"Blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty" (Hoffman, R. & Yeh, C., 2018).
The global pandemic was the critical juncture for tech compaies and venture capitalists to aggressively invest and influence every aspect of education including the way we thik about education as a public value. The so-called ‘venture philanthropy’ or ‘philanthrocapitalists’ like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (Baltodano, 2017) take new digital reform approaches to education and aggressively “‘scaled up’ to other geographical, social, and demographic sites” (Williamson, 2017, p. 265). Digital innovations are driving the birth of multi-billion-dollar industries in education.
The striking number reflects what a former LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman, calls “blitzscaling,” a term derived from the ‘blitzkrieg’ used by the Nazi’s World War II strategy, a business technique that allows massive scaling at lightning speed “in order to seize the ground before competitors do” (O’Reilly, 2019). It capitalizes on uncertainty to obtain first mover advantage, and prioritizes speed over efficiency at the expense of potential risks and failure, to maximize speed and growth (Hoffman, R., & Yeh, C. 2018).
During the time of massive uncertainty, the aforementioned EdTech businesses, particularly those within Silicon Valley, have been among the most profitable in global markets, comprising the top 1% of the world’s capital. Against such a backdrop, EdTech world has grown ever more significantly, at a dramatic speed, in the best interest of those businesses and platforms seeking profits rather than focusing on providing child-centered learning tools and space. Children have now become some of the most easily targeted, commodified data points in the EdTech world. This is why we must consider child-rights based guidelines and policies regarding this multi-billion dollar industry.
Sonia Livingstone, Kruakae Pothong, “Data: a new direction” – a child rights response