Chapter 76: The first step to an empire
Xu Tingsheng did not expand on the matter in detail after having mentioned it to Old Wai. This idea had actually only just sprung up all of a sudden within his mind. He had yet to think deeply on a specific plan of action regarding it.
It was actually Old Wai and Li Linlin who had inspired Xu Tingsheng to think of this. Li Linlin was a home tutor, while in actual fact, in this era, many other university students, girls especially, were doing home tutoring as well in order to supplement their required expenses or as a form of self-tempering.
Due to the occurrence of the earlier ‘imprisonment case’, safety concerns had become the greatest fear of student home tutors and even some of the parents who were hiring home tutors. It was also due to such a fear that Old Wai and Li Linlin had quarrelled earlier.
Old Wai who was familiar with programming wanted to find a job, Li Linlin wanted to be a home tutor and the safety issue for home tutors…These thing combined had inspired Xu Tingsheng in coming up with such a concept.
Having returned to the riverside residence that night, Xu Tingsheng spent the entire night carefully analysing and sorting out these thoughts of his.
New Oriental was the best case that he could refer to. Currently, New Oriental might still be far from having achieved its esteemed future reputation, and Mister Yu might still have yet to begin frequently ascending various stages, becoming the ideal tutor in the minds of countless people. However, it was currently in the midst of becoming a massive entity in the field of education, achieving huge strides by the day.
Xu Tingsheng remembered that New Oriental would be listed in America’s markets in the year 2006, which was just 3 years later.
The educational services of New Oriental were catered more for university students as their focus lay with foreign exchange students as well as the learning of professional skills. Xu Tingsheng did not believe that he possessed the ability to contend with it in this regard.
Also, his advantage did not lie here.
From what Xu Tingsheng remembered, there was a market that was not inferior to university-level courses in the least, perhaps even surpassing it. This consisted of additional courses for primary and secondary school students, tutoring courses which encompassed the relevant knowledge of junior and senior high, speciality courses for primary school students and kindergarteners etcetera.
This market seemed to always have been in a state of constant entropy, like scattered troops randomly playing guerilla warfare as they just did whatever they wanted. Whether an educational company, an individual or a training institute, all of these had been limited in terms of geographical bounds.
Before 2015, no single massive entity had appeared within this market in the truest sense of the term.
Xu Tingsheng wanted to be this massive entity, making use of the power of the internet age to break through geographical bounds and establish a mighty educational empire.
He would have an advantage in doing all these till the year 2015, even though he would have to make sure not to show off this advantage too blatantly.
Naught are more useless than the scholarly man? …Having been a teacher for 4 years in his previous life and indulged in the field of education for half a lifetime, Xu Tingsheng felt that this statement might be an erroneous one. This market was actually vast to the point of inconceivability, and as had been shown by Mister Yu, this…could be done by scholars, perhaps even could only truly be done by scholars.
Knowing the trends in education that would be coming over the next ten years and more, what Xu Tingsheng could do…was perhaps even more.
Xu Tingsheng had found his new direction, which was also a direction that he himself was truly interested in. His lofty plans for Hucheng Education ran far and deep, just that for now, there was still not actually much that he could do.
He would first establish a platform, cultivate a consumer base and refine the consumer experience, thereby establishing a suitable high-efficiency operation mechanism for the platform. For the time being, his experiment would be limited solely to the city of Yanzhou.
Xu Tingsheng did not reveal to Old Wai the great future scenery that he envisioned. When he found Old Wai the next day, it was through the framework of a home tutoring platform that he explained his idea to him.
“If it’s really just a dual-choice platform as you say, it actually won’t be very difficult to program at all. I’ll get my Master and some senior disciples to help, and we should be able to get you a workable platform within half a month’s time. The problem lies with…there’re so many intermediary organisations outside, and there’re people in the school who’re doing it as well. With parents also being unfamiliar with and unused to such a medium…I’m afraid that we might not get any clientele.”
Old Wai revealed his worries.
Xu Tingsheng laughed, “Let me worry about the advertising and promotion. I think that we have a few advantages over those intermediary organisations that you speak of. First is convenience-just going onto the internet is fine. Other than that, we also have things that they don’t, such as an evaluation function and a star rating system. Also…we’re safe, trustworthy, free…”
“Right, currently free for both sides. Thereafter, it will forever be free for all the home tutors, at least…” Xu Tingsheng did not tell Old Wai all of what he intended.
