The last few weeks have been really exciting on the development side of JibberJobber. One of my developers is rolling out a major enhancement to the job postings which should add considerable value to each user. Another developer is working on a very cool enhancement to the video library which, of course, should add considerable value to each user. Another developer is fixing and tweaking little things here and there to make JibberJobber more intuitive, flow better, etc. Why? To add considerable value to each user, of course!
While they are working hard, and our users are working hard on their job search, we’ve had some unplanned and unfortunate downtime that has been beyond frustrating. Let me share with you what happens, and the why of the last few weeks, and what we are going to do about it.
When JibberJobber goes down at least four people, including me, QA, the developers, and the server admin team, get an email alert, immediately. Shortly thereafter, I (and Liz) start to get emails from our users… some are very kind, some written out of sheer frustration. Bottom line, we know it’s happening… we’re just not sure why it’s happening. But we jump in and work on figuring that out. There have recently been three reasons why JibberJobber has gone down, which I share below. Note that we haven’t had any data breaches that we are aware of, and no user has lost any data. If there were a data issue, we’d revert to our backups, which run at least once every 24 hours.
Server software incompatibilities. There is a certain software on our server that provides a necessary function. However, we’re pretty sure that this software, which I won’t name, has caused our server to crash multiple times over the last few years. This is kind of the worst scenario because the resolution is that you have to physically touch the server (which means, if it’s after hours, someone has to get out of bed, drive down to the server farm, and sit there and get it to reboot), and has sometimes taken hours to get back up. We should be switched off of the software this week or next week, and have this issue behind us. I really, really hope that this is the problem, and that the solution will give us long-term peace of mind (which we haven’t had for too long).
Bad guy users. Well, I’m not sure I would call them users. Maybe losers is a better word. These are people who get a free account, and then, as a “user,” abuse the system. The latest, last week, which took our server down for 10 minutes (kudos to my developer who identified the problem immediately and resolved it) was posting multiple job postings per second. It was too much activity and took the server down. The resolution is to find things like that, and remove the ability for a user to abuse. In this case, only allow someone to post X number of job postings every Y minutes, or something like that. The immediate solution in this case was to terminate the user and block their IP address.
Horrible, horrible, people. The most frequent issue we’ve had lately has been hackers or spammers. They haven’t gotten JibberJobber accounts, they just set up servers from multiple places to attack our server. We have had this kind of activity coming from about 15 different countries, and have worked on blocking them when we see them… there are some automated server-side solutions that look promising, to handle this 24×7, without us looking and blocking all the time (which is exhausting, and very distracting). We have applied one as a band-aid solution and so far it’s doing a pretty good job (although we have had some issues with regular users who were blocked). Once we get the server software incompatibilities fixed, we’ll move to a more long-term solution for this issue.
The bottom lines:
I’m hopeful that our strategy moving forward will make JibberJobber more reliable for you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
And I could use your help… I posted this on two LinkedIn Groups yesterday:
I’m working on a new project, which I hope to roll out in the next four months. I think this will be the biggest (most impactful) idea I work on since the inception of JibberJobber. I could use your help… I’m specifically looking for hiring managers and HR who are involved in the hiring process. (I am already talking to enough recruiters, for now) If you are a hiring manager and have a lot of experience finding talent, or work in HR in a hiring (or advising for hiring) capacity, please email me (Jason@JibberJobber.com). If you can recommend or intro someone to me, please email me!
Do you know anyone that is a hiring manager or in HR (that is heavily involved in hiring and growing teams)? I’d love to chat with them. My email is Jason@JibberJobber.com.
Liz asked me to let you know the mobile apps are available. I thought I did but I can see that I didn’t make a proper announcement… so…
THE JIBBERJOBBER MOBILE APPS ARE AVAILABLE!!!
Check out the JibberJobber mobile app page here.
Please rate and review them, if you are in a good mood. If you are in a grumpy mood, well… be kind :p
What’s the plan with these mobile apps? Just like we have updated and maintained the JibberJobber web tool for years and years, we’ll update and maintain the mobile apps.
The first update of the mobile apps is coming soon, based on lots of feedback from users.
“JibberJobber is like a beautiful woman in an ugly dress.” – some investor, a few years ago.
When JibberJobber launched, 10 years ago, the world was different. Users were different. They kind of took what they could. Over the years I got comments like “I don’t trust JibberJobber with my credit card because the site looks old.”
So, we started the hunt for someone who could help us with our design. Back then I was looking for someone who specialized in UI, or “user interface.” This should mean many things, but in my mind, today, it just means look and feel.
In 2012 we invested in a UI guy, and he made huge improvements (see images below). I was pretty happy with him, although I had a few reservations on color and some design stuff. But overall, it was a great change, and we were moving in the right direction.
The day after we released his new design, I got an email from someone saying “your site looks too outdated.” What?? One day after all of our UI changes, I still got complaints?
