When the going gets tough, the tough get learning

I saw a meme the other week that said something to the effect of “Your grandparents were called to fight overseas in the trenches. You’re being asked to sit on your couch. You can do this.” True, no one’s shooting at us, but we’re battling a different kind of war. The health crisis is frightening, and it’s taking thousands of lives. A single cough can create anxiety. And the economic impact of having to shelter in place and watch business grind to a halt is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

But as we’ve seen before, and it seems to be holding true again now, in times of crisis innovation trends tend to ramp up, not slow down.

O’Reilly, like so many other US companies, is a month or so into our company-wide work-from-home edict. We’re fortunate that we can operate our online learning business with employees 100% remote. We’re also uniquely positioned to help businesses, government workers, tech teams, and individuals adapt to the challenges they’re facing. And we’re seeing it in their usage patterns and the depth of learning taking place.

O’Reilly online learning saw an all-time high in usage the week of April 5.
Between April 5 and April 11, we had 185,248,351 pageviews, and people spent a cumulative 401,371,427 minutes learning and solving problems with us. To put that in perspective, compared to the last week of February 2020—before most businesses shifted to remote work—the week of April 5 saw:

  • 34% growth in our live online training courses, as in-person training is no longer an option for most people.
  • 16% growth in views of video content, which has us hypothesizing that people may be more willing to engage with video while home rather than in open office environments.
  • 60% growth in pageviews of publicly shared playlists on O’Reilly online learning. People are hungry for curated information, and open communication is more important than ever right now.

Certifications are now one of our most popular offerings.
Pageviews in March were up 134% since we launched the certifications experience this past December. People want to prove their proficiency in technologies right now, whether that’s for their existing company or because they’re on the market and want an advantage over their competitors.

We’re also seeing a surge in demand for content on how to both work effectively remotely and effectively manage remote teams. Usage of this content was up nearly 400% compared to late February, as people lean on us for guidance on how to adjust to this new reality.

US local, state, and federal governments are taking advantage of O’Reilly.
Government teams are under immense pressure to support their citizens as they’re trying to overcome an array of technical hurdles. So we’ve granted them free access to O’Reilly online learning to help. In just the first week of our offer, we’ve seen nearly 3,300 users from more than 350 federal, state, and local governments sign up. But the need for technical guidance isn’t limited to just the US government. As of today we’re expanding to the UK and Canada. And we’re working to extend our offer to help other governments quickly.

Moving our in-person events online.
More than 4,600 highly engaged registrants signed up for our first two-day virtual conference, the O’Reilly Strata Data & AI Superstream. In the first session alone, people asked the presenter over 160 questions. In a world where in-person events are no longer a possibility, people are yearning for live interaction with experts. So we’re building on this format of virtual events. We’ll be announcing additional topic areas soon.

I’d like to thank the entire O’Reilly staff for working harder than ever to help our clients get through this crisis. Together, we’ll all emerge from it stronger. Because when the going gets tough, the tough get learning.

Laura Baldwin
President, O’Reilly