Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com Talks About Future of Learning Online (Video)


To Lynda Weinman, it’s funny that the online learning site she and her husband founded in 1995 suddenly seems like an overnight success.

“Yes, only two decades in the making,” she joked at a lunch I had with her last week.

But there certainly has been a big buzz around Lynda.com — named after Weinman — after the Carpinteria, Calif., company raised $103 million a month ago in its first major funding. And, last week, as part of a major expansion globally using that money, it bought Austria-based video2brain to add to its online course offerings in a range of computer and other skills, in a number of European languages.

It’s all part of the plan to dominate the continuing education market, and to bring 60 more employees and a pile of lessons to a service that competes with a range of others, such as Codecademy and Treehouse in the business and computer learning space. Currently, Lynda has 83,000 videos in 1,500 courses, and close to 500 employees.

Unlike many hot startups, Lynda.com has been profitable for a long time, making more than $100 million in revenue annually from subscriptions from a range of customer groups, including individuals, companies, schools and the U.S. government.

That has meant a lot of inbound interest from large companies interested in acquiring Lynda.com, which thus far have been rebuffed.

Here’s Weinman — who is refreshingly direct and grounded — talking about the company and trends in online learning in a video interview I did with her:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work