I realized this is something I could not win. Meanwhile, I had some new competitors (over the last 10 years there have been about 20 competitors, most of them are gone now) who launched with BEAUTIFUL design. Seriously beautiful. But, (a) their users came over to JibberJobber because, even though we weren’t as beautiful, we had functional breadth and depth, and some of those sites were only beautiful, but not functional enough (hey, when you are doing personal CRM, you really need functional!), and (b) yeah, those sites didn’t all last. What can I say. I’ll be the tortoise to their hare.
I knew that instead of focusing my limited resources on trying to hit this moving target of “make it prettier,” I needed to continue to focus on functionality. JibberJobber has A LOT of functionality… stuff we’ve been developing over a 10 year period.
However, there was still an issue… and that is that people would sign up, get confused, and delete their account out of frustration. This was not a UI issue, it was what we call a UX issue. UX stands for “user experience.” Instead of focusing on colors and curves and aesthetics, we needed to answer this question:
How can we help the person who signs up figure out what to do next?
Instead of logging in and then staring at the screen in utter frustration, how could we help them know what next steps they could or should do?
That is more about the user EXPERIENCE (hence, UX). And for that, I finally, after 10 years, found the right person to help me put this together. His name is Udie Chima, and he has been awesome. In our conversations, he focuses on what our objectives are (which include getting more signups, and helping those signups become “users,” and eventually enticing users to actually upgrade). Instead of focusing on a color or a curve, he focuses on THE EXPERIENCE.
All this to say, we have changes coming. You might have already noticed one of them. Let me run through the history a bit, just for fun.
VERSION 2 (I don’t know if I have images of Version 1)
When we first launched, two people had “designed” JibberJobber. My first programmer, still with JibberJobber, and me. Neither of us are designers. We are good at functional, but not aesthetic. Hence, we got a lot of comments like “it looks like this was designed by programmers.” Because, well, it was. Here’s what JibberJobber used to look like, about 10 years ago:
Notice the top (1) has an ad for my LinkedIn book. The menu (2) is dark blue/purple, and rounded corners… and the footer (3) is, well, as important as a footer should be. Not bad for 2006, I guess. Again, the focus was on functionality.
This was “the new dress.”
This is a cleaner look… moving the search box from the right side to the top-right… and less “heavy.” Good changes, which we’ve had for a while.
This footer is cleaner, and emphasizes things because they are in three columns… I LOVE the app icons (because they are relatively new). The left is the policy and help stuff… the middle is social and other (mobile), and the right is upgrade and contact us and content value-add.
This is Udie’s design. There are many things going on here… but most visibly, we are shifting the menu to the very top, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and many other sites do. This is just “how it’s done” now, and it’s clean and easy, and people expect it. The top, in blue, is the top level menu. Much of it is the same as what we have had, but we cleaned some stuff up. Notably, we added a home icon (before you had to figure out to click the icon)… notice, also, the help link on the right, and the settings icon on the far right.
The second level menu has the most important “calls to action” for new users. Instead of “what do I do now,” I would expect them to see that here, in JibberJobber, you can (drum roll) add a Contact, add a Company, add a Job, and add a Log Entry. This is really the core of the value to JibberJobber users, so why not show them how to do these tasks easily? And, because we are not allergic to money, or paying our bills, we want the idea of upgrading to be a little more obvious… The invitation to upgrade, and unlock the very cool premium features, was somewhat hidden in the past. No longer…. we’re happy to finance JibberJobber through making users happy
This second level menu is the difference between UI (“oooh, pretty!”) and UX (“oh, now I know what to do!!”).
This footer is still vertically compact. and what were the three columns are now broken down and easier to see. The four columns on the right are even strategically grouped.
So… there you go, we changed THE DRESS again. More to come!
Yesterday JibberJobber quietly celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary. I’m not going to lie: I took a nice, rich nap
These last ten years have been a roller coaster, to say the least. It all started when I lost my job as general manager and became The Worst Job Seeker Ever. I really was pathetic, sitting on job boards and applying for up to 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, getting nowhere (except more frustrated and depressed).
Eventually, I got the idea for what would become JibberJobber, and started to put it together (with a dev team that I worked with in my prior job… one developer and one QA expert, both who are still with JibberJobber). We started development in March and launched two months later, on May 15th, 2006. I was still working my job search, hopeful that I would gain some level of income and place in society that I had enjoyed just a few months earlier, but I thought “let’s try this thing out.” Finally, in September of 2006 it was time to stop the job search… “burn the ships” as they say, and do JibberJobber full-time.
In the last 10 years we’ve grown, improved, learned, and enjoyed the journey. It definitely hasn’t been easy… I think the entrepreneurial journey is seldom easy. But it has been rewarding. I’ve grown and learned. I’ve been blessed to make some rich friendships spanning the globe… first, with my developers who have been with me from the beginning, and with many career coaches and resume writers and others in this space who’s own businesses have grown (or at least survived over the years). At conferences I’ve roomed with recruiters (hi Steve!) and resume writers, as well as other speakers… I’ve dined from San Diego to Boston, from Seattle to Orlando, and many places in-between, with amazing people who have helped me think differently. I feel like I’ve been with the who’s who of this industry, and it’s been really enjoyable.
