The MBA Mondays Curriculum

I've gotten a number of suggestions about turning MBA Mondays (including the amazing comments from all of you) into a textbook. That's not going to happen. I don't want to publish these MBA posts in yesterday's technology. I want to publish them in tomorrow's technology. And I want them to be free and available forever to anyone with an internet connection.

So I am thinking outloud about how best to do that. I am thinking of publishing them in mediawiki or maybe something like Moodle. I want to use open source software that is hosted in the cloud. I am happy to pay for the hosting and probably will do that to insure the content stays online. I want a content/learning management system that can handle the comments which are supplemental to the original posts and that recognizes the supplemental material. I want the comments to include attribution as they do now.

I want the content to be easily, quickly, and tightly searchable. I want it available on any device that contains a web browser. I'd like the content to be optimized for browser based reading devices like android tablets and iPads. And I want the content to be discoverable by any search engine that crawls the web.

I may want to make the content available as an app in the major mobile and web app stores so it can be discovered via those search and discovery mechanisms too.

I think those are my basic requirements. I'd love to get everyone's suggestions and opinions on how I should do this. Please leave them in the comments so I have a single place to browse all of your suggestions.



#MBA Mondays#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. Matt A. Myers

    You covered all major bases of what you want. I look forward to being able to use it.Perhaps link to Disqus and show many Likes certain blog posts or comments were given by the community next to the text used (not sure what format it would look like), but I picture main posts and/or comments as main pages, with then related-comments high-lighted or made ‘sticky’ and shown directly on the page because they’re curated as important or a good addition.I’m not sure if there are copyright issues there (not that anyone posting probably cares), but technically they’re posting to AVC.com – not other-wiki.org.

  2. Eduardo Bilman

    Google Docs for me would be perfect. With a table of contents, everything will be all right, and we can access it mobile. It would fit as a textbook and anyone who has kindle or e-readers can download it.

  3. Yalim K. Gerger

    Aren’t almost all of your requirements already supported by your very blog? Can’t you just label the relevant blog posts as MBAMondays and put the label somewhere on the blog?

    1. fredwilson

      i do that alreadyhttp://www.avc.com/a_vc/mba…but i think the reverse chronological order is suboptimal

  4. Eradke

    I don’t have any suggestions on the best way to do it other than in ebook form. I did however want to thank you for what you are doing. Thanks again.

  5. im2b_dl

    I think you need to start think of Transmedia and hypervideo. I think academic (and this really is what it is) structures need to look at institutions like Sports Illustrated online more than bloggers and Wikis in this next evolution. …but yeah I know I am biased. lol

  6. Ian

    Why not keep it simple and just port everything over to another wordpress (or whatever you’re using) blog under a sub-domain mba.avc.com. This way it can all live in its own directory and you can give it a landing page and a new header/new design to make it feel more “packaged” than what you currently find at “http://www.avc.com/a_vc/mba…”. I think this would cover most of your requirements and would make life very easy for users who are already accustomed to consuming this material via blog format.Also – please provide the collection as a downloadable .pdf :)Thx ian

    1. Harry DeMott

      I like it.Just strip out all of the stuff on the right side – make it lean and clean. Add some better search – and you have a great system.

    2. JLM

      PDF to issuu.

    3. fredwilson

      not doing pdf, but i really like the suggestion of using wordpressthanks!

    4. gzino

      WordPress + comment curation (at least at 10k feet, e.g. differentiating between “good post Fred” and a comment on a relevant case study or link).Supplementary material could also come from non MBA Mondays AVC posts with specific tags, or a Yahoo Pipe w/ tag/search based content from a few hand-picked blogs (e.g. they could even agree to a common tag structure) if you want to carefully expand the pool while maintaining textbook-like signal to noise on the main content.

  7. Amrithk

    Many thanks for doing this. I read this frequently and I have found the posts incredibly informative.

    1. peterarmstrong

      It’s great to hear Leanpub mentioned as an option, by someone who doesn’t work on it! Traction!!!Fred, I’m a co-founder of Leanpub. We would be happy to make a Leanpub book out of the MBA Mondays. My co-founder is working on this right now as a proof of concept; we’ll post a link to what this would look like in this comment thread once it’s done, or we can send you a direct link.We currently can generate PDF (for computers), ePub (for iPad and other readers) and MOBI (for Kindle), so the content is available to essentially everyone.To date, Leanpub has been used primarily to make books made out of entire blogs, such as Eric Ries’ Startup Lessons Learned or Nivi and Naval’s Venture Hacks, but we feel the real sweet spot for Leanpub is where the author does heavy curating and editing of their blog posts. This MBA Mondays series is a perfect example of this.Regarding your requirement that the software be open source:Leanpub is a startup, and it’s not open source. However, the data format of Leanpub is a Git repository, and Git is open source. So, you can think of us as being GitHub for books — while GitHub is a startup, many software developers (us included) host their code on GitHub, since the data (the Git repository) is portable elsewhere.Speaking of GitHub, we actually have already built GitHub integration, so the input files to the Leanpub book generation can actually be stored in a Git repository hosted on GitHub, and all you do with Leanpub on a regular basis is click the “publish my book” button. We pull from your GitHub repository and do the rest. Now, chances are this is not what you want — I think the in-browser book editor (which functions like a blog post editor plus a book tree view editor) is what you want. So that’s what we’re importing.Regarding the comments:This is the biggest change to your requirements. Currently we don’t import comments, since we have been assuming that the blogger does not have the copyright to the comments. It could be that we’re wrong here, but we’ve been playing it safe. I’d love for someone to persuade me that we’re wrong and that we can include comments.We’ll reply to this thread once the book is generated.ThanksPeter Armstrong, Leanpub co-founder

