Don Spear: CEO & Co-founder
Venture name: Open Sesame
Description of the Venture:
Open Sesame provides an online marketplace for buying and selling SCORM e-learning courses. The company was founded in 2011 on the idea of aggregating e-learning content from respected publishers and resources, and being able to embed/share that content in a learning management system (LMS). In 2014 the company raised another round of funding to create a corporate content delivery platform modeled after iTunes.
I’ve personally used this platform recently in a corporate Organizational Learning context and it does work similar to iTunes in that we (the company) paid an annual subscription cost and had access to search/browse their marketplace of SCORM e-learning, which we could then import to our corporate LMS. We used these eLearning resources to supplement individual learning plans and continuous improvement of employees
BIO & Analysis:
According to LinkedIn, Don Spear’s educational background is in Electrical Engineering and Economics; he also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He’s been a board member in several companies throughout the last 26 years and co-founder of another EdTech company called BlueTech LLC.
In an interview from 2011 (the year the company was founded) Don describes his goal to “…make learning and development accessible, easy and affordable for everyone, everywhere.” (Spear, in Schulzke) and also recommends the book “The Daily Drucker” by Peter Drucker for advise on management decisions and understanding the relationship between long term goals and every day actions.
The other co-founders include: Joshua Blank, Tom Turnbull, and Aaron Bridges, who each bring technology/software development expertise, business development and engineering/design experience. Almost all of the co-founders have been involved in start-ups previous to OpenSesame.
The biographical information on OpenSesame’s site states “With over 30 years of experience starting, building, and investing in companies, Don enjoys creating companies that disrupt the conventional industry model.” Don Spear seems significantly more business oriented than inventor or educator, but he cleverly partners with individuals who have complementary expertise. (ie: In this example, his 3 co-founders)
When I think of myself as an entrepreneur, I am more aligned (I think) with the likes of Padlet’s CEO Nitesh Goel and have very little in common with Don Spear. However, I see how I would likely need to partner with someone like Don, for business acumen, experience and networking. Completing this research into Don Spear HAS piqued my interest in the book he recommended 11 years ago, The Daily Drucker.
Don Spear. OpenSesame. (n.d.). https://www.opensesame.com/site/blog/team/don-spear/.
Don Spear. (n.d.). Home [LinkedInpage]. LinkedIn. Retreived May 30, 2021, from: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donspear/
Schulzke, Mario, and Mario SchulzkeMario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch. “Meet the Founders of OpenSesame.” Ideamensch, 7 Dec. 2019, ideamensch.com/open-sesame/.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2020, June 6). OpenSesame Inc. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenSesame_Inc.