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Gold Rush: Mining the Full Potential of our Networks

Posted by Jason Harty on December 1st, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I got thinking about my friends over the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only how thankful I am for their friendship but how easily I have access to communicate with all of them through Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s often we see questions from our friends in our news feed asking for advice, information or to borrow something. But what I don’t see too often are quality responses (no offense to my network but I don’t know anyone in Brooklyn that has a wheelbarrow you can borrow). As I see it, there are two reasons we might not get the help we need from our network:

1) Relevancy. My crew might not know enough about a specific topic or may not be in the location where I need the help.

2) Timing. The right people might not be looking at their feed when I post.

I’m sure we’re all very thankful for the people in our network, but how can we use our networks as a virtual yellow pages, recommendation engine and garage of stuff better? Right now, the right people aren’t always looking and the wrong people can feel spammed by our requests. We have such power within our networks but we’re not being effective about realizing all of it.

Enter Ron J. Williams. He’s the CEO of Snapgoods (and a member of my personal network). “SnapGoods is the safest and easiest way to connect people so that they can rent or borrow gear from within their network or neighborhood.” Their idea of the Access Economy is very relevant these days and they’re picking up 100 - 300 new users a day. Check out their recent coverage on GMA and in Newsweek.

Got cool gear sitting around? Rent it. Need something but can’t afford it or just want to try it out? Rent it. They give you a platform to safely and securely make this transaction happen (and they happen to be the only ones in this space who offer a guarantee). But this new way of asking for help has the same pain point as the questions we ask our friends in our status updates. There’s gold in them there friends, we just need help mining it.

Like savvy entrepreneurs and problem solvers Ron and his team built Knod.es to help mine the gold within our networks more efficiently. Knod.es better understands your network to help you ask the right person the question you have right now. You connect your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and your personal network search engine is ready. If I ask Knod.es a question like “club promotion in Seattle Washington”, it looks at conversations, documents and social interactions within my network and offers up connections that wouldn’t have percolated with a Facebook or Twitter post alone. They’re looking at relevancy and engagement levels within your network to suggest people that you might not have thought of or known you’re connected to (friends of friends). From there you can easily tweet, email or Facebook them. Relevancy and timing problems solved.

Ron boiled it down best during our last conversation, “Everybody needs this; help boosting the success of peer to peer transactions when the density isn't there.”

We have access to more data and connections than ever before. Knod.es could be a plug-in for all networks that give you a smarter view of your world.

I won’t bore you detailing the use cases that immediately flashed to my mind. But think about these online platforms- some new, some legacy- and how this tool could help you be more successful. Ebay, Craigslist, Zaarly, AirBnB, Task Rabbit. Ideas are flowin’ now. Am I right?

When wouldn’t you want to find more of the right people at the right time? So why is this CPG guy talking about mining your social network better? The possible use cases for Knod.es in my world are exciting.

Say I wanted to schedule a meeting with a grocery deli buyer I’ve never met (Pretzel Crisps®, by the way, are sold in the deli section of your local grocery store). Knod.es could help me find the right connection to make that meeting happen more easily.

As a marketer I'm always looking for more of the right people to introduce our product to at the right time. Think of the ways this tool could help pinpoint the right people in each market that our team could seed product to or activate an event that our target consumer attends.

This product illustrates the point that it's not about what social network will be next, it's about how can you use your network better.

Knod.es is in a private beta right now but Ron tells me within a month it will be open more widely. Frankly, I can’t wait 'cause I hear that guy in Brooklyn still needs to borrow that wheelbarrow.

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