18. Michael Karnjanaprakorn

Founder of Skillshare, How To Transform Education Online

18. Michael Karnjanaprakorn
Illustration by Zoran Lucic

Michael Karnjanaprakorn runs a startup that reverses an old adage and turns doers into teachers, letting them sign up to host a class on any skill. Some of his classes are both online and in person, while others are only in person.

“At Skillshare,” he says, “That’s exactly what we’re trying to figure out: how that hybrid model of online and offline actually works. When I taught an online Skillshare class to 500 students, a lot of them were also meeting at in-person study groups to workshop ideas with one another. The connections and trust built through those physical interactions are very powerful.

“… Online learning has evolved around watching videos, which isn’t engaging. Skillshare teachers have learned that teaching isn’t really about teaching. A lot of them will tell students to read articles or watch videos before class, and then they’ll meet for a workshop and sit down with students to make something together. A lot of the classes are very interactive like that, more than just a teacher lecturing.”

Click here to read the full conversation about transforming education online between Karnjanaprakorn and Anka Mulder, President, OpenCourseWare Consortium and No. 19 on our Most Creative People list.


  • 2006

    Graduates from VCU Brandcenter

  • 2007

    Moves to New Orleans; works at ad agency Trumpet and volunteers at Idea Village

  • 2008

    Moves to NYC; helps Scott Belsky launch Behance think-tank, 99%

  • 2008

    Launches The Feast Conference with fellow MCP Jerri Chou because he couldn’t afford tickets to TED

  • 2010

    Plays in the World Series of Poker and raises over $125,000 for charity

  • 2010

    Facebook acquires social app Hot Potato, where he led the product team

  • 2010

    Starts Skillshare in November

  • 2011

    Skillshare goes live in April

  • 2012

    Selected as TED Fellow



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