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by Jay Fienberg

PlaNetwork conference, Web Communities and Social Software, part 2

posted: Jun 7, 2003 2:17:34 PM

Blogging the PlaNetwork conference in San Francisco.

Talking about Cynthia's SPM. Sounds interesting. You are your own company, your own work identity. Professional Guilds facilitates intentional networks: a key social structure enabling work.

Jan's work is taking this kind of thing and making it not contained within a site, but as a feature of public citizenship online.

SPM's virtue (also like what Net Deva is about): Building a network, adding new nodes. Maintaining the network, keeping in touch. Activating selective nodes at the time things need to be done.

SPM has 3,600 members (software professionals) marketing themselves, self-organizing and self-propogating. SPM has the reliability of a personal network. Talking about matching job recruiters and job posters. Quality of SPM organized people makes it easier for job recruiters.

SPM uses free software and proven marketing tactics, eGroups. Zero budget virtual organization. Everyone's goal is to get a job. People work as volunteers until they get a job. Organized for volunteers who are quickly replaced.

Chart showing job boards, company associations, and professional societies as progressively better ways.

SPM is just one vertical. Can take on other hi-tech markets. Then other professional fields. The people in each vertical have a passion to do the right thing for their particular area. Spontaneous emergence as a franchise. Cynthia originally started this to get a job for herself.

Chart showing possible revenue streams of professional guilds. Chart showing free software used to create this online community. Some stuff is cheap (like long distance phone service), but not free.

Cynthia's chart shows a rating of how various commerce sites used covers the 12 Principles or not. rates high, Epinions rates low. If your site doesn't have what it takes, you either have to put it there or justify why it does not.

She also has a chart with scores for Ryze, Friendster, and Wikipedia (doing best of these), and others.

Chart showing Professional Guilds vs the 12 Principles. (All this stuff is pretty interesting. Hope it ends up posted online.) More charts on Professional Guilds: their added value, corporate structure, etc.

Taking Q & A. Duncan Work of Net Deva is talking from the floor about Net Deva and SPM being different, and that is good, because one site can't do it all.

Someone standing next to me just complained that the whole SPM thing is not much more than a job board, and the whole presentation was bogus, just self-promotion. She says craigslist is way better, and what she trusts. So, since I haven't checked SPM out myself, I note this to balance all the above stuff. (Hey if they are about self-promotion, they did a good job getting me to write about them so much!)

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Comment by: Cynthia Typaldos ·
posted: Jun 7, 2003 5:57:39 PM

Dear PlanetWork attendess: Unfortunately I could not attend the conference due to a family emergency. Thanks very much to Jan Hauser for giving my presentation for me. I would like to add some comments here as I could not be there in person. In the last paragraph of the report an unidentified person said SPM is "only a job board". There is some truth to this right now. Because SPM has zero funding and is mostly composed of software product marketing and management professionals, rather than software developers, what we have been able to do is envision from the specific instance of SPM a much broader offering in functionality, across multiple functions in an industry, across industries, and with a unique organizational structure, however we do not have the engineering skills to build it on our own. Let me emphasize though that we have been astonishingly successful in capturing the "job poster market" for software marketing job positions. If you sign up for the SPM eGroup and browse the jobs you will see that nearly all of the top software/systems companies advertise their job openings on SPM. Additionally, if you view the quotes on the SPM homepage you will see that the recruiters, hiring managers, and hr personnel are very pleased with the results. Companies that post their software marketing jobs on SPM include eBay, Google, Yahoo, Intuit, etc. Interestingly, Yahoo has posted jobs in their Resumix and Hotjobs divisions on SPM, and an HR rep at eBay recently told me that they post their marketing jobs exclusively on SPM (along with their own web site). Additionally, the press we have obtained by leveraging our use of "The Strength of Weak Ties" has given our site tremendous credibility with our target market -- the job posters who seek to fill software marketing positions. Successful organizations have not only a great product offering, but a clear vision, market differentiation, and market presence. We do have a working prototype of the "Professional Guild" that implements all of the "12 Principles of Civilization" along with the functionality discussed in the presentation, and demonstrates the 7 potential revenue streams. Due to my need to immediately leave the country regarding a family emergency I did not have time to set up a demo for Jan to present to all of you. The presentation that Jan gave for me is both about who we are now (a group of 4,000 software marketing professionals, and over 100 volunteers) and how we can build upon what we have learned to create something much more encompassing. In my previous company, RealCommunities, we built much of the kind of software that is needed (e.g. reputation engine, identity engine, member-to-member connection application, etc.) However the success of Professional Guilds on the Web depends not only on having the right software but also on having the right organizational and legal structure. It is my belief that the organizations (e.g. the industry+function professional guilds) must each be independent member-owned guilds, and the legal structure must support the concept that every member truly owns his/her professinal identity and reputation. Note that this is very different from existing social networking and ecommerce sites -- eBay owns every memberĀ“s identity and reputation as does, and the ownership of a memberĀ“s profile is quite ambiguous on sites such as Ryze. One thing we have learned and implemented quite well by actually doing SPM is the process of managing a large virtual organization staffed by passionate volunteers on a zero budget. For example, we use over 40 Yahoo Groups as the underpinings of our volunteer collaboration efforts (see the website for a complete list of the collaborative tools we use and also white papers explaining how we use them). The reason I presented (that is, Jan presented for me) SPM as it is now ALONG WITH MY VISION for Professional Guilds is because we are seeking partners to implement this vision. It is my hope that some of you attending the conference will contact me to discuss how we can take SPM and its sibling guilds to the next level. Right now I am out of the country, writing from an Internet Cafe, however I will be back in a few days. I can be reached at my regular email address Please visit SPM at and my professional website at to learn more about SPM and me. Thanks very much. Cynthia Typaldos

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