Do you have a unique skill and want to share it with others? Or would you finally like to learn how to tie a bow tie or make pizza? – Let a Duck help you. In December 2015 two inventive students from our university came up with a very helpful, or rather skillful, idea – a website for teaching and learning new skills. Under the motto “Have a skill in the evening you didn’t have in the morning” this quite young start-up has already gained trust and love of its followers. How does it work?
Skillduck (a name for a skill learned at this site) is a website with specific courses where a trainer will teach you one skill in one sitting, just that simple. The skills are quite precise and connected with all possible activities: From holding your breath or changing a tire up to whistling and Photoshop. Currently there are over 40 different courses available with prices ranging from 5€ to 129€ per person. You can also choose the level of difficulty or whether you’d like to get a certificate after the course. My personal favorite courses are: “How to iron a shirt”, “All about French wine” and “How to brew beer”. The best thing here is the following – you won’t find these courses anywhere else! Here you can be a student and a teacher at the same time; here you can meet teachers from different countries speaking different languages; finally, you can learn skills which are often neglected by “traditional” educating websites. But enough from me, let me introduce the creators of Skillduck, Flo Albert and Torben Landskrone, who can tell much about it.
Hi Flo, hi Torben! If you could present Skillduck in 3 words only, what would they be and why?
Flo: Share Your Skills.
Torben: Yes, this perfectly sums up the idea of Skillduck that everybody can participate in our marketplace in order to teach and learn new skills.
What has inspired you to create Skillduck? And what is special about this platform?
Torben: We noticed that in our group of friends everyone has some skills and knowledge which the others don’t have. One is good at repairing cars, the other can do a take-off on a surfboard and yet another friend knows how to ride a unicycle. So everyone has some skills their friends don’t have without being a professional at it! And everyone in our group of friends would ask one of these friends to teach their specific skill.
Flo: True. Talking about what is special about our platform, there are two points to be mentioned. One unique goal of Skillduck is that you learn one specific skill in each offered class instead of attending several weekly returning “beginner classes”. So each course is getting you one skill. The other special feature is the fact that the skills are taught in person or even via Skype, so you meet real people and you can ask questions. Basically, Skillduck extends your circle of friends who know how to do stuff and are happy to teach you!
Who can become a trainer? And do you have international teachers here?
Flo: Since we were inspired by our friends and not by professional trainers we started Skillduck in the same way. You don’t have to be a professional or a degree holder but as long as you think there is someone in this world who does not have your skill and who is interested in learning it, you should offer it on Skillduck. So there is no entry test for trainers, just sign up and share your skills.
Torben: However, if you happen to be a qualified trainer or a professional in a certain field you can become a so-called premium trainer. Therefore, you just need to send us a certificate which proofs that you have an official qualification. And in return you get a premium trainer label on our website.
Flo: Regarding the second question: Yes, we do have international trainers as well. This works perfectly since teaching via Skype is also possible. And as an add-on this also gives us the possibility to target non-German users.
Skillduck” is almost 5 months old now. Has anything changed in your lives? Have you learned or taught any skills?
Flo: When we started Skillduck we both were right in the process of writing our master theses. But this soon comes to an end as the theses have to be handed in and we are going to graduate from university within the next months. I guess our lives will start to change a lot when this moment comes. But we did not experience any change in life since we have started Skillduck except a lot of extra work maybe.
Torben: And yes, me and Flo also offer skill courses by ourselves but at the moment we are focusing on running the platform and unfortunately not on teaching skills. This is where our ambitious members come in.
What are your plans for the nearest future?
Torben: Since we will be graduating soon, we want to spend more time on developing Skillduck. For example, we want to focus on marketing strategies, user generation and content generation as we still need to grow.
Flo: We also have some further service ideas. For example, we were thinking about a service which also allows users to request skills and not only offer them.
Torben: Creating bigger events has not been discussed yet to be honest. We just know that we would like to stick to the idea that the skills should be taught in person or in small groups to ensure a nice learning experience. But as long as we can keep this unique selling proposition we are open minded towards almost everything.
Many thanks for the interview! Wish us all new ideas, more skills and inspiring Ducks 🙂