Thursday, January 09, 2014

How Seriously Should We Take inBloom's Ambition?

One thing I was trying to suggest in inBloom Underpants Gnomes this morning is on one level, inBloom is just another startup with delusions of grandeur. I don't have any particular problem with states running data warehouses, in fact, if I was hurled back in time and restarted SchoolTool, I would seriously consider making it a data warehouse instead of an SIS. But let's be clear, what inBloom sees itself as creating is not just another state-level data warehouse -- they want one big data bucket for the whole nation, with an emphasis on making it easy for states and districts to give vendors permission to access data. If that is how existing products work -- particularly putting all the data for all their customers in one "bucket" -- I'd be surprised.

Also, in the past 10 years, we've seen a lot of things come to fruition in education that seemed pretty damned hare-brained and implausible when we first heard about them, and they took a good run at getting the inBloom horse out of the barn before anybody knew what was up. I'm certainly glad that Leonie Haimson and others did run around with their hair on fire and bolted the barn door.

Finally, I actually trust a business offering a clearly defined service to a customer in exchange for a reasonable profit more than a non-profit with mixed motives.

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