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The REAL Power Of A Network

April 16th, 2007

I helped bring Seth Godin to UT through Wordmob.com. Did you?Last week something amazing happened. This story does not describe a job search but it does show how powerful a network can be.

Last week I was on a chat session with two buddies, Matthew Reinbold and Phil Burns (aka, Phil801), talking about Seth Godin’s Dip tour. The question was “can we get $25,000 together by Monday (today)?” If we could pull it off then Seth would come to Salt Lake City to speak. (if you don’t know who Seth Godin is you can read a terrific story on his blog here: Purple Cow Redux)

The task seemed insurmountable – how could we get 500 people to commit to $50 in the next few days? I think I have an excellent network but I’d say that over 70% of my network is not local. And local is critical for this task. I wasn’t sure what kind of network Phil801 and Matthew had – and realized that the ONLY way to get 500 people to commit would be through word-of-mouth.

I supported the idea and voted “let’s do it!” while also saying that I was super-swamped with some big deadlines and would not be able to give this much time/effort. But I pledged and did what I could, and then started seeing the magic come through.

Phil and Matthew immediately tapped into their networks, and pulled together a “Street Team” of people that are basically making this happen. It’s amazing and significant for two reasons:

  1. Each of the people on the street team have valuable skills to contribute. We have web programmers, graphics designers, blog experts, PR experts, marketing experts, and people that are doing cold-calls for corporate sponsors. If we had to pay for the expertise (or leg-work) we’d easily be over ten thousand bucks in the red – but we got top-notch expertise because of the network.
  2. Each person on the street team has their own amazing network. When all of these networks are tied together we have a power-network that covers the regional area (spanning multiple counties). I’m sure any marketing or PR firm would love to have the reach (and exposure) that we got in just a few days – it really is amazing!

The results so far just might be enough to make this happen. Are we going to get 500 people pledged by the end of today? Well, we need about 300 more pledges (if you are in Utah or close enough to want to see Seth Godin speak please pledge here)… but one of the brainstorm sessions produced a brilliant idea: corporate sponsors.

The sponsorship level that we are seeing is equal to about 50 pledges – and our Street Team has great connections and has been on the phone for a few days contacting and pitching the sponsorship.

It’s been an amazing ride, and I think we’re all impressed with the amount of progress that we’ve seen over the last few days.

Let’s tie this back to your personal career management. The key is that the networks were already established… before the need, and now we could just tap into our networks. And that’s how it ties back to career management, or a job search – build your network NOW, when you DON’T need it. Nurture your network. Have a strong personal brand in place so you don’t have to remind people who you are when you call on them.

Hard to do in your head? That’s why you need to signup for a free account with JibberJobber. Click here to get started.

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Mark Your Calendars for Kathy Simmons From Netshare

April 14th, 2007

Netshare CEO Kathy SimmonsAs far as I can tell this is $17.00 and will be well worth your time and money (I’ve scheduled it on my calendar!). Copied from Cindy Kraft’s blog:

NEVER LOOK FOR A JOB AGAIN!

Please join me as I interview Kathy Simmons, President and CEO of Netshare, Inc. on top strategies to eliminate “job search” from your vocabulary on April 17, 2007 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. If you are a member of the CFO–Career–Forum, log in and register. If you are not a member but want to join us for the call, sign up here.The real objective for you, as an executive with a career path, is to develop a sustainable strategy that makes you an invaluable asset. If you do it right, you will never have to look for a job again.A bold statement? Not really. If you think about how the job placement game is played you really have three options: lead, follow, or get out of the way.

  • If you are going to follow, then you pursue all the job postings that come your way, you call the recruiters, you talk to HR managers at companies that lead in your market, and you inevitably compete with everyone else who is looking for the same job with the same qualifications. It becomes a horse race, and you can’t even bet the odds.
  • If you choose to get out of the way and wait for good things to come your way you will be waiting a long time. Some senior executives decide to sit back, do a little consulting, and wait for the phone to ring with the right offer. After all, their friends and former coworkers know they are looking, and they know they are good at what they do, so all they have to do is wait, and wait, and wait, and wait….
  • If you take the lead, then you become the hunted, not the hunter. Be proactive and promote your skills and your accomplishments to an ever-broadening network of professional contacts. You sing your own accomplishments loud enough, and long enough, you will be heard, and create a feedback loop that will result in job offers again and again. The secret is to be proactive, be positive, and be open to new possibilities.

