Have you ever been frustrated by a Google search that only answers a part of your question? Usually these questions begin with “How do I … ?”
Watch Me Work hopes to change this by allowing experts in all areas to share the creative process via live streaming, as it happens, so you’re not stuck with just bullet points and vague text.
Founder Chris Weiher, who is a producer and director of web commercials and flash animation videos, came up with the idea when he was having his own troubles getting to know software. “It’s the classic ‘I have a problem and I can’t find the solution,’” Weiher explains. “I had used [Adobe] Photoshop, but was having trouble using Illustrator. I just wanted to have the ability to look over someone’s shoulder.”
For anyone who’s tried to master a new skill — be it Illustrator or Excel or arm knitting — you’re usually at the mercy of your own wit, intuition and the vast space of experts (and not-so-experts) that is the internet.
Watch Me Work’s differentiator is the real-time connection with someone who’s willing to share their screen and show off their skills, in the hopes of sharing — and perhaps gaining — knowledge. “The real power is in live stream,” Weiher explains. “It’s to answer the questions you didn’t even know you had — un-googleable questions.”
For example, if you’re new to say, Excel, and you want to learn the best way to display your data. You might Google “best way to display data in Excel” and get 1,000,000,000,000 hits in .02 seconds. With Watch Me Work, you can watch someone set up their data in Excel and create a beautiful line chart with a trend line. Lesson learned — for something you didn’t even know to look for.
Weiher’s thoughts behind this are, “When you become really good at a program, you can share.” The future for Watch Me Work is up to the peer-to-peer collaboration that it draws in. It’s a crowd-sourcing of knowledge. “It can be used for collaboration for creatives, as well as other professionals — woodworking would even be interesting.”
Beyond collaboration — there’s the question: What about those internet trolls? Those people just waiting for you — or your ideas or your information. “You could get on there and steal someone’s idea and get it out here before them,” Weiher admits, “but when people do those negative things, they get found out,” referring to the countless stories of plagiarizers getting caught the act of stealing someone else’s idea or work. “You’re ruining your credibility.”
“There are some potential negatives — you could accidentally share your credit card numbers. But most people aren’t waiting for you to share that, and you can always just delete your video immediately,” he says, explaining to the built-in safety net of managing or deleting the videos after the live stream is over.
As far as the creative process, Weiher understands that having someone looking over your shoulder isn’t a welcoming feeling for all. “It’s definitely an alien feeling; but so did putting personal photos on Facebook when we all first did that.”
It’s clear from the Watch Me Work calendar that the uncomfortable feeling of someone peering over your shoulder in real life isn’t inhibiting collaborators from jumping on board. Experts in Photoshop, Interior Design, Comic Book Illustration, Motion Graphics, Coding and more are in queue to share their personal “how tos” with the world.
Conclusion: It’s probable that Watch Me Work will catch on. In an innovative city where collaboration is exploding in incubators and an internet with webpages filled with a hodgepodge of outdated or inaccurate information, Watch Me Work provides a community where active creators and collaborators can meet and learn in real-time and discuss immediately applicable skills and solutions for their own work. Watch Me Work’s Indiegogo campaign launches on in the next few weeks, and you can even watch how the video for their campaign was made.
Would you share your work on Watch Me Work? Or watch others work?