Seamless voice recognition; recruiters get ready

I was recently speaking with my friend Ami Givertz and he asked me about technology that excites me. With this question, I realized that technology does not excite me; its the changes and possibilities that technology brings that excites me. In addition, I’m less excited the day I release a new product, than the day it was conceived. The discovery, the chase, the debate; this is bliss. By the time it is realized, I’m already building something else.

So what is on the next peak? What is just far enough over the horizon that people aren’t really talking about yet? What is going to shake the world and transform it like the Internet did?

Seamless voice recognition (SVR).

Now for those critics out there. I am not picking a date, but I am drafting out a vision of some things that will be reality, once this goal is attained.

I am not a speech recognition expert, however, I do attend the conferences and am a recipient of Speech Technology Magazine.  I’ve been using speech recognition for about 10 years now.  So what I do have, is some perspective and I am planning products to take advantage of the Speech Recognition technology backbone.

What I mean by seamless voice recognition is simply that it works. Right now, it is rather kludgy. I bought a Lexus a few years back. Press the voice control button and say “Tune to 90.7 FM” (National public radio in Wisconsin) and I have an equal chance of burning my ass by the seat heater, turning the radio off, or navigating to the nearest 7-11 convenient store via the GPS. Not seamless.

Fast forward to 2008.

I have a TomTom GPS that I can talk to.  Looks silly having a $200 GPS sitting on the dashboard of a Luxury sedan that has a built in GPS. But it works. Nearly seamless.

Fast forward … a few years.

Based on standard advances in technology, everything we will need for SVR will be on a single chip. Then that chip will get smaller and smaller. Does this trend sound familiar? Eventually that chip will be so small and so cheap that it will be as ubiquitous as chips that power USB ports or basic video displays. This is where the fun starts. Had a great conversation with some people at Intel Corporation today…made me think of chips.

Ever see a 20 year old come face to face with a rotary phone? It’s comical; they press the buttons. The inefficient action of dialing is not intuitive. Our children may look at keyboards in the same way.

Seamless voice recognition will let us talk to our computers, or cars, yes, even the Microsoft Windows powered toaster may be voice controlled. This is the stuff that is commonly thought of.

However, I like the uncommon. Think implantable sub-audible interfaces. Replace a tooth to a microphone embedded denture. Talk in sub-audible levels and control your car, iPhone, toaster, etc with voice commands that no one else can hear. No one will hear you doing it. Query wikipedia while having a beer with a friend…find out who really won the 1986 world series (Go Mets!) and have the answer delivered directly to your bluetooth (or whatever replaces it) earpiece.

Forget facebook and myspace. With seamless voice recognition, you will see websites that will store every living word a person speaks. A diary from first word to death. This is for the voyeurs and historians. Pick a good hobby, there will be so much media in the future that most people will be watchers and not doers.

Web 3.0 will have living history sites that will be data-mined for all those words. Based on laws of processing, disk storage, and memory, storing this stuff will be easy. Search engines like Google (or whatever replaces it) will index these sites. Recruiting software like Broadlook’s tools will mine it, extract it, and dump it in your ATS or terabyte thumdrive, whichever you prefer.

Recruiters will have a field day. Data mining sites with the text of a software engineers heated debates may give you insight into the logical nature of their mind and how well they solve problems. To make this happen, you would need to index and search conceptually versus a mob-rule index like google. Perhaps Dave Copps company, Pure Discovery, will replace google.

Lastly, no matter what recruiting technology is created, I’ve always known that the best way to pick a great software engineer is to have a beer with them.

LIONs and Idiots; Donato’s Rules for emailing recipient lists

Does being an LION (LinkedIN Open Networker) give you the excuse to be an idiot?   I’ve made some great connections recently via Open Networking, however, it has it’s drawbacks.

I’ve recently received a barrage of LinkedIN invitations from, well, idiots.   They may be nice people, but some people should never turn on a computer.   I thought that everyone knew that when you send email to a distribution list that you shouldn’t put everyone’s email in the TO:  field …right?  I mean this is like holding the door for someone 2 steps behind you.   Common courtesy.

So I am writing this post so everyone out there can use it as a reference to send it to (I really want to say stupid, but my wife has made me a better person) …the uninitiated.

Donato’s Rules for emailing recipient lists

TO: If you must, put your own email address here.  Some email programs will allow you to leave this blank and the recipient will see something like “Undisclosed recipient list” 

CC: Do not use this field unless you want everyone to see everyone else’s email address.  This is appropriate for small groups that you are working with.  (example: inviting a group of people to a conference call).

BCC:  Ok, sparky, this one is for you.  Stands for Blind Carbon Copy.  Use this for your big recipient list.

Why to use BCC:

1.  Courtesy.  Your relation or potential relation with each and every recipient does not give you the right to expose each and every person to everyone on the list.

2.  Security.   If any ONE person on the recipient list has a virus, then every single person on the list is exposed to getting (A) Spammed and (B) Having your real email address hijacked and used as a return address by a spammer.

How to respond to someone who includes you in big, exposed, distribution list:

-Be polite, educate them.  Don’t make my mistake.   I recently sent a scathing reply to a young man who turned out be to an intern.  He responded, very well, thanking me and letting me know that everyone makes mistakes.  I was wrong, and I did email an apology.  He was supposedly a “virtual” intern for Seth Godin… whatever that means. He was polite

How to respond to an Open Networker who exposes you.  

-Send them an email explaining the error and explain the ramifications of their actions.  Ask for a reply to verify receipt of your message.  If they do not respond at all, immediately remove them from your social network.  If they respond poorly,  send an email (BCC of course) to every person on the original recipient list.  Explain the situation.  Include in the email you sent, (1) the rules of engagement (2) Your original response and (3) their response.    I’ve only done this twice.  Talk about virtual high-fives!



LinkedIN quality is dying. I am part of the problem. Solutions in hand.

Recently I’ve been diving into social networks with an interest in automation.  Don’t get me wrong, I get a good deal of business from LinkedIN, but I worry about it’s future.

I have to thank Dave Mendoza and Jason Davis as being great examples of leveraging networks.  I’ve used LinkedIn from early days, but only recently have I started adding connections en mass.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been adding 1000+ LinkedIN connections per week.  Ok, I do have an unfair advantage.  Not only do I have Broadlook’s recruiting software tools, but I have all the fun stuff coming out of Broadlook’s skunkworks.   Profiler 4 is close.  nuff said.

Adding 1000 connections per week does take time and resources.  So I find myself building value in my LinkedIN account.   I am invested in LinkedIN.   One questions is:  What do I do with the invites I am getting to all these new social networks?   I’m getting so many, it’s getting ugly.  Right now, I use LinkedIN and  Any more than that and I would be spending my day inviting people and accepting invitations.   I prefer to have a life.

There are two concepts to track here.

(1)  A social network like LinkedIN was created to leverage a chain of trusted relationships in order to get to a target contact.   In reality, open networkers, such as myself have ruined that level of trust.  I fully admit it.  For me, I only need a person’s name and I can take it from there.  So now it’s all about getting numbers. Most members of the recruiting industry don’t care to get connected via social network speeds.  Social networks are sloth like to a type-A, impatient recruiter…like me.  Therefore, open networking was born. Combine a tool like LinkedIN with Broadlook’s Profiler tool and you can get to the people you are looking for… fast.

(2) Once you start adding every open networker under the sun into your network, there is NO WAY you can give every one of them a vote of confidence.  Without confidence, I personally, am not going to put my reputation behind someone I don’t know well.  To make matters worse, I am getting connection requests from people I don’t know to people I know very well.  Guess what?  Again, I am not going to forward most of these requests because they are not appropriate.

Where does this leave us?   I say “us” because I am looking for help & feedback from the community

I have a solution.   LinkedIN may not like it, but I think that it is inevitable.  Here it is.

At the last ERE conference, I was chatting with reps at the LinkedIN booth.  I told them about my 2 points.    The catch 22; you must make your LinkedIN network bigger in order for it to be better, but bigger ruins it.  Then I shared my solution to the problem and they really liked it.  Said they would pass it on… not sure if they did…So here it is.

Add a single setting to each LinkedIN connection.  I am talking about a single bit of information.  Very boolean for those techies out there.   Call this setting “inner circle”.

Think about it.  In real “social networks”  (not cyber ones),  you have your close circle of friends and then you have your acquaintances.  What are acquaintances but potential friends.

LinkedIN is too Boolean and it is time to grow up.  Cyber reality needs to mirror social reality.

Add a setting to differentiate friends from acquaintances.

What would this mean?  Open networkers could continue to add those aquaintances, but also have a sub group of their “inner circle”.   Best of both worlds.

I understand the purist idea Reid Hoffman had in creating the trusted social network, but reality has set in.  I’ll repeat.

Cyber reality needs to mirror social reality.  Social reality has been evolving for millions of years.  Lessons can be learned from it.

after thoughts

For me, I might have 20-25 people in my inner circle; people I would unconditionally pass on a recommendation for.  Why not automate the inner circle connections?   That would take care of the speed issue of using social networks.  Protection against abusing the automated, inner circle?  Limit the inner circle connections.   25 max and then a buck a month for more.  If I am getting charged for a connection