      1. peterarmstrong

        Hi Fred,We’ve made PDF, EPUB and MOBI versions for you on Leanpub:PDF: http://leanpub.com/s/26Nx7i…ePub: http://leanpub.com/s/26Nx7i…MOBI: http://leanpub.com/s/26Nx7i…We did an import of all your posts, deleted all but the MBA Mondays ones, removed the blog links manually, organized the posts into chapters and then clicked a button.Besides the comments deliberately not being there, the only real outstanding issue is that some of the images need resizing.Note that these URLs are public and will work for anyone, but we can remove them if you want us to. These URLs always point at the latest version of the book.Let us know what you think.Thanks,Peter

        1. fredwilson

          thanksi will check it out

  8. Josh Klein

    Moodle is a little heavy for what you have. I think the questions is: what’s the vision for this? Will there be multimedia content? Will it be structured into linear courses? Will others be able to add their content? Should it be flexible enough that these answers don’t need to be definite at the outset?I don’t think you can go wrong with a MediaWiki, but from personal experience I can tell you that a set of pages of content without curation – both of the content and of meta content – makes it a mostly useless tool. The beauty of a Wikipedia is both in the specific page content AND the constant back and forth of how they should be linked together, aggregated, formed into new units of “topics”, and so on.The question to me is – will this be more than a weekly addition of (extremely useful) information? Will there really be a community of experts curating it? If not, then my vote would be just a simple “MBA Lectures” page on your site that sorts your posts into a useful course path.

    1. William Mougayar

      Except that Fred will need a tech person to configure MediaWiki properly. It is open source, but setting it up properly is not trivial.

  9. reece

    Publishing in a printed book would be total irony.I’d love it as a wiki though.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s why it is not going to happen

  10. Tereza

    I think your requirements are spot on.I’d add two more.The first may be obvious — that the body of content, including the comments, are easily and intuitively linkable by outside writers/bloggers. Your body of work better serves the greater good the larger an audience it has — citing it and interacting with it. I don’t think that hyperlinking to specific comments is as intuitive as it could/should be today.The second is, how to keep older posts fresh. Topics don’t freeze when the DISQUS comments close, though some stay fresh longer and others date quickly. The overall discussion should continue…..though in a way different from the original DISQUS thread. I could see useful a “wrapper” comment thread to each post, called “Ex Post Facto” or “What’s Changed Since?” Would work like a Wiki. So 2-3 years later a new reader sees, at a glance, what still works and what does not. Each post may also have a user-generated flag that marks that a post is becoming dated…or alternatively, a push asking, ‘does this still feel fresh?’

    1. Peter Beddows

      Very good and appropriate additions.

    2. Rahul Deodhar

      Wow! you read my mind 10 hours before I got the idea! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Tereza

        I knew you were gonna say that.:-)

    3. Lucas Dailey

      I was going to make the 2nd point. Endorse!Also, to aid continued relevance comments must be down-votable. As comments become outdated, the community must be able to collectively bury the inaccurate information.

  11. Guillaume Lerouge

    Hi Fred,I contribute to the XWiki OSS wiki project ( http://www.xwiki.org/ ). The software matches your requirements (open source software, in the cloud, discoverable, search, comments, attribution…) but for the mobile app part.XWiki also offers a filtering mechanism that would allow you to classify the lessons and let people browse them by category / topic. Individual lessons could also be exported to PDF for users who really do want to print them or read them offline.EDITI actually went ahead and quickly built a demo version of what the site could look like:http://mbamondays.farm25.xw…Here’s an example of a post exported in PDF format:http://mbamondays.farm25.xw…It’s far from perfect, but it gives a good idea of what the site could be.

    1. Peter Beddows

      From my own perspective, presenting this idea and model is a doubly extremely interesting and timely option since it might also fit a similar need for which I have also been looking for a practical solution.Since what you have modeled here naturally does not allow for experimental creation of comments so as to review that result in the context of the overall capability of this model, I’m wondering if the features and benefits of DISQUS can also be used/incorporated into the XWiki?Perhaps including DISQUS might be redundant, even over complicated and actually add no additional benefit but I am curious because, in my view, there is much to like about DISQUS at least in relation to supporting comments on blogs such as this one and my own. Nonetheless, your model is intriguing and looks as if it might serve to meet Fred’s requirements as well as my own. I will explore XWiki in greater detail.

      1. Guillaume Lerouge

        Peter,Yes, Disqus comments could be implemented in XWiki. Ideally, the same comment thread would run under the original blog entry and the wiki page – I think Disqus allows that.As for playing with XWiki, I’ll be happy to answer your questions if you have any.

        1. Peter Beddows

          Thank you Guillaume. Appreciate your response and will keep you and this idea in mind to come back to later when I have time to experiment and develop the idea I’m exploring.

          1. Guillaume Lerouge

            Peter, I went ahead and added 2 additional links:View all posts on one page (useful for saving in Instapaper for instance):http://mbamondays.farm25.xw…Export all posts as a PDF file (apparently many people are looking for an easily downloadable version):http://mbamondays.farm25.xw

    2. fredwilson

      thanks!i will check this out

  12. RichardF

    I’d just add easily ebook/pdf exportable.

  13. lushfun

    I was thinking a lot about international strategies for asset holding, ergo Isle of Man or Gibraltar corps to hold assets. Particularly in light of recent governmental seizing of domains without due process, where no action was brought forth and the agencies seized property. Thoughts on this?

