December 2, 2023
Teachable, the go-to platform for thriving creators to turn their knowledge into scalable businesses, is excited to announce Mark Haseltine as its new Chief Product & Technology Officer. A seasoned leader and technologist, Mark has built and led technology teams at edX, GoDaddy, and more. Most recently, he served as Chief Product & Technology Officer at RepTrak.
Mark joins Teachable’s growing team at a pivotal moment in time for the broader creator economy. Today, it’s estimated that 50 million people around the world identify as creators, and entrepreneurship is booming. Teachable’s trusted, customizable, and flexible platform enables this growing group of creators to easily transform their knowledge and passions into thriving businesses. Under Mark’s leadership, the company will continue to innovate its product to best serve creators’ changing needs — from a seamless course launching experience for first-timers, to best-in-class monetization tools to help creators maximize their earning potential.
Read on for Mark’s thoughts on the changing creator landscape, what sets Teachable apart, the key to a successful product team, and more. And, if you’d like to join the team and help creators share their knowledge with millions of students worldwide, check out Teachable’s open roles here.
It’s reported that upwards of 50M people worldwide identify as creators. Where does Teachable fit within this growing economy?
Amid a booming creator economy and online learning market, Teachable’s mission has never been more relevant for the millions of people worldwide looking to turn their knowledge into scalable businesses. These creators are seeking new, and better, ways to monetize their passions and more directly connect with their students. Teachable ensures creators feel in control of their content and brand, while also equipping them with best-in-class tools to manage and grow their businesses. In fact, in 2021, we saw a roughly 15% increase in creators earning more than $70K annually — a testament to the platform’s ability to enable creators to make a healthy income full-time.
Why do you think we’re seeing such a global spike in the creator profession?
The last few years have been particularly interesting for the creator economy. In addition to the sheer increase in self-identified creators, we’ve seen a surge in the number of people looking to explore entrepreneurship. For example, a record 5.4 million Americans applied for business ID numbers in 2021. Simultaneously, we’ve heard continued talk of workers experiencing burnout and seeking a way to make a living that’s more aligned with their values and skills. On Teachable, creators have the tools to build a business they believe in, while maintaining full control over their content and brand. Add in the growing adoption of online learning, and Teachable’s mission has never been more relevant to such a large group of individuals.
How do you define the term creator, and what do Teachable creators look like, specifically?
Creators on Teachable are an incredibly diverse group. Geographically, they’re located around the world, with schools in nearly every country, teaching on nearly every topic. What’s more, half of our top ten schools in 2021 were owned by women and 30% were owned by people of color. The throughline that connects each of our creators is that they’re looking to transform their knowledge and skills into businesses. In that way, you can also think of them as entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Let’s dig into the Teachable platform. What sets Teachable apart?
First and foremost, Teachable was one of the earliest entrants in our space. Our brand is strong, and trusted by tens of thousands of active creators and tens of millions of students globally. Unlike ‘marketplace’ solutions, Teachable creators are in full control of their content, brand, audience, and monetization strategy. We also offer flexible, built-in tools to help creators scale — from our intuitive curriculum builder and comprehensive sales tools, to our built-in payments system and easy-to-use third party integrations. Plus, the platform is wrapped in education and personalized guidance, thanks to Teachable’s bespoke private community, tailored programming, and best-in-class customer success team.
What principles guide Teachable’s product strategy?
A good product organization is guided by a clear, motivational product vision. That vision directly translates into a strategy for identifying problems to solve. We use product discovery to choose the best approach for solving those problems, and then product delivery to bring solutions to the market.
A product strategy is essential to making the right choices as an organization. I’m a big fan of the Silicon Valley Product Group’s approach to product strategy, which translates into four steps: choosing the most important areas of focus, collecting insights you can leverage to drive impact, converting those insights into actions, and ensuring your organization stays focused. This approach will work wonders for us at Teachable as we remain close to our creators and make decisions on the future of our product suite.
What can we expect from the Teachable platform in 2022 to help advance the company’s mission of enabling the transformative power of knowledge in the world?
By and large, we’re thinking of how we can advance our mission in two ways. First, we’re continuing to stay incredibly close to our creators — their needs, desires, and goals. There’s always an opportunity to bring their evolving experiences even more front and center, particularly as the creator economy heats up. In practice, this means really honing in on how to best serve creators at every stage of their course creation journey, and equipping them with the relevant tools to maximize their earning potential and impact.
The challenges of creators today look a lot different than they did in 2013 when Teachable launched. It’s our job to know, understand, and solve for these pain points — strategically and creatively. Second, now is a particularly exciting time for the education space within the creator economy. There’s a huge opportunity to deliver truly dynamic learning experiences to creators and their students — one’s that are intuitive, flexible, customizable, and reflective of the new ways people best teach and learn in an increasingly online world.
As a seasoned tech and product leader, what do you believe to be the keys to a successful team?
First and foremost, as a leader, there’s nothing more important I can be doing than helping add to the Teachable braintrust. This is accomplished by attracting and retaining the best possible people. Largely, these are people who are passionate about online education, customer obsessed, and get satisfaction out of seeing our creators succeed and thrive. I often think about what John Doerr says about successful leaders and their teams: we need teams of missionaries, not mercenaries. This type of mindset helps to keep us close to our customers — tens of thousands of active creators — and the value we bring to their lives and their millions of students’ lives.
Teachable is a no-code platform for creators who want to build a more impactful business through courses, coaching, downloadable content, and community. With Teachable, creators can engage their online audiences and get paid — on their own terms. Today, tens of thousands of creators use Teachable to share their knowledge and, to date, have reached more than 46 million students around the world. To learn more, visit teachable.com.