Don’t search the Internet like a database

Having worked with many databases as well as having extensive experience in searching the Internet, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the differences between the two.

When I observe people searching the Internet, there is a common mistake I see them making.  Most people search the Internet like they are searching a database. Don’t get me wrong,  the Internet does include databases. Thomas Register, Spoke and Zoominfo are examples of different types of databases. Via different methods, information is added to these data sources and some sort of query mechanism is provided the subscribers. Can you use the Zoom query on Thomas Register and visa versa? No, these are proprietary systems that have search methods specialized to the content inside them. Each of these databases is limited, incomplete, but stored in a homogonous fashion.

The Internet, in its entirety, is not homogonous.
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One reason for CRM failure; The Nature of Contact Information

Most CRM implementations fail.  This is a fact.  Look it up.

In my years in the industry, I’ve worked with many vendors on the consulting side to help reduce the possibility of CRM failure.  While there is a whole host of reason that failure occurs, I have a very unique perspective into one of those reasons.  The Nature of Contact Information.

The nature of contact information is fairly finite (i.e. Company, URL, Name, Title, Email, Phone, Social Network membership, etc). In addition, the concept of contact information is a simple one to grasp. It is so simple, in fact, that if often gets overlooked.

One of the most important concepts in business is “be brilliant at the basics”. If you are brilliant at your basics many more complex processes will fall naturally into place. So how are you treating contact information?

The miss-handling of contact information can lead to dire consequences across your company.

Take the following work flow as an example:
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11 rules to sell to me

11 rules to sell to me

In 2002, I was excited to get phone calls or even emails from anyone.  My company was a start-up. 2 guys in a office with a dog and a bunch of computer servers.

Today it is different.  Perhaps I am partly to blame.  My contact information is on the Broadlook website, I’m the registration contact for 100’s of domains, and I freely put all my contact information into my email signature.

donato-diorio-signature1

And…yes, my company, Broadlook,  makes software that pulls information from the Internet to empower sales and recruiting professionals.   Again, I am guilty, but having my contact information is not an excuse to sell badly to me.

Here is a secret:  I love being sold to.  Truly being sold to means that somebody has done their homework, looked at my needs, my company needs and has a solution to my pain.   To save those hundreds of sales reps time, I’ve decided to (1) define the rules of engagement of how to sell to me and (2) post them on my corporate bio.  If you follow the rules, I promise I will respond.  It may be an email that only says “no thank you”. Or try me next quarter, but if you take the time, I will take the time.

I like the transparency of establishing the rules of engagement.  When I passed this idea by a few of my peers, leaders in both small and large companies, they all liked the idea of establishing the engagement rules and being transparent.   My rules are not the next persons rules;  they are mine.  Everyone should craft their own and make them transparent.  If more people did this, selling would be so much more efficient and enjoyable, for both sides.  Imagine that!

In order to sell at a high level, you need more than an email address.  Perhaps having Broadlook’s lead generation tools at my disposal for the last 7 years has spoiled me.  When I reach out to someone, I know something about them and I always personalize my message.

I titled this blog verbosely so people looking to sell to me would find it.  SEO stuff.  We’ll see where it lands…