  14. William Mougayar

    If you’re thinking Mobile, then why not a Fred Wilson App all together, where the MBA series is a Tab. Another Tab is music. Another tab what you are sharing/favoring on twitter Another tab links to the web for a more immersive experience, but serve it up inside the App with HTML5, etc.Go Mobile first, Web second- just like you taught us ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Yulian

    A company I work with, just created an amazing app for Charles Schwab for the iPad, it is a virtual magazine that lets you flip though it as if you are holding an actual magazine and has very neat magnifying glass feature that lets you zoom in.The reason I bring it up is that you can do something similar with these posts, so the post you write is the main page and then the most relevant comments and ideas get added to it. So each topic you cover would be a chapter, with sub chapters being individual posts, and then a couple of extra pages with most relevant content. That organization will allow user to search for the topic they want to read very easily, jump to the specific section and read comments that expand on the topic. So for mobile you can have an app and release constant updates with new content, would be a great resource in the classroom as well as the workspace and it will read like a textbook.For a computer, I think there have been great ideas in other people posts, such as the google docs approach, or just having another blog that is dedicated for MBA posts that has a very tight and clean index.Just some ideas

  16. CJ

    I think that’s awesome! To add, I’ve learned as much here, if not more, about business as I’ve learned my entire time in the workforce in corporate America. I appreciate the classes. ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. kidmercury

    Sounds like you’ve already got all those requirements met simply by publishing on avc.com. yo save maybe the app, though not sure if a whole new CMS is needed for that. IMHO a CMS would make sense if additional community and interactive features are desired.

    1. Tereza

      OHMIGOD!!!! KID’S BACK!!!We missed you, man!Hey, d’ya think we should had these user requirements over to $teve and see what he comes up with?

    2. Rahul Deodhar

      Fred, I agree with Kid.What you need is simply an index page. If you convert the MBA Monday page into link headings with small description I think you will have what is needed without any effort.But at the same time, I hear your concern about publishing to next gen platform. A book is a collection of ideas. And ideally, (;-)) I would like readers to think over ideas, debate them, challenge them, improve them, contribute to them etc. The current platform (book or even blog) does not allow for that effectively. What, it appears, we need is a cross between a blog and a wiki. So Let us imagine a blog post generates interesting ideas. The blog author (and also therefore its editor) must be able to promote an idea she likes to main post while attributing it to its correct author.Also, we need reader or user to have flexibility to choose her path through the posts.

      1. fredwilson

        yup, that seems to be the common wisdom of the crowd here

      2. Stephen R

        I have to agree with Rahul here. All this newfangled investment in edtech needs to show some concrete improvement over pen, paper, and a little bit of forced hard work.

    3. Tereza

      Having the Kid back is like having the family home for Christmas.Merry merry!

      1. kidmercury

        lol thanks! glad to be back! it’s great to be back in the homeland. fredland.

  18. Kevin Holl

    Have you considered reaching out to Khan Academy to try and donate the writings? Their selection of “curriculum style” content is already compelling (e.g. way beyond more basic fact-pages a la Wikipedia), and they’ve got a good open source strategy.It might expose your information to people who might never otherwise have heard of AVC.http://www.khanacademy.org/

    1. fredwilson

      they are video only, right?

  19. jcardillo

    I would vote for a wiki environment. It both makes it easier to keep the content updated than in a blog format while (potentially) allowing others to add their expertise as well.

  20. Robert Thuston

    Thinking outloud… What about a “flipboard” style book with bookmarks and a congregating notes section for the user… What about a favorites button, where the user could prioritize the blogs of most value to them?What about a section at the bottom of the blog that asks, “where would this be useful? – e.g. Assett/ Stock Sale – where: The sale or purchase of a business/startup. The content or book would then be categorized for that user based on the information he or she inputs… so the user is building their own book in a sense… and some mechanism to see how others have organized there content…If I call recall your quote correctly from Random House: We don’t want to consume content we can’t engage in…

    1. fredwilson

      exactly

  21. Josh Kramer

    I would agree using a category on your blog or another word press blog with categorization of the MBA topics. I would link to it from wikipedia and other sources to drive traffic and awareness of the content. Low-tech in that sense is probably better, keeps maintenance cost low, easily accessible content, and let’s you potentially build a wider audience around the MBA Monday content.

  22. RJ Johnston

    Sub-blog (mba.avc.com) has my vote. Although I think there is value in having a print + ebook edition. Through print the posts and possibly select comments would extend your influence beyond this blog.Use print as a hook for those who do not know about AVC or simply do not have the time to follow. Each chapter/post should include a link back to that specific content on the site allowing your “new” audience to now become a part of the collective.A marketing tool with significant value.. I vote specific blog + print. (and if you throw one of my comments in there I will…. be eternally grateful? :-))

  23. Tom Labus

    What about a section in the Khan Academy?

    1. fredwilson

      i thought Khan was all video, no?

  24. Dan Lewis

    Please don’t rule out books. Books are incredibly accessible and easy to read. Even if it’s a print-on-demand thing, that’s fine.

    1. fredwilson

      i already ruled out bookssorry dan

  25. Sam Birmingham

    A vote for the Wiki option, pour moi…As with everyone else in this community, I love your insights. Thanks Fred.In my ideal world, the next step for this series would be for members of the A VC community to share more of our own experiences, based around the subject matter of each post.I know we all like to engage in the comments, but I am pretty sure that there are a heap of people out there with some really interesting and relevant experiences (be they transactional or otherwise) and I’d love to hear some of those stories in more detail.To use an MBA analogy, your original lessons could form the core curriculum, with the Wiki option enabling the community to come up with a bunch of relevant case studies, which would: (i) help us all to learn more about the topics at hand by applying the theory to practical examples; and (ii) get to know a bit more about some of the passionate A VC fans in the process.Cheers

  26. Adam Wexler

    fred- i think going back and further tagging the posts would be a great start. i know nivi & naval have done a wonderful job of neatly categorizing the venturehacks archive: http://ht.ly/3tJTvi've heard a number of references to the startup incubators as the new form of grad school. i wonder if there’s a way to correlate your writings? obviously techstars & y-combinator are highly selective, but your series could be a great stepping stone?-adam

