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6th July 2020
Learnings from launching KBITS Live - the world's best Cisco networking trainer
By Narendra Nag
For anyone who wants to launch a subscriber-led video streaming service (at any scale), we give you everything you need at zero upfront cost.

Khawar, or KB as he insists on being called, has been teaching people how to become Cisco Networking experts for thirty-odd years.

Here's a pretty representative review:

“Teaching Style — His explanations are EXCELLENT. He has a way of explaining the “why” of different concepts in a way that makes a light bulb go off over your heard.” - Katherine McNamara

When we spoke to him the first time earlier this year, we started to get a sense of the real tyranny of aggregation platforms like Youtube and Udemy.

We learnt that world-beating content creators like KB are handing over their audiences, their content and between fifty and seventy percent of their revenue to folks who provide tech and reach.

It's a pretty good set up.

For folks who produce content that needs reach (think entertainers starting out), Youtube, and increasingly Twitch, makes a lot of sense. They get in front of a lot of people, become popular, and convert that popularity into money through a variety of means, some direct (buy my t-shirt) and other's less direct (buy their widget).

Grown adults with money in their wallets are clearly willing to pay “hepta-CCIE and CCDE” KB money to learn. He doesn't need to sell t-shirts to them — okay, he should, I think t-shirts with bad networking puns on them are a great idea. But, you get the idea — he doesn't need to put his content out for free.

As we continue to build out tomorrow's video-streaming infrastructure at Laminar, we realised KB was perfect for us to test out a key hypothesis — are people willing to pay him directly for online classes, or will they insist on going through a Udemy or Coursera?

We soft-launched KBITS Live four weeks ago (June 2020, O' traveller from the future), and he's already made more money since than in all the time he's been on Udemy.

Here are three key learnings:

  1. The only thing standing in the way of a creator and revenue is the up-front cost of setting up world-class tech, so we gave KB our infrastructure at zero-cost. And we plan to do the same for any one who becomes our client.

  2. Creators don't mind sharing the wealth. Our simple promise — we make money when you make money — has helped both trust and revenue grow.

  3. Give a creator a platform they can monetize any which way they like and a little bit of support in building out marketing automation, and they (and their existing fans) will surprise you.

We're doubling down on this: for anyone who wants to launch a subscriber led video streaming service (at any scale), we give you everything you need at zero upfront cost and an extraordinarily reasonable share of revenue OR a flat fee per paying user if you're going to get hundreds of thousands of subscribers :)

For the moment, we're sitting back and enjoying KB's success making light bulbs go off over people's heads.

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