Are you a professional? Do you sometimes wish you had the answer to that specific question in an area where you have absolutely no clue about how things work? Do you enjoy sharing ideas and knowledge with others? Tu parles Français?
Then, Skiller may be for you.
If you’re a French speaker, you may have startled at the “Tu” in the first paragraph. (“Tu” is the French informal pronoun used to address someone. In professional circles, people, especially at different levels of hierarchy or people who don’t know each other, use the more formal “Vous” – you can read a post about that here.) Well, if you join Skiller, you may just as well get used to being “Tutoyé”.
Skiller is a professional network, yes, but it is based on a social networking approach. One of the nice effects of this (in my opinion) is that people tend to be more relaxed than in traditional professional environments. It also seems it gets the questions and answers going in a different way compared to situations where you address a Madame or Monsieur so and so, that you have never met eye to eye.
Skilling is easy: You ask a question, you tag it with a few main subjects, and you post it to the community. As everyone on Skiller is there to exchange knowledge, you can be pretty sure you’ll get an answer from someone within the day, often within a few hours. If you see a question where you can provide input or help, you post your response for everyone to read. Yes yes, you got it, it’s part of France’s Collaborative Economy that I wrote about in my last post.
The founder of Skiller, Jérôme Introvigne, used to be the head of innovation at a biscuit company called Poult (read more about that here). He says that he had noticed the numerous forums where people ask questions, but that there was no dedicated social network for this type of exchange, and that’s where Skiller comes in.
If you have been part of the complete redesign of the organisation of a near-bankrupt, traditional company in the French food industry, and have been able to make it a dynamic enterprise where employees feel and are empowered, take initiatives and enjoy going to work, it is no surprise that you have a few tricks up your sleeve to kick off a new social network. To make sure that users are motivated to “Skill” as much as possible, some principles of “motivational” “positive” and “inclusive” management have been integrated into Skiller’s functionalities. For example, the more you Skill, the more recognition you get, which, in turn, should motivate you to Skill even more (either because you are competitive, or because you see it as recognition), at least in theory.
Eventually though, Skillers will have to get back to their day jobs and actually be productive. However, by sharing knowledge on Skiller, their chances to be just that increase, as they can get certain information they need faster than from surfing the Net to no end themselves, or look for other sources of information.
Skiller was created by five partners and is so far entirely self-funded – independence in terms of strategy and development is one of Introvigne’s key drivers for the network’s future development. Skiller has also applied for funding from the FrenchTech Toulouse program, a funding programme for French start-ups. In terms of how to make Skiller viable long term while remaining a collaborative tool for its users,several different ideas are already being explored. The “talent bank” approach is one which would be mutually beneficial both for companies looking for unusual talents, and its users in terms of finding new jobs.
Skiller’s success will depend on the will of its members to play the game. After its launch in January 2015 it is still early days, but the network already has 476 members. The aim is to reach at least 10.000 by the end of 2015.
How do you join? You submit your request for an invitation on Skiller’s homepage, which includes stating what your first question on Skiller would be. Then, you wait for an invitation to be sent back to you.
And then you start Skilling…