Professional Networking

UX Fun

Wed, 31 March 2004

Last night about 20 Designers from around Chicago met for the inaugural Chicago UX Special Interest Group meeting. Larry Marine from Intuitive Design and Research facilitated the session. A brave soul put up the site that she is in charge of redesigning and let the rest of us analyze it, hash it, and rehash it. It was certainly good to get back into the Chicago community of designers anfter an extended hiatus (having another kid will do that).

Hopefully the next gathering will allow for a bit more networking, because all I walked away with was the facilitator’s name.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking, User Experience Design | No Comments »
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Social Softy

Thu, 20 November 2003

I’ve been researching Social Software for a few weeks now, first hearing about it via an invite to Friendster. I’m intrigued because the whole “revolution” is based on a concept that flamed out personally for me 3 years ago. At the height of the dotcom boom I was the lead UI designer for an internet startup named “Who2Trust”. Our model was to build a directory of recommended service businesses (doctors, dentists, financial planners) through people you trust. We had the whole 6 degree of separation thing. We wanted to make money from businesses buying profiles, just like they buy Yellow Page ads. Our competitors included iThought.com, Servicelane.com, and others. We failed for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was motivating people to make connections and recommend businesses for the shear joy of it. Anyways, it’s very interesting to read a designer’s view of his own little startup from 1999 called epinions.com. In Peter Merholz’s view epinions is the Social Software website that’s got it all.

I wrote a few epinions and certainly got into the pay per review earnings model. It was cool to see how many people read and liked my reviews. And there certainly was some competition to get more friends into my web of trust and keep doing better and better reviews to make more money. The thing is that the affinity is very loose. I knew none of the people in my web personally, and I don’t feel bad for having left the site unused for 3 years. My point is that I don’t put too much stock in Social Networking as a primary means of maintaining relationships unless I’m getting relevant information. I think that the social networking caused by interlinked blogs has some potential to get me there. Is there a way to have an RSS feed with 6 degrees of separation from the friends list in my blog?

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking, Technology | No Comments »
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Networking Dynamics

Thu, 10 October 2002

I just have networking so on my mind. The Chicago UPA meeting last night was interesting. I walked into a crowd of Usability people and learned about the history of the UPA, of which we are starting a Chicago Chapter. I might event join the organization.

I’m struck by networking right now both from a personal quest, and because we’re working on a project at TMP that is closely related. I’m not a networker. I don’t know how to “work a crowd” in a professional/meaningful way. I walk into a room of strangers – of people whose sole interest similar to mine is what we do for a living. I figured I’d be the guy who would go and just sit in a chair and eat the sucky finger food that was to serve as my dinner.

But, something happened. “Jerry” from GM Locomotive came up to me and started a chat on usability in trains. So, now I know a train guy. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw Brain Joosse from Technotribe. I knew Brian because a coworker referred me to him after my dotcom bombed. Brian interviewed me to freelance with his little virtual multimedia – web company. Come to find out he is living the dream of working from home in a virtual company. I could have talked to him for a few hours. But this is the essence of networking. I don’t even need to read a book that I’ve been meaning to get to written by a client of our dotbomb.

And isn’t a blog a great form of networking? Uh, yeah. In a totally non-threatening way, you can read someone’s history of thought, and who they know, and what they like, and what they link to. Anyone of these things can spark a connection with someone much more naturally than any message board, or even real personal contact. Personal contact is flawed in that you can’t review someone’s history based on what they are talking about at the moment. Think of how many Starbuck clerks would actually offer a mutually beneficial relationship, if only you knew that once they had lived in Western New York, and rooted for the Bills. Read others’ blogs. It’s Blogworking baby!

Posted in: Blogging, Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking | No Comments »
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Founding Father

Wed, 09 October 2002

I’m heading to the inaugural meeting of the Chicago UPA tonight. I’m all for making websites usable, and networking with other Usabiligeeks. I’m thinking there probably won’t be much learning going on. More like “What do we want to name the group?” Oh well. Everything starts small.

Posted in: Interactive Marketing for Staffing Firms, Professional Networking | No Comments »
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This is my Life as a 37 year old husband and father of two and my Work as Executive Director of Marketing at Bennett International Group in Mconough, GA relocating from home in Rochester, NY.
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