get together every Sunday to eat brunch and kick around ideas? Danny A product/visual/UX designer and strategist with a knack for creating compelling stories around products & brands. Michael A visual/UX designer and developer with a keen interest in data science and visualization leading to compelling products. Tom An interaction designer with a focus on digital products that exist in the physical world. This group spurred the idea for a tool that would help solve for the sometimes awkward task of asking for and making professional connections — but the idea lacked the reason for people to connect. ! That missing piece was right in front of us, and we were using it already — seeking, ﬁnding, and recommending freelance and collaboration opportunities through our network.
with the opening of Colonia Verde, their latest Latin-inspired restaurant in the heart of Ft. Greene, they turned to their network to ﬁnd the right people. ! Whitney, a freelance creative they knew from their past lives working in an agency, handled the look & feel of the brand and space, and he designed the Colonia Verde website. The development work was outsourced to a trusted member of Whitney’s network. ! A Facebook post that they were looking for a photographer led to connections & recommendations throughout their network, including Danny who was hired to photograph the new restaurant. Customer Opportunity: What happens when a pair of budding restauranteurs need a team of creatives to help design, brand, and photograph their latest space?
be contingent workers by 2020 Small business are BIG. 67% of net new jobs are created by small businesses Business Opportunity: We’re not the only ones using our social media networks to hire and ﬁnd work. Posting on job boards can and through recruiters can be a pricy venture, and going through HR and recruiters can be ineffective. The opportunity, then, is to create a “command & control” center for freelancers to manage an always-on hunt for new business opportunities through their existing networks. Freelance Market Size Today. 25.8MM socially connected freelance workers. ! $1.85B based on the percent usage and price of LinkedIn’s current premium job search offering.
through their social media connections. What is Work Crush? Researchers have stated for years that the best way to ﬁnd a job is through existing connections. Most job sites, however, focus on formal job postings leading and using recruiters as intermediaries rather than taking advantage of existing relationships. Work Crush would simplify the never-ending process of ﬁnding and scheduling ongoing freelance work by taking advantage of users’ existing 1st and 2nd degree social connections.
Design”: “Anyone know a visual designer in NYC for a quick, 1-week gig here at Tumblr? Please send them my way! Reply “#Job for a #VisualDesigner here @ebay in the NYC oﬃce. ~2 weeks; awesome project on my team. Reply “Hey friends, the crew here at nestio is looking for a Jr.-Mid. level designer for a 3-day gig. Prod. design work. Reply “We’re looking for a freelance designer to support our in-house MoMA marketing team for 3 weeks, starting soon… Reply
NY Gigs Complete: 6 Get in Touch Looking for a Freelancer?: Post a New Gig ▸ Or Search for a Freelancer: Visual Designer Visual Design 13 UX Design 7 UI Design 7 Interaction Des. 4 Strategy 2 Copywriting 1 Katie Dorsett Brooklyn, NY Gigs Complete: 13 Get in Touch Visual Design 16 Strategy 11 UI Design 7 Wireframing 4 Social Media 2 Copywriting 1 Mike Jacks Jersey City, NJ Gigs Complete: 3 Get in Touch UX Design 7 Visual Design 6 UI Design 5 Interaction Des. 4 Strategy 2 Copywriting 1 Availability Availability Availability Christine Yu Visual Design 15 Social Media 4
Activation Retention Revenue Referral For Freelancers For Employers Awareness of Product Site Visits Awareness of Product Site Visits Accounts Created (goal to reach 60% of market) Job Searches Employers Contacted Accounts Created Jobs Posted Freelancers Contacted Repeat Visits Clicks Through Job Alerts Repeat Visits Signups for Paid Service (aiming for 20% based on LinkedIn) LTV of users TBD Network Growth - new users in current user network Referral trafﬁc to site Network Growth Referral trafﬁc to site
entrants? ! Existing job sites that go beyond job posts or connecting freelancers with employers like ODesk and Elance offer software solutions for freelancers. ! Building additional freelance services and/or partnering with existing services to deliver differentiated total value by making freelancing easier will be essential.
J A S O N D Account System Social API Integration Job and People Feeds Job Posting Premium Job Alerts Freelance Scheduling Tool Work Hire Availability Future Features: Billing Services Healthcare Recommendations Tax Recommendations
solve the difﬁcult and ambiguous process of searching for, or ﬁlling, a new job in our post-recession economy. Researchers have told us for years that the best way to ﬁnd a job is through our connections. But most job sites, even the ones that are “social”, focus on formal job postings and recruiters. There are a few that help connect designers and/or developers with gigs at smaller companies. To date, however, there isn’t a market leaders for socially connected job hunting.