    1. fredwilson

      yup, seems to be the best option given all the comments here

  27. Fernando Gutierrez

    I think it’s great like it is, but some organization would be great. Sometimes you have talked about wanting to migrate to WordPress this blog but you felt it wasn’t worth the effort. Instead of setting up another thing I would migrate now and use some of the thousands of plugins to create a couple nice indexes, some colletions of links…It will probably be a pain with so much posts and comments, but I’m sure that many of us would be glad to help. If you want to go one step further then I would go for any kind of wiki. That format would make collaborating more open to everybody, but it could also go out of control easily: here you get +100 comments per post… I’m afraid of what can happen if you let us edit and write in other formats ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      i think porting MBA Mondays would be a good first step

  28. andyswan

    I suggest a platform called AVC.comThat will be $32,450#SwanConsulting

    1. LIAD

      Completely agree with Swan Consulting.Just need to add an index page with direct links to the posts and not lock Disqus comments – job done.As its the season of goodwill – happy to undercut Swan’s invoice by 50%.

    2. fredwilson

      i think the reverse chronological order is not ideal

      1. andyswan

        Page of links in chrono order by topic ala dixon

      2. Dale Allyn

        I’ll just add my voice here: I think this is the best first step. If there needs to be more, the environment will let you know.Make the MBA Mondays landing page an index in chronological order. Keep commenting open and add edit/updates to posts where the info becomes outdated.Then work on the SEO for that section, including the comments. Disqus is not so good for SEO in my experience, at least as it is implemented in many places. Perhaps look into how comments are stored or referenced. If that’s not doable with Disqus (I’m no Disqus sharpie), then get the comments in static form onto the entry pages and open new comments beneath. As mentioned, some of the comments are really great resource as well.It’s fun to see you working on this project, Fred. I have referred many people to your MBA Mondays material.

        1. fredwilson

          This is great advice. I am terrible at organizing stuff. I think I need aTA for MBA Mondays to create and manage the landing page

          1. Dale Allyn

            Fred, if it were me, I’d make the landing page dead-simple, with article title and a very brief summary. The summary could be done in a second phase if it’s too much hassle to start with. I don’t use Typepad, but I’ll bet that one can just add a custom field (if it’s not already there) for a brief description. I put them in my templates “just in case”.Each title would be clickable to navigate to the detail page for that topic (just as it is now). Beneath the title (and summary) on the landing page, you may want to include the date of the original posting and the number of comments, although the comments count is probably not necessary.I’m not positive, but it should just be a new template in Typepad for that page. (That’s how I’d build it in ExpressionEngine anyway.) The detail pages can start by just being the ones you have now. So all you’d really be doing is adding that landing page template with the article titles and a bit of abstract info, but in “descending order by date”, i.e. chronological.

          2. Mark Essel

            That sounds like something a local NY university (business, other?) can help you out with. Imagine being a TA in school and getting the job of curating MBA Mondays from a popular VC. I’d love to have that on my resume coming out of school.

  29. alasdairtrotter

    Totally agree with Tom and Kevin – you should do something with Khan Academy. I’m sure Sal would love to take your posts and turn them into 5-7 minute lectures. Not only is he a great teacher, but he’s been through the Harvard MBA program himself…Maybe you could even skype into the lecture as a guest…just like a real mba classroom…

  30. MartinEdic

    An unsolicited testimonial. We are closing a seed round. This morning I went over the (very simple) term sheet with my attorney. Because of this blog I understood virtually every issue and the call went very quickly. In fact the things I’ve learned here, from both Fred and the commenters, have made the entire process painless. Kudos to the investors also but knowing what I was doing helped find them too.Thanks and Happy Holidays to all!

    1. ShanaC

      and a happy holiday’s to you too!

    2. Donna Brewington White

      This is an amazing testimonial. Thanks for sharing this. Exactly why I believe the content here should be made even more accessible.Obviously, you got what you needed in the current format — but what about those late to the party or who need to cram or need a refresher? Anyway, this is more rhetorical but your comment reinforces some of the thoughts in my head.Happy Holidays to you as well!

    3. fredwilson

      i am so happy to hear that

  31. andyidsinga

    here here!It would be awesome if you published in kindle format as a free ebook.

    1. andyidsinga

      A few more thoughts on this..What I don’t understand is what’s really missing from http://www.avc.com/a_vc/mba… other than the tight search integration for the content itself and better reading device integration.Search is not even that bad if you do a google search like this (the key is the ‘site: [url]’ part:[your search] site: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/mba…Heck you can even write a program to search and do fun stuff with the results using google search api like this (or better the google custom search api)http://www.google.com/searc…So that leave us with better device integration. Completely web based is the way to start – and you already have that. When we view http://www.avc.com/a_vc/mba… from the pc, iphone or ipad its great!Sooooo .. now we just need a bit of code inhale the mbam content and reformat to .mobi (or whatever) format.Instapaper does a great job of this with their “kindle download” feature. I can download the mobi file and then “email it to my kindle device” – how sweet is that! The point is better device integration and wider device availability.Cheerio yohs.

