Scott Annan was frustrated with the lack of connection between authors and learners when he set out to create Accel.io, an online platform for creating interactive guides viewable across an array of devices.
Accel.io is different from eBooks in that it is much more interactive. Annan explains that “with an eBook, you get a “story” or narrative of things you should do, with text and images. With a course you get a series of lectures and specific activities to do to “prove” you understand. But with our guides you get a step-by-step process that is actually used by a successful author – with text, videos, file templates – everything you need to do it yourself.”
Annan first tested the market with StartupPlays, a site that offered Accel.io guides to help budding entrepreneurs build their first startup. The user response was astounding. Annan and his team sold over 10,000 guides with very positive feedback from their customers. With Accel.io guides being a new way to consume content, Annan says that it “took many iterations on pricing, format, and subjects, but we learned a lot in the process.”
Annan is no stranger to rallying the appropriate resources to help build Accel.io. In Ottawa, Canada, where Annan and Accel.io are based, Annan’s involvement in his local startup community is that of a leader. He ran a small accelerator last year and has brought together his community to provide mentorship and direction to cultivate a strong community in multiple areas. Annan is also part of the change in shifting Ottawa from being a hardware-focused city in the 90s to that of the consumer focused, software-oriented city it is today.
After rebuilding the Accel.io platform early this year to make the platform easier to use for anyone to create their own Accel.io guide, Annan says he and his team are now focusing on expanding their content into that of “health & fitness, professional development, relationships, and even home improvement.” By expanding the content of Accel.io, Annan hopes it becomes a great way to learn in all areas of life across the world. The ease of interacting with authors, taking notes, and interacting with embedded media make Accel.io a natural fit for a wide variety of subjects.
Annan says the long-term vision for Accel.io is to provide both content producers and content consumers “an alternative model to the eBook.” He views today’s formats as stuck in the past, printing press style of content. This limits the way a consumer can view and interact with content and limits authors in the way they can interact with users. Content, according to Annan, “should be more personalized, like a modern ‘choose your own adventure’ that is multimedia-based, constantly updated, and not constrained to so many pages.”
Annan is optimistic for Accel.io’s success and potential moving forward as it continues to dramatically grow. With a focus on interactivity and usability, Accel.io hopes to break past the wall that eBooks and traditional books have hit.