Knowledge Genie helps know-it-alls package their wisdom

Got some knowledge you want to share with the world? And maybe make some money at the same time? The traditional thing to do would be to write a book, but a startup called Knowledge Genie says it has a better solution, offering an easy way to turn that knowledge into an interactive web tutorial.

Co-founding husband-and-wife team Milo and Thuy Sindell took me through the creation of a tutorial — or, as they call it, a Genie. Getting one up-and-running is simple. Users just answer a few questions about format, then they type or copy their material in. You can also add things like a glossary of key terms, review questions, and media such as videos and PowerPoint slides. Then you can offer it for free, or charge users via PayPal or Google Checkout.

The final product is basically an interactive website — useful, though falling a bit short of a really rich piece of educational software. But Milo Sindell emphasizes that he doesn’t want to compete with educational software makers. Instead, he’s trying to reach a new audience.

“This is for people who have ever thought about writing a book,” he says. “It really gives them an easy, formal way and a structured way to do that.”

In that sense, Knowledge Genie competes with two groups of companies: simple website builders like Weebly and Yola, and companies like FastPencil trying to offer tools for writing and publishing books.

It’s also for people who have already written a book but want to deliver it in a more interactive, updatable format — or who want to use the web to complement the experience. That group includes the Sindells as well; they have authored a number of books together, including Sink or Swim: New Job. New Boss. 12 Weeks to Get it Right.

The Los Angeles company lets users upload a single Genie for free, then pricing starts at $24 a month, increasing as you upload more genies, and including an option for large, enterprise-scale users. (The Sindells note that the Genie format could also be useful for corporate training.) The team also plans to open a marketplace to help users find Genies.

Knowledge Genie is self-funded.

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