  32. Anton Reut

    Fred,iTunes has a large amount of education content in its iTunesU section (seems to be increasing daily). Might be interesting to supplement the MBA Monday posts with links to relevant lectures. Perhaps the community can do so if you’re unable. In general, attaching content resources to each topic would be a big help for those of us who would like to go deep.Anton

  33. daryn

    What if Marco just makes it easy for you to bundle posts in Instapaper and get a link to share that bundle with everyone?It doesn’t address the interactivity, etc, but I think comments should stay with the original post, and conceivably Instapaper could support Disqus…

  34. Gagan Biyani

    Hey Fred – we’re a startup that has built almost exactly what you’re looking for. I’m the co-founder of Udemy (http://www.udemy.com/), a website made so that anyone can build an online course. I’m a big fan of AVC.We fulfill almost every criteria you’re looking for and by Q2 2011, I think we’ll fit all of them except the open source one.Here’s what we can do:1. Drop-dead simple way to create an online course. Upload videos, PowerPoint presentations, PDF’s, blog posts, and even host live virtual sessions with your users. As easy as creating a blog.2. Forum with attribution so that everyone who comes to the course can ask questions and you can interact with the forum.3. Mobile-viewable. We do not have a dedicated app or a mobile-optimized format, but we’ll have that by Q2 2011. No other company that I know of has this yet, so even having this by Q2 2011 is earlier than Moodle or MediaWiki, etc.4. Rock star customer support. I will give you my phone number – I am a co-founder. We are doing this with all new instructors and you simply can’t beat on-demand customer support :)Here’s a 2-minute video explaining how it works: http://bit.ly/udemydemoMy e-mail is gaganATudemyDOTcom and I’ve e-mailed you my phone number. Happy to answer any questions you have or show you a demo!Best,GaganP.S. Happy Holidays!

    1. Steven

      Sounds like he’s trying to keep the format text, not in video.

      1. Gagan Biyani

        We do text, video, powerpoint, PDF, anything. So that way he can do text-only now and if he wants to add more functionality later, he can. If not, it stays as text ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Rocco

      Having looked at a few of the platforms out there, and having been pleased with the value from the StartupDigest series just done, I have to recommend Udemy as the platform. I think its a great fit.

      1. himani amoli

        +1

    3. Ajay Kamat

      I took the course on raising capital on Udemy. Not only was the content phenomenal, but I loved the fact that the course offered many different types of files (video, ppt, word docs) which all contributed to the topic sequentially. It was very thorough.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Pretty interesting!

    5. fredwilson

      i really appreciate the enthusiasm and willingness to help but i am totally and completely committed to an open source solution

    6. Barrie Robinson

      Would love to see MBA Mondays on Udemy/in Udemy format. How easy is it to feature content uploaded to Udemy elsewhere? To give MBA Mondays the reach Fred is looking for.

  35. Senith

    wiki if you plan to scale this into a massive project. It’s is easy to manage 1000s of contributors and pages quickly. Otherwise it may not be required and keeping it simply a blog.

  36. Glen

    Fred, I’ve been meaning to do this for months. Your post finally gave me the motivation I needed. I created a WikiCourse on NIXTY for MBA Mondays. You can find it here:http://nixty.com/course/AVC….It is a WikiCourse, so anybody can add text/html, video, discussion boards, embed documents etc. Soon we’ll be able to add test questions etc. as well. It is free and freely accessible to everybody. The WikiCourse idea was actually Albert Wegner’s idea. We are still tweaking it, but it is getting there. In addition to the MBA course, we’ve got 200+ open courses that can be edited/added by all. Shoot me an email with questions: glen at nixty dot com.Off to visit family now, but will check back in later on.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks!i will check it out

  37. Dybyedx

    Go the craigslist way, keep it simple, strip out all the pictures, use the loads of unused white space and make it searchable. Make the entire thing downloadable if someone wants it.simplicity trumps everything.

  38. Daniel Gold

    Hey Fred. You should really create that course on Udemy. I’m taking the How to raise capital for startups course on Udemy and the entire experience is extremely well designed. You should post your course there.

  39. vruz

    I like the ambition in this idea.Wikis:My experience with Wikis has been mixed. Things start great and then they get chaotic unless there’s a good sense of governance and editorial criteria (like the process they now have in Wikipedia, it’s anything but chaotic these days).The resources (mostly man/woman hours) which are required to organise something like this may be costly even if you crowdsource most of it.I think such investment is probably worth it for a big project like Wikipedia, but I’m not too certain for one single short book.If you think of creating a platform for many other books and many other authors in the future, this may require further consideration.Mobile:Provided the content is stored in an easily accessible database (most likely MySQL) it’s not a problem to generate a mobile app container to browse an HTML5-based book.Content Management:I subscribe to the suggestion of others here that WordPress would be the way to go.

  40. Guest

    I think this is a wonderful idea! And I have a solution for your mobile app requirement that will mesh well with your other requirements, too! It’s called Pieceable (www.Pieceable.com) and I’d love to talk to you more about it if you’re free after the holidays. Twitter or a reply to this comment is absolutely the best way to get in touch with me! Good luck!

    1. fredwilson

      i’m on vacation but i would love to learn more when i get back

      1. Chris Stewart

        Welcome home Fred! Just shot you an email about Pieceable.

  41. Tom Vander Ark

    Edmodo is the right platform. UofUtah is using Edmodo in a couple entrepreneurship courses with great success. http://edreformer.com/2010/…They would gladly load MBA Mondays into an Edmodo publisher page for ease of use and academic mashup.tom

    1. fredwilson

      cool ideai never thought of thatthanks tom

  42. Briana Ford

    Keep it free and keep it alive Fred! Thanks for taking all of those things into consideration. Looking forward to what you decide. So far, Moodle has my vote.

  43. ShanaC

    new blog under wordpress1) they have really good plugins for SEO, to make the website mobile friendly, ect.2) You can add an unlocked version of disqus.3) I’ve seen similar ideas from the guy who did thematic- http://themeshaper.com/word…That, and add a git account for spreadsheets (or an open google account of sorts)

    1. fredwilson

      seems like the most popular suggestion for sure

  44. ShanaC

    Oh, and thank you. Its been extremely helpful.

  45. Dan Vidakovich

    We are starting a free online college and we will host your content. We only allow the best content and teachers. We’ve started with video: http://www.youtube.com/free…Your written content and comments are great. I am imagining them as the “textbook” for the course and we would find a qualified person to put together microlectures (5 min videos) to help further explain the concepts and comments.

