Skillshare Crisis: How to Make It a Better Place Before It Dies
I feel the urge to voice my concern and the willingness to help Skillshare as a platform.
I love Skillshare and the community around it. I don’t want Skillshare to die but I’m truly afraid it will die, unless it changes its rules.
This post is primarily for Skillshare teachers and I will be very open. I won’t mention any names because you know very well if I’m talking about you or not.
Squeeze the bucks
You know how it is. You follow the rules, but you don’t throw in anymore than you need. You create a class, but you know deep inside that it’s nothing more than a few slides stitched together during lunchtime. You publish it, market it and wait for your premium enrollments, you market it some more. Next day during lunchtime, you stitch together another class.
Am I talking about you? You know if I do or not. You and only you know very well, if you would pay for your class if you sit on the other side as a student.
Yet subpar classes thrive on Skillshare and I wondered why. Recently I realized the reason. And it’s in the very core of how Skillshare works.
Skillshare allows you to pay once and consume all. This sounds great, but it might work only if there’s some kind of quality check.
Initially, no one cares. As a student who takes a bad class, I can just move on and take another one, probably better, but without the quality check, after a while everything is just a crap and I have no longer a motivation to continue my subscription.
Teachers take advantage of this system. Nobody really cares about the quality of classes, so why not meeting only the minimum requirements? Easy bucks. Get the most out of the system for the least effort.
Yes, I am talking not just about you, I am talking about me as well. I know most of my classes could easily fit into this group of fast money.
Why am I creating these classes? Exactly because I know I can. It’s really hard not to take the advantage of something if it works for me, but the question is — do we want to squeeze the bucks until Skillshare dries up and dies or do we want Skillshare to thrive for a long time so we thrive with it?
We can all make a better content, we can all make Skillshare a better place. All we need to do is to stop producing crap. But can we stomach the fact that some of us start making real quality classes while others will continue producing crap and profit from it? Probably not, right? So what can we do? We can deliberately ask Skillshare to review our classes like Udemy does.
I think it’s inevitable for Skillshare to follow the approach of the walled garden everyone once hated Apple for. Apple removed hundres of fart apps, because they realized we are fine with just one and most importantly that this kind of content is hurting the whole marketplace.
I think it’s time for Skillshare to remove fart classes. To get a rid of everything you can find on YouTube for free and in better quality. It’s striking how much content with a far better quality you can get on YouTube for free, yet you pay for it on Skillshare. But this is possible only because when you enroll, it’s a part of your monthly plan. You don’t see the price tag printed on the Enroll button, you are fooled as a student and we get paid as teachers for something nobody with the right mind would buy outside this system.
But it gets even better.
Join the challenge
Skillshare has a ongoing campaign for new and returning teachers. If you join Teacher’s challenge, create a new project in one of two specialized Skillshare-made classes, you get one year of premium membership for free.
That’s right, for free, the whole year. Now, why wouldn’t I enroll in crappy class? It doesn’t cost me a single penny, I have now two years of free premium membership, I can enroll in anything.
You know how this ends? Teachers with a free premium membership will enroll each other classes and Skillshare will pay them for premium enrollments and on top of that will give them a free premium membership. No money in, all money out.
How long could this work before investor’s money will dry up?
What needs to be done
Skillshare needs to change it’s business model or at least some rules if it wants to survive.
First, a free premium membership should be available only for new teachers and only as a one-time bonus.
Second, there should be a review process for classes which won’t allow anything subpar into the system.
Third, Skillshare should cap the amount of classes one can enroll each month. If I know I have only 5 enrollments left, I would be very careful about that and won’t enroll in every “handbook voiceover” class I bump into.
Fourth, teachers shouldn’t be allowed to game the system by reviewing their own classes, it’s misleading for students.