Wednesday, April 27, 2005

George Carlan?!?!

Thomas & Friends has been forever tainted for me. Of all the people in the world that are narrating the stories, George Carlan. Why does it seem reasonable that one of the most profane comedians I know of is also reading stories to small children?!? THAT BUGS ME!!

I may have to slowly move Jack away from Thomas given this new information...

Monday, April 25, 2005

another amazing day with my son

Jackson loves books. At the earliest of ages, we would read him 3 or 4 books in the morning, a book or two when I got home from work, and of course the marathon book reading session just before bedtime.

It has also been fun to watch the progression of the books he loves. At first, books like Red Hat, Green Hat were fun for him; he giggled with each punch line of "Oops!" Now we are reading books with more complex storylines, like Thomas the Train and Winnie the Pooh; he just soaks it up.

The reason for reading to kids from infancy came into clear focus this weekend. As Bobbi and I were making dinner, we overheard Jackson talking. He was standing, using the couch as a book stand, reading Thomas the Train to himself. Can you believe it??

What great fun this is...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New Project

One reality exists for most all of our customers to date:
If you use Jobster as we recommend, you will find success.

Another reality also exists:
New technologies take time to be adopted and every customer has a different path & speed of acceptance.
I have a new mission at Jobster for the next 60-90 days.. I have been tasked, with 2 other colleagues, to assess this speed & path of acceptance and figure out how to help companies roll Jobster out to their organizations in a more seamless & effective way.

The goal of this is to get all of our customers successful - and I am all about that!

Friday, April 15, 2005

the flu is running amuck at Jobster

Most of our company is out of the office today with the flu. Unfortunately when you have so many driven individuals who refuse to let a little sickness stop them from coming to work, you end up with an office-wide epidemic.

Somehow I am still standing, which is funny- I am usually the first to go.

I am doing some covert analysis to figure out who is "patient zero," just for fun.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


It is really fascinating to watch the rollout and adoption of new technology in the marketplace. I have the luxury of being on the front lines facing customers. We are continually looking at our customers at both an account and user level, collecting metrics-metrics-metrics, tracking usage, understanding behaviors, and constantly iterating and improving our approach. It is working, but I have to say that helping recruiting organizations make the strategic shift away from inbox recruiting to a more proactive Jobster approach is challenging at times.

Once they see the value, though, it is clear that they cannot get enough!

I am on the front lines because I want to be... I cannot say there is as much glory here as in Product Marketing or Product Management- but I need to be here. I need to follow this through. Being the one who interviewed countless star recruiters to help understand what the first version of Jobster should be over the last year, I feel like i need to be right there with the recruiters when they first log in.

No matter what titles or organizations may exist or are tbd at Jobster, I will remain a focused customer advocate to the rest of the team.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

this is why I do it

These two, Bobbi & Jackson, are why I am here, doing the work that I do.

At 6 months of age, Jackson actually had a profound influence on me when I decided to walk away from Microsoft & join Jobster- more on that later...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

dirt is good

This morning we took advantage the dry morning and went for a walk. My mom always comments about how as a kid and even now I am a clean freak. I wouldn't even play with kids in sandboxes because it was dirty. Well, I am doing my best to make sure Jackson knows that getting dirty can be fun...

April fools

I have good friends at Microsoft. Not only did I spend 4 exciting years tooling the sales & marketing teams with systems to help them execute on their quarterly sales goals, I also made some great friends. Part of being a great friend is supporting a decision they have made even when you are skeptical.

Two of my closest friends from Microsoft, both former bosses there, we're very supportive when I was contemplating leaving. I knew that they were highly skeptical of such a move, but yet understood how a career move to an early start-up was important to me.

So, on Friday, I played a little joke on them. I left a voicemail with Brett, now a senior director in World Wide Marketing, telling him I have been let go from Jobster. Then, I had a mutual friend, a group manager in Microsoft's US Subsidiary, email him: "...I just talked to Neil and he is in pieces... what are we going to do??"

Within minutes, I noticed that Brett had signed into instant messenger and asked me, "Are you okay?" In the time since I had left him a voicemail, he had already lined up some opportunities in his organization for me to investigate. As soon as he told me this, I HAD TO FESS UP!!

I felt very badly that he had gone through the trouble of doing this so immediately. But I have to admit, though, that it felt pretty good to know that I have friends & colleagues like this.

Now, if I could just convince Brett to join Jobster ;-)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Jobster Launch Video

The video from our launch event on March 30th is now up on the web for anyone to view at their leisure. Click here.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Year 1 at Jobster: what I've learned about building a company from scratch

Exactly one year ago today, I started as the first employee of Jobster. Although I was the first hire, Marty and I started together on April 1st. I remember the day pretty clearly.

Had you told me that one year later we would be 42 employees and just days passed the wildly successful commercial launch of our service and staring at a tidal wave of F1000 demand, I would not have believed it. There goes Jobster again, exceeding even my most optimistic expectations.

Here are just a few of things that I have observed- things I think have distinguished the Jobster story and kept us on track:
  • There are no sacred cows. Always be willing to re-evaluate your plans, assertions, and strategies based on customer learning. Taking a business concept and iterating it over and over leaves room for "over iterated," a.k.a. loosing touch with the fundamentals of the opportunity at hand. Pride, ego, or the love of one's own ideas cannot get in the way of developing a sound business idea. Be okay with the fact that your business concept may iterate to a point of not being recognizable from its source.
  • Implement forcing functions. There are times when a team can get caught in quick sand and not seem to make much progress for a while. It may be a standstill in good ideas, it may be the discovery of a show stopping issue, etc. There are a lot of reasons for the onset of quick sand. A forcing function provides a milestone or deliverable that a team can coalesce around and focus on. Our CEO has been a master of forcing functions on a variety of occasions- maybe I will tell you a story about one some time...
  • Ideas are cheap, people are EVERYTHING. Jobster the concept and Jobster the company was built on this notion. Being in touch with entrepreneurship and the venture scene since the beginning of my career, I have come across many great ideas. In fact, I have stared at what I considered to be great ideas that were huge opportunities. Ultimately though, great ideas are nothing without great people to develop and execute the business plan. I think most opportunities are not beholden to just the first mover, but to the mover who has experience on their side.

I will add more later... I have to get back to work!