Ideate solutions to job/candidate seekers needs when connecting personally. - Research current solutions, available technology, and knowledge/usage of current solutions. - Prototype digital (web-based, mobile, and/or email) product that helps job/candidate seekers ﬁnd each other and connect through their network. - Test Alpha MVP and Beta MVP and change/add/re-prioritize features to meet their needs. 2) Introduction - Launch Public MVP. - Assess initial uptake and usage, tweaking product features, pricing and positioning to optimize for the market. - Start broader direct and ATL marketing to drive awareness and acquisition. 3) Growth - Build and introduce new product features based on early customer usage, feedback, and the production backlog. - Continue acquisition marketing and start retention marketing to current customers to introduce new features and re-engage customers with declining usage. - As new features are added, evolve the value proposition and positioning. 4) Maturity - Continue to add new features, and new tiers to keep customers engaged, or re-engaging with the product. 5) Decline - Bridge customers into a new products that may better suit their needs. ! ! Product Development Cycle: ! 1) Identify User Problem or Opportunity - Speak with job and gig seekers, and business owners and employees using solutions for ﬁnding jobs/candidates without recruiters and HR intermediaries. How are people currently using social and word of mouth to ﬁnd jobs/get jobs done within their network. - Research competitors offering similar solutions for job hunting and applicant ﬁnding. - Identify product focus area and initial set of features. 2) Plan Feature Priority and Sequencing - Conduct more user and competitive research to identify feature set that would deliver the most competitive value to the customer and can be developed quickly at a relatively low cost. - Develop initial business plan - Prioritize features to be included in MVP, and plan for evaluating early success. 3) Develop the Product - Outline user stories and product specs. - Gather design and development team/resources. - Set timelines for feature build and build MVP. 4) Evaluate the Product with Test Users - Run early product versions by test users to validate usability and gather feedback on whether it meets their needs. - Tweak product design and functionality to ﬁns a better ﬁt. - Make changes to the product experience and re-evaluate with test users/early users. 5) Launch Product and Communicate to Potential Users - Plan for public launch with press release, media/inﬂuencer outreach, social outreach, and messaging to early testers/users. - Plan introductory pricing strategy. - Take a deep breath and launch. - Launch initial marketing. 6) Assess Early Product Performance - Evaluate product performance based on metrics set in the Plan phase (Conversion Rate, Sales, etc.). - Continue marketing and assessing user interaction with marketing and product. 7) Decide Whether to Iterate or Kill - If performance goals aren’t met, consider iterating into a new product feature set, or kill the product.
! Threat of New Entrants: Moderate to High Since Work Crush would essentially act as an overlay to existing social networks, there is a reasonably high threat of new entrants. The barriers to building a social overlay are pretty low since the major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Foursquare) have APIs that allow for building functionality on top of the connections and information already existing on their networks. In the current market, there is a great opportunity to move ﬁrst by taking current stop-gap behaviors and build a product ecosystem that ﬁts the growing niche of freelance workers. ! Bargaining Power of Buyers: Moderate There are two buyer audiences, SBOs (and employees doing their own hiring) and freelancers. ! Those hiring currently have a number of DIY options, however they tend to be expensive and impersonal (job boards, recruiting ﬁrms, and even LinkedIn). Or they are stop-gap solutions for scaling WOM, like posting on social media. This solution would be free for posters and add scale to the current solutions — a pretty clear win. ! Freelancers have a number of options available for ﬁnding gigs from free options like scrolling through job boards and posting themselves on freelance sites, to networking at pricy conferences, but even the job boards that have a social element (like Jobs with Friends) don’t harness opportunities directly from your network. ! ! Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Low Any of the social networks could change, or stop allowing access to their APIs at any time, so it will be essential for Work Crush to build a proprietary means of tracking connections over time to ensure that it’s success isn’t totally dependent. Work Crush would not need to be totally reliant on any one network, which, in the short term would help mitigate the risk of failure due to changes on any one API. ! Threat of Substitutes: Moderate There are several substitutes for Work Crush that all promise the chance for connection, including professional conferences and LinkedIn, but Work Crush differs and provides added value by layering onto of existing network sites to provide an additional layer of functionality. ! Overall, the market is moderately attractive, there is a risk of a hot new entrant swooping