Actually, he had never intended or even considered earning money as an intermediary in the first place. What he currently wanted was just a consumer base as well as the refinement of the consumer experience.
“This investment isn’t as great as you think. I can afford to burn that money,” Xu Tingsheng elaborated.
Hearing Xu Tingsheng say this, Old Wai had nothing else to say. During the treated meal last time, he had heard Xu Tingsheng personally admitting that he came from the poorest county of one of the poorest cities in Jianhai Province, his family cultivating the land and running a small store…On that day, he had even shamelessly evaded the bill.
However, from their later interactions, Old Wai had vaguely been able to feel that Xu Tingsheng might not actually be that poor kid that everyone thought him to be. While he was very casual in terms of food and clothing, he was always very generous with his spending as he never shrunk back on treating his classmates to a meal or something along that line. Even Old Wai’s medical fees this time had first been footed by him. Also, he had rented a house outside the university, and bought a computer…all of which seemed to have been accomplished with relative ease…
Now, Xu Tingsheng had said: This investment isn’t as great as you think. I can afford to burn that money.
Old Wai found that his estimate of Xu Tingsheng had still been too shallow. Then, since Xu Tingsheng had already made up his mind, he would naturally be happy to go along with it. Let alone the fact that he possessed some great, inexplicable confidence in Xu Tingsheng, even if he didn’t, just that debt of gratitude from a few days ago already made it such that he would definitely be helping him regardless.
“It’s okay now, Xu Tingsheng’s come.”
Old Wai had said these words to Li Linlin at the time, but actually, he had been saying them to himself as well. These words had contained feelings of trust, gratitude…these words would forever remain within the minds of Old Wai and Li Linlin.
Afterwards, Xu Tingsheng explained to Old Wai in detail regarding his ideas and requirements for the platform.
He wanted to establish a dual-choice platform.
Firstly, the students or other members of society who were seeking home tutoring jobs should reveal some necessary information about themselves, such as the most basic name, household register, identity number, student number and so on…Of course, a privacy function could be used for this portion of the information. Other than the administrators of the platform, such information of both parties would only be revealed to the two sides once they had basically corresponded in their inclinations towards each other.
They had to openly display their university, course of study, certificates, university entrance examination results and so on, all of which had to be provable.
Afterwards would be the display of the home tutors’ achievements. Xu Tingsheng planned to establish a star rating system in this area as an evaluative tool, allowing the parents to make more informed choices on the one hand whilst also firmly tying the home tutors to his ‘battlefleet’ at the same time.
Xu Tingsheng had been imitating Taobao’s system in this.
With trustworthiness and safety in mind, the information from the parents’ side was clearly somewhat more important. The information on the parents and the students would have to be incomparably detailed. For example, the parents would have to reveal their job positions as well as the information on their identity cards and household registers and also the school, class and student number of their child.
Of course, part of this information could be kept private as well, only available to the platform administrators and the home tutors towards whom they were inclined.
With this as a foundation, the home tutors would display their hiring information while the parents would display what their child required in a dual-choice system.
Currently, there were actually only three people involved in this plan of Xu Tingsheng’s. He was involved in dishing out money and the promotion of the platform, Old Wai was involved in the technical stuff while Li Linlin was in charge of the backend.
Of course, this was just for the time being. In consideration of their future development, Xu Tingsheng intended to rent the entire unoccupied third storey of the riverside residence he lived in as the future office for Hucheng Education.
After instructing Old Wai clearly on all this, Xu Tingsheng took out thirty thousand yuan.
“This, isn’t it a little too much?” Old Wai asked.
“I already said that I would give you and Linlin salaries…of course, your salaries are not that high. It’s mainly for your Master and senior disciples-we can’t just let them work for nothing. How to give it, how much to give, you do as you deem fit…I trust you,” Xu Tingsheng patted Old Wai’s shoulder.
Old Wai and Li Linlin were to be the first people to join Xu Tingsheng’s business team following that small initial group of his. He possessed sufficient understanding of these two people’s characters. Use not who you doubt, doubt not who you use.