Hello Instructor Community!
We are excited to bring you our first Community Champion Spotlight. Over the next few months, you will get to know some of the community’s most active instructors on a more professional and personal level.
This week we are putting the spotlight on Frank Kane who has been with Udemy since 2015 and a Community Champion since the inception of the program in 2019. Frank teaches machine learning, “big data” & data analytics.
Get to know more about Frank in our interview below:
Who is Frank Kane?
Frank is a veteran instructor based in central Florida. On Udemy he's taught over 500,000 students around the world valuable skills in machine learning and data analytics. Prior to Udemy Frank was a senior manager at Amazon.com in Seattle, where he helped develop some of Amazon's early product recommendation systems and later led the technology team for IMDb.com.
What is your teaching style?
No-nonsense and concise. I try to explain technical topics in plain English, avoiding jargon and notation as much as possible. My goal is to demystify this stuff, because at its core it's not really that complicated.
What is one thing you wish that every NEW Udemy Instructor knew?
Don't just make a course in your favorite topic without first checking the Marketplace Insights tool! It's important to have appropriate expectations, and perhaps refine your topic to one that will attract a larger audience.
Can you share your favorite experience/interaction with a student?
This happened years ago, but the first time I encountered a student "in the wild" was quite the experience! I'm an amateur astronomer, and had my telescope out at a park one night showing people views of Saturn and stuff. One person actually recognized me in the dark just based on my voice! That's when it really sunk in what sort of impact you can have with Udemy.
If you didn't teach on Udemy what would you be doing?
I probably would have crawled back to Amazon by now had Udemy not worked out!
What is your favorite thing about being an online instructor?
Hard to pick just one! Knowing the impact you're making on so many lives is rewarding, but personally the freedom that comes with being your own boss has to be my favorite thing.
Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
The correct answer is my wife! But if you're looking for a public figure... I think I'd have a lot to talk about with Elon Musk. Plus, he'd probably make a rocket out of a palm tree to get us back to civilization.
If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?
Teleportation! There's so much of the world to see, but it's often hard to find time for travel.
Have a question for Frank? Ask him in the comments below!
My marketing strategy is to let Udemy do its marketing.
I do all the standard things, like having a YouTube channel, a mailing list, and a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But it's all a drop in the bucket compared to the traffic that Udemy drives on our behalf. That's why we're giving them a cut of our revenue, after all.
I take full advantage of Udemy promotional announcements as well. Of all the things I do, that's the most effective by far.
Success stories are inspiration. It tell others that it's possible. To all the struggling instructors out there, don't give up. There is hope. Continue to press on! If don't give up and you continue to press on, success will surely show up. To Frank Kane, kudos, and keep on soaring high.
The biggest challenge with your first course is driving enough reviews to it. Without a few reviews, Udemy won't surface it much to students.
If you have any sort of existing following outside of Udemy, you'll have to be a bit of a pest and try to get them to enroll in your course. You're not allowed to ask them for a positive review, but you can ask them for a review.
Once you have those first few reviews, it's more about your choice of topic and how wide the appeal is for it. If you haven't already, use the Marketplace Insights tool in your instructor dashboard to set the right expectations for the organic traffic your course might generate.
Building a second course can also be a good way to grow traffic to your first course, as you can market your first course to students of your second and vice-versa, using Udemy promotional announcements.
Best of luck with your first course! I wish you the best of success.
Thanks an awesome and Inspiring story Frank, Congratulations on your achievement . Any advice on collaborations with fellow instructors. What would be the best way for a rather new instructor to go about it? Is the revenue sharing actually worth it when an instructor hardly makes an average of $3 per course?
Well, if you play your cards right that $3 per course adds up. It's probably not worth doing a co-instructor relationship on a topic that is only projected to earn $100/month or something (consult the Marketplace Insights tool in your instructor dashboard for that data.) But for larger opportunities, it can be an effective way to build a large, comprehensive course that would be too daunting to take on yourself.
The most important advice is to only work with someone you know and trust. There are unscrupulous people out there who are out to scam you and will take all of your course earnings while doing nothing in return, and it's entirely your responsibility to prevent that. Even I have had problems with co-instructors who just fell off the face of the Earth and stopped supporting their part of the course. These days I only partner with other top instructors that I know or with corporate sponsors.
I try to aim for arrangements where the work is split 50/50 and the revenue is also split 50/50. In any case, the revenue split should be commensurate with the work each instructor puts in. Watch out for people who want to take an outsized percentage just to expose you to their audience.
Get an agreement in writing, and make sure that agreement spells out who will do what, by when, who will support Q&A, and who is liable if someone uses IP they don't own in the course materials (that's also an issue I've had to deal with.)
But if you're working with someone you trust and have a solid agreement in place to produce a course with high earning potential, partnering with a co-instructor is a great way to accelerate the course creation process. For hot, emerging topics, it's an especially good way to be first to market.
Thank you so much Frank , That was quite insightful and very helpful. I'm sorry if i'm asking a stupid question but what does this mean, "if someone uses IP they don't own" I don't understand.
From what I know an IP address belongs to a system/ computer. Does it matter which computer they use? Like for example , if i hire an editor and the files are edited on their system but I upload them from mine to udemy, would that be an issue?