Archives for April 2006

Online Networks: A New Tool for Alumni Relations

Andrew Shaindlin (who contributed a sub-chapter of The Virtual Handshake) just co-wrote a good piece on Online Networks: A New Tool for Alumni Relations : How third party social and business networking sites can benefit alumni online communities. His coauthor is Elizabeth Allen, Communications Coordinator at the Caltech Alumni Association.

One of the great ironies (and brilliant aspects) of TheFacebook is that it has monetized the networks of Harvard, Yale, and virtually every other university in the US—without paying them a dime! Andrew wrote this piece to explore how university alumni communities should respond to these new services.

Social Networking Acceptance Rate Stats

From Jason Dowdell (via Claire Delong of Accolo): Konstantin Guericke of LinkedIn writes:

There are two types of acceptance rates…

1.) Those from invitations
2.) Those from introductions.

Invitations to connect are generally from people you know and trust already, like former co-workers, classmates, etc.. By accepting an invitation, you agree to make introductions for the person when he/she wants to meet people you or your contacts know. Of the people who send over 10 invitiations, 7% have an acceptance rate of 90% or higher. These kinds of conversion rates are unthinkable in traditional marketing, but only possible via word-of-mouth marketing where there are well-established relationships and bonds of trust.

Introductions are contact requests from people you generally don’t know and who are contacting you about doing business via an introduction from someone you know. When accepting a contact request, you are providing your contact information, so you can start a dialog about the opportunity via phone or email. When people receive an introduction, they accept it (meaning they provide their contact info to the sender) 84% of the time. This is quite amazing given that they generally don’t know the sender, and it’s a testament to the fact that business users realy heavily on social filters — they are much more willing to give their attention and respond favorably to someone who comes introduced (even if the sender is just a friend of a friend of their connection) than if they get contacted directly via phone or email where nobody is vouching for the sender and where they can’t easily look up the profile of the sender. It also shows that most users are careful which people they let into their LinkedIn network and that they give signficant weight to the fact that one of their LinkedIn connections is recommending the sender, based on their direct knowledge of the sender or based on the recommendation provided about the sender by someone they know and trust.

What comparable data can other services provide? Any ideas?

Blog Carnivals – Keeping Up with the Best of the Blogosphere

I love to read blogs, but increasingly, I find it harder and harder to keep up with all the blogs I’d like to read because there is just so much good stuff out of there. And, of course, it’s all mixed up with a lot more stuff ranging from merely mediocre to just plain pointless.

Recently, I’ve particularly become a fan of the “blog carnival” format, a weekly traveling roadshow of the best of the blogosphere on a particular topic. I got overwhelmed trying to keep up with the dozens and dozens of good blogs out there, and just setting up search feeds on keywords wasn’t giving me a good variety.

Blog carnivals, though, give you a very concise view of some of the best of the blogosphere on various topics. Here are some that you may find particularly relevant:

To learn more about blog carnivals, including what they are, submitting articles, and a list of all known blog carnivals (here’s another), visit This site is a one-stop resource where you can subscribe to RSS feeds for individual carnivals, submit posts to multiple carnivals, and have some great tools for managing a carnival if you already run one or want to start one.

Mainstream Advertisers Shy About MySpace? NOT!

It seems that Walt Disney Pictures is promoting Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on MySpace.

Some might say that the recent MySpace cleanup paved the way for this, but I’ll tell you what… there’s still plenty of “objectionable” material on MySpace. Apparently Disney isn’t too concerned about having their brand tarnished by association with MySpace.

For Job-Hunters: How to Find a Contact Name Inside a Target Company

For Job-Hunters (and Salespeople): How to Find a Contact Name Inside a Target Company

Job-hunters have a number of hurdles to surmount, but one of the greatest is this: how do you get a name inside a target company? When you want to send a letter of inquiry to a company (about a job), you really want to find the right person’s name, in order to contact him or her. If you can’t find the right person, you want to find someone who can put you in touch with the person you seek. Here are ten ways to find a name inside a company you are targeting.


Phone Interview Etiquette Can Propel You to the Next Step in the Hiring Process

Maureen Crawford Hentz writes on Phone Interview Etiquette Can Propel You to the Next Step in the Hiring Process.

Social Software and Executive Recruiting

I was discussing Phil Wolff’s comments on
social software in recruiting
with John Younger, CEO of Accolo. He wrote:

What I find interesting in the intersection of social networks and jobs is that there is a third party that seems to be completely missed. Specifically, the party that pays the bills – the companies.

At the job level the equation gets easier. Use the network for find the right person for the job. Unfortunately, these networks keep on rolling even after the job is filled, and the hired candidate keeps on networking by definition. Two gaping holes:
+ Free-form networking (liked LinkedIn) actually encourages working around the company approved process, and
+ employees could be “networked” out of their new job in a relatively short period.

The solutions that “giveth and taketh away” will be fired in short order once the companies figure it out, which is a material obstacle to the theories of social networking and recruiting.

