experience providers and get courses created in time, but also figure out the best principles. It’s always interesting to see how companies that are creating a new format create new principles as they pioneer a new path.

So how do we go about creating operations and systems for something that doesn’t have a clear model? If you start a hairdressing studio, there are other companies you can model off. In the same sense, regardless of what you’re doing, there are natural parallel models to what you’re doing.

For us, we had two main ‘systems’ we needed to figure out:

  • How to manage the community of learners and incentivize them to complete our experiences. This is an important north star metric for us.

  • How to onboard and create virtual experiences in a streamlined way. (If this is confusing - have a look at our website for more on what we do)

The parallels I drew from for the community side was:

  • Blockchain/crypto community channels for ICOs

  • Noom, an accountability app for weight loss

  • Prefect Badges and achievement stamps in high school (strange, but relevant!)

We wanted a system that auto-assigns people into accountability groups of 5 people (Noom) to give students a sense of comradery and group accountability. Then, we wanted to hire a community manager who could set up Wikis, streamline communications, answer questions, and other functions that are usually done for ICO communities for cryptocurrencies. Finally, we introduced skill badges that incentivised people to behave in ways that we think are beneficial to them and to us as a company. Students in high schools want these badges because they believe they will help with university applications - similarly, we are creating a badge that will demonstrate soft skills for interviews. 

For example, we created a badge called “Great Communicator” which we say demonstrates to employers that you’re able to work well within a team and portray your thoughts well. We give this out for those who work in their teams really effectively and participate in team sprints.

Meanwhile, for standardising the creation of virtual experiences:

  • I looked at how the company, Crossover, launches organisation builders. They have a team that works with hiring managers to understand roles within a company. From there, they create assessments and hiring pipelines for them. In a similar sense, we may need Experience Builders in our team to build experiences for our mentors.

  • The way we incentivised mentors to help us launch experiences in Real Skills showed us that leading with mission and vision is important. Mentors already get coffee and help people out in real life - so our role is getting the advice and expertise, and building a course with them around their expertise so they can mentor thousands of people.

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A Credit Card for Learning & Development Expenses

After talking to some people who manage learning and development budgets for companies, I noticed that it’s fairly difficult to track and distribute these to people. Generally, most employees at companies that value learning has anywhere from $500 to $10,000 of annual learning budget which they can use for courses, seminars, and other activities that can help hone their skills.

These expenses can be hard to track and then expense at the end of the year. Many companies just have to manually forward receipts and have someone look over them.

The idea is a new credit card for employees that can only be used for learning and development programs with points that can be used for learning expenses. (Hours, credits, and other things in different programs). We can even tie exclusive discounts to this card. We can even automate the receipt flow back to the relevant member in the company via a portal.

Now - unfortunately this time around, I know little to nothing about starting a new credit card. But, it seems that from my brief exploration, that it just requires you to have the financial right partner. This seems to be the play where you prove demand and pitch to some partners who can help you make it happen (banks, existing credit card companies, venture capitalists). Happy to help with my network if someone wants to pursue this idea!

Catch you all next week,

Ajay


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