Log in to the CFO–Career–Forum to register. Not a member of the community – sign up here.

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Kathy Simmons is the President and CEO of Netshare, Inc., a membership–based organization providing executives and professionals across all disciplines and industries, with quality $100K plus job listings, networking opportunities, and a community of peers for the exchange of strategic information related to job search, professional development, and best practices.

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Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire

April 13th, 2007

Out of the frying pan and into the fire... Pamela Slim - Escape From Cubicle NationPamela Slim, who has a business teaching you to “escape from cubicle nation,” had a great post yesterday describing an executive who “had it all” but wasn’t happy.

I remember last year in my job search as I was applying for jobs that would help me grow, provide the income I wanted, or give me my executive status back, I was nervous! I was nervous about working with dumb people again. I was nervous about the long hours in a job, with a two hour commute each day. I was nervous about new political situations, or walking into a “good ol’ boys club,” or starting a job with big responsibility and figuring out how to fit into the team … and many other things.

I think I was most nervous about not upgrading my life. I had just left one hellacious job (yes, I was there for a long time, and it’s a long story), and I didn’t want to get into another situation that was running me into the ground. I wanted better.

And I was afraid I wouldn’t find better.

Over the last few months as I’ve had the privilege to work with career experts, and reflect on it, I’ve been able to piece together some of the things that I didn’t understand before. Here are some things that I wish I would have known last year that would have helped ease my nerves:

  1. It’s going to happen again. Penelope Trunk - Brazen CareeristWhy did I think I could find the perfect job that would last until I retired (or, help me retire early ;))? Statistics say we’ll have 9 job changes in our career… and Penelope Trunk’s new book says Gen Y will have nine jobs before they are thirty! Instead of looking at my professional career as ‘I worked at X company and had a great time” it will be more of “I was an xyz problem solver/rainmaker for various companies helping them to…”
  2. Preparation should not go on the back-burner. I should have realized that once I landed a job I should be preparing for the next change, which would likely happen in the next three years. Sure I would give 100% to doing my job but maybe I should consider more training to broaden my skillset, take on special projects to improve my resume, network like crazy (become a power connector),
  3. There’s more to happiness than job success. My life was out of balance – I needed to reevaluate priorities and really put time into areas that are important, not neglecting them by hiding behind my job.
  4. Blood is thicker than water. I needed to put my family first… I’m sad to say that I put even trivial job things before family things. Funny thing is, that job gave me a small severence package, but my family has stuck by my side and supported me even after the severence ran out. Too bad I put my investment in the wrong place.
  5. A good coach is critical. I “couldn’t afford” a professional coach so I didn’t look. But there are peer coaches at network meetings each week. You should BE a coach to someone else, as teaching will help you understand the princiles better. But seriously consider investing in a professional career/job coach. They will ask the real questions without beating around the bush, or worrying about hurting your feelings, etc. Sure they aren’t cheap, but if you can invest in a few hours that might be just what you need to get started on the right path.

What do you think? What’s missing from this list?

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Unemployment Isn’t Horrible For Everyone – Attitude Check

April 12th, 2007

Is this how the job search feels?I recently saw an e-mail from a beat-up professional in transition and I had to respond. The gist of his e-mail was that he is frustrated in his job search, it’s not as easy as it should be, and people aren’t responding to his messages the way they should. My reply empathizes with him:

Dan just hit one of my sore spots. I am a generalist also. And I got laid off in a “hot job market,” a “job seeker’s market.”

And if I wanted to make $8/hour there were so many opportunities! All I had to do was either work 4 full-time restaurant jobs, or sell all my stuff, buy a cardboard box and have the kids beg while I worked at all these places.

I don’t care what economists say about how the US is doing – if you are an unemployed professional IT SUCKS. And the unemployment rate means jack when you can’t get a job.

I totally agree with Dan’s message – be nice. Be nice to the unemployed – help them out. Coach them, counsel them, introduce them. It’s likely not their fault that they are jobless, and it’s likely that you’ll be there soon enough.

Okay, off my soapbox here.

I expected to get flamed a little on the forum but I was surprised to have people weigh in and support what I was saying. I’m sure the supporters are people who have been in transition and were treated like dirt.

