In truth, it wasn’t a bad run [from 2013]. But what stopped them [the find-an-instructor / track-your-progress app]? I think the answer's relatively simple: over-extension.
In the (über-)competitive global market fuelled by the internet, customer choice is king, so the real skill is to help busy buyers ‘cut through the noise’.
The DVSA’s own Pacenotes sounded a death-knell for MiDrive. Yes, Pacenotes was poorly received, but it showed the future: the testing agency itself offering a professional, smartphone solution, free. Both DVSA and MiDrive paid third-party designers for the interface. That’s a pricey and potholed road, but DVSA aren't looking for even a slim profit margin here. Staff are expensive and PaceNotes has none, and it sits well in partnership with gov.uk's ‘Find an Instructor’ service. So, why go elsewhere?
Perhaps another big clue is the reception seen with PaceNotes; while ADIs initially carped, no-one seems to have bothered leaving any online comment much after it launched in August.
As a cohort, ADIs are more set in their ways than most. We join this industry not as budding youthful entrepreneurs, but after “regular jobs” have worn us out or let us down. We loathe our admin chores, but dislike someone else’s way of doing it even more. Whether free or subscription, the only app that’ll last is the one you write for yourself and keep tweaking as your own needs change. Fun, if you like that sort of thing, which mostly we don’t. I know, I’ve tried before … and probably will again, but very much simpler.
Lest we forget, the original and ubiquitous BSM almost went under after a century. Times changes, client wants and whims change even faster. Delivery platforms must outpace them all, offer a “one-stop pit-stop” with the emphasis on succinct, quality training rather than route- or progress-tracking.
MiDrive were lovely to deal with, but the app was over-detailed, with margins too thin in the face of state competition. However good or clever, if you can’t convince more than 10% of us 40,000 ADIs to climb aboard, I seriously doubt any commercial ‘Find An Instructor’ scheme will endure.