If We Build It, Will They Come? Sesame Street’s Lewis Bernstein Talks EdTech Startups, Audience Development

When an edtech startup is founded, the primary focus of its employees is probably the actual technology behind it, right? Lewis Bernstein, who played a key role in the development of Sesame Street in Israel, says this particular aspect of starting an education business actually poses a challenge: It makes it easy for the companies to temporarily forget about their audiences.

As Vice President of Global Operations for Sesame Workshop, Bernstein worked most closely on Shalom Sesame and Sha’ra Simsim, the Israeli/Palestinian co-production of the beloved children’s show. In his thirty years working with Sesame Workshop, he witnessed the growth of the educational organization from a startup to an internationally renowned brand.

According to Lewis, to ensure future success, edtech startups should first be focusing on how their technology is serving their audiences, and not so much on the intricacies and immediate advancements of said technology.

We sat down with Lewis to talk about his experiences at Sesame Workshop and what he learned from working there. Listen in to hear more tips from Lewis what aspects of Sesame Street’s operation helped the show succeed.