  46. Rocco

    Let me know when it goes live, I can’t wait to see it. Any thoughts on adding other “professors”?? I think Mr. Feld would be a great Dean of the “Do More Faster” School of Business….. I think whatever platform you choose, make sure the addition of “other media” is supported… video that is easy to post is something that has GREAT value to those of us who consume.

  47. Mike Suprovici

    Hey Fred – have you checked out Udemy.com? I think it’s a great platform for what you are trying to accomplish.

    1. fredwilson

      lots of suggestions for udemy in this threadi will check it out

  48. jdelvat

    Hi Fred,I hope you’ll go through all these comments ;o)I’ve been looking for a learning management system as well for my own company (30 consultants around the world) for some time. Our requirements were videos, texts, PDFs and comments.I ran into http://www.bloomfire.com/ when they were still in beta and I just love it.You may want to have a look at their 1-minute tour:http://vimeo.com/16988249or even their Use Case for Thought Leaders:http://vimeo.com/12033062Hope this helps …

    1. fredwilson

      i always go through all the comments. it is time consuming but i feel like i must do that or why would anyone take the time to leave one.thanks for the suggestion of bloomfire. i will check it out

      1. Bloomfire.com

        Julien, thanks for your kind words. Fred, would love to have you check out our platform. If you’d like a personal demo, ping me: [email protected]

  49. Ovi Jacob

    I’d recommend talking to the folks at MoodleRooms. They do 99% of the hosting for Moodle enabled school LMS. They also have an store with easy to implement Moodle extensions (like an App Store). Great company, redhat like concept dine really well. I know some of the team there and am happy to make a connection. Moodle publishing with LMS integration (all the major players are LTI standard conformant) would make MBA Mondays a great source for all types of students

  50. calabs

    Like most software customers, your requirements aren’t very good. In this case, it’s because they are too generic. Luckily, you have given enough clues to identify what you really need.Let’s look at the requirements first: 1. open source 2. cloud 3. content/learning management system 4. can handle comments 5. available forever, for free 6. quick, easy, tight search 7. optimized for browser-based devices (android tablets, ipads) 8. discoverable by search engines 9. (optional) content as an appThis is a very strange set of requirements indeed. On it’s face, this is the list of requirements for a generic web site. There is nothing here (with the exception of #3) which is specific to learning, business school, or AVC.What do you really need? Although you dismissed it out of hand as “yesterday’s technology”, it is the urge to publish a textbook that started you down this path. Let’s look at that more closely. A textbook is an immutable collection of related documents. On a philosophical level, a textbook is a filter – it filters out all the documents in the world except those between it’s covers. Typically this filter is driven by the requirement to teach something to completion – the student gets some utility. This persistent filtration has a lot of benefits, particularly for extended focus and discovery, and it is certainly a time-tested approach to teaching.In this day and age we can make infinite copies of a textbook. We can also combine the scribbles in the margins of millions of notebooks into a single “uber notebook”. We can even make pages that act somewhat like Ginny’s diary in the Harry Potter books – e.g. make it a book that writes back. This is particularly potent for those who need only a small helping hand to become fully autodidactic.I would recommend that you maintain the textbook concept, at least as a metaphor to aid your thinking. By it’s nature, the digitization of a textbook makes it weightless, microscopic, and free. The particular encoding you choose isn’t really that important (but HTML is best).But don’t get distracted by these bells-and-whistles. The key property of a textbook is it’s persistant filtration of data.I’m not convinced that a Wiki (or at least a Wiki in its current practice) really fits the textbook concept. The problem is that students need a sense of boundedness and stability. Wikis are unbounded and unstable. This creates a lack of trust and a deal of fear, which impinges learning.Based on this, I offer the following recommendation: create a subdomain (or a new domain) which collects all of your MBAM posts in one place. This is the persistent filter. Add exercises and problems (or delegate this content creation). Ironically, your biggest problem is Disqus content – that content is not free. So you will need a more open solution for comments. As for the app version, there are many frameworks which make it simple to wrap a site into an app, with all data cached for offline use. That would be a good first try.One last thing: requirement #5 requires that you put aside a (relatively small) trust. Forever is a long time.

    1. fredwilson

      great comment and your suggestion is the one that most others have suggested

  51. Donna Brewington White

    Delighted to see you asking this question and the possibilities this opens up!I love how you allow yourself to be inspired by this community and then throw things back out for input.I think that the suggestions for the format/technology will be influenced to some degree by how someone interacts with the material. For someone who approaches the material more casually — i.e., it’s interesting food for thought, fuels interaction, maybe even disagreement, but mainly it reinforces what they already know and/or provides an opportunity to share from their own wealth of knowledge (love that!) — the current format is probably adequate.To some extent, when I’ve hoped MBA Mondays (as well as your other thoughts, for that matter) would be presented in “book” form (for initial lack of imagination for other formats), I’m thinking of the people who will pore over this material, reference it, study it. Maybe it’s that hungry kid you mentioned in another post, although my guess is that a lot of the people welcoming expanded access will be hungry entrepreneurs or aspiring VCs or others for which this truly is an educational pursuit. I say, serve it up to the hungry. Let this be the target crowd.”I don’t want to publish these MBA posts in yesterday’s technology. I want to publish them in tomorrow’s technology.”Of course you know that tomorrow’s technology will quickly become yesterday’s technology, right?

    1. fredwilson

      books lasted for almost 600 years now

  52. ELCM

    Fred,Beyond the mechanics of M&A which are extremely helpful for everyone. I think the issues people are often most curious about are the board dynamics and the decision to sell/push forward. Many entrepreneurs if an M&A event occurs will be faced with a room full of professionals who perform M&A for a living bankers, lawyers and VCs. Lessons on how to handle the stress and decision making process would be interesting.

