Update: This social functionality is being sunsetted. Read about our new direction.
Dear friends, supporters, and beta users of OpSpark,
We built OpSpark for you, the business professional, as a place where the usual noise of social media is replaced by relevant and actionable content based on your needs. That portion of our mission remains the same. However, DotAlign delivers that value in a different way, incorporating experience and feedback from the OpSpark beta.
“DotAlign helps you leverage your networks to meet professional goals.”
That one little word, “your”, makes all the difference. OpSpark was set up as our network, a marketplace of opportunities posted mainly by strangers to you. There was naturally a high bar to joining a new network, submitting credentials for verification, and then sharing high-value opportunities with strangers. A few months in to the beta, we realized we either had to double down as a marketplace, charging hefty subscription fees to pay for member recruitment costs like our competitors, or find an even more compelling way to create value for you. Well, we found it. And built it. And named it DotAlign. DotAlign is way for you and your contacts to help each other connect the dots.
DotAlign is your network. More accurately, it is a way to tap the value of your existing networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter. Depending on what you’re working on, the relevant subset of your hundreds of connections will differ. Rarely is it everyone, and rarely is it one person, and yet social status updates and email are optimized for those scenarios, respectively.
If you could meet up for coffee with all the relevant contacts, you would inevitably share what you’re working on and find ways to connect the dots for each other.
- “Have any of you worked with Gallant Creative? How’s their reputation?”
(shared with selected industry colleagues)
- “A friend is looking at doing a roll-up of supply chain management firms. Any ideas who he should talk to?”
(shared with deal-oriented friends)
- “I’ve got a startup idea that I’d like to run by you…”
(shared with trusted confidantes)
Unfortunately, no one can drink that much coffee. We set out to create a scalable way to deliver new insights about your relationships and connect on a new level. Here were our most important design requirements:
- Allow collaboration without having to send friend requests for yet another network; use existing channels of communication (Gmail, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).
- Implement smart “no-nuisance” settings so that you can make information available to your contacts without ever bothering them (i.e. smart default limits on when they see an activity digest).
- Design a business model where you, the individual professional, are the client, not the product being sold. We have revenue models planned, of course, but none of them involve selling your personal information.
- Let each individual define (privately) for herself which people are relevant, instead of having to join (and monitor) the same discussion group in order to derive value. (I hope to someday dedicate an entire post to this subtle, but important point about the value of asymmetric networks).
- Build a business that our API partners (the big social firms) will love. The more connected you are on their network, the more value you can gain via the DotAlign meta-network!
We’ve done our best to meet those requirements and deliver a fantastic user experience for professionals like you. As always, we appreciate your feedback and work hard to incorporate it! Thanks again for your support.
You can sign up for the DotAlign beta here!
PS – Be sure to follow @dotalign and subscribe to this blog via the “follow” button at the top-left of our blog. If you’re looking for older articles written under the OpSpark banner, click here.