Last year we began a blog series called “One User Per Week” in which Xobni users graciously allowed our co-founder Matt to pick their brains about their relationship with Xobni, including how they found out about us, the capacity in which they use our products, their favorite Xobni tips and tricks, and the top feature requests they have for us. We had some great conversations and learned a ton from our users, but then got a little distracted*, and One User Per Week went on hiatus.
Well, today, I am pleased to announce: hiatus ended. The One User Per Week blog series is being revived—and version 2.0 will include such enhanced features as a consistent schedule, posts addressing new Xobni products in addition to our Outlook sidebar, and a new author (err, that’s a feature alteration, rather than an enhancement 🙂 ). I’m excited to take over the reins and get an in-depth understanding of how individuals make use of Xobni. And so, without further adieu, let’s jump right into One User Per Week: The New Class.
Mason Carpenter, Professor at Univ. of Wisconsin School of Business
My phone call last week with Mason Carpenter, Professor of Management and Human Resources at the University of Wisconsin School of Business, was a great jump-restart to One User Per Week. We’ve never featured someone who works in higher education before, so I was eager to hear about how Xobni is getting put to use in a university setting, and Mason is an engaged Xobni evangelist, so it was great to hear about how he’s been spreading the word about Xobni, as well as how he sees it fitting in as a tool in the online social networking landscape.
The hunt for the “Ultimate Aggregator”
Mason is very interested in social networking and in particular, tools that incorporate social media into business. He has a bold dream that one day he’ll encounter the “Ultimate Aggregator”, in which all of the information he is looking for about an individual is just there. That dream is something that our company and Mason have in common, so it was pretty wonderful to hear him say that currently Xobni “is the closest thing I have to one-stop shopping.” We’re working hard on becoming the Ultimate Address Book, so that “the closest thing I have to” will be omitted in future utterances of that statement.
Attachment magic: “It’s just there.”
The volume of email Mason manages working at an educational institution (over 100 non-junk email messages daily) qualifies him for the dually elite and painful categorization we refer to as Email Power User. So while he initially was attracted to our Outlook sidebar, which he heard about through a friend at McKinsey & Co., for its social media integration, he has found Xobni’s search capabilities invaluable for hunting through his historical email. He noted that he has become especially dependent on Xobni’s ability to find attachments: Mason, like most Outlook users, used to take for granted that finding an old attachment exchanged with a contact would be a pain. With Xobni, he reported, “it’s just there.” Again, that’s exactly our goal—you shouldn’t have to think about the right syntax to construct your search to get the information you need, it should just be there.
For recruiters, Xobni profile = instant snapshot of a candidate’s web presence
When I spoke with him, Mason was looking forward to a talk he’s giving in April to 100+ HR professionals who work in MBA recruiting. He was excited about the prospect of sharing Xobni with this group, since, in addition to the major productivity boost Xobni provides its users in general, its social network integration makes Xobni specifically valuable for recruiters, in that it can instantly get them a snapshot of a candidate’s web presence. By now, most of us know that recruiters often evaluate candidates’ online footprints to weed through the tremendous volume of applicants they encounter daily, and Mason confirmed for me that a basic Google search** is one of the top tools for this group of professionals.
One trouble with getting info about a candidate this way is that sorting through the search results to find ones that pertain to the specific person you’re looking for (particularly in the case of more common names) can wind up being a pretty time-consuming task. Spending 5 minutes to enter a candidate’s name into a search engine (and maybe Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter) manually and then comb through to find relevant results might not seem like that much time, but apply that process to 20, 50, 100 candidates and suddenly you’re talking about serious time. It was exhilarating to explore this use case with Mason because he had some really good insight into how using Xobni could improve this process for recruiters. We’ve gained a lot of traction in the HR community already, and I’m excited to hear about how Mason’s presentation of Xobni will be received in his talk next month.
It was a pleasure to chat with Mason, and I’m looking forward to talking to more users for future OUPW posts. If you’re interested in having your Xobni experience featured on the blog, please let me know by commenting on this post (be sure to leave your email…which will not be visible to anyone but our blog admins), and I’ll get in touch with you.
*In our defense, we’ve had a lot to be distracted by during that time, including the release of Xobni Plus, Xobni Enterprise, and most recently, Xobni for BlackBerry and Xobni One. But enough excuses—I’m willing to bet that we’ll be able to release some hot new products and maintain this blog series at the same time going forward.
**As a side note, if you haven’t noticed before, we have a Google search bar integrated into our Outlook client, should you want more info from the web than what’s already presented in the Xobni profile you’re viewing,: