You want leads, clients and companies to know about your biggest achievements. Geekli.st gives you a place to brag.
Out of all the thousands of tasks you’ve completed and from all the jobs you’ve been hired to do over the course of your career, there’s probably no more than a handful that really stick out. They’re your biggest successes: the site design that won an award, the app that made the App Store lists, the blog post that went viral or the script now sitting on millions of computers. They’re the accomplishments that act as your introduction at dinner parties and they’re the benchmarks against which you measure each new job you complete. They’re also the highlights of your resume — the real reason that any employer will give you a job or any client hire your freelance services.
It’s those headlines that are the standout feature on Geekli.st, a job-seeking service for geeks of all kinds. The site, which just celebrated its first anniversary, doesn’t share the specific number of its users but membership is “deep into the tens of thousands,” says co-founder Reuben Katz. He expects the site to reach 250,000 members this year. No less importantly, the site has already picked up its first paying client in Spotify.
Keep Your Achievements Short
At first glance, Geekli.st looks pretty Spartan. Click through to view the profiles of the geeks shown in tiny avatars on the home page and you’ll reach a page with a mini-bio linked closely to the member’s Twitter stream. (You’ll even be invited to follow them on Twitter, and signing up can be done using Twitter’s API although you’ll have to wait for a private beta invite before you can start using the site fully.) While LinkedIn provides space to write an autobiography, Geekli.st offers nothing more than the equivalent of a headline to introduce yourself.
Beneath that mini-bio are cards containing the highlights of the geek’s career. Laurence Gonsalves, for example, says modestly that he likes “making things, and code is one of my favorite ingredients.” His first card though states: “I helped build Google AdSense 1.0 from the ground up.” Other cards declare that he also helped to build Google Reader and AdSense 2.0, and was the original author of Google’s internal “.virmc,” a tool used on Unix. Nathan Barry, a freelance Web designer and coder, gets to tell the world that he “designed the original Teletubbies site for the BBC, which regularly got over a million hits a day.”
As far as personal details are concerned, that’s pretty much it. Those short statements of a geek’s biggest successes are supposed to be enough to tempt a potential client or employee to check out their Twitter stream and click through to their website. But with those cards are a number of interactive tools. Members can follow each other to keep track of new accomplishments. They can “hi five” cards, a kind of Facebook-style “like” that can be shared on social media or kept on Geekli.st. They can also add “contributors,” a list of the people who helped them achieve their success and which adds a level of validation. (Although the cost of sharing the credit seems to have put many members off using it. Most cards appear to have zero contributors.)
“The idea is to provide a safe zone where developers can share their great work and achievements with their peers, while building their geek identity and persona,” says Reuben Katz. “This provides companies with the first ever place to build relationships with developers in a passive community.”
That’s questionable. Companies can already build relationships with developers on Twitter — provided they can find them — and they can certainly do it on LinkedIn which has plenty of developer groups and networks that allow for an even greater level of interaction than Geekli.st does. And it’s hard to see the advantage that a passive community has over an active one that provides room to learn about personality as well as accomplishments.
But Katz’s main competitor isn’t so much LinkedIn or Twitter but traditional resumes, still the most popular way for companies to assess applicants despite their limitations.
“They don’t work,” says Katz. “They show a superficial overview but have no relational value…. Geeklist is completely relational, pulling together who you did what with and what they do as well.”
In practice, Geekli.st acts as a kind of boasting platform for geeks whose accomplishments can then be sent echoing through social media. Companies might use it as a first step towards identifying top prospects before they do a little more serious due diligence by reading the applicant or the freelancer’s LinkedIn page, website or Twitter stream. It might not be as effective at winning work for developers as Dribbble has proved for designers but it’s much harder for coders to show and discuss a work in progress than it is for artists to display their current designs.
On the other hand, one of the things that most surprised the people behind Geekli.st was just how broad a spectrum of talent the term “geek” can cover. While most of the people on the site are developers “or builders of things,” Geekli.st also includes an artist whose work was displayed in orbit on the International Space Station and an entrepreneur who competed in Olympic trials.
“We have learned that Geeks are not just developers but all people who share a passion for certain things that may be outside the mainstream idea of what is ‘cool,’” says Katz.
Whether Geekli.st will land you a new client any time soon is debatable — certainly as long as the site remains in private beta. But it is simple to use, and it won’t just give you place to boast about your biggest successes without boring your dinner party guests. It will also give you a chance to boast about the people who hi fived you on Geekli.st.