I’ve also been blessed to talk, one on one, with many professionals in transition around the globe. The careers my users have had are sometimes intimidating… the people I’ve done LinkedIn profile critiques for are amazing… and somehow I’ve been invited into their world at a time of uncertainty, and I’ve been able to share some ideas and tips to help move them forward. This has been a humbling and honoring experience.
I’ve written three books, one of which launched a speaking career that put me face-to-face with greatness. I thought I was a great speaker, only to learn that it really takes at least a hundred presentations before you start to get unusually good (much less great or excellent). I was able to witness this growth, and remember when someone said “I saw you speak three years ago (when I thought I was really good), and wow, you’ve REALLY improved!” It was a compliment, for sure, but I thought I was the same as three years earlier, and I had to then wonder how bad I really was three years before!
Oh yeah, throw in 29 courses for Pluralsight (one is retired, and one I just delivered this morning, so if you look now you’ll only see 27 published courses). Doing a single course is a massive accomplishment, imo… doing 29 is nothing short of crazy.
My team has grown and shrunk, we’ve expanded and contracted, but my core team has always been there. I regularly say, with pride, that my original two hires are still with JibberJobber – I think in today’s world that is a major contribution that any employer would be proud of.
JibberJobber looks different than it used to, and there are more changes coming. But our core “promise,” to help you organize and manage your job search, and become a follow-up tool, will remain at the core of what we do. I can’t figure out whether we are just leaving our “awkward stage,” at ten years, or if we are just staring it. We’ll see how the next couple of years go
Finally, I would be remiss to not express gratitude to my wife (and kids). I try to keep them off my blog and out of my social life, because I don’t want any haters or harassers (yes, it has happened – there are weird people out there). My wife, from the beginning, has been supportive. Of course, there have been temptations elsewhere, like a steady paycheck, benefits, etc., but she has been a supporter of the vision to HELP PEOPLE and families, and feels, as I do, that this is my calling and contribution. And she has been supportive over the last ten years, even in the many lean times (hey, free JibberJobber ain’t paying anyone’s bills… not my mortgage, not my kid’s braces :p)… it hasn’t been easy for her, but she’s been a true entrepreneur’s supportive wife, and I’m grateful for that. Since we started JibberJobber we added two kids to our family, and she’s “held the fort down,” allowing me to keep moving forward.
So today’s a day of gratitude and reflection… thanks to each of you for your part, big or small.
Here’s to another 10 years!
Last week I sent this out to my LinkedIn Groups…
A popular newsletter I sent out a while back had updates that were only 140 characters. Here’s big stuff we are working on, in 140 chars or less. Please email me (Jason@JibberJobber.com) if we can chat about anything below. Please note that #1 is U.S. only.
1. We have been onboarding sales reps for our new job board. I’m looking for people who are motivated by earning money. Email me for more.
2. I hired a UX designer who’s really taking JibberJobber to task. He’s focused on your needs. It’s exciting seeing what he’s coming up with!
3. I brought on a new developer. We have so much work to do, and this new developer should help us get more of the right stuff done, quicker.
4. Our mobile apps, version 1, are awesome. We want more feedback – please download them from the app store(s) and tell us how to improve.
5. My latest Pluralsight course, How to Talk to Business Leaders, will earn you TWO free weeks of JibberJobber premium through the weekend. Act now!
6. Our job board is live. I’m looking for recruiters and those who post jobs to learn more about this space. Please email me if we can talk.
7. At our core is STILL the job seeker, the person who feels disorganized and perhaps hopeless. We will always design with them (you) in mind.
As you can see, I tried to keep these points short. If you need more information, email me: Jason@JibberJobber.com. I’d love to talk.
— ~!~!~!~!~ —
I just shared this on my LinkedIn Groups:
Pluralsight just published my latest course: How to Speak to Business Leaders. The link is below.
I’m trying something new… instead of just one week of JibberJobber premium for watching this course, for the next two weeks, I’ll give you two weeks of JibberJobber premium. This is still on the honor system… all you do is turn on the Tracker, and click the “viewed” button twice (and you’ll get 14 days added to your JibberJobber account).
Take advantage of this special once, you get 14 days. Do it twice, you get almost a month. Do it 10 times, you get 140 days. The math is simple. I doubt you can listen to this course 10 times (lest you might go crazy hearing me talk about the same thing too much!) so check out any of the other 27 courses I have published – each of them gives you one week of Premium each time you watch it. Questions? Let me know.
To access the course FOR FREE, turn click this first link to turn on the tracker – it walks you through the 45 seconds it takes to set up a free 30 day Pluralsight account (no credit card required, no bait and switch!), and then you have access to all of my courses…
All of my courses: http://app.pluralsight.com/
Feel free to share this with anyone and everyone, thank you!
I recently announced I’m offering contract sales opportunities for salespeople with JibberJobber. You can read my original announcement here.
In response to inquiries, I am putting together a document for people who ask for more information. Let me know if you want this document… the questions I answer in this document include:
Sound interesting? Email me with a resume, your LinkedIn Profile, and seriously, try to sell yourself a little to me (aka, send me a cover letter, which could be the body of your email).