BS found out about Learnology through the old reliable grapevine that is Facebook. I didn’t mind him knowing about it though. I wasn’t hiding it at all. He was (note the use of the past tense) a Facebook friend of mine, and I would share Learnology stuff on my page all the time, usually annoying the fuck out of my Facebook friends in the process. So, why didn’t I care if he knew about it? Because I had clearly asked him and Sean to be involved, and they turned it down.
However, as soon as BS saw the awesome, state of the art website that PWD had developed for Learnology, the line-up of teachers we had put together, the pictures of all the students in the classroom on our launch day etc. etc., he threw the biggest hissy fit ever known to humankind.
I received a barrage of emails and a torrent of abuse asking what the situation was. He claimed that I was ‘going off’ with the developer of another online grinds website and had set up a business that was in direct competition with OnlineGrinds.ie.
Here is one of the beautifully worded and stunningly formatted emails that BS sent me in relation to my starting Learnology (click to enlarge):
Learnology was no more in competition with OnlineGrinds.ie than Crayola chalk was in competition with Kilmeaden cheese. Indeed, according to the shareholder’s agreement to which he refers, the definition of the business of OnlineGrinds.ie was as follows:
As you can see, the definition of the business of OnlineGrinds.ie is as precise and to the point as can be. It doesn’t even mention the word grinds or grind schools. It relates solely to online tuition and broadcasting platforms. Quick question: Had I set up another business providing online tuition that had broadcasting platforms? I think not. I had set up a grinds school with no online or broadcasting elements whatsoever.
Incidentally, as stated in an earlier chapter, a business plan entitled ‘Proposal for Survival’ was sent to Sean on Wednesday 3rd July 2013. I guess BS was simply suffering from partial amnesia the day he sent that email, and the memory of him resigning as director of the company (which would result in him no longer having any say in the running of the company) had simply slipped his mind? Maybe our dwarves were plagued by a clan of brownies like in the movie Willow. Didn’t these brownies have some form of potion that could make you forget stuff? Yes, maybe somehow the brownies had come into contact with BS and had managed to put some amnesia potion into his earl grey tea. That MUST be the reason. It’s the most plausible reason I can think of, anyway.
Just so you are sure it was BS who was given the amnesia potion, and not I, below is a screenshot of the email I sent Sean with the ‘Proposal for Survival’ Business Plan attached:
So what was up with BS? Why did he appear to be in extreme agony? Was he giving birth to a miniature BS? Were the Brownies attacking him with their teeny weeny spears? What ailed him, at all at all? My guess is that he was now beginning to regret not having listened to me about the traditional grind school idea, now that he could see that Learnology was going to be a success.
Going a layer deeper still, maybe he was really pissed off with himself for having stated that he was no longer willing to do any work in the company, making it impossible for us to set up Learnology under the auspices of OnlineGrinds.ie, in any case.
Whatever way you look at it, one thing’s for sure, BS was extremely, exceptionally, extraordinarily, exceedingly JEALOUS. On the count of three, everybody say awwwwww 1………. 2……….3 (click below):
At this point I want to reiterate one thing very clearly, and for emphasis I will make it bold, CAPITALISED, AND THIS TIME IN AN FABULOUS SHADE OF MAROON:
I HAD INTENDED TO CONTINUE WORKING ON ONLINEGRINDS.IE (AS WELL AS LEARNOLOGY.IE) AND WAS INTENT ON MAKING THE TWO COMPANIES SUCCESSFUL
Just because I was working away on Learnology.ie, this didn’t mean that I had left OnlineGrinds.ie behind. In fact, I was still intent on pursuing the next available option. Option B (the broadband provider deal) didn’t work out, Option D (the traditional grinds school idea) was turned down (but I proceeded in any case with a new team), but there was still one option remaining; Option B (the freemium model of online grinds).
It would work a bit like Spotify where the grinds would be free to all and made possible by advertising. Free grinds would work better because (a) parents wouldn’t pay for online grinds in the first place, and (b) the inevitable tech issues would be tolerated as the service is free. My biggest concern, which I made abundantly clear to my partners, was that we did not have the technical capability of developing such a site. BS would not be able to do something like this. It would be like an ant trying to climb Mount Everest (SL).
I sent a proposal to the whole team this time (yes I guess I was feeling sorry for BS that day), but raised a serious concern that we didn’t have the technical capability to do something like this (which we hadn’t). A developer who specialised in websites of the vintage movement, fashionable and all as they may be, would not be able to come up with something like this.
The first person to reply to my proposal was BS. Here is his exact email:
The only acknowledgement of my new idea was that ‘technology wouldn’t be the issue’. There was no discussion apart from this. The focus of his email shifted firmly back to my association with Learnology.ie. This email amazed me to the point that I fell off my chair (again). I think ‘dumbfounded’ would be the most apt word to describe how I felt on receipt of this email. But why was I so gob smacked? Was it because his email was all about Learnology, Learnology, Learnology and because almost no attention had been given to the freemium idea? Meh.
The aspect of the email that I found much much much much much much more shocking (in a tremendously good, and most surprising way), was that BS had actually managed to write an email that contained only 2 lines. This was unprecedented. He had clearly beaten his personal best for the shortest email ever written in all time. What a feat. I was willing to buy this man a pint. This was an achievement worthy of celebration.
Realising however, that this email was very out of character, an aberration as it were, BS sent a second email a few minutes later. I can’t include his entire email here however, as I don’t think WordPress would have enough space on their server to include it all, but here is the general gist:
Yeah, I hear what you are saying, focus shifted back to Learnology again. As you can see, it got to the point that no matter what ideas I came up with to grow OnlineGrinds.ie, they were all shot down on the basis of my involvement with Learnology. Of course I have my suspicions that this may have been an attempt to cover up the fact that he would not be able to develop the freemium site. In any case, whether he had the wherewithal to develop the site or not is secondary, as he had already stated that he wasn’t going to do any more work for the company.
So, getting ever so slightly annoyed with BS now, I sent him an email saying that he needed to forget about my involvement with Learnology and that it was quite literally none of his business. I told him that we can’t let Learnology distract us from progressing OnlineGrinds.ie. Below is his response:
So, he had now confirmed a second time, that he was no longer going to carry out any ‘non critical work’. Note that he neglected to define exactly what non critical work was. As far as I was concerned, all his work was critical. He was the tech partner in a tech company, for fuck sake.
It now got to the point where BS was actually preventing me from furthering OnlineGrinds.ie. He had said he was no longer going to do any work, and whenever I came up with any new ideas for how we could get OnlineGrinds.ie out of the shit pit it was in, and into profitability, he would ignore these and perpetually focus on my involvement with Learnology. Needless to say we got nowhere with my idea of a freemium online grinds website. 3 options tried, 3 options failed.
Oh and guess what, in January 2014, an e-learning company called Alison entered the leaving cert grinds market with free online grinds, made possible by advertising. My freemium model idea was proposed back in the summer of 2013. Again, while I am not trying to blow my own trumpet, trombone or french horn, this was the second time that BS made the mistake of not listening to me.
Next Chapter – Chapter 14: Let’s Get Dirty