Sarah’s Intrepreneurial Adventure

ALERT: BC is facing a critical shortage of doctors in rural areas.  Find out how Mediasite by SonicFoundry can be part of the solution.

The link to my YouTube pitch is found in my executive summary:




1 Michael Awmack { 11.24.08 at 11:01 pm }


You’ve identified a very important market and the justification of “training doctors in rural communities to keep them in rural communities” is sound. Mediasite appears to offer an excellent alternative to expensive video-conferencing.
You made the point during your video that video-conferencing only gets 2/3 of the material across compared to a face-to-face lesson. My question is, do you think Mediasite’s solution is going to be any better? Is it a better option simply for cost’s sake, or does it also deliver the same or better quality distance education as video-conferencing?

As an intrapreneurial pitch, you did an excellent job of explaining what is needed to switch to Mediasite. You also presented a logical argument for its merit.

Just to play the devil’s advocate, do you think there is a better option than distance learning for rural medical placements? Understandably, simple economies do not allow medical faculties to appear in every little town, but is Mediasite really the answer? I understand the argument for teaching doctors in rural towns, but is there something to be said for traditional face to face instruction? If universities really wanted to save money on distance education, they could just cut it. How would you respond to questions about this problem?

Your convincing and professional video pitch certainly got your argument across. Your executive summary was clear, concise, and laid out your points well.

I would recommend funding this venture as long as the cost-benefit analysis showed the value of adopting Mediasite over either keeping the video conferencing or removing the distance learning option altogether.

Mike A.

2 Sarah Wood { 11.25.08 at 9:32 am }


Thank you for your analysis and recommendation. In response to a couple of questions you had:

1. My researched showed that a traditional video conferencing lecture can only cover 2/3 of the material as compared to a live lecture. This is one of the main reasons that I am so passionate about Mediasite. Mediasite allows the lecture to be archived and students can watch on-demand from any computer and anytime. I read other research about universities that were using Mediasite for live lectures (not DL) as students could also review any lectures or complicated material.

2. In reference to your point “there something to be said for traditional face to face instruction”. Initially, I could not agree with you more! The first question that comes to mind is – do we want doctors who are trained over the computer? I have changed my mind now after reading the research. While the class training is online, the benefits of having doctors trained in rural areas far exceeds the drawbacks. The environment in a small hospital is so different than a large centre hospital, that a dr. trained in Vancouver has little connection with what is actually happening in a rural hospital where technology and staff are at a minimum. I feel, (and so does UBC and the BC gov’t) that a dr. is best prepared to handle the demands of a rural practise if they know what they are getting into beforehand.

3. Although I have a simple cost analysis, I do believe that the cost for Mediasite could be recovered by only have one or two students in rural hospitals. The cost for setting up a video conferencing room is about the same as one Mediasite recorder. Of course, one Mediasite recorder can then archive the lectures and all 124 medical students can view it.

Thanks again!

3 Cheryl Milner { 11.27.08 at 12:25 pm }

Hi Sara,

Terrific job! You made a compelling case for the use of Mediasite. One question does come to mind, and that is why isn’t it in place right now? It would be interesting to speak to the media group responsible at UBC to see why it wouldn’t be used. I certainly would send them your presentation to get their input.

That aside, and speaking as an EVA, it looks as though your payback for investing in mediasite is actually within a couple of years, given the software, database management, support and management costs. That is certainly attractive.

I like the fact that the conference is both synchronous and asynchronous, but more significantly the archived version allows for searchable data and this is valuable for a multiplicity of users.

The need you stated namely the necessity of training new doctors and for them to stay in rural areas, seems to be potentially answered by this technology. Part of this reasoning lies in the notion that doctors will stay where they are trained, and this tool may facilitate that possibility.

Great presentation, you carefully laid out your arguments in a succinct fashion. Before I would invest however, I would want to know who else in Canada has embraced this technology and for which applications. Then I would want to understand from an evaluative point of view how well has the system worked for them.

My final question is why hasn’t UBC considered this technology, this answer needs to considered before I would invest.

Great presentation!

If you have the time, would you kindly do me a favour and review my presentation, as I was late and my name wasn’t assigned specifically to any fellow students.

Many thanks,

4 Susan Wilson { 11.27.08 at 7:34 pm }

Hi Sarah,

I really enjoyed watching your video. I don’t really know anything about health training and found your pitch interesting and informative. I especially enjoyed how you integrated the visual statistics with the oral presentation.

I do have two suggestions for improvement; the first would be less reading. This is something that I had difficulty with as well but I think that it would add to your credibility if you could answer the questions without reading.

Secondly, I would like to hear you address competition. I am not sure if there are not free or cheaper alternatives that would provide the same service or not (Elluminate?).

I am about 80% sold on your venture, but I would have to check out the competition first.


5 cwickes { 11.27.08 at 8:52 pm }

Hi Sarah,
I liked your presentation but kept thinking that surely there must be something similar to this already in place for medical training in rural areas? It sounds like a fabulous proposition and I know only two well the serious need of attracting doctors (and teachers) to rural areas. Your presentation was good and you clearly answered most of the concerns I might have as an investor. However, I would need some comparisons to be fully committed to supporting the program financially.

6 Jarrod Bell { 11.27.08 at 9:32 pm }

Hi Sarah

I live in a northern community and understand the need for local staff to be trained in northern and remote communities as they are more likely to stay. With this in mind UNBC has a program in place that emphasizes practicums in our communities as well as F2F instruction.

Mediasite allows for some very nice asynchronous 1 way presentations. I would be concerned that students are not able to ask questions regarding the lessons using this technology. I would rather they use something like elluminate instead where you are able to incorporate video, powerpoint, whiteboard, polling, chat, audio, sharing etc. It also allows for archiving. Not necessarily as polished as a mediasite video but can be done very nicely.

