26. June 2012–
We all know it. LinkedIn is the root-canal work of recruitment – painful, but necessary. The site looks like a feverish UI guy vomited the internet and its failure to enhance its service in any enjoyable way in the last decade lets down its 150 million locked-in users.
But the job-platform landscape is finally throwing up some disruptive new models. Services are turning their back on the behemoth model and focusing on becoming more community-driven, more relevant and – most importantly – more fun.
Geekli.st launched last week into public beta and it has already grabbed the imaginations of the global developer community, giving them a platform to tell the world about the achievements that make their career worthwhile, via online "brag cards”.
"In the early iChatav days, one of the things Steve Jobs called me was fuckchop"
“I started WebOS”
“I designed the new foursquare mobile explore”
“I inspired a superbowl ad”
"I led the project to build Pixar's new animation system, used to create Brave"
The range of achievements can range from the surreal quote at the top from legendary dev Andy Grignon to putting your name to the details of your latest Ruby on Rails project. You can browse and filter by developer language, as well as follow other users, high-five specific achievements, as well as embed your own Geek It! bookmarklet to publish anything remotely geeky from the web straight to your feed.
Badass entrepreneurs need über-cool CTOs
Reuben Katz, the self-described “original badass entrepreneur, hustler and visionary” talked to us at 3am to explain the Geekli.st mission: "My co-founder had been a CTO for many years and he’d always faced the same problem of trying to hire the right developers. Your typical resumé deals with which companies you work at, but not your actual achievements. We wanted a place where developers could get credit where credit is due."
Katz, serial entrepreneur who previously launched iLeon, the hispanic Amazon, claims LinkedIn could be counting its days as the leader of the recruitment pack: "LinkedIn is still based on that 90s idea of going out to bars and networking, exchanging business cards. And that’s what LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffmann wanted to put online.
“It hasn't changed because he sold investors on a specific direction - reshifting a boat of that size takes a lot of work and sure, they add things to make it more social and cooler for developers, but ultimately it's a brand issue. It’s becoming the MySpace of hiring."
Global ambassadors equal free marketing, just ask SoundCloud
The beauty of Geekli.st from a founders' point of view is that (much like SoundCloud did) it fosters a global grass-roots network of key influencers – it already has 40,000 of some of the most active and outspoken people on the techsphere on its books, meaning that if the product's any good, not only do they have a ready-made network of marketers with "a brand loyalty that you just can't buy", you have a highly skilled workforce who will be willing to work on Geekli.st tasks for free in order to gain achievement cards.
"We stayed in private beta for a long time," says Katz. (Geekli.st was launched in private beta from September 2011, membership invite-only until last week). "We wanted to make sure these people had direct involvement in how the product evolved. And we now have someone working for free on a Windows version for us, just because he wants to be involved...
"Stefan [Hoth, a freelance developer and active member of the Berlin tech scene] was our very first ambassador and he now represents us for the whole of Germany".
Hoth explains why he became involved: "I began to learn about the makers behind tech I use every day. I also found out about a lot of people active in the developer community of Berlin and Germany in general and could connect with them in real life."
Companies and brands getting involved
Now an A-list of companies has picked up on the service, including Spotify, Yammer, Microsoft, and Wooga, using it not only to pick up new talent form developing markets such as Portugal and Estonia but also to showcase their own roster of awesome. Geekli.st is currently fundraising for a quick second round to capitalise on its $1m seed round.
Will we see this roll out to other verticals? For instance tech bloggers?? “I think that there’s room for everyone in the tech circle to make use of this: UI, project managers, bloggers, designers, etc. We've already been approached by about four to five different industries who want to utilise the service as a showcase, such as engineers and architects who again may not get instant recognition for their works," says Katz.
It looks as if the days of the teeth-pulling CV or online resumé are poised for change...