I am thinking of creating a site that allows users to 'speed network' with other like-minded professionals via quick video calls. I would find it helpful to know if this is a problem that people are looking to solve- being able to make valuable connections quickly online- and if the idea for this site sounds like something that you would be interested in using.
Here's your big challenge.
The movers + shakers are busy working, so likely you'll only have people on your site which... aren't working... aren't movers + shakers... have free time to network...
The best way I've found to make connections with great people is to contact them about an interview.
So change your site slightly to a Podcast where you interview movers + shakers.
Call up a niche player + ask them to divulge all their secrets, likely you'll hear uncontrolled laughter followed by a click + dial tone.
Call up a niche player + ask to interview them + they'll likely tell you all their secrets.
It's all a matter of how you position yourself.
On a side note, I've contacted authors of books I've read + enjoyed... just out of the blue + asked if there might be some way I can assist them... as a thank you for their great book.
This has netted me an impressive Rolodex (that term dates me) of people in the business stratosphere.
Another trick I've used to meet people, is to track where they'll be speaking, then submit a speaker proposal to the same event. Then I can end up in the green room with them + make a connection.
There is incredible opportunity connecting with other professionals online. The hitch, however, is the same as networking groups (i.e. Chamber of Commerce, local networking/referral groups, etc) face:
- Too many people are in it for themselves -
I think you'll find that folks on your speed networking platform will "spray-and-pray" their own message, with little concern for the problem the other person is really trying to solve.
A better solution may be more of an interview style between consumer and provider. Imagine a home buyer setting up a speed networking introduction with 6-8 real estate agents.
Good question and an interesting idea.
I believe this appeals to a certain kind of person, the type who is an eager networker and enjoys having skilled members of that network "in their back pocket" just in case.
Most people, I think, only look for others when they have an urgent need. You decide you need a relationship now, so you join a dating site to feel you've taken action. You need a business skill or opinion, so you go to Clarity heh heh. But when the need isn't present, most people sit there with their status quo.
So I'd point my marketing at that hyper networker who's always on the lookout for talent.
Just for the record, my business partner at The Closing Engine would probably be a great candidate for this...I would be on the fringe. I'm always on the lookout for talent, and enjoy connecting Person A with Person B, but tend to let it come up to me rather than seeking it out. The idea of networking "just to network," without immediate purpose, seems like a bit of a timewaster to me. But I don't think it would to my biz partner.
Most of the connections I've made online that have value are relationships over the long term, ie. months and years. They're the result of considerable interaction over a common subject matter, eg. sales training. There was a big Why for me to be there in the first place, and I don't see that happening for me with this speed networking idea...for me individually there would be a "hole in the middle."
That being said, I can see a target market for this and if you're interested in getting the focus, filters, and copy in place I can help you with that.
I agree with Jason that most people avoid networkign for the sake of networking... but there will always be that segment that believes any connection is a good connection.
I see your most active market being salespeople, recruiters, job seekers, and entrepreneurs.
The only thing with video calls is that they do take time to prepare for off camera, no matter how short the actual screen-time is, especially if they want to make a professional first impression.
I don't know if I'd be interested, but I do think people in the markets I mentioned would love it.
It sounds pretty clever. I'm not certain that it's a problem to be solved however unless someone is trying to access a professional and have not been successful in doing so for whatever reason. I would suggest figuring out what other web-based networking sites aren't providing that your website would. For instance, what gap would you fill that say LinkedIn isn't? And another important question is who your target professional is. This might be attractive to Millenials but not so much with Baby Boomers. I hope this is helpful.