But I did have a good friend e-mail me off-list and tell me something different:

The other day when you “got on your forum soapbox” about how being out of a job sucks, I wanted to jump on that one and say, “um, no it doesn’t.” Luckily, I exercised restraint so that my fellow posters could unload their pain without interruption from someone like me who, for the most part, is actually having a good time at it 😉

I feel like a politician but I have to say, I take both sides! Yes it does suck – but there are things that you can do to make it a very exciting, refreshing time! Here are some ideas that I’ve picked up over the last year:

  1. Manage your physical health – I sat in a chair 10 hours a day working on my computer, looking for a job. This was bad for my body – I should have forced myself to at least walk a mile a day, or do a few sets of pushups, etc. I believe that doing this would have helped me manage my emotions better.
  2. Manage your family relationships – jobs come and go. Network contacts even come and go. But your family relations are critical and you need to invest in your spouse and kids (if you have them), parents, cousins, etc. that are worried about you, and perhaps scared of the uncertainty. If nothing else, make time to take special walks with your kids (individually) to talk, and take your wife out on a date once a week.
  3. Learn, expand, grow – I think one of the reasons Nadine Turner has enjoyed this transition is because she threw herself into a new area (web 2.0, personal branding, search engine optimization) and really wanted to learn about it. Instead of just reading about it, she put it to the test. When she goes into her new job she will take this new knowledge with her, which will only make her more effective (and add to her self confidence).
  4. Network – If you don’t believe me you aren’t networking right. My favorite way to network is to have lunch with someone and really get to know them. You can figure out what works for you – but once you start to network the right way you will know what I mean. Just this morning I got an e-mail from Jeroen Latour who said “Man, this networking thing is ADDICTING!” Jeroen is networking the right way!
  5. Get a coach – Look, I’m a smart guy – I have two degrees and have had a great career. I’m creative and clever. But this is an emotional time. There is no way that I could come up to speed on the things that I needed to, and do it the right way. A coach gives you perspective and accountability – two things that are absolutely critical (well, unless you have a two year severance package).

Is it going to take time and effort to do this stuff? Yes. But I bet it will make you a better job seeker and when your transition ends you will be able to say you “actually had a good time” during your transition.

What works for you? What do you do (or recommend) to make the transition a positive experience?

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Forget Digital Dirt – Think Digital Anything!

April 11th, 2007

Is this your dirt? (props to www.mofga.org for the picture)There’s been a lot of good conversation about digital dirt – this is the concept of “what bad stuff can be found about you by performing online searches?” Idealists say that just because an employer finds something bad it shouldn’t matter – after all, isn’t it discriminating (and thus illegal) to use digital dirt to keep from hiring you?

I’m not a lawyer but I’d guess it can be illegal (probably is). Here’s my take: there are lots of illegal or unethical things that happen behind closed doors. Just because it isn’t legal for an employer to discriminate against you based on digital dirt doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. So keep it clean.

Furthermore, you should do searches on your name to see what comes up. Here’s how you do it:

  • Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.
  • ZoomInfo
  • Jigsaw

Looks like this is getting to be a trend that has picked up steam. From TechCrunch today:

People search is a space that went from nowhere to crowded, fast. Wink changed direction and launched a people search product last November. Also in this space is Streakr (yet to launch), ProfileLinker, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo and Upscoop.

Want to take more control of what comes up when people search on you? The last time I posted on this topic I was introduced to Naymz (thanks Kent). There are services that claim to help clean up digital dirt, for a price. But I think there is one easy, effective way to get the job done: have a blog.

(start broken record player)

Yep, having an active blog may be the most effective way to claim the majority of search results when people are looking for information about you. When I started blogging almost a year ago the only results for “Jason Alba” where from the author of an accounting book, or for Alba Botanicals. Now the first page is usually about me and/or JibberJobber.

Other things to do to take over that first page of results:

  • Get an Emurse.com account, and create your resume on their site. I see a lot of people that have their Emurse profile in the top 5 results on their name. Hat tip to Nadine Turner for doing her own testing/reporting of this.
  • Get a Jobster account, and flesh it out. Search engines also love Jobster, and profiles usually score on the first page of results.
  • Get a LinkedIn account, and flesh it out. Again, LinkedIn profiles usually show on the first page.
  • Comment on other blogs and leave your “link” as any of the three that I just mentioned (preferably leave your blog URL but if you don’t have one then you should leave one of these three URLs). Many blogs don’t pass your link on to search engines (this is not a technical explanation… click here for more), but I think we’ll see a trend where blogs are more loving and let search engines see your link.

Michael Arrington (of TechCrunch) calls this space “people search.” Don’t think that a resume, cover letter and good interview will preclude you from someone doing a search on you.

How does your online persona look?

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Ranking the Strength of a Relationship

April 10th, 2007

Awesome shot in the NetherlandsFor the last few weeks I’ve been engaged in an e-mail conversation with one of my favorite users, Jeroen, from the eastern Netherlands. I say he is one of my favorites because he continually asks “why” and “how,” and has suggestions on how to impove JibberJobber. Some of the future enhancements implemented will be because of his suggestions (feel free to submit your suggestions also)!

Our relationship started just a few weeks ago with a simple e-mail – he suggested something and I replied. As e-mails went back and forth our relationship grew. I was impressed because he cared enough about my passion to want it improved. He also wanted to talk about some of the philosophy behind networking (like, “why/when do you change the rank of a network contact?” (if you have read Never Eat Alone some of this should sound familiar to you)).

Because of the interest that Jeroen shows, and the dialogue that we’ve had, our relationship is deeper than with someone who may have just e-mailed me and not had much to say. That’s not a good or a bad thing, it’s just a different relationship.

I would rank Jeroen as a four-star relationship right now. Even though we’ve only known each other for a short period of time, the level of discussion we’ve had (and the interest he’s taken) merits a stronger ranking.

Jeroen - four star ranking

I would rank the person who just e-mailed me yesterday saying that they really like JibberJobber and are interested in sending people my way as a one star – this is based on just having one e-mail come in and not having a chance to develop the relationship. To me, one star means there is room for improvement – and I want to do what I can to move that relationship forward.

how I rank a new contact
The key to ranking is that it’s all subjective – I don’t pretend to offer a methodology or science behind it. It has to be flexible enough to allow you to make the ultimate decision – so we offer five stars and you can rank the relationship how you want.

watch the video on network relationship goalsNote that I use the contact ranking to rank the strength of the relationship. I am not ranking how powerful the person is, or how bad I want to know them (or them know me). I’m ranking how strong our relationship is. This is why the Network Relationship Goals works (premium feature) – It allows me to take, for example, 35% of my one-star relationships and work to improve them over the next 40 days (or something like that – you set the parameters).

One last question – Jeroen asks when do I downgrade a relationship? That is, when do I move a ranking from four-star to two-star?

Again, realize this is subjective. In the last year there may have been one or two people that I’ve downgraded in my own network. They were downgraded after specific incidents – something happened where I felt a violation of trust or something like that. These are not the typical goofy things we face with normal human interaction – these were blatant offenses where I felt hurt, and I wanted to pull back a little.

Would I downgrade a relationship because we have not communicated for a long time? No. I fell “out of touch” with one of my best friends (who actually reads my blog) for many years. But when we talk and e-mail, however infrequent, we seem to pick up where we left off. A long pause in communication has not been a reason for me to downgrade a relationship.

So there you go, I hope this helps understand what I consider to be one of the most important aspects of JibberJobber.

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JibberJobber Is For… WHO???

April 9th, 2007

JibberJobber - Your Career ToolsetToday is the very last day of the lifetime for $99 special offer. If you haven’t taken advantage yet I suggest you login and upgrade now – you’ll get lifetime premium features for just the price of 10 months. After midnight tonight the offer goes away :)

… and, a quick welcome to CareerJournal.com readers!

My final post during this one-week crazy special offer is to explain a bit more who could/should use JibberJobber. So here we go…

The working professional. Statistically speaking you will be looking for a new job in the next 3-5 years. And your success may have a lot to do with the network you nurture now. Use JibberJobber as a relationship management tool to know whatyour network looks like (breadth/depth) and work on those relationships. While you are at it start listing the companies that you might be interested in working for… these could be companies you read about, interact with, sell to, etc.

The business owner. What role do relationships have in your business? If it’s anything like my business, it’s a huge role! Your business is your career, and JibberJobber will help you take care of important relationships to help your business.

The student. Wondering what you are going to do once you finish school is scary (been there, twice!). Students should walk out of school with at least 200 network connections – here’s a post I wrote on CollegeRecruiter about WHO you should add to your network.

The journalist. As a journalist you have “sources.” Use JibberJobber to list your sources, log communications with them, schedule action items (“reach out to Jason to ask him about…”). Even if your company has a CRM tool for you to use, you should have your own contact management system to manage your personal contacts (you will transition too, won’t you?).

