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?
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.