Never Waste a Crisis: How Varsity Tutors Accelerated Product Development to Keep Children Educated During the Pandemic and Beyond

By early 2020, 13-year-old Varsity Tutors was strongly positioned as the largest live learning platform in the U.S., dedicated to connecting students and professionals with personalized instruction.

Then the pandemic impacted demand, due to social distancing and parents balancing home-schooling children and working from home. After taking quick action to ensure business continuity, Varsity Tutors went back on offense, expanding its offerings to support customers who were adopting technology at a fast pace.

The company moved its core tutoring business entirely online, vastly increased small class offerings, and introduced new options such as free live large classes. Customers responded enthusiastically and Varsity Tutors kept innovating, with virtual summer camps, engaging content delivered by celebrities, and a new program, School@Home, that can fully replace conventional schooling — including accreditation consultation, so pupils can advance to the next grade. What began as a crisis had become a crucible of creativity.

In the latest episode of Growth Journeys, Heidi Robinson, Chief Product Officer at Varsity Tutors, and TCV Principal Beth Knuppel explore a range of topics that can spark ideas for product leaders everywhere:

  • How to successfully rally and redirect talent into new responsibilities.
  • How to “predict the weather” in times of high uncertainty, so you can develop the right products at the right time.
  • Why looking at your business-like Lego® blocks can unlock greater flexibility and adaptability.
  • Principles for successful product design and development in an increasingly virtual world.
  • Why using your own products is the best way to understand your customers.

For all this and much more, settle back and press play.

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