How Maven Monetizes Your Personal Brand Via Education

With Ed-Tech Expert Gagan Biyani

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The Setup:

👋🏼 Gagan Biyani is one of those people who sees a problem and can’t help but solve it. He did that with Udemy, a platform that now educates over 40 million students online. Now with Maven, he’s enabling people to teach what they know best. 

Zooming out, he’s hell-bent on making it easy to teach and easy to learn. 

👀  Learn:

  • A cohort-based course is the easiest way to impact your community in a positive way.

  • Not only that, but CBCs help build credibility and connection with your community.

  • Gagan highlights the role Maven can play in fast-tracking your business

🛠 Takeaway:

  • If you’re an expert at what you do and want to strengthen your personal brand, cohort-based courses are the way to go!

I'm super excited to sit down with Gagan Biyani today to chat about the future of online education.

Gagan's an entrepreneur redefining online learning. He was the Co-founder and President at Udemy, an online education company now worth over $3B.

He recently launched Maven, a platform that is democratizing education by empowering anyone to build a cohort-based course (CBC). 

As one of Maven's new instructors, I wanted to ask Gagan his thoughts on branding and community building and give him a chance to share how Maven is shaking things up!

Maven has only been around for 8 months, but it’s already become a prominent educational platform. What differentiates Maven is that it is empowering community-driven learning and allowing creators to build stronger relationships with their audience. Teaching gives the opportunity to change peoples lives.

It began with three co-founders: Gagan, Wes Kao, Shreyans Bhansali. After lots of Zoom calls and brainstorming about what and how they wanted to build, Maven was born.

Recently I had the chance to interview Gagan over LinkedIn Live, and I wanted to give you the highlights here. (If you have the chance to watch the 20-minute video, check it out here!)

JH: Could you share a ‘wow’ story about a creator who has made a course on Maven and has had an output of X amount of value in their life or in what they earn?

GB: We’ve been around for only 8 months and creators are already earning thousands of dollars from it. There’s one particular creator who paid the down payment of his house through his first Maven cheque. 

I think the most interesting part about cohort-based courses is that all of these creators are now providing value and engaging with their community in a more in depth way. 

The best stories are the ones like: “OMG! I taught this person to build their audience and I saw them growing their business and community on Twitter/LinkedIn.”

JH: How have things changed since building Udemy… What's different about building an ed-tech community in 2021?

GB: Everything has changed. 

1) I’ve changed. This is my third start-up… I’ve been a lot more calm and have a long-term mindset.

2) The ed-tech landscape has changed massively. There’s a huge bench of talent to pull from now to work with who have built educational platforms (Clever, Udemy, Coursera.. etc) and there’s also the whole new world of creator economy platforms (like Patriot, Substack, and Twitch).

3) Currently there are more creators too: people who have a huge audience and expertise in a subject they know well.

JH: What do you want to be remembered for in the ed-tech space as you move forward with Maven? What’s your differentiator?

GB: Attention to detail and quality. We’re putting effort into creating something valuable.

We also care greatly about the students. We want to make sure that people are actually learning. and that Maven instructors are delivering great content.

Maven is a lot less centralized than other education platforms, which gives the creators more control over their content and promotion.

JH: If we were to meet for champagne in 10 years time, what would you be celebrating?

GB: 3 different impacts:

One, I’d like to see a world in which there are tens of thousands of creators who are able to do what they love every day, deliver value to people, and make enough doing it that they’re not just self-sustaining, but that they’re well off.

Second, I want anyone who wants to learn something to have more and more access to learn that. If you want to be a better manager, you can go online and develop yourself to do that.

Finally, I’d like to see structural change. I’d like to see us as a society respect and honor unaccredited non-institutional learning. I want to see it become more well respected than going to university and getting a graduate degree. If you’re someone who goes through the hard work of self-teaching yourself on the internet or through books or a group of people, if you can teach yourself how to do something, you deserve a lot more credit than the world gives you today.

JH: You’re a pretty humble guy. What’s the fire that keeps you going?

GB: I just grew up as an immigrant in America. 

My parents taught me the value of hard work. I don’t think of these things as being a very difficult thing to do. It’s far more fulfilling to have a vision and work towards it, which is what I try to do everyday. I don’t think of myself as any different from anyone else. Frankly, I’m very grateful for the upbringing I had where I learned a lot of skills that I appreciate.

JH: Follow Gagan on Twitter and LinkedIn and check out Maven! Thank you so much Gagan for your thoughts.


Offices are back and… and so are the office culture memes! 🤣 Check out this tweet

Thanks for reading! I try hard to make it a newsletter you look forward to each week, so if you’ve got any suggestions about the content you’d like to see or ideas that sparked, let me know.

Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.

✌🏻 Joel

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