Introducing Intask to Education
A mini-series on the relationship between last-mile education and work
In February, I ceased operations at my startup, Intask, because I learned I was chasing the wrong problem.
(I also learned a lot of other stuff along the way)
My vision was for Intask to leverage the growing freelancer economy and the plethora of project management and communication tools to help transform the relationship between students and businesses. I wanted to Intask to help students and businesses connect over project-based work so businesses could grow their talent pipeline and get projects done. Along the way, students could complete the projects and gain real-world experience, connect with potential future employers, and earn money — all on their own time.
In a just a few months, I had a gritty platform and some traction. 15 students and 3 businesses signed up through the front-end of the website, and on the back-end, I hustled to make sure everything actually worked by manually pairing students to businesses through projects I had created.
After several attempts pairing students with projects, I learned two crucial things. First, I needed to specialize in one area. For example, it was too difficult to create a project for a front-end developer not knowing much about the skills. I learned I needed to narrow in on business talent, maybe even just marketing, moving forward.
Second, through interacting with students and businesses on Intask, I realized students weren’t generally as creative, communicative, and proactive as I imagined. But why?
Over the next few months studying abroad, I talked with students, businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs from around the world. I read books like One World Schoolhouse and Stop Stealing Dreams on how education formed and is now changing. I read books like The Wealth of Humans that shed light on the education from the perspective of our changing economy. I listened to podcasts like StartEdUp which solicited perspectives on education from innovators across various industries.
From these initial books and resources, I started to see education’s complexities that I’m sure many educators already know about, but as a student, I was oblivious to. I learned that the United State’s might model its public education system after a Prussian military education. I also learned that typical grades from A to F maybe came from the way we graded meat. I learned that we model most classrooms after factory floors. It goes on and on.
I also learned how technology continues to change our educational needs. Developed economies no longer need employees to complete repetitive tasks from 9–5. Rather, in the new digital revolution — or information revolution — we need creative people who can work together. We also need people who can continuously learn the technical demands of our economy.
I’m starting a new series of Medium posts where I explore the relationship between last-mile education and work more in depth. Specifically, I want to spotlight the types of educational models we’re moving towards. I also want to touch on the impact of relatively newer technologies like distributed ledgers, blockchain, and the internet that are already causing massive waves in the industry.
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Wes Wagner is a startup and Spanish enthusiast, digital marketer, future-of-work fanatic, and student. He currently works at Cheddar, a billing SaaS platform built for developers, where he focuses on the startup’s content and analytics.
This publication is part of Wes’s undergraduate honors thesis at the Kelley School of Business.