Thursday, October 29, 2009

StackExchange Needs an App Store

A few weeks ago, I created a StackExchange called Explain Business as fun side project. It's meant to be a site where entrepreneurs can ask questions about incorporation, accounting, legal stuff, employment issues, finding vendors, hiring, etc. Really, it's for all the boring but practical stuff no one ever teaches you. As a result, when it comes up, you have to ask an expensive lawyer or accountant.

So far, it's been very useful for me and a few of my former classmates to share startup tips and ask questions. I've been a huge fan of how well the platform is designed and how useful a tool it is to record knowledge. There are a few features I'd change here and there, but overall it is quite nice. I like my StackExchange.

I think StackExchange and FogCreek Software are on the verge of missing a really big opportunity though. While the original Stack Overflow caught on like wildfire, most of the StackExchanges seem to be sputtering and dying. In fact if you look at the 77 sites registered on StackExchanges Sites, only 5 seem to have achieved critical mass. Of those 5, some appear to be decelerating in activity.

FogCreek certainly has an interest in seeing many StackExchanges flourish so it can sell more licenses. Similarly Apple, has an interest in seeing it's iPhone developers flourish so it can sell more iPhones (and apps). When Apple launched it's app platform it created a concentrated distribution platform. This allowed it to ensure quality control, but also created a vibrant marketplace overnight.

To help StackExchange developers succeed, I'd suggest FogCreek implement an App Store where it can channel is huge collective audience (through Joel on Software and StackOverflow) to consumers who are looking for knowledge. FogCreek could be the Apple of knowledge applications. It's similar to what Philip Greenspun has proposed as a killer idea.

An App Store for knowledge communities could be a powerful thing. Right now there are some lists of StackExchanges here and here but nothing that drive significant adoption. Fog Creek will sill probably sell a bunch of licenses for StackExchange (especially for private company ones) regardless of what it does, but I think an App Store will help it become a truly transformative idea.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HBS Interview Questions

Hi all. I was going through my old business school admissions folders and found this listing of HBS interview questions that my friends were sharing. Hopefully a question or two here will be relevant for your HBS interview!


What do you want to do with your career?

Why the MBA? Why now?

Describe your career aspirations

What would you do if not accepted?

What are your long- and short-term goals? Why?

Why are you applying to business school?

Why did you choose your undergraduate major?

How did you choose your job after college?

What would you do if a team member wasn't pulling his own weight?

Is there anything you would like to ask me/us?

If someone approached you with an idea, would I take the risk of developing the idea if they would not?

What is something from your past that you wish you would have done differently and why? The experience can be from work, school, other activities, or from your personal life.

Talk about essays

Who is a client you admire and why?

Since submitting your application, how have you continued to take leadership roles?

With all of your experience, why do you need an MBA?

What makes you think that you are prepared for the academic rigors of HBS?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Secret to Finding College Jobs

With the Fall comes a rush of college students trying to find jobs. While most students think of on campus recruiting as the ultimate source of college jobs, this is not the case. In reality, less than 1/3 of college students find jobs from companies that hire through career services.

Personforce has thousands of jobs for college students and works with dozens of college newspapers, so I thought I'd take a minute to discuss finding college jobs.

So what is the secret to finding college jobs? Focus and persistence. I'm going to assume you've spent the last 4 years figuring out what kind of job you want and what industry you are interested in. Once you've identified your ideal post-college job, here is the secret to getting it.

Focus. First off, become an expert in your area. My number one recommendation is start a blog and post one entry every day about this industry and job function. You'll be surprised, but eventually people in this industry will start coming to your site (mostly through search engines). While the rest of your classmates will be searching for jobs, college jobs will be finding you. Through your blog you'll start to build relationships with people in the industry. They'll be impressed that a college student has taken such an interest in their industry.

Relatedly, build a focused online presence geared toward this industry. Create a LinkedIn profile, send some insightful tweets, create an profile on various career sites.

Persistence. Remember you'll probably be shot down for 95% of the jobs you apply for. You have to be darn persistent when finding college jobs. Create a spreadsheet of the top 100 companies you want to apply to. Then go through the list and actually do it. Go through your alumni database (or LinkedIn) and create a list of people you want to speak to. Then, contact each of them and try to set up "informational interviews" to learn more about the industry. Be disciplined and try to set up one call a day.

Finding college jobs is hard, but it's easier if you build a presence in the industry. The best way to do that is to start interacting with the industry by writing and meeting people. It's great if you can search for college jobs, but it's even better if they find you.

For more information about finding a job during your senior year, check out Personforce.

Production Supervisor Job in Ohio!

At Personforce, many of a the job postings we get are tech-related. Much of that is due to our location in San Francisco and base of publishers. We get job postings from all across the world and in all industries though.

Recently, there was a production supervisor job posted in Fremont Ohio. The Heinz Company (and more) are hiring production supervisors so get your applications ready! It has been especially popular so I thought I'd highlight it on this blog. Check out these jobs and more manufacturing jobs on Personforce:

Check out the production supervisor job board here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MySpace Jobs is Gone

MySpace has decided to kill its jobs section, according to an interview with its new CEO. This has to be a big hit for SimplyHired, the company that powered the jobs section for the massive social network.

While the traffic loss associated with the termination of MySpace Jobs has to be significant, the bigger issue for SimplyHired is that its partners may increasingly start to question whether a jobs section is a productive use of their advertising real estate. More and more publisher may question the premise of job advertising networks.

In the same interview, it also came out that MySpace Classifieds (powered by Oodle) is gone as well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Career Advice Forum That Doesn't Suck

At Personforce, we help connect people with careers.

Often times in that process, people have questions when they are looking for jobs. What is the salary range for this position? How can I get a job in Homeland Security? Do I need a graduate degree for this position?

Until today, there has been no good place to ask these questions. You could email your friends, use a forum or bulletin board that sucks, or just hope for the best.

I'm proud to introduce the new Personforce Career Advice Forum.

Ask any question and our staff of career experts and community will answer your questions. It's built on the StackExchange platform that I've been using to power my business advice forum.

Go ahead, ask questions about your career now!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A New Small Business Advice Forum

I recently launched a forum for Business Advice using the stackexchange knowledge sharing platform. It's basically a site where small business owners can post questions and have them answered by the community.

The site is called Explain Business - you can check it out here.

Whether you are starting a business or run your own small business, I hope you'll find it to be a useful way to get business advice. You can ask questions about coming up with an idea, incorporating, hiring, firing, legal, accounting, or anything entrepreneurship related! The community also votes up the best questions and answers.