  53. louhong

    Hi Fred,I’m glad you’ve posed this question and it’s pretty interesting to see all the available options in this arena. I’ve been following courses on udemy (at least the startup/entrepreneur oriented classes) and they seem to do pretty well in terms of usability and providing the content in different mediums. It seems like their content is expanding so it would be great to see your AVC content next to other notables like Steve Blank!lou

  54. Rahul Deodhar

    One concept not yet mentioned is Squidoo or Knol like page. Both are wiki-like concepts.One way to think about web is content overload. We need map, that can be created in Knol or Squidoo lens. However, the structure of page is not very intuitive and easy to use.A flipboard style book will be awesome to read and interact with. Like Robert Thuston said, it must have favourites, comments etc.BTW Seth Godin is working with people from Amazon to create next version of book, I don’t know what he is going to come up with but as a founder of Squidoo I expect something more interesting.

  55. Michael Rattner

    Sorting articles is easy. What’s really needed is a way of sorting comments. While the back and forth in the comments is interesting, when I’m really trying to learn something, I do want somewhat vetted comments, or at the very least comments that have been found to be interesting by others.In the context of MBA Mondays, the best comments tend to be either long practical examples of the subject or extensions or counterpoints to what was presented.Slashdot (somewhat) accomplished this first with their scoring and moderation system.Disqus seems to present comments better with the “Best rating” option turned on. The real question is whether it is possible to find community standards for what ranks as a blog post worth rating and giving people incentives to rate frequently.The blog format is OK (with a central table of contents), but what would be really cool would be tweaks to the Disqus engine to make archives more useful – tweaks controlled by the blogger and that become the default for the user. Remember, whatever the defaults are is how most users experience your content (unless there is the option of a background involving cats – my relatives always seem to find those.)

    1. fredwilson

      excellent point

  56. Leah Belsky

    Hi Fred, I’m from Kaltura and have spent the past 2 years building the next generation of multi-media tools for education. I think Gagan and Udemy are great, or, if you stick with your current CMS or move to a Moodle, you can plug in the multi-media tools- webcam or mobile recording, video-ppt sync, video commenting, quizzes, etc. Either way, there’s just a ton of fascinating research out there on the power of multi-media content in learning, and I’d love to see you start experimenting with video and audio.You might want to experiment with video comments from your community as well, or let others collaborate and contribute case studies.Thanks for your posts.

  57. David Molina

    Fred, this service would be an incredible asset to current and future social entrepreneurs building and refining organizations. Sounds like Gagan of http://udemy.com is on top of it! Love her suggestions. I’d suggest adding a way for readers to analyze and make recommendations of term sheets, etc from the site itself, forum type. Those are helpful to users and would drive traffic back to the site helping it get found by Googlers.

  58. MikeSchinkel

    Fred,I’m going to echo @Ian, @vruz @Jackson Miller and @ShanaC and then @RJ Johnston and @Ian again; a WordPress blog at mba.avc.com is the way to go. Get the Anthologize plugin and you’ll be set:http://wpmu.org/publish-you…A good thing about about Anthologize is it exports in PDF, ePUB, and TEI formats.Hope this helps.-Mikehttp://about.me/mikeschinkelP.S. If you need help setting it up, just ask…P.P.S. And as for reading on the web vs. book format, *please* reconsider the book format for those like me who simply can’t maintain concentration while reading complex topics on the web. I’m just too A.D.D. with all those hyperlinks; I’m just like “Done, done, and I’m on to the next one!” (ref: http://www.youtube.com/watc… ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      i like this approach a lotthanks

  59. mikenolan99

    Not sure if I told you this, but MBA Mondays has made the required reading list for my MBA class. Simply great stuff.

    1. fredwilson

      wow, that is great to hear

  60. HRNasty

    I love your attitude on this. Keeping it free and keeping it accessible. Giving back to the community. Thank you for not just the content but keeping the notion of community alive in this day and age of ” make a quick buck”Thank youHRNasty.com

  61. John McGrath

    Hi Fred, as it happens I’m building a platform for creating and sharing tests and quizzes as a personal holiday hackathon. There’s a placard for it up at http://www.testeroni.com and it’s well underway.If you have any interest in adding quizzes or tests to the curriculum please reach out, I would be very happy to build to your [email protected]/@wordie

  62. hints

    Hey Fred,You might be interested in CommentPress (http://www.futureofthebook….. Disclosure: Bob Stein from Future of the Book is a friend.I’m also working on a project in the enhanced ebook area (started at INSEAD when I was going to school there). We aren’t open source, but would love to get your input as a talented writer. The idea is to help authors to use their community to create better content and monetize the audience. As you know, sometimes the comments are more valuable than the original post. Let me know, I can also forward you some of our designs and a short write-up.

  63. ninakix

    You should check out ck12.org… open-content “flexbooks” (:

  64. derrinyet

    Just a couple of things I’d suggest that are tangential but helpful in developing this curriculum:1) Learning objectives. A loose-knit curriculum like this would benefit from a brief set of learning objectives indicating what readers will learn.2) Assessment. Adult learners need exercises/cases/quizzes to check what they’ve learned.In my experience working in training, the LO -> content -> assessment process is the best way to organize and reinforce learning for adults. I’d love to help in developing this structure once you’ve settled on a platform.

  65. wfjackson3

    Fred,You should talk to the guys at Kauffman Labs. They are building out their first class with companies that are building something in education technologies. I bet one of them could recommend something.Cheers!Willis

  66. Gart Davis

    Fred, I think you need to reconsider MBAM itself in the context of your commitment to open source. Currently, the enemy of open education resources is time; they age like ripe lettuce, an open course starts out as something good and diminishes gradually to irrelevance. Contrarily, the friend of open source software is time. It starts as something incomplete and evolves towards something current, complete, thoroughly validated, and dominant. What principles make Open Source Software so exciting to begin with, and how can they be applied to making MBAM get better over time instead of just getting older? If it is to evolve into the Linux, Apache, or MySQL of MBA ‘textbooks’, how will you manage contributions? Who is the lead maintainer? Will you permit forks? I draw these analogies because these vaunted technologies started with no greater foundations of intellectual investment than MBAM. With all due respect, otherwise its just a really good blog.

