Namesake Preview: Lethal Endorsements

by Travis Ketchum · 7 comments

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Namesake, one of the more promising start-ups from California driven by a very bright and talented team. The founders Brian Norgard (co-founder of Ad.ly, Newroo) and Dan Gould. I had the delight of connecting with Brian Norgard recently and was able to talk with him about what the project nicknamed as the “LinkedIn killer” by some of its avid fans (which is an incredibly short list due to its uber exclusive beta testing period to date).

What I love

  • The user interface is absolutely gorgeous
  • It is simplistic, which means it is easier to convey its value proposition
  • Builds around your existing social ties (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube)
  • Real time opportunity routing
  • Endorsement graph

What I don’t (aka feature wish list)

  • Some kind of quality score and search-able list for routed opportunities as the community grows
  • An infinite scroll type feature to see more than just the last 3 things someone posted

I can’t help but wonder how the activity feed is going to be handled as this site grows. According to Brian Norgard, as of today there are only 168 people on Namesake due to its hyper exclusive on-boarding. But, that being said, if any team has the talent and the brains to solve that problem it is going to be these guys. It is already plain to see with this small group of users though how valuable the friend-to-friend referral and endorsements are going to be.

However, with LinkedIn now reaching 80 million users signed up, how do you think Namesake is going to be able to make a case for those with other profiles to put in the effort of developing yet another social graph within Namesake ecosystem without being perceived as actively job seeking? I would still fill out Namesake even if I wasn’t looking for a job because I think it represents your level of authority within certain fields but employers may not share the sentiment. What are your thoughts? Let me know below or with an @ reply on Twitter!

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About Travis Ketchum
A smart ass marketer who doesn't take no for an answer and always questions the status quo. Connect with me on Google+. Convinced yet? Get more tips and great content 100% free.

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Building a sustainable business is all about how well you can gather and maintain an audience. An email list is still one of the most viable ways to do just that.

We wanted to find a way to build an email incredibly fast, in a way that people actually find interesting, engaging and well - cool. It took a lot of testing to weed-whack through all the hype and find something that really worked.

The result? We ended up building our own solution, focused around the idea of contests and rewarding people for taking the actions that ultimately led to more leads on our email list. Everyone wins (and some literally do!), because as it turns out people love contests regardless of their market place.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Hurff October 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Travis, thanks for the writeup — a generous one at that. You make some fantastic points re: routed opportunity value and people’s individual profile streams. I’m actually working on the latter as I write this, and we’ve been chatting a lot here internally about what makes a routed opportunity more or less valuable to you and your network.

Re: the “yet another social graph” problem — we don’t want to force people back into this arms race. People already have networks built elsewhere, and we want ot make it as EASY as possible to leverage those already in place. Wherever that may be.

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Travis Ketchum October 4, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Scott! Thanks for taking the time to read my article, it is greatly appreciated. The work that your entire team has put into Namesake certainly shows, and I am confident that you guys are going to come up with fantastic solutions to your unique challenges.
In regards to the social graph duplication I am sure that is a hard one to overcome (as Google is finding out right now) but there are ways of making your on-boarding process as seamless as possible for end users. Again, I admire the work and hustle you guys are putting into this project. I’d love to meet you all in person someday soon.

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Jon October 4, 2010 at 2:05 PM

The site seems quite pointless. The concept is outdated. I use Facebook and LinkedIn already for networking. Why would I waste my time with this?

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Travis Ketchum October 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM

That is an interesting question Jon. What do you feel the missing killer feature is? What added value do you think the site needs in order to be useful from your point of view?

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Scott Hurff October 4, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Thanks for the candor — but Namesake isn’t about networking. It’s about using your existing network to get things done, quickly.

We call this part of the site “opportunities” — an opportunity is a structured and concise way to publish to this network what you need, right now. And in real-time, your network can 1) route the opportunity to others they know to help you out, 2) apply directly to the opportunity and provide information or present themselves as a resource to you, or 3) email it directly to people they know.

This happens in reverse, too. Let’s say your friend needs a Python developer to work on a side project. It’s a gig that pays a few hundred bucks. It turns out that you know just the guy — and you quickly “route” this to that person. Your Python guy, in turn, applies to your friend’s opportunity as a potential candidate.

We’re moving away from a world of jobs and resumes. We’re living in a world more frequently being dominated by projects, side businesses, and more people are calling themselves entrepreneurs every day. In essence, more people are *creating* and need something like this to get things done.

You want in?

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Jon October 4, 2010 at 3:58 PM

To me things get done in person, not over the internet. Professional entrepreneurs aren’t spending a lot of time on sites like Namesake because they’re out there in the real world, making things happen. Opportunities are discovered during face-to-face interaction with real people. Everything else is done via e-mail. Namesake sounds like an extra unnecessary step.

The missing killer feature? Common sense.

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Scott Hurff October 4, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Interesting. Punchy conclusion, too. And while I think you’re wrong, you’re still a good writer.

Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Maybe we’ll see you on there someday!

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