326: How Skillshare Co-Founder Malcolm Ong Has Transformed Multiple Industries—From Education To Media

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Malcolm Ong has never shied away from change. In fact, his ability to adapt is what has given him a front-row seat to multiple business transformations—first as the co-founder of education platform Skillshare to now as the Head of Product at South China Morning Post.

After launching Skillshare in 2010, Ong led the business through a significant pivot—from being a completely offline, in-person model to one that’s now membership-based and 100% online. In the process, he also witnessed the massive growth of the online education industry, which has only been sped up by the Covid-19 pandemic.

After leaving Skillshare, Ong joined South China Morning Post, a global, English-language news media company owned by Alibaba. His job has been to transform this company from a traditional, local newspaper into a more modern, global media empire. A task that he has exceeded, as he’s grown their number of monthly active users from 4 million to over 50 million and significantly expanded the outlet’s readership beyond Asia.

In this conversation, Ong gives us a deeper dive into these milestones throughout his fascinating career and shares his best recommendations on how to transform a business. If there’s any other type of content you’d like to see that would be valuable to you during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out at support@foundr.com.

Key Takeaways
  • Why Ong decided to tackle the education industry
  • How Skillshare launched as a 100% offline education platform
  • What contributed to Skillshare’s success
  • The scalability issues that Skillshare faced, and how this led to the company transitioning online
  • Ong’s advice when it comes to pivoting your business
  • Why Ong eventually left Skillshare in 2016
  • What intrigued Ong about the job offer from South China Morning Post (SCMP)
  • Ong’s experience living in Hong Kong, and how it has given him the front seat to many historical events
  • How Ong has helped SCMP transform from being a traditional media company to a cutting-edge product and customer-focused business
  • Ong’s advice to entrepreneurs about trying on different hats
Key Resources From Our Interview With Malcom Ong

334 episodes