The freelancer. AKA consultant. JibberJobber allows you to manage relationships with customers, prospects, etc. Manage information on current and prospective customers. Use the Interview Prep area to develop your own “me in 30 seconds” statements to help people understand what you do, and what you can do for them. Use the Expense Tracker as a simple tool to keep track of revenues and expenses.

The power connector. Keith Ferrazzi calls you out – headhunters, realtors, etc. Perhaps you don’t even know your value as a networking power connector. How are you nurturing your relationships? Are you ranking the strength of relationships? Are you logging important communications and keeping track of opportunities to reconnect (ie. birthdays)?

The recruiter. I have an entire post on JibberJobber for recruiters here

The job coach. Every one of your clients should use JibberJobber in their job search and then for relationship management. You should use it and know how it works, so you can help them optimize it. But you need to be a “coach” in the system so that you can interface with your client in a richer way.

The blogger. One of my little marketing secrets this year has to do with my relationships with other bloggers (which probably isn’t much of a secret). I use JibberJobber to keep track of who the bloggers are, where they blog, what communications I have with them, when I need to reach out to them again, etc. If you want to grow your blog you need to have a strategic plan in place and JibberJobber was a big part of the execution of my plan.

The grandma. Grandmas do things like send out Christmas cards, easter packages, birthday presents and cool stuff like that. Hip grandmas have some cool tool (like JibberJobber) to help keep dates, addresses, etc. all organized ;).

The event planner. Coordinating an event means knowing who does what, where and when. Using JibberJobber you can categorize groups of people (vendors, exhibitors, participants, people on your team, guest speakers, etc.) and manage the tasks and communication around your event. And use the “share contact” feature to send important contact information to people on your team.

The Job Seeker. Of course. If you are a job seeker and don’t think you need it then I’m guessing that your job search is either just beginning or not that complex yet. Is it worth it to switch from your Excel spreadsheet to JibberJobber? Absolutely, for one simple reason: once you land your job you should have all of your job search information at your fingertips – Excel, the sticky notes, the spiral notebook … it will all look like chicken scratch after a few months (if you are anything like me!). JibberJobber will be used even during you land your dream job!

There’s more… I’m sure you get the idea :)

Don’t forget – today is the last day of the $99 for life upgrade! Just login to your account (or get a free account here) and then click on the upgrade link at the top of the page!

Career Solvers - Finding the path that's right for you!This promotion has been sponsored by Career Solvers, providing career coaching and resume services. For a free resume assessment please contact Career Solvers today!

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Just What Is Premium, Anyway?

April 6th, 2007

Just 3 more days until the special upgrade to lifetime offer expires!! Login to upgrade today!

Here are just some of the things I love about Premium:

I would die without the e-mail reminder on action items. I don’t live on the JibberJobber home page (which is where you can see your action items listed free), but I do live on my e-mail. Getting a reminder in my e-mail is huge, and worth the $10/month. Click here for the video.

Sending myself an action item via e-mail

I forgot just how cool the Network Relationship Goals was until I did a 2 minute video last week for a user in Europe. Here’s the video – I don’t think any other system does something like this for you and it is a valuable tool to proactively manage your relationships.

Network relationship goals

I rarely use the List Panel search boxes because I want to search for a name or company and get every hit I can. Premium users can use the main search box in the top right corner and search on all of their data (regular users only search on the library – yes they can use the list panel search boxes but it just ain’t the same).

global search box

I have over 600 network contacts – premium users can have as many as they want. Regular users only get 250. That is actually a lot, but I need more than 250.

all of my contacts... so far!

Premium users can have as many log entries as they want – regular users get 10 per contact (which is a lot – going to be using 2,500 log entries anytime soon?).

unlimited log entries

I like to rank things! Regular can rank their network contacts but premium can rank jobs and companies!

Ranking things...

