For the past seven years I’ve been building Mystery.org. Our mission with the company has been to make it possible for children to explore all the questions they have. We help children stay curious by creating better explanations.
Our main product was Mystery Science (and the newer Mystery Doug, which got folded into mysteryscience.com). This is what we’ve become known for. Children use this product in schools. It fits well with the classroom environment and helps teachers field all the questions that students ask them. It’s become the most widely used science resource in elementary schools across the U.S. It’s used in more than 50% of elementary schools, reaching more than 4 million children every month.
For the past year we’ve also been working on a new direct-to-consumer product, focused on the same mission. Outside of school, whenever a child has a question, we want them to be able to independently explore anything they’re curious about. Many people are surprised when I tell them that this is a problem. But children (10 years and younger) don’t use web browsers, they don’t google, and they don’t search. The internet as we know it is unusable for children.
In 2020 I began incubating a new startup inside a growth-stage company. We have 50+ people working on the school business and still have lots of opportunity ahead. We had just a couple people working on the new consumer product. Recently, I decided that the benefits of running two businesses inside the same corporate structure wasn’t worth the complexity.
Mystery Science has been acquired by Discovery Education (EdSurge, TechCrunch, Discovery Ed, and others reported on this). As part of the acquisition, I spun out the consumer product into a new company, The Explanation Company. Our website and first product are in the works.
I’ll still be involved in Mystery Science as an advisor to help the Mystery Science and Discovery Education team reach a lot more children in schools. My full-time focus is now with The Explanation Company. We’re creating video explanations for every question children have. We’re going to make it possible for them to independently explore anything they wonder about.