Rules to sell to Donato Diorio

  1. Get my name right.  I can see how people mistake my first name for a last name, but it’s not brain surgery. It shows respect.
  2. Personalize. I will not respond to a mass emails. Period.
  3. Understand what my company (Broadlook) does.  Can you believe that there is some idiot out there that keeps trying to sell me a list of recruiting firms?     Talk about selling ice to an Eskimo.
  4. Show me that I am special.  Customize your sales pitch for my company.  Don’t use generalities.  Research what my company does and ask me good questions. I don’t have a burning need to seek others approval, but if you take the time to tell me.
  5. Call and email.   You will probably get voice mail, but I will listen to it.  The email will give me your contact information if I like what I hear.   Tell me you will also be sending me an email.   Be articulate, gosh, I’m sorry, but if your accent is so heavy that I have to listen to your voice mail a few times to understand it, it will get deleted at the very beginning.
  6. In your voice mail,  say your phone number two times.  Give me a chance to write it down if I like what I hear.
  7. Don’t use a voice mail script.  If you do, you are not at the level yet to successfully sell to me.  Try again next year.
  8. Don’t use a negative sell.  i.e.  The economy is bad, and you can help.   Bad for who? Do your homework.  I’m an optimist.  I love hanging up on pessimists.  Realists welcome.
  9. Know your product inside out.  If you can’t answer nearly all my questions, you should not be reaching out to me. Have you manager or top sales rep do it.
  10. Don’t call me if someone else at my company makes the decision.  I don’t make the decisions on office supplies.
  11. Did I mention… get my name right?

Here is the email that put me over the top to write this blog.  It was nth in a series, polite but impersonal.  I will not be working with this company.

==============================================================

Dear Danato,  (got my name wrong)

Hope you are doing fine.   (does he really?)     (the DELETE button was pressed when my eyes hit this line)

This is with reference to my previous mail dated 4th March 2009. (reminding me of his spam) I hope you have received it. I eagerly await your reply as I look forward to exploring a potential business opportunity with your company , which I am sure would prove to be mutually beneficial.  (he has no clue what Broadlook does)

Please let me know your interest and your availability for a short introductory call at a time that would best suit your schedule.  During the call, I would primarily like to introduce XXXXXXXXX, our services, capabilities and address any specific queries that you may have.

Eagerly awaiting your reply.  (and 50,000 others he spammed)

Thanks and best regards,

XXXX

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What is boolean? Is “Boolean Black belt” a good thing? What is Beyond Boolean?

There has been a recent rise of the term “Boolean blackbelt”, while I am not familiar, specifically, with all the people stating to be a a boolean black belt, I wanted to add some perspective.

“Boolean Blackbelt”, may be a great marketing phrase, but it is the equivalent of saying “basic math blackbelt”  or “kindergarden green beret”

Why?  because Boolean is extremely simple.  It is the basis for logic which includes logical operators  AND, OR, NOT, and XOR  (exclusive OR).

I do know some people out there that would qualify as “search string black belts” and what they do is a combination of understanding boolean logic along with the myriad of Internet sources.   They have vast knowledge of the process of search.  The magic they bring is not the boolean, it is the business process and understanding.  What they do is tweak out the special commands allowed by the search engines, like Google, MS Live.  Shally Steckerl and Glenn Gutmacher from Job Machine are examples of masters they are “beyond boolean”.

So please, hold the angry emails, I am not knocking the “black belts” out there,  I think they are actually selling their skills short.  My goal is to add clarity that being good in boolean may take few minutes.  Being good at the complex search commands available in the search engines may take a few days to learn.  To know HOW to apply the search fundamentals means you must understand and live with all the sources of information that are available.  Search engines, blogs, social networks, etc.  To know all that requires total immersion.

What is beyond boolean?  Remember, boolean equates to: AND, OR, NOT, OR.  Some popular search engine commands include: NEAR,  Site,  inURL.

(By the way, I just checked the domain:  beyondBoolean.com is available!).  Who is going to be beyondboolean?

What is beyond boolean?  What is missing?  Here are some that we have developed at Broadlook.  We call it, what else, “broadlean”.  The next major versions of Broadlook product engines will be supporting it (some already do).  I would like to hear from the searchologists (i prefer that term), what else would you like to see in the broadlean specification?

WARNING!!!!! – The rest of this blog is for the tech geeks out there.  If you don’t know your way around a search engine, STOP HERE!

Here are some BROADLEAN commands:

SS:   Same sentance as
SP:   Same paragraph as
SC:  Same concept as
PERSON:
CORP:
DATE:
EVENT:

SS, SP, SC are operators.  PERSON, CORP, DATE, EVENT are what we call entity operators.

example usage:

Project manager”  SS PERSON –  find all pages that mention the term “project manager” in the same sentance as a person.  The  value here is that you don’t have to know the person’s name to succeed with your search.

Google, MS Live, Yahoo are all toys when it comes to weeding through results.  I am excited to see the technology that comes out over the next few years in terms of targeting results.  What fun!

Keyword proximity and keyword extension engines

Keyword proximity and keyword extension engines

Here is an experiment to help develop taxonomies of keywords.

First engine is http://keywords.broadlook.com. The focus of this engine is the keywords and metatags within websites and build a list of (1) keyword extensions of your input. Example: if you type in the word “research”, the engine will return the top results in 1000’s of phrases that start with “research”, like “research and development”, “research papers” and “research triangle”. In addition, engine 1 returns a list of keywords in closest proximity to your input term.

Second engine is http://keywords2.broadlook.com. This engine does the same as engine #1, except it works with the BODY of html pages vs. keywords and meta tags.

 Blog Pictures | acobox.com

 

 

 

 

Building a ultra-fast proximity engine with entity recognition could yield some interesting results.

Examples:

-Who are the top 10 people on the web that are mentioned in closest proximity to Bill Gates or Barack Obama? How does that compare to the month previous?

-What are the top 10 companies mentioned near Broadlook or Salesforce.com?

-Who are the top 10 people mentioned in conjuntion with an event, company or date?

The combinations are endless. What applications can be developed from this type of information? I can think of many in the research and analytics space. The 2 main components are the entity recognition and proximity indexing. For questions about the engines email to donato dot diorio at gmail com with subject “keyword engine”

Please keep in mind that this is pure research and we are not even sure ourselves of the uses of the core technology.

Enjoy!

From Explicit to Implicit;  New Venues of Contact Information

From Explicit to Implicit; New Venues of Contact Information

I’m basically a very curious person, so in getting ready for SourceCon, I’ve been getting some questions ready in my head to ask those movers and shakers in sourcing. Here is one I’d like to throw out, it’s something that I need to solve at Broadlook.

Let me give the problem some background:

15 years ago, few people used email. It got popular.

10 years ago, few people used instant messaging. It got popular

5 years ago, few people used SMS or text messaging. It got popular.

Now we have Skype, LinkedIN, Twitter, iPhone GPS, and they are getting popular.

What I am pointing out here is that Contact information is no longer limited to explicit forms of contact information. (i.e. Name, title, phone, email). A few form of contact information is the Implicit. It is important to classify those implicit forms. If they are not classified, they are not recorded. If they are not recorded, they cannot be leveraged. For example, a personal blog is a form of implicit contact information, I can follow the URL to the blog and learn about the person (candidate in a recruiters case) and get the scoop on them.

What are the new forms (actually I prefer “venues” of contact information? Here is what we have so far at Broadlook, if anyone has suggestions for new forms, please ping me.

Contact Venues (not including traditional like phone/email)

1. SMS/TXT

2. Instant message – (different from SMS, as it needs a network, whereas any cellphone can Text another)

3. VOIP – (skype, etc)

4. Blog – wordpress, blogger, twitter (twitter..we consider micro-blogging)

5. Social network – LinkedIN, etc

6.GPS – debatable, but where you are is an aspect of Contact information

7. Domain – The corporate domain, as important today as knowing the company name they work fo

Why am I doing this? The next generation of Broadlook Technologies tools will be capturing all Venues of contact information. If anyone doubts the utility of such an endeavor, take a look at my email signature:

Getting up a 4am tomorrow to beat the Chicago traffic to eventually end up in Cleveland. I’ll be visiting our friends at Main Sequence Technologies, makers of PC Recruiter. It will be a fun road trip and I encourage anyone to call me on my cell 414-899-4204 if you have ideas on the venues of contact information.

In fact, anyone who can convince me of a new venue of Contact Information, which I did not include here, I’ll reward you with a $500 credit towards any Broadlook product  (SourceCon attendees only).