Recently the topic of “influence” and “professional reputation” have taken center stage on the blogosphere. There is debate on whether any of it really matters, or an even a more pressing question, is HOW is it measured? Transparency seems to be key when it come to measurability. There will be a number of companies that will derive algorithms to better evaluate and measure your influence or reputation. There have been a number of companies that have emerged and one of the most well known is PROskore. Today we are interviewing Bill Jula, the mastermind behind PROskore.
How did the idea of PROskore come about?
Bill Jula: PROskore grew out of the need to create a more organized way for business professionals to network. Despite what most people think, the larger networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) are not built for generating new business. Facebook is too social and unorganized, while LinkedIn has essentially remained unchanged as a large database of resumes designed to benefit HR managers and advertisers. PROskore on the other hand, is an online network designed to help professionals to market their business at the local level in a more efficient way.
Would you say PROskore is a combination of Klout and LinkedIn? Or is it on an entirely different level?
Bill Jula: We're different on a few levels beginning with the business models. To understand the differences, you have to ask yourself, ‘who benefits?' Klout's game is to sell data (i.e. access to influencers) to high paying advertisers. LinkedIn cares mostly about selling data to HR managers (large companies) as well as advertisers. PROskore on the other hand, is giving individual businesses and sales professionals access to this data to help them market themselves.
From the standpoint of features, obvious comparison can be drawn (scoring, business networks, profile, etc.). However, there are big differences here as well. For example, Klout measures social influence by looking at your activity and popularity across social networks. PROskore goes beyond social influence by measuring ‘professional reputation'. Our scoring digs deeper into each person's life by analyzing professional experiences (education, past jobs, etc.) as well as social influence in the context of business. As far as the comparisons to LinkedIn, it starts with the profile. Whereas the LinkedIn profile begins and ends with your resume… the PROskore profile goes further than this by helping professionals promote their company (not just themselves). These combined differences to Klout and LinkedIn make for what we believe to be a far more engaging and organized experience that helps bring people together for a greater purpose by helping them generate new business leads.
In what ways can PROskore benefit a starting entrepreneur?
Bill Jula: PROskore can help in three ways primarily. 1). The score itself will help most entrepreneurs quickly build a professional identity (and ranking) locally, by industry, within their existing networks, colleges, and more. Conversely, 2). Joining the network allows entrepreneurs the ability to quickly discover whom the other top professionals are across these same variables… which allows them to spend their time on the network more wisely. 3). PROskore can help entrepreneurs receive a steady stream of business leads by matching them up to other entrepreneurs who can fulfill their needs and vice versa.
Why should a businessman/woman use PROskore as opposed to other business networks that rank an individual's social media activity, influences, etc.?
Bill Jula: As mentioned before, it's all about what we're measuring, who it benefits, and in what context the score being used. Again, with PROskore scores are designed to benefit professionals who are trying to generate business for themselves within the context of online business networking. To be honest, I'm not even sure there is another true online business network on the market that measures and ranks individuals with the purpose of helping them connect and generate their own business?
Favorite social media website?
Bill Jula: Besides PROskore… That's a tough one. I guess at the moment I would have to say Spotify. Although, I'm not sure what value it offers? I mean, do my friends on Facebook really care about what I'm listening to? I guess it plays to my ego at some level, I don't know… but I'm using it.
What is the craziest or random business that you have seen on PROskore?
Bill Jula: They are all crazy. We attract so many small business owners who take their lives into their own hands by waking up each day not knowing where their next sale is coming from. It takes a unique (and sometimes crazy) person to live this kind of life.
As far as a specific business… We had one guy who claimed he owned the rights to the word ‘future' and swore the government was out to get him because he had a vision for a new world order called ‘Futara'. He would call our office everyday and ask for advice on how he could take legal action against some pretty big companies. We used to put him on speakerphone and let him vent for hours while we coded. It was disturbing and entertaining all at once.
If there was a movie made about the history of PROskore, which actor would you chose to portray you?
Bill Jula: Will Ferrell. Picture the scene from Wedding Crashers where Owen Wilson meets Chaz for the first time (“Mom… The Meatloaf!”). That's PROskore… Like Chaz, we're a couple of late thirty-something sitting around a dimly lit office in robes and flip flops… being innovative as hell… and “just livin' the dream”.
Advice for starting businesses or recently graduated entrepreneurs?
Bill Jula: If you're an entrepreneur, be an entrepreneur. Don't settle for something else. There's nothing worse than seeing someone with creative passion let themselves get stuck in a 9 to 5 because they are afraid of the perceived risks of taking the leap. Life is too short… Failure is a moment in time.
Also, network your ass off. Ironically, it's one thing I wish I would have done more of these past 10 years. You're never too young to start either. My oldest son (currently 11) has changed schools 4 times already. I honestly think that's a good thing for him over the long haul.
Is social media a big part in PROskore's success? In what other ways do you promote/market PROskore?
Bill Jula: Absolutely. We definitely ‘eat our own dog food' so to speak by digging into our own network to discover who can help us grow (case in point, Shane Barker!). Also, many of the tools we give our members to grow there own professional network benefit us too. Social media sharing, email marketing, PR tools… they're critical. We also have some offline marketing campaigns planned for 2012. PROskore events, sponsorships, etc… To be effective, marketing has to be comprehensive and repeated.
Also checkout PROskore's brand new promotional video on how they derive your score.
Here is my PROskore profile, just in case you want to see my Professional Reputation Score, Shane Barker
Article written by: Shane Barker & Michelle Phi