I use the import/export a lot more than I thought I would. It was originally designed to help you get up to speed (import all of your network) – that is why you can use it in the first 14 days of signing up! But I frequently use it to import my LinkedIn contacts, and export to other tools like ConstantContact.

importing and exporting

Do you know how COOL the printable phone directory is? Premium users can get all kinds of cool “reports” – a customized phone directory including/excluding certain groups of contacts, or just e-mail addresses, or a zip file of vcards… its very powerful and very useful.

options for your contacts

Premium users get a private library – this is where I put all of the books people recommend to me, cool websites, etc. Its not de.lico.us but its also private … finally, a place to put my reading lists!

you get your own private library

On the interview preparation, as a premium user, I’m allowed to categorize my answers. So if I am preparing one interview for the healthcare industry, and another for retail, I can group my answers and then get a printout of just the right answers for either interview. This is unlimited, and if you are employed you could group various elevator pitches, etc. depending on the situations where you would need them.

Interview preparation categories

Yep, there’s even more – click on this link to see the entire (outdated) list. And there’s a list of new stuff coming out that will mostly be premium. You already know about the Outlook sync – other features will be awesome and available to those that are premium.

Just 3 more days until the special upgrade to lifetime offer expires!! Login to upgrade today!

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Twitter – Effective Networking Online?

April 5th, 2007

Just 4 more days until the special upgrade to lifetime offer expires!! Go upgrade today!

Twitter asks: What Are You Doing?You may have heard of Twitter and already formed your own opinions. I had an opinion (pretty much like this one) and was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get a twitter account. But then I had an epiphany one day and for reasons I won’t disclose (unless you e-mail me and promise to not blog on it) I actually joined Twitter. And I’d like to report on it as a networking tool. I don’t care if you don’t do it, or if you do it. The issue is how you participate and what you do with it.

First, a little perspective. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m social networked out. I’m tired. I don’t want to have to sign up for yet another social network, and go check it out to see “what’s new.” In fact, I wrote a few months back on what I think social networks are missing (for me and my career management), and even call JibberJobber an UNsocial networking tool!

So, in the traditional sense of social networking, I don’t consider Twitter to be a social network (because I think a social network has so much more than what Twitter offers). I do consider it to be an excellent networking tool.

Can it be a waste of time? Yes. Can it be boring? Yes. Can it be useless (or, bad)? Yes. Will you see when people wake up and go to bed? Only if they tweet it (that’s Twitter jargon!).

Is it appropriate in a job search? Hmmmm… I’m not sure. If you have a small network group that shares leads, network events, opportunities, etc. it can be an EXCELLENT tool. Better than e-mail or phone? Yes, it could be better – imagine collaborative chatting between five power networkers – it could be very powerful.

How do you use Twitter?
If you are not in a job search and spend a lot of time at a desk I’d say get on twitter. Give it an honest shot for about a month (that means you have to have some friends – feel free to add me: http://twitter.com/jasonalba).

Here is my list of why I think having an account on, and participating in Twitter, is a good career move:

  • It keeps me up-to-speed on what others are doing. I have friends that are slow to e-mail or chat, and you never get them on the phone. Yet they are active on Twitter and you can see things they are doing that you should be doing (like, a certain networkig event that you didnt know about), or people they are talking to (and now you can ask them for an introduction!)
  • I learn about things that I never would have learned before. Many of my friends will link to blog posts that are interesting, breaking news, their latest projects, etc. Its been really interesting to see what’s going on and broaden my scope of understanding.
  • For some eerie reason, it encourages me to do more. I don’t feel like I need the encouragement :) but seeing someone tweet that they just had a huge sale, or by 10am are having the most productive day of the week, or whatever their accomplishments are, it pushes me a little more. And at 10pm its cool to see others are doing productive or housekeeping things – and shows me that I’m not the only one to work long and crazy hours.
  • It allows me to brag to people that might be interested in what I’m doing. I’ve tweeted a few brags and get some congrats right back – and some people pick up on the brags and blog on them.
  • It allows me to communicate new stuff. A new blog post, a new release, a new customer… these are all things that contribute to my brand online. My Twitter friends are usually the first to know.
  • It kind of makes me feel cool :) I’m a late adopter and so even though I’m a few months behind all the buzz I still feel like I finally jumped on something in an early stage. Being able to talk about it and know what I’m talking about is good.
  • Its simple. I can catch up on the other tweets in about 10 seconds, and I’m not sucked into an overly complex site. As the tag line says, its only purpose is to answer the question What Are You Doing?
  • I can keep up with interesting people. There are some very interesting people using Twitter – John Edwards is one of them (no, I don’t follow him) – I have no idea if Sanjaya is using it. Some tech pioneers are big on Twitter and its interesting to see what they are evaluating or talking about.

Is it for everyone? No… but it has worked for me. I didn’t have anything to lose and have already got some great benefit out of it.