in, but if Work Crush can grow quickly enough and provide differentiated value, that could make all the difference ! Market Sizing (Top Down) ! Next, let’s take a look at the current market size for digital job search tools. (Assuming that this includes anyone who is not employed full time by an employer) ! Civilian Labor Force = 155M1 Number of contingent workers in the US = 43M 2 ! Total number of LinkedIn users in the US = 93M3 LinkedIn Percent Uptake by Total US Labor Force = 60% Percent of LinkedIn Users using Premium Subscriptions = 20%3 Cost of Standard Job Seeker Product per Month = $29.95 Trend Analysis ! Technological Trends (Change key resources): Recent technological trends are exactly make what we are proposing to do with Work Crush possible – ﬁnding connections via existing social networks and adding value to existing systems. As long as key social networks continue to provide APIs with access to connections, Work Crush should be able to utilize them. ! Societal/Social Trends (Change customer segments): Intuit predicts that more than 40% of the US workforce will be contingent workers by 20204, which if it proves to be true would make tools for making and strengthening professional connections even more important. The latest report show that the number of self employed workers are down since the recession5, but since college enrollment also tends to dip down after recessions6, may be more of result of increases in employer hiring than long term trends. This area deserves more research into any cyclical nature in full-time hiring during booms and recessions. There are other trends like “portfolio careers”7 and lifestyle freelancing8 that nod at a growing market. ! Regulatory Trends (Change key partnerships): Since Work Crush would work through direct communications rules and regulations around digital communications (CAN-SPAM Act, etc.) and personal information (Privacy Laws and Regulations) should be monitored and closely followed. With Work Crush we would need to clearly specify what information is gathered and used, and ensure that communications happen between users on a qualiﬁed basis, allowing the recipient to opt-out of communications and report any potential users who might abuse the service. However, since communications would be in-network, there should be a degree of self monitoring among users. ! References ! 1http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm 2http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/02/independent-work-may-be-inevit/ 3http://press.linkedin.com/about 4http://http-download.intuit.com/http.intuit/CMO/intuit/futureofsmallbusiness/intuit_2020_report.pdf 5http://www.marketwatch.com/story/number-of-self-employed-workers-in-us-down-5-percent-since-end-of-recession-according-to- new-report-from-careerbuilder-and-emsi-2014-02-06?reﬂink=MW_news_stmp 6http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/09/03/number-of-students-enrolled-in-college-drops/ 7http://www.learnvest.com/2013/02/the-hot-new-work-trend-portfolio-careers/ 8https://www.freelancersunion.org/blog/2013/10/24/freelancers-are-building-sharing-economy/
Director Location: New York City ! ! “I moved to New York to grow my career, but I haven’t met many people outside the agency. How am I supposed to land my next gig and start working on projects I really enjoy?” ! ! Background: Lauren moved to New York to grow her career following her ﬁrst job in a small, local ad agency. She landed some freelance work at a large NYC agency, but is unsure about how to grow her network and keep a steady stream of projects if the freelance work dries up. She is ambitious and bored by the lower level assignments she typically is assigned at the agency. She dreams of growing her freelance connections so that she can pick and choose projects that fulﬁll her passion for socially-conscious organizations like Warby Parker and Tom’s. She scours job boards regularly, but ﬁnds it difﬁcult to post for roles she doesn’t feel passionate about. ! ! Motivations: - ambitious in her career - wants to meet and work with people who share her social values ! ! Frustrations: - unsure how to meet people since she is new to the city - afraid that her current freelance work could dry up at any time - not sure how to ask co-workers about getting other freelance assignments ‘Work Crush’ Customer Segments - Freelancers looking to make connections for contract work - Entrepreneurs looking for collaborators, contract-based hires ! Research Methodology In person interviews at industry networking events. Mechanical Turk or Taskrabbit survey of US students and professionals. ! Survey Questions: C = closed O = open 1) C How old are you? 2) C Where are you in your career? a. I’m a student b. I’m employed at a company full-time c. I freelance d. I own a business e. I’m looking for a full-time job 3) O How do you go about job seeking/hiring? 4) C Do you use social media for job hunting/hiring? (Y/N) 5) C Which social networks do you use for job hunting/hiring? a. LinkedIn b. Facebook c. Twitter d. Google+ e. Other : [name] 6) C Have you ever landed a job/partnership through professional networking? 7) C Do you recommend friends and/or professional acquaintances for jobs, or to meet other people in your professional network? 8) O When and how often would you recommend someone to someone else in your professional network? ! !