Responding to John’s point: I’ve heard through the grapevine that both Linkedin and OpenBC have been blocked at certain companies, for the same reason that many companies won’t let their employees surf Monster/HotJobs/Careerbuilder on company time.

Of course, the power of LinkedIn, OpenBC, and like companies is that they provide a motivation for people to maintain their public professional profile on an ongoing basis. By contrast, Monster/HotJobs/Careerbuilder have a relationship of “punctuated equilibrium”: a job-seeker uses them heavily for 2 months, and then doesn’t visit the site for 4 years until they start looking for a new job again.

The average American has been employed at his/her job for only 4.0 years. You cannot rely on your employer’s network or your father’s network; you have to build your own flexible, lifetime community to land your next job. When you’re currently employed, you’re only between job searches.

Web 2.0 Inside the Enterprise

Harvard Professor Andrew McAfee writes in his blog:

I have an article in the spring 2006 issue of Sloan Management Review (SMR) on what I call Enterprise 2.0 — the emerging use of Web 2.0 technologies like blogs and wikis (both perfect examples of network IT) within the Intranet. The article describes why I think this is an important and welcome development, the contents of the Enterprise 2.0 ‘toolkit,’ and the experiences to date of an early adopter. It also offers some guidelines to business leaders interested in building an Enterprise 2.0 inftrastructure within their companies.One question not addressed in the article is: Why is Enterprise 2.0 is an appealing reality now? It’s not because of any recent technology breakthrough. Blogs, wikis, and RSS have been brewing since the 1990s, and folksonomies and AJAX since the early years of this decade. Is it just that technologists and entrepreneurs needed a bit of time to absorb all of elements and combine them into useful tools? That’s certainly part of the story, but focusing only on technology components risks missing the forest for the trees.
In particular, it misses three broad and converging trends, all of them concerning the changing relationship between those who offer technologies and those who use them. The trends are:
1. Simple, Free Platforms for Self-Expression ….

2. Emergent Structures, Rather than Imposed Ones ….
3. Order from Chaos ….

the technologists of Web 2.0 are providing a third valuable service — they’re rolling out tools that help us filter, sort, prioritize, and generally stay on top of the flood of new online content. As described in the SMR article, these tools include powerful search, tags (the basis for the folksonomies at and flickr), and automatic RSS signals whenever new content appears. …

I’ll end this post with an anecdote that showed me that these three trends are not yet well understood by many business leaders. Last week I was teaching in an executive education program for senior executives – owners and presidents of companies. I assigned a case I wrote about the internal use of blogs at a bank, and also gave one additional bit of homework: I pointed the participants to blogger and typepad, and told them to start their own blogs and report the blog’s URL to me.

What they reported instead was that they had no intention of completing the assignment. They told me how busy they were, and how they had no time and no inclination to mess around with blogs (whatever they were). Out of two classes of 50-60 participants each, I got fewer than 15 total blog URLs.

Trying to turn lemons into lemonade in class, I asked some of the people who actually had sent a URL to describe the experience of starting a blog. They all shrugged and said it was no big deal, took about five minutes total, didn’t require any skills, etc. I then asked why I would give busy executives such a silly, trivial assignment. In both classes one smart student piped up to say “To show us exactly how trivial it was.” At that point, class discussion became interesting.

via Ross Mayfield

What Prof. McAfee is describing *inside* the enterprise is exactly the same sort of phenomenon that we see salespeople, recruiters and other using both inside and outside the enterprise, and explore in The Virtual Handshake.

Another person now writing on this area: Paul Gillen. (Via Centrality Journal )

Invitation to TiECON East, June 15-17, in Boston, MA

I hope that some of our readers will join me at TiECON East, June 15-17, in Boston, MA. With over 1,200 expected attendees, TiECON East plans to become the largest Global Innovation conference on the East Coast. The sponsoring organization is TiE, whose members receive roughly 5% of the venture capital investment in the United States.

Speakers include:
– Howard Anderson, Founder Battery Ventures and The Yankee Group
– Nikesh Arora, VP & GM Europe, Google
– Clayton M. Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, Author, The Innovator’s Dilemma
– Rajat Gupta, Senior Partner Worldwide, McKinsey & Co.
– Ray Kurzweil, Author & Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence
– Venkat Ramaswamy, Ross School of Business at University of Michigan
– Paul Sagan, CEO, Akamai
– Mohanbir Sawhney, Professor, Kellogg School of Management
– Howard H. Stevenson, Professor, Harvard Business School
– Hatim Tyabji, Executive Chairman, Bytemobile Inc.

I’ll be participating in two panels, one on innovation in social software and online networks, and one on innovation in investment research. Confirmed speakers include John Younger, CEO of Accolo, and Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging.

The keynote speaker is Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (although I somehow doubt he will be talking about innovation, given that’s not the UN’s strength.)

With prices starting at $269 for TiE Members and $100 for student members, the conference isn’t expensive. For more information or to register, contact the TiE-Boston office at (781) 272-3875 or visit .

How to optimize your Internet job search

Katharine Hansen discusses how to maximize your internet job search: