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Announcing the first London Skills Exchange!

Berlin is regularly scorned for its copycat industry. One thing this criticism overlooks is the role it’s played in kick-starting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is nurturing an highly original startup culture. Which in return is attracting scores of young, talented and hungry Europeans, tired of their own country’s sleepiness. The founders of Soundcloud are Swedish, the same goes for Readmill, the team behind Gidsy is Dutch. And that’s just for Index’s investments over there.

Paul Nelligan is Irish and he’s one of those talented tech emigrates. Founder of Audiofu, he is the one who first came up with the Skills Exchange idea and a few weeks later organised the first event in Berlin. You can read about it here:  http://venturevillage.eu/the-first-berlin-skills-exchange

When I heard about it, I immediately thought it was such a fantastic idea it had to be spread across the world, starting by London. So I tweeted about it, got in touch with Paul and a few days later we had a group going, a team behind it (Simon Baily, Indy Johar, Stuart Hillston) and the first event up. It will take place next Wednesday (the 4th April) at 6.30pm at the great bicycle joint/coffee shop Look Mum No Hands in Old Street, and you should sign-up here: http://www.meetup.com/London-Skills-Exchange/events/53614862/.

So why do I like the idea so much? For a handful of reasons:

  1. It is not limited to tech
  2. It is for everyone
  3. It can be personal or professional
  4. It can be serious or fun
  5. It is a great way to break the ice and meet very different people
  6. It is all about solidarity, collaboration and the free sharing of one’s time and skills

How often in life do a Tai-Chi teacher, a web developer and an electrician get to meet-up and help each other? Because this is the kind of thing that will happen on Wednesday. You can just look at the profile of people attending if you think I’m making this up. 

A lot of people tell me they would love to come but don’t have any skills. First, I find it an insane thing to say - how can you be over 20 and think you don’t have any skills? If you have or have had some sort of job, then you must have some sort of skills. And, really, outside of work, you can’t find anything you know a thing or two about??? It doesn’t have to be academic. The tai-chi teacher happens to also know how to grow fruits and vegetables for example. It can just be a fun thing, or a crazy one. But we all know how to do something - and my guess is that it is much more than one thing.

Which is probably what I like the most about this idea: it will help people realise they can do much more than they think. And be really helpful to others too. 

See you there.