Mindvalley: Powering personal growth and education courses with Google Cloud

About Mindvalley

Mindvalley is one of the world’s leading personal growth education companies. Its mission is to teach wisdom and transformational ideas it believes are ignored by the traditional educational system. Mindvalley’s Quest learning platform combines technology with storytelling, teachers, learning theory, and community interaction to enlighten users. The business’s community spans 100 countries and 10 million followers over media channels, while nearly 500,000 students engage with the Mindvalley learning platform each year.

Industries: Education
Location: Malaysia

With Google Cloud, Mindvalley can understand and make decisions based on user activity and prepare to use AI and machine learning to predict behavior.

Google Cloud results

  • Allows analysis teams to make queries and visualize reports without involving IT
  • Gains insights into the performance of products and features
  • Establishes a platform to reduce infrastructure costs by 25%–30%

Provide reporting and analysis of user behavior to enable faster, better decisions

For entrepreneur Vishen Lakhiani, meditation delivered personal transformation and enlightenment—and a new business opportunity. Lakhiani founded Mindvalley in 2004 and applied his engineering knowledge and skills to treat transformative learning in a highly analytical, replicable way—breaking down the process into components that others could easily learn and practice. His vision and drive to create a more conscious and connected world drove him to create Mindvalley, now a leading online personal growth and education platform.

Mindalley’s team developed and launched Quest, a learning platform that combines technology with storytelling, teachers, learning theory, and community interaction to enlighten users. In 2019, the business expects more than 500,000 people spanning 50+ countries to complete a Mindvalley Quest.

Creation of the platform prompted the business to develop a more strategic and longer-term view of its infrastructure and data needs. “We were using relatively expensive cloud-hosted infrastructure, but at the time our traffic volumes were low, so it fell within our budget,” says Mohamed Diab, Data Engineer Team Lead at Mindvalley. “We realized this was not a long-term option for us.”

Mindvalley needed a cloud service that could support expansion into new markets, development of courses, content, and products, and increased number of users. However, the business’s initial priority was to better align marketing spend and revenues and understand what features and pages users were consuming most frequently. “Our people would have to meet to consolidate data from individual spreadsheets into a master document so we could create a picture of our marketing spend, our revenues, and the products and services our users were consuming,” says Diab.

“We were relying on an in-house developed PostGRES database to generate reports rather than a data warehouse or data analytics system,” he adds. “This database was not designed to handle the volumes of data generated, and creating a single report for our marketing, analyst, or business teams was a slow process. This led to product owners and other team members making decisions based on intuition and ‘gut feel.’”

Mindvalley opted for a data management, analytics, and reporting system on a cloud-based data warehouse. However, the first service the business tried proved to be labor intensive—Diab’s team had to manually configure storage and calculate how many nodes Mindvalley needed.

“We are now using this BigQuery-based data architecture to define the product customers are most likely to buy, and use that as a basis to build new content and courses.”

Mohamed Diab, Data Engineer Team Lead, Mindvalley

BigQuery the answer

Mindvalley then decided to use a fully managed service and selected a BigQuery analytics data warehouse as the cornerstone of its data architecture. By 2016, the business was capturing all user data in BigQuery.

The business created an architecture that also comprised Cloud Pub/Sub to consolidate all events into a single stream for storage and distribution to marketing tools for segmentation and targeting. “Until then, our marketing team had to ask our mobile engineers to divert different events to different tools—a very labor-intensive process,” says Diab. Mindvalley also connects its mobile apps to App Engine for scalability and management, while the Cloud Functions serverless execution environment “listens” to events sent to Cloud Pub/Sub to determine the marketing tool they need to be sent to.

“We are now using this BigQuery-based data architecture to define the product customers are most likely to buy, and use that as a basis to build new content and courses,” says Diab. The business has also started using Analytics 360 to exploit the potential of tools that deliver valuable, actionable insights into its users.

“We have 191 discrete servers running well below capacity and we want to consolidate them and be able to scale. We chose Google Cloud because the platform could meet these requirements, was inexpensive, and enabled us to leverage our existing strong relationship with Google. "

Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed, Head of Infrastructure and Security, Mindvalley

Beautiful visualization with Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio also complements BigQuery to provide beautifully visualized reports, graphs, and charts. “We started with our own visualization tool, but explored Google Data Studio and realized it was the best fit for our needs,” says Diab. “Our analysts can configure and create reports themselves by lodging queries and developing the visuals themselves.”

Mindvalley’s business, analysis, and marketing teams now create and review reports that provide insights into business-critical metrics such as how offers and ads that prompt people to buy Mindvalley’s products are performing. “Our teams review the products that bring in the most revenue and analyze how much those products make,” says Diab. “We also generate monthly reports that track revenue from subscriptions, in-app purchases, and the breakdown from different platforms. In addition, we generate reports that identify numbers from Google ads, Facebook ads, and other sources that enable us to track the value and cost of leads.” The reports generated via BigQuery cost only a small amount to generate, which Diab describes as “very efficient and high value.”

MindValley’s technology team is now preparing to improve the timeliness and quality of data used for reporting. “By using Cloud Dataflow, we can improve the stability of our data processing and provide livestreaming rather than days-old data,” says Diab.

“One of our key business objectives is to reach 100,000 active users per day, and we need to scale to support that traffic. With Google Cloud, we will have no problem achieving that."

Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed, Head of Infrastructure and Security, Mindvalley

A strong relationship with Google

With its data architecture now well established in Google Cloud, Mindvalley plans to move its core infrastructure to the platform. “We have 191 discrete servers running well below capacity and we want to consolidate them and be able to scale,” says Ahmed Riyazi Mohamed, Head of Infrastructure and Security at Mindvalley. “We chose Google Cloud because the platform could meet these requirements, was inexpensive, and enabled us to leverage our existing strong relationship with Google."

“We know we can just contact Google any time for help, and this is one of the main reasons we stay with the organization,” he adds.

Mindvalley is also eyeing infrastructure cost reductions of 25%–30% by moving from its incumbent provider to Google Cloud. “In addition, we can take advantage of Google Cloud’s global points of presence to deploy closer to our customers and closer to ourselves to assist with development,” says Mohamed.

With Google Cloud, Lakhiani and Mindvalley are poised to meet the business’s immediate and longer-term targets. “One of our key business objectives is to reach around 100,000 active users per day, and we need to scale to support that traffic,” says Mohamed. “With Google Cloud, we will have no problem achieving that."

“We are also continuing to improve our ability to measure user behavior, and are extremely confident Google Cloud can support our activities in this area,” he says.

About Mindvalley

Mindvalley is one of the world’s leading personal growth education companies. Its mission is to teach wisdom and transformational ideas it believes are ignored by the traditional educational system. Mindvalley’s Quest learning platform combines technology with storytelling, teachers, learning theory, and community interaction to enlighten users. The business’s community spans 100 countries and 10 million followers over media channels, while nearly 500,000 students engage with the Mindvalley learning platform each year.

Industries: Education
Location: Malaysia
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