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Skilio: Education that Lives Up to the Collaborative Consumption Hype

| Friday February 3rd, 2012 | 6 Comments

ban-startup-fridayIt seems everywhere you look these days, people are proclaiming this the year of collaborative consumption, C2C, otherwise commonly known as the access economy.

One of the poster children of this is Skillshare, a site that allows people  to connect with others to teach classes in their area around just about any type of skill. But there’s one problem: most of the courses are located near the Skillshare HQ in NYC, limiting who can participate, when classes can happen, and ultimately, the growth potential of this service. It tethers it to an older education paradigm, operating much like the Learning Annex, but with better site design and without online class options.

Skilio takes the potential here and has created something quite amazing: a social-network-connected portal to exchange skills of all sorts, with video, chat, and file exchange available, and unlimited participants. Even better, the participants decide on the terms of the exchange for themselves.

Notice I didn’t say Skilio is for teaching classes. It certainly can be used for that, but as Skilio puts it,

…we are not just about ‘education’ – we are about people sharing their knowledge, in whatever way works best for them. That could be via teaching of course, but also via mentoring, consulting, a one off conversation, a regular meet up – so we prefer to call it skill exchanges – after all everyone grows after a Skilio Session – their knowledge, their network and their finances – so it truly is an exchange!

So, while the tools available to the one sharing the skill are the same as used in a webinar or e learning environment, it breaks out of the confine of one way information conveyance, allowing people to create their own parameters in which their exchange happens.

Payment for sessions is likewise quite flexible. It can be a fee pre-negotiated, a voluntary contribution after the class, using Skilio credits earned via your participation on the site, or a direct swap of skills, paying a small fee to Skilio. Skilio makes money in every case that money is paid, 15% of it.

Taking this beyond a platform where people offer classes and hope to get students, the burden largely put on them to promote them, Skilio gives users the option to link their various social networks, building in an an already trusted base of people to both offer and take classes. One can of course venture beyond that base, which has among it some rather high caliber people.

After so much hype around the emerging “sharing economy,” it’s refreshing to see a service that clearly lives up to and expands on the possibilities, with a straightforward business model that has a good chance of ongoing success.

Readers: What collaborative consumption ventures of substance and meaningful difference are you seeing out there? What’s your take on Skilio? 

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Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, global trend tracker, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.


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  • Gail Ataya

    think it is a great concept and indeed should go well beyond education.  You could use it for example to consult on specific problems in a timely way. 

    • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com/greensmith_consulting_hel/who-is-greensmith-consult.html Paul Smith

      Agreed Gail, I really like how Skilio stretches the boundaries of how this service could be used, beyond just teaching classes. It shows what’s possible, given the opportunity.

  • Daniel Cole

    I think Skilio will do great. I see a lot of other C2C companies emerging this year such as ToolSpinner (my company), ParkCirca & Parking Panda, Fun2Rent, and a host of others. Other leaders will continue to grow such as Airbnb, TaskRabbit, and LooseCubes.
    2012 is going to be a great year for collaborative consumption!

    • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com/greensmith_consulting_hel/who-is-greensmith-consult.html Paul Smith

      Thanks for mentioning all those other companies. I’ll have to go check them out. So much possibility to unlock…

  • Danya

    Hey Paul,

    I’m Danya, a Skillshare Community Manager. Thanks for the Skillshare love in the beginning of your post! Just wanted to clarify a few things for you:
    1. We’re open everywhere! We’ve got classes happening locally all across the country, from Chicago to LA to Boston. All you have to do is change the city view of the Learn page to see classes in different locations in the US.
    2. We’re currently working on integrating online learning experiences into the Skillshare platform. Keep an eye out!

    Danya

    • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com/greensmith_consulting_hel/who-is-greensmith-consult.html Paul Smith

      Good to know Danya. I think once you’ve got the online component up, that’s where the potential will truly be realized. Is there a way for people to quickly see what’s being offered locally, without registering? Is there a substantial amount in any of the cities outside NYC yet? How’s Portland (my home base) doing?