Case Detail

Case Summary

MentorMob and the Reinvention of Learning

Case Number: 5-311-503, Year Published: 2011

HBS Number: KEL627

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Authors: Shane Greenstein; Josh Polhans; Micheline Sabatte

Key Concepts

Business Plans, Business Policy, Competitive Strategy, E-Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Growth Strategy, Information Technology, Innovation, Social Media

Abstract

MentorMob had sprung from the passions—for web development and for online communities—of the company’s co-founders, Kris Chinosorn (CEO) and Vince Leung (COO). The company pursued the ambitious goals of reinventing the way people learn and becoming the world’s utility for learning about anything. The website leveraged a crowdsourcing model for information sharing, teaching, and learning. By enabling participants to learn—and to crowdsource from each other while learning—the site sought to both engage users at different stages of learning and to develop a compelling experience unobtainable without a crowd.

Chinosorn and Leung needed to prioritize in order to achieve the growth and scale needed to become world’s utility for learning. What should they do next to keep MentorMob’s growth on track? What issues should get their greatest attention?

Learning Objectives

The case examines the issues involved with a startup seeking to commercialize a disruptive new idea in the Web 2.0 space, and it looks at the earliest stages of growth and formation as a for-profit company. It introduces students to concepts typically found in the Web 2.0 world today and demonstrates how they work in a setting common among entrepreneurial startups. The case illustrates key concepts of crowdsourcing and community management of online platforms. It also examines many of the challenges faced by a startup in this space as the site attempts to begin the virtuous cycle of growth among the online communities it manages.

Number of Pages: 11

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Strategy

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Industry: Online Learning, Web 2.0

Organization Name: MentorMob

Organization Department: Entrepreneurial Setup

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Founders

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2011