One more thing, don’t forget to add your contact’s twitter URL into their JibberJobber profile, like this:

Twitter profiles in JibberJobber

What do you think? If you have used Twitter please use specific stories/examples of how it has benefited you.

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JibberJobber Has To Face The Brutal Facts (or, Questions)

April 4th, 2007

Daniel Sweet, who blogs at Fracat.com, posted some questions that many are asking. And I haven’t addressed them in a public way yet. So here you go. I welcome other brutal questions because (a) they are real issues, and (b) I would have them too, if I were evaluating this as a customer (for the record, I am the biggest customer. No one has logged into JibberJobber more times than I have :)).

First, on security:

Dan SweetDaniel says:

My assumption is this: if it is on the web, it’ll be stolen.

The parent company to TJMaxx / Ross just got most of their customer data stolen. Banks get their data stolen (though they rarely report it because of the bad publicity) and they’re pretty serious about security. The military gets their information stolen and they’re more serious about security.

Jason Alba - CEO JibberJobberJason’s response:

I agree with this assumption, and I’ve had to come to terms with it myself. While I’m “concerned” I still favor web-based e-mail and participate in the Internet in various ways. I’m not saying that you are overly paranoid but if someone is then JibberJobber is not for them – and make sure to get rid of the online banking access, eBay, buying tickets online, etc.
In my IT classes we learned that the safest computer was the unplugged computer. Unplug it from the network and you are pretty safe. Unplug it from the wall and it’s safer!

I can’t pretend to be “more secure” than your bank, or than the U.S. military. I can’t pretend to be more secure than Gmail (which does not have me go through SSL to access my e-mail, which I consider quite private). Furthermore, I think that a company that says that they can’t be hacked, or won’t be broken into, doesn’t understand how many bad guys there are out there – whether they are professional bad guys or just really smart 12 year olds with no parental supervision.

The only thing I can say is that my team has been involved in developing web applications (and everything around that) for quite some time. Security has always been an issue. I’m not going to talk about our security measures but can say that they are inline with general security practices (please, for the bad guys, this is not an invitation to prove me wrong!)

Second, on flaky web 2.0 business models:

Dan SweetDan says:

In addition, it makes me dependent on you, your hosting service, and your business plan. If you do any of the standard “web 2.0″ things (change business plan, change focus, or, God forbid, go out of business) then my ATS is down the drain.

Jason Alba - CEO JibberJobberJason responds:

I can take the typical corporate stance and say “we aren’t going anywhere, we are as solid as a rock and you can confide in us!” But that sounds too hollow – I never really trust statements like that (isn’t that what CEO’s are paid to say?).

I will say a few things to address this. Take them for what they are worth (if you are a skeptic then I don’t expect you to believe it), these are my honest answers.

I am very focused on executing my original strategy. Its to provide a very functional system for regular people to manage their careers. I am partnering with various companies (announcements to come later) and am moving down a path quickly.

With regard to going out of business… if we didn’t receive any more revenue we have the funding/capital to operate as-is (with current staff) for at least two more years. But revenue/cash flow is becoming less of an issue (and we’re not even a year old yet).

However, since you can never say never, there are ways to get your data out of JibberJobber. Right now you can export most things (premium feature). Soon we will have a synch with Outlook contacts. The plan is to not hold your data hostage and make it available to you when you want/need it (outside of JibberJobber) – more on that later.

One thing to note, I have three years of experience working at a flaky company. As I started JibberJobber I had a long list of things NOT to do… and work every day to NOT emulate what happened in that old company.

Third, on JibberJobber being an ATS:

Dan SweetDan says:

I have, in fact, been thinking about JibberJobber as a potential ATS and will still investigate it to see it’s usefulness to that purpose.

Jason Alba - CEO JibberJobberJason says:

I would not call JibberJobber a full-on ATS (applicant tracking system, used by recruiters). I have never seen one, I don’t know what needs to be in it, etc.

But it is a great relationship manager, getting better all the time. Some people use it for their consulting business, others use it in their small (perhaps one-man) businesses. I think that some recruiters might be able to use it just fine as an ATS but I imagine there are other tools that are more appropriate for your needs (ouch, I hate to say that but I can’t over promise).

If you have any other questions, let me know. I’ve heard a lot of them already – and if its appropriate I’ll answer here on the blog. I appreciate Dan’s candidness.

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