    1. fredwilson

      Aren’t I the manager and the commenters are the contributors?

      1. Gart Davis

        For a blog yes, but you missed my point.Please consider re-framing MBAM itself as an open source project. Identify a small trusted group of core maintainers who have rights to update the original work. Attract professionals that will use this work in a production setting, will become dependent on it for their livelihoods, and will make deeply thoughtful contributions – case studies, problem sets, supplementary materials, perhaps even re-structuring the material for 5 day immersion programs or semester-long delivery. Put the work on a release schedule. Give it a core mission and goals for each major release. I think you get the idea.You may or may not want to commit to this. The technology you base this on is important, but these are the dynamics that will give the project an eternal life. As I said before… unless you follow something like this path, with all due respect, all you have is a really good blog.

  67. Mark Essel

    Xmas came early, glad you’re strongly considering it Fred.

  68. Michal

    I’m surprised no one suggested drupal as its the most popular open source platform for cms. Government, nasa, universities, businesses and blogs use it. Easy authoring, publishing and supports everything you mentioned.CheersLet me know if you want to explore it more…

  69. Louise Tipton

    I just wanted to add that you read my mind with this morning’s post. As one of my tasks in this “post- Xmas but not quite NYE, so fairly quiet” weeks at work, i wanted to find a way to easily access the existing MBA Monday material, as inspiration for the coming year. Thanks for opening the discussion to make it happen.

  70. David Fano

    Hi Fred, late to the conversation here but i tend to prefer Drupal over WordPress for a site like this. There are a few distributions already out there like DrupalEd (http://www.funnymonkey.com/… or OpenScholar (http://acquia.com/resources…. I’d be more than happy to sponsor the effort with the Drupal community so other teachers could use the same distribution to run their classes.

    1. fredwilson

      DrupalEd sounds interestingThanks!

      1. Bill Fitzgerald

        Hello, Fred,Coming late to the conversation here – I noticed a few hits to my site and I figured I’d see what was leading people to us from here.I’m one of the founders behind DrupalEd. We actually shifted our development (with the help of a grant from the Knight Foundation) into a platform called Voicebox.It’s entirely free, made up entirely of open source components (GPL, or GPL compatible), and available as a free download. We are also advocates for open content/editable textbooks, and are extending VoiceBox to build out functionality that will support flexible content authoring, as well as re-contextualizing of posts. All collections of organized texts are accessible via RSS, and the site adheres to web standards, so it displays cleanly across modern browsers (aka, in smartphones, on the iPad, etc). We currently tie into third party services to generate ePub format. There are no special accommodations for specific devices yet, as we have not had a clear use case to develop that, but the capacity is there.Unlike other commenters in this thread, we are not trying to close a funding round for any of this work ๐Ÿ™‚ We maintain our own internal development roadmap that we work towards alongside our client work – this gives us a level of control, and helps ensure that our work always remains accessible under an open source license.I wrote up some notes about this in a recent blog post if you’re interested: http://funnymonkey.com/open

        1. fredwilson

          ooh, thanksi will check it out

  71. Vijay Bachani

    Hi Fred, if you dont find a good solution you can always fund or create a company (if the market is big enough) to do exactly that.RegardsVijay

  72. Joash

    Hi Fred, we are building a software, called Pandamian, that is targeted at book writers but we think you can benefit from some of the features. We’ll be launching our public beta in a couple of weeks. Do check out the demo: http://www.pandamian.com/de… and some screen shots of the work-in-progress: http://www.facebook.com/pan…. We’ll be glad to let you try out an account, just email me if you are interested to test out one.

  73. andrewbender

    Hi Fred. I think you need to define who your audience is, and how much of a textbook you really want this to be. If youโ€™re at all attempting to reach professors and students, you should expect them to behave very differently from your current audience. Here are my suggestions:1. Seriously, donโ€™t get hung up on the format. If people want to read your content on paper (and the vast majority will: http://bit.ly/g4q7m0), then let them. Iโ€™m sure this makes you die a little inside, but format isnโ€™t something to get religious about; content is. Irony be damned.2. Whatever electronic format you choose will have to allow trivially easy highlighting, commenting, searching, and so on. Theyโ€™re students who are studying for an exam, not professionals looking to learn quick lessons. This will be harder than you expect: most of the solutions out there are inelegant.3. Your content will need curation and peer review. Yeah, the blog comments provide great examples, but they also change, and professors hate surprises. So consider that your rough draft / the living version of your document. You need stuff in a narrative format. Plus, having professors (the potential adopters) review the stuff will increase your audience, and thatโ€™s your whole goal. Traditionally, this has been a pain to organize and a stronghold of the big publishers, but that’s no longer the case.There are lots of crappy things about traditional textbooks from the big publishers. User-friendly formats and curated content are not among them.

  74. Venkat

    Fred:I would REALLY like to see the material turned into a textbook.A book is more than a format, it is a form. I don’t care about what medium you use, but if you can somehow manage to set the time aside to actually string a book-style narrative through your series of posts (perhaps with the help of a ghost or co-author) I think the value of the material will increase 10x. It is that appreciation of the asset that I’d like to see, rather than nominal porting into a different medium.It doesn’t matter what technology you then youse to disseminate the material. The point is, a long-form narrative is a different beast than a collection of blog posts. I’d like to see that transformation.Venkat

  75. fredwilson

    pdfs are too monolithici don’t like them