Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our New Panel is live, makes adding text, links and videos ultra simple

This is a big one.  When we talk about ease of use, it is the one feature that we are the most proud of. Matt would say that it is our flagship feature so far. We have more coming up and even more differentiated than this one but this one new feature is special just for the amount of time it frees me up to focus on deep research rather than data entry.

It starts with a WebSearch Panel which makes it dead simple for you to add more content to our pages. From now on when you navigate across Spoke, each company, person, and topic page will now have a drop-down window in the upper-right corner containing articles and links that relate directly to the page you are looking at.  You can click on any item's title to explore it, and use its green "+" button to instantly add the item to the Spoke page. And Spoke does this very smartly by just offering you choices to add the piece of content where it would fit better.

We have also implemented a bookmark bar called Spokeit. Spokeit enables you to harvest, wherever located on the internet, text, URL, Video… You just have to spokeit the link and it is automatically and immediately brought back into your 'Bookmarks' collection right into the Panel, which you can access next time you're on Spoke. For those who are familiar, this looks like an Instapaper/Read it later functionality.

One last thing:  you can even select a block of text from any page, and then hit SpokeIt. And the same way, you can add links to a page, you will be able to add block of text while keeping the attribution of where the text is coming from.

I remind you of one of our guidelines. When you add a notable link or a milestone, just make sure to extract the key salient facts of the news you want to highlight and include it in the headline so that the headline gives the right level of information to somebody who is busy and  want to skim through the content very fast while enabling him to click on the link if he wants more information.

By going one step beyond simply reading a great article, or watching a great video, and adding them to a Spoke page with a single click and the right words to express what the content says, you not only curate it for later recall, share this information with your colleagues who follow the page you are interested in but you get credit for doing so, and the entire Spoke community gets better access to information. And you are doing it by abiding with the best standard of the Industry by attributing content to the right source.

Philippe Cases

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Job Seekers Need More Than A Resume, They Need Spoke

This is a guest article by Phil Rosenberg, who runs one of the largest LinkedIn groups for job seekers (Career Central group) and has one of the 20 largest networks on Linkedin globally.  Phil is President, and hosts free webinars to help job seekers in the new digital job market.

It's critical to display your subject matter expertise when searching for a job. 

Most job seekers would gladly do this, if they just knew how ... and where. So the way most of you display your subject matter expertise ends up being where few people will see it - your resume and social media profile. The biggest reason why nobody sees your subject matter expertise from your online resume and social media profiles ... is because, for most people, these end up at the bottom of Google searches.

If you can't be found by subject matter expertise, you're missing out on some of the best opportunities out there. Employers and recruiters search first by subject matter expertise, even for generalist positions - Employers with generalist jobs look first for subject matter expertise and determine generalist skills during interviews. When employers can micro-target skill sets through Applicant Tracking Systems, they can find many candidates who have already solved their priority problems - and then choose the candidate that's most adaptable to new and different problems for generalist positions.

The typical response I hear is "This can't apply to me - I'm looking for ___ type of job!" The odds are just as bad for executives using this approach as they are for rookies ... just as terrible for senior-level employees as they are for admins.

So how can you be found by subject matter expertise?

Spoke provides a great vehicle to promote your subject matter expertise, plus it's indexed and searchable by Google.  The website provides a number of tools that can help job seekers develop, promote and be found by subject matter expertise.  Best of all, it's free for job seekers.

For example, Spoke allows registered users to create Topic pages.  According to Matt Maurer, Spoke's Product Manager:

"Creating a topic is a great way to highlight your domain knowledge. There's zero technical skill required, and the end result is a page that thoroughly explains a specific topic, full of what you think are the most important articles, videos, sources, people, companies, events, and social media threads that relate to your topic. Ultimately, you show that you know a topic like the back of your hand because you have curated the entire internet to bring readers the essential information.”

Oh yeah, Google loves Topic pages ...

Spoke puts your name and picture at the very top of the topic ("Created by Jane Doe") and links your name right back to your personal Spoke page (as long as you’ve ‘claimed’ it.) Then Spoke puts your topic into search engines for people to find when they Google things related to your topic.
Once you've filled out the basic information about your Topic page, it's time to start curating.  It's simple ... when you read an article that you find important, it's easy to add it to your topic page, company pages or people pages, even topic pages.  Spoke displays "Created by ____" next to the link, so that other users (like employers and recruiters) can see who found it and can click your name to find out more about you.

You'll want to make sure your own personal page clearly brands you as an expert in your field and include  links to your resume, other social media profiles.  In addition, it's a great place to list awards, research, white papers, slide presentations, multimedia, YouTube videos, where you've been quoted, articles or blogposts you've written.  If you're using your spoke page Spoke to it's fullest extent, it provides a platform for an online portfolio ... linked to expertise, companies, key people and searchable by Google.

Want to see an example?  Check out my Spoke Topic page (I created a few.)

Then register and go create your own Topic page, so you can be found by subject matter expertise. Spoke recently launched this capability so most topics are unclaimed.

It's a land grab right now.

Want More? 

Phil Rosenberg will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday 10/25/12 at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT titled “How to Keep Your Resume out of the Black Hole,” and explaining step-by-step how you can beat your competition using better information. Register at

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Release of the Spoke Toolbar

As we are fully implementing the full vision for our business intelligence platform, we are getting a lot of feedback from users, experts from different fields as well pundits from the media industry. The bad news is that we have a long road map ahead of us and the good news is that we are fully energized and ready to tackle the challenge.  The two Davids, Mike and Allen are very excited by the technical challenges ahead of them and Matt and I are energized any time we are meeting new people and are able to explain where we are and where we are going.

One of our core development axes is information context. As of today, even though we are leading the race in this area compared with many other business information sites, we think we are far away from where we should be. We need to make advances in two different areas: keeping the context of the information and providing more ways to link pages with each other.

Today, we are delivering our first foray in trying to tackle the problem. We are introducing a toolbar that maintains the context while you are navigating away from our pages. This toolbar enables you to navigate from one piece of information to another without losing the context of the page.

There are few drawbacks to this approach. First, we are not able to do it for all pieces of information. While there is obvious value in doing so: some sites, such as The New York Times, don’t allow external toolbars on their site; and second, sites such as Facebook make it even more painful, and require you to click on a link to access their sites when you are navigating using an external toolbar. But overall, we all have been using the toolbar for a while now and we have come to rely on it more and more. So we believe that the value of this toolbar far outweighs the drawbacks.

The more astute users will notice this new navigation toolbar is not the same as the one you use when you are navigating within Spoke.  We have a lot of discussions internally and we will find a way to unify our navigation metaphors.

Please give us feedback on all of this. Let us know if you like the concept and how we can adjust the toolbar to make it more useful.