“In the Studio” welcomes a first-time founder with a diverse set of experiences — ranging from economics to advertising, from product management to design, and from startup CEO to advisor of a venture capital firm — who now is at the helm of one of the most interesting online education startups on the web today.
Michael Karnjanaprakorn, founder and CEO of Skillshare, has taken on the difficult work of launching an online/offline marketplace that also happens to be in one of the most competitive and dynamic industries today: online education. After working at Behance and Hot Potato, Karnajanaprakorn had the idea to start Skillshare as a way for people to teach and/or learn from others in real-world settings. Recently, Skillshare has opened online courses as well, is already revenue-positive, and while facing competition in a hot category, is well-positioned to scale because of the company’s platform and marketplace model. Karnjanaprakorn is a man of many talents, so that in the rare moments he’s not fully working on Skillshare, he’s an advisor to Collaborative Fund, is a TED Fellow, and was named one of the most 100 creative people by Fast Company. I usually wouldn’t care about such lists, but I think Michael deserves to be on that one.
In this video, we focus our discussion about the lessons Karnjanaprakorn and his colleagues face in building a platform and an online marketplace from scratch, how they solved the classic “chicken-or-the egg” problem many marketplaces face, how they viewed reaching liquidity as quickly as possible, how to prime the market, how to think about scale, how to build and prioritize the right tools for teachers and students, and a host of other lessons that would be relevant to anyone trying to build and/or maintain an online marketplace. He is a great person to learn from given his reflective nature and, in my opinion, Skillshare is well-positioned to build one of the premier online education platforms the world desperately needs.