I think a video of someone talking while you see the powerpoint is like the traditional classroom. If we are going to do things through distributed learning I would suggest we supplement the talking head lectures with elluminate and other web 2.0 tools to build engagement and understanding.

You will always need IT staff. Guaranteed. While using a product like mediasite should not result in an increase in staffing at the end users’ terminal there is always an increase in time spent maintaining the databases, schedules, connections, webservers etc.

I missed in the presentation why the server costs were 8k per year each year. Was that for expansion or just licensing? For that kind of project money I would suggest a part to full time staff member dedicated to the project to ensure its success. Depending on job requirements and contracts you should budget 60k-100k+ per IT staff including benefits, travel, continuing education etc.

I enjoyed your presentation, it was well researched and engaging. I do feel left with a need for looking at the competitors you mentioned or alternatives like elluminate etc, so I’m not 100% sold… this is also due to previous experience using elluminate and watching other mediasite presentations. I’d like to see what the schools are using specifically and how they are using it so you’ve got me thinking! Thanks!

7 Bruce Spencer { 11.27.08 at 9:46 pm }


You seem to have struck the perfect balance between speaking and using visual aids to pitch your venture. That’s particularly important to learners as most would prefer a combination of both rather than just one or the other. Your pamphlet is also helpful in this respect. I also liked how you had someone else direct questions your way so that you to respond and effectively present your pitch all at the same time.

I think Mediasite is what finally sold me on your venture, that and the fact that I can see real value for the technology behind Mediasite in my own venture.

I’m reaching for my checkbook as we speak…

Well done!


8 Sarah Wood { 11.28.08 at 9:17 am }

Thanks all for your feedback and funding recommendations.

In case, you had some free time here I thought I would respond to a few questions raised…

The $8000 per year for “server software” involves the cost of UBC hosting the Mediasite platform on UBC’s server (the cost would be higher for SonicFoundry to host it). The $8000 covers the software, upgrades, maintance and technical support.

In terms of the competition, I tried to “act” as the salesperson for Mediasite and focusses on how Mediasite was “better” than the current video conferecning system. Like many of you, I was surprised that they didn’t have Mediasite (or another alternative in place). Perhaps I should have spent more time looking at the competitors as it would have provided my audience a more complete picture.

Thanks for taking the time once again!

9 David De Pieri { 11.28.08 at 11:15 pm }

Hi Sarah ,

Well done, lots of research has gone into this presentation. You would make a good sales rep for MediaSite. You certainly came to life as the presentation continued. The way you use your hands, you must be part Italian. 🙂

In your Exec. Sum. you mention “Students can review complex material,” provided it’s explained clearly and properly. If not, is there a fear for mis-interpretation…? I wonder about liabilities…? He said, she said…

I don’t know if this was asked… but some small communities have only dial-up, how would this effect streaming issues for MediaSite.

I like the way you started to wrap up with the interviewer (Ryan) asking specifically about each user group. Medical students, instructors, program as a whole and the province, you certainly had enough convincing material and touched on the areas that mattered most.

Very nice… 2 thumbs up.


10 Crystal Pullman { 11.30.08 at 12:46 am }

Hi Sarah!

I think you have a great idea here as well. You’ve definitely seen a specific problem in the community and have found a way to address that issue. I also like how you incorporated your powerpoint slideshow with video.

I believe that mediasite for UBC might be a viable solution, although like others I would be hesitant about streaming video issues in the ‘boondock’s’ (a.k.a. where my home in Ontario is located).

Overall, I think it’s a great idea though!


11 Jagpal Uppal { 11.30.08 at 11:23 am }

Hi Sarah,

Your executive summary was well laid out and looked very professional. As and EVA, I was definately interested in learning more.

I think the product is excellent for distance education and also for guest speakers in traditional classrooms. Many video presentations focus on either the presenter or the PowerPoint, but Mediasite allows viewers to view both.

I also like the idea of archiving lectures, so that students can access them later. I recall asking a UBC prof if I could record his lecture and he said “NO”. He later explained that he was not uncomfortable in front of the camera and did not want to be held liable for something he said incase it wasn’t 100% accurate.

Overall, I loved your idea and think that it has tremendous potential! NICE WORK!


12 Michael Peterson { 11.30.08 at 9:51 pm }


Congratulations on a great proposal – your pitch was top of my list!

I created a weighted score for four areas of the presentations I reviewed. Your scores below:
Considered Solution: 23.5/25
Good Problem: 22/25
Informed Player: 25/30
Managed Problems: 18/20

I thought your grasp of the comparative benefits of Mediasite were well researched and well presented. The need for doctors, and need for satellite medical training sites was an interesting angle – this specific use for distributed learning tech helped make the case much stronger than it would otherwise have been; I’m sure I would have tried to sell Mediasite to generic consumers with much less success.

Including other major academic clients gave your pitch lots of credibility, as did your presentation of Mediasites position in the market. Your finance sheet was well presented.

It’s not clear how you would profit from UBC’s adoption of the technology, but I imagine you could approach this either as a consultant with a technology solution or as a rep for the software provider.

I work at UBC, and though I’d have no say or influence on the purchase, I’d be happy to chat about how your proposal might move forward at the university.

Great work!

13 Deepika Sharma { 12.01.08 at 8:28 am }


I know this is a little after deadline time, but I just managed to view your video – all of it – this is my first successful video viewing in these reviews as I was experiencing a slowdown of sorts in broadband services this past week!

Your pitch was picture perfect – should I say! I like the idea and as a matter of fact see a synergy between your venture and mine. I could do with some remore coaching for my BPOs as well!

Well done! I liked the intermittent slide show to recapitulate key points – that really helps! You ahve this EVA’s buy-in.



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