Scarcity of New, Business-Oriented CPod Lessons?
To me one of the major ChinesePod "stories" of 2008 is how the development of new business lessons apparently has been abandoned. It's as if the Ninjas not only killed off Peter the Canadian hammer salesman, they killed off ChinesePod business lessons, period. By my count:
- only 3 of 27 Upper Intermediate lessons in 2008 have been business-oriented (and that's rather generously including Online Shopping)
- only 1 of 31 Intermediate lessons in 2008 have been business-oriented (Mr. Wang's Office last week was the first of the year)
- only 1 of 41 Elementary lessons in 2008 have been business-oriented (again, that's rather generously including Bank Hours)
So as little as 3 or at most 5 of 99 by my count, or 5%, for those 3 levels in 2008.
I wonder why. No demand? That would surprise me, as surely China becoming an economic powerhouse is a major reason for the increasing interest in learning Mandarin. Targeting a different demo? But the NY Times article in February described the typical CPod user as "early 30s, mature, often with some business connection to China". Run out of topic ideas? I can think of dozens, so if that's the case I'm sure there'd be plenty of topics that ChinesePod could address. Concerned that business lessons are necessarily dull? Doesn't have to be the case, as I just completed the UI Playing the Stock Market lesson from 2007 and found it entertaining with skillfully-chosen dialogue and vocab by the CPod staff. Earlier business lessons weren't well-received? I don't know, it seems like whenever a business lesson was posted it would often draw positive comments from users.
I understand that "social"-oriented lessons still can contain vocab and scenarios helpful in business situations. And when I'm in China, I use the spoken Chinese I do know as much in informal situations as in busines settings. Plus I have found alternative sources of business Chinese training elsewhere. Still, from a self-centred point of view I find it regretful that ChinesePod isn't publishing business-oriented lessons with more frequency, and from a ChinesePod point of view it seems like they're leaving a gaping hole just asking for a new upstart service to come in and drive a truck through ("mandarinbizcasts.com" to think of an as yet non-existent URL off the top of my head).
If I'm offbase or alone on this, then this post can be ignored and I still can be content with the rich library of non-business lessons that CPod pumps out. But to me it's a head-scratcher ...
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