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Building Ryze Personal Networks:

I just returned from MENG's (Marketing Executives Networking Group) San Francisco chapter monthly meeting.

There were the usual meeting components, a quick share round the room, - 15 years, 19 years 26 years and more - experience. These are all senior marketers, who have held top marketing jobs. Truly fantastic experience from consumer products to enterprise software, all looking for ways to network, secure new jobs, find a way to talk to a recruiter etc. Then there is the reality of a tough job market. Some want leads for consulting, some are really hoping for a new permanent position. Some VC interest. Some are beginning, some are jaded.

We hear the common strategies, about networking, getting to recruiters, always a different slant on the resume. Storytelling, elevator pitches. From headhunter to counselor. We know that many jobs are found though connections. Someone that knows someone. Often when and where we arenít looking.

At the session, I connect with a few. There are some familiar faces. There is no overt exchanging of resumes or anything like it. Each time maybe 50% of the people are new faces. Frankly I find it hard to remember who is who sometimes. I take away little more than cards.

So after the round the room intros today I mentioned RYZE (See the borrowed disclaimer below). Richard Guha a friend of Ryze was there too. A brief conceptual introduction was made around making it easier for us all to share. I made a note to invite the group (now done). Iím really hoping MENG-SF will come on board.

In this group today only two or three raised their hands to ďHow many of you have a website?Ē The silence round blogs was more like a question. What are they? Itís not unexpected and yet I believe they may be the most important marketing tools for "Brand You"! Ryze is a good first stipe. It lowers the boundaries to creating a very personal web page and getting a corresponding listing in GOOGLE. It provides a ready set of references and can quickly update anyone on what you are working on, other interests etc. Itís more than a corporate directory and different to the white pages.

So what are my learnings? What's the benefit for getting on Ryze?

When I think about my Ryze experience it generally feels good . Iíve been sharing something new, making new connections, and starting new conversations. On Ryze you can speak to a new person every day if you want. Each little guest book entry a little mystery, a brief thanks and a sense of belonging. The little secret may be interests and business.. I actually know more about some friends on Ryze than I have known about some colleagues I've worked with. This is a more human side to networking. There are pictures of real people here, diverse by location (global) by thinking and in sharing a certain sense of trust is evolving. Itís very new. You can actually influence it. Today we are ďthe peopleĒ on Ryze. If you have the view that everyone is remarkable then I guarantee you will make some interesting connections.

Suggestions for the ďRyze YouĒ.

1. Fill out your profile. Not too cryptically, at first you may just complete all the interests, and company. Perhaps a few lines in the HTML box and see how it goes. Do not forget to put a picture up! It triples hits. It means Iím much more likely to remember you from our meeting etc.

2. Search for a friend or friends. Iím there and so is Richard. Sign our guest books! Look at our friends anyone you know? Or a name perhaps that sounds familiar? Check them out. (Remember that Gold Members will know you have visited their page). You can leave a message or not. Itís up to you.

3. Add one or two Networks. A plug for Serious Play and Blogs and Bloggers. Check them out. Run though some postings. Perhaps visit a few of their pages. If they have blogs of interest Michelle Mees, Andrew Zolli, Sebastian Paquet, etc. Click on their blog linksÖ. Say hi.

4. Now go to new membersÖ. home page and leave a welcome on two or three new people that look interesting to you, whether jobs, interests etc. (You are doing this more to see how it works).

5. Update your membership to GOLD! Now search on your interests, former company etc. Then go to Advanced Preferences and check out who has visited your page. Some you know by nowÖ they left a guest book entry. Other didnít. Check them out. Remember they were interested enough to come to your page. Can you work out why? Look at their profiles, should you realign yours or use more searchable terminology?

6. Now invite some close colleagues. You have to start adding to your friends. (Clearly there are different strategies for ďfriendsĒ on Ryze. Inviting is an important strategy. First think what can your message be. If you have been unemployed for six months you might think about reconnecting with all those suppliers that used to do business for you. You are valuable again. You may want to let them know that this is an interesting social experiment that all marketers should be thinking about it. Help them build their friend networks. It will strengthen your own.

7. Invite old colleagues from work. Not all will have the time or see the point yet. Can you connect them with any new conversations etc? Particularly invite the ones that really loved working for you. Encourage them into your guestbook! Invite friendly headhunters. Tell them to explore it. Ryze is also reframing how one can get information from companies potential secure new sources for job information etc.

8. Think about establishing a network. If you can create a forum for exchange then you may well make a lot more friends. As a network moderator, you will get more hits and more introductions.

That should provide a good start. Keep playing! As a matter of perspective I joined Ryze on 1/6/03. I had around 560 hits sometime today.

Now a little warning. This community is growing very rapidly. Access is easy even free. Long term Iím asking governance questions, questions about copyright etc. At the moment I believe it is more important to play and learn than wonder whether all the principles have really been worked out. If Ryze grows like I expect then an emergent community will likely have a big say. Iím not sure it can be otherwise.

Please contact me for further info on blogs and blogging. . Iíll try to help out. I may even write some blogging strategies for unemployed marketers if I get a sense there is demand.

I promised a disclaimer to close. A post from my friend Tom Portante (and on Ryze).

"Full Disclosure: I've been playing around with the service that Ryze offers. I think there's something very important happening. In the next few weeks I want to think about different aspects of what Ryze offers, how it fits into (or rubs against) some of what I know, and where it (or some follow-on Ryze-ish offering) can make a difference.
A personal goal is to come up with a document (an article, a pamphlet, a manifesto) that suggests where there's present and future value."

I concur. Watch this space.

Comments (1)

Gayle Schaeffer:

Stuart, another networking contact of mine encouraged me to join Ryze long ago and I never did. I do regret it. I met the guy who is starting Friendster the other night at Stanford event. See Richard Guha's Tue, 14 Jan 2003 message. He's getting funding together and supposedly going live with Friendster soon. You may want to keep on top of that too.

I'm not sure exactly how to maintain connections while in a busy job - I found it impossible before but am determined to somehow do it this time. None of us want to go through this kind of job search again and I sincerely hope we never will have to.

Best wishes and thanks for the forward thinking and propelling people out of their comfort zone.


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