An ambitious student who aspires to learn from a premier institute, finds himself handling his skeptical father’s small business. But his thirst for learning is strong and he is determined to acquire knowledge somehow. He learns all he can from “IIN”, instead of an IIT, and manages to build a drone all by himself. This is what kicked off the famous (or infamous depending on the way you look at it) series of advertisements released by Idea Cellular Ltd, otherwise known as the IIN (Idea Internet Network) ad series. While the ads themselves were contentious in nature, it did highlight a very pertinent issue that has been plaguing education and learning in India since millennia – the lack of affordable and accessible quality learning.
A rising nation in its quest for excellence
There is a wave of optimism across the nation. While Indian citizens are encouraged to ‘Make in India’, it is also imperative that they are shown how. In this quest towards excellence, it is applicable knowledge alone that will prove to be the greatest asset in our armory. And with India boasting of the largest youth population in the world, a scalable solution has to be found to equip these young minds with the learning and skills that they deserve. A solution that does not discriminate the learner based on gender, ethnicity or location. A solution that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket nor does it make ambitious students compete to get access to quality education and opportunities.
Such a concept of ‘Learning without constraints’ is exactly what our small team of youngsters are striving very hard to establish. We have taken it up as our life’s goal to help revolutionize Indian learning for the better, in every way we possibly can. And when the IIN ads hit idiot boxes across the country, we sensed an opportunity to take our initiative to the masses. But it was only recently that we tried our luck at riding on IIN’s popularity and growth hacked our way to attract 18000visitors to our website in just 7 days.
But before that, here’s what drives us everyday
We are ChalkStreet.com, an India specific online marketplace for affordable courses ranging from Kickboxing to Competitive Examinations Prep and from Cooking to Programming. We aspire to bring the best of learning straight to the households in India, at an affordable price. The Internet, being a great leveler and arguably the only possible way of achieving the scale that we seek, is our automatic platform of operation. While helping people rediscover the Joy of Learning is our primary sphere of concern, we want to achieve this by empowering the country’s unsung heroes – the millions of teachers who inspire a billion others on a daily basis. So when you come to www.chalkstreet.com, you will be able to take up online courses from India’s best teachers and acquire and build skills that will help you with your academics, your career or your daily life.
How we growth hacked by riding on IIN’s advertisements
When we did our research on exactly how viral the concept of ‘IIN’ was, we were in for a shock. The keyword ‘IIN’ along with its variations and groups were searched over 5,50,000 times on Google Search in the month of May alone. Various social media websites and blogs were awash with queries like “Where are the courses by IIN?”, “Where do I register for IIN?”, “Is IIN the best place to learn?”; which clearly reflected the fact that a lot of people were misled by the IIN ads. There were others who weren’t all that unassuming and they sought to troll the IIN ads in every which way possible. To sum it up, there was a lot of noise about IIN, for all possible reasons, and there we were, staring at a rare opportunity.
We decided to launch www.iinonline.in. It took 7 of us and 1 day to build this website – a one stop source for IIN reviews, trolls and trivia. While on one hand, we wanted to enjoy potential free traffic from IIN’s popularity and help people smirk at Idea’s idiocy, on the other we wanted to create awareness about IIN just being a marketing gimmick and to try and help people actually learn what they wanted to in the first place. We redirected aspiring learners to www.chalkstreet.com where they could benefit from the many online courses (most of them free) hosted on our platform.
This growth hacking effort turned out to be a phenomenal success when considering the amount of efforts put in. In less than a week, we got numerous visitors with a major chunk of them redirected to ChalkStreet. IINonline.in continues to gainin popularityeach passing day. We hope to continue benefitting from it while the IIN craze lasts, and get learners closer to meeting their learning needs.
How do we feel about using piggybacking on IINs popularity?
Not quite bad, actually! For all the hue and cry about learning at IIN, what Idea put up on its Youtube channel was just one lesson – Learn Astronomy in 60 secs. Enough said. One can follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Cat3gFc20, learn a quick lesson on the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse, and congratulate oneself for becoming an astronomer. Don’t forget to check out the comments either. Any possible remorse for launching iinonline.in was lost. There were many people out there who were genuinely seeking help from an ‘IIN’ only to be fed with bigger lies (~reminiscing about the ‘No UlluBanaoing’ campaign~). Riding on IIN’s popularity has since not perturbed us as we continue to find ways in which we can serve a knowledge seeking public. We also have plans in place to add a section on iinonline.in which can actually help people learn the kind of skills promised through the IIN ads.
While Idea Cellular did attempt to take the country for a ride through the marketing of the IIN ads, it inadvertently helped bring attention to online learning and the immense benefits that it holds. If not by truly upholding the cause of learning by hosting a platform for sharing knowledge, IIN did itself proud by showing people that it is possible for anyone to learn online. We at ChalkStreet want to actualize what the IIN ads promise, we aim to redefine the way knowledge is imparted in our beloved India. We believe that for India to reach its true potential, it is imperative that our youth make learning new skills a lifelong habit. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
– Mr. Venkat Raghulan