SOURCE: Flat World Knowledge

Flat World Knowledge

January 26, 2010 07:49 ET

Flat World Knowledge Adds New CTO and COO to Leadership Team

E-Business Veterans Bring Proven Track Records to Fast-Growing Open Textbook Publisher

NYACK, NY--(Marketwire - January 26, 2010) - Flat World Knowledge, the first commercial publisher of free and open college textbooks, today announced the addition of two e-business veterans to their growing executive team. Jon Williams joins the company as chief technology officer and Jeff Kendall joins as chief operations officer.

Williams joins Flat World as CTO with cutting-edge experience in technology innovation, execution and management. Most recently, he was the CTO for iVillage, a division of NBC Universal, the No.1 online destination for women with 31 million unique monthly visitors. Prior to that, Williams was CTO of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, where he significantly grew its online learning management system (LMS), and improved its website performance 26-fold through his leadership in open source development. Williams is the co-founder of the New York CTO Club, a group of 80+ top technology leaders, and was named one of InfoWorld's Top 25 CTOs for 2008.

Kendall joins Flat World as COO with more than 15 years in senior leadership positions in large corporate and start-up businesses. Prior to joining Flat World, he was senior vice president at, an Internet marketing company specializing in e-commerce. Jeff was responsible for product development, information systems and operations. As a member of the founding management team, Kendall helped grow the company from a start up of 6 employees to $300 million in annual revenue and over 400 employees. Earlier in his career, Kendall was senior vice president at CUC International, a leading direct marketing and loyalty company for major banks and retailers.

"Jon and Jeff bring direct, relevant, and complementary experience and leadership skills," said Jeff Shelstad, co-founder and CEO of Flat World Knowledge. "Their success in developing and implementing technology solutions and driving operational excellence is a perfect fit for our mission to revolutionize the college textbook market with our open publishing license and online platform."

Since launching its textbooks and service publicly in spring 2009, Flat World Knowledge has experienced dramatic growth. Educators teaching more than 550 courses in colleges and universities have chosen to adopt an openly-licensed textbook by Flat World Knowledge. This represents an estimated $4 million in textbook savings for students, and new freedom for faculty to customize the textbooks for their courses.

Flat World's catalog includes 20 published titles written by top experts in their field, including popular business and economics courses. Dozens more titles are under development for future publication, covering general education subjects such as algebra, psychology, sociology, genetics, media and culture, and more. Within several years, Flat World Knowledge expects to publish textbooks for most of the 25 highest-enrollment college courses.

About Flat World Knowledge

Founded in 2007 by senior textbook industry executives, privately-held Flat World Knowledge is a leading publisher of free, open textbooks for higher education. More than 45,000 students in over 500 universities and colleges are learning with Flat World textbooks. Written by the world's leading subject matter experts, Flat World books are peer reviewed, and professionally edited and developed. Educators have the freedom to use the books as-is, or to modify them to suit their unique classroom requirements. Students can access the books for free online, or purchase low-cost print-on-demand, audio and downloadable versions, as well as a variety of study aids at a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks. More information about Flat World Knowledge is available at

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Corey Oiesen
    Dovetail Public Relations
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