Disrupt-ed Sourcing

TechCrunch put forth a few contests over the last few months in which readers were asked to provide a compelling reason why they should be awarded a free pass to come to the Disrupt conference that is currently going on this week in San Francisco. Yours truly has always wanted to attend Disrupt so I gave my reason back in mid-June and was selected as one of the recipients of a free pass to the conference this week. So here I am in San Francisco, checking out some of the latest and greatest technology being launched and presented to over 2,000 attendees.

Naturally, my interest in the technology this week leans in the direction of recruiting and sourcing. And I’m not disappointed! There are some pretty neat companies here whom I’ve been able to chat with and, in some cases, catch a quick video with. There are two to me right now that stand out from a sourcing standpoint — and later this week I’ll share a video from some of the other cool companies I’ve chatted with.

The two companies that caught my eye early this week are MindJet and Quixey.

MindJet

If you haven’t read Ken Hew’s article on mindmapping, you may want to start there first before proceeding any further. MindJet is an information mapping technology that provides personal productivity and collaboration solutions to visually connect ideas, information, and people to save time, improve business processes, and drive innovation. What this means is that you or your team can work individually or collaborate in real-time to organize, manage, and communicate ideas and information while solving real business problems.

Just this week at Disrupt, MindJet announced that with its recent acquisition of Cohuman, a social task-based web service, it will launch Mindjet Connect, a collaborative work management software product, later this month. Mindjet Connect is a cloud-based service that helps groups visualize their best ideas and plans, securely manage and share files, get teams on the same page, and access information anywhere, at any time. Think of what you can do with your global sourcing team with something like this. Check out this video I was able to grab with Parker Trewin, Mindjet’s Director of Global Communications:

Quixey

Quixey is a search engine specifically designed to help you find apps — for mobile devices, tablets, and so forth. But it wasn’t what it searched for that really grabbed my attention — it’s how. I asked if the search platform accepted full Boolean logic and I was told no, it is a proprietary search they refer to as ‘Functional Search.’ According to Quixey’s website,

Quixey invented Functional Search specifically for apps. Unlike traditional search engines, Quixey scrapes blogs, review sites, forums and social media to learn what each app can do and how people use it. Quixey uses this data to help users find the apps they need across all platforms – on smartphones, browsers, desktops, and the web.

So it’s kind of like semantic search, but not really. It’s more of a functional metasearch engine specifically for apps that can be search using plan English. By answering the simple question, ‘What do you want to do?’ you can find an app for any mobile device or tablet to help you do just that.

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I chatted briefly with Gabriel Hendel and Jacob Orrin of Quixey, but in order to explain how this Functional Search actually works, we needed much more time so I am awaiting more specific information. But in the meantime, I am intrigued with Quixey’s easy search — as well as some of the cool apps that it can help you find.

For example: if you search simply for the phrase “find people,” one of the first apps returned is, quite simply, People. The description of this app is, “People is a White Pages application that allows you to quickly and easily find a full name, address, and phone number for almost anyone.” Sounds pretty cool for a sourcer on the go — until you go even further and discover that in addition to these reverse searches, you can also do a search for publicly listed numbers around a specific address — either one you type in or the one you’re currently closest to. I tested it near my house and found my neighbor’s home phone information — borderline freaky because of the simplicity. (But cool nonetheless.)

Quixey not only shows you recommended apps, but it also ties in community-driven feedback from resources such as Twitter, Stack Exchange, and YouTube. Sometimes the videos are instruction videos on how to use the app (helpful!). The results are not perfect, but they’re pretty accurate and it’s a neat way to instantly see some of the things that others may be using an app for.

Final Thoughts: Chatting with Entrepreneurs

As a side-note, I just have to add that chatting all day with these startup entrepreneurs was stimulating. It’s really great to hear the enthusiasm each of them has in their voice for what they do and how eager they are to pitch their startup to anyone willing to give them a few moments. It’s like talking with sourcers who haven’t gotten so bogged down with protocol and procedure that they have lost their spark and passion and no longer really care about what their job is all about — which is matching awesome people with awesome opportunities. My conversations on Day 1 of Disrupt were a refreshing reminder that if you’re not doing something that gets you geeked when someone asks you what you’ve got going on, then perhaps it’s time to find a new line of work. Love what you do and let it shine through whenever anyone asks about it!

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter and SourceCon.com with ERE Media. She currently works as Sr. Manager, Technical Talent Sourcing for Walmart eCommerce. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.

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