Lately, I've been checking into BestVendor, a new service that lets you rate software and apps you use, mostly for business but also for personal purposes. While it's a work in progress, it keeps adding more useful features. One of the latest is Lists, where anyone can create a topical, curated list.
On Monday night, I had the pleasure of presenting on Twitter tools and best practices at the Brandhackers Meetup in NY with Greg Galant. View the presentation via SlideShare (click through to see the full size), which includes an intro before the tools and best practices after. And if you're so inclined, you can find me on Twitter at @dberkowitz.
One of the best job hunting resources just launched on LinkedIn: company profiles (thanks to the LinkedIn blog and Jeremiah for the heads up). It tells you so much information about potential employers that it can make your job research so much more productive. Here are seven ways to do it.
Check out the parent or subsidiary company, if applicable. Understand where a company fits in within the corporate hierarchy. Research them, and pay attention to similarities and differences. Consider applying to one of the other companies if it's a better fit, if you know someone better at another, or for any other reason.
See where people go before and after. It's not a perfect sample, as this only represents what people declare in LinkedIn, but the sample size is tremendous for many industries now. You can also see if you have friends at one of these other companies to see if they have any thoughts on why people are going to or from there, and you can also try to understand why there's a connection (eg an agency may be feeding lots of talent to a major publisher they do business with, or many of the people who came from another agency actually arrived via an acquisition).
Research the top locations. Would you be willing to relocate? If so, they may have different needs in different offices, or they may be trying to relocate some of their existing staff already. Use your flexibility as another asset.
View the popular profiles and Google them. They may be influential in the company or the industry, so whether or not you interview with them, you'll gain points dropping names that you saw them quoted, speaking at an event, or doing a drunken holiday party dance on YouTube.
View the common job titles. If you're open to such a position, whether or not they're hiring, it means there are more likely to be openings in that area.
Did you go to any of the top schools they hire from? Run an advanced search to see which people went there just in case you can meet them, name drop, or make a reference to a college sports team rivalry.
Consider employees' ages, median tenure, and common job titles, but the LinkedIn sample size, age of the company, and industry can all be major factors influencing this. Other suggestions on this list are more universal.
If you're considering new opportunities, send your resume my way at dberkowitz [at] 360i [dot] com as 360i (my employer, albeit unaffiliated with this blog) is always looking for the best folks in the business to join in a number of roles. The fact that you're reading this blog means you must be brilliant, or you have brilliant friends who forwarded this to you. See our openings in New York and Atlanta.
Now that all of 360i's senior management will see this post in the news alerts, I'll note publicly I'm not using LinkedIn in any of the ways described above, though the company pages do fascinate me for corporate stalking.
This is a great trick from Google Docs I just discovered while visiting author Dan Pink's site where he welcomed readers to sign up for notifications of when his new book comes out. What was interesting is that the form is from Google Docs, and it saves the data directly into a spreadsheet.
I'm no Excel maven, but this is incredibly easy to do. Try it out by going to this form to share what book you're reading, just as a simple example of how it can work. It takes seconds to try it, and then if you want to create one of your own, Google makes it easy for you to do so if you're logged in to your Google Account.
The only hitch is that the form's not embeddable directly in a blog post or elsewhere, so currently you have to go to the link. I tried embedding it in a blog post and it's a live form - you can fill it out there, but it messes up the design on that post and for that month (I backdated it to October so it wouldn't mess with the current entries). If you know a fix, include it in the comments. I did this just by viewing the source and copying most of the code.
For a pitch I've been working on, I've had to research what men 18-35 are doing online, and I guess they're not all trying to find out what's playing at Lincoln Center. Some of these sites, even if they're only PG-13, are not necessarily what I want sticking around in my search or web history. Given that there are all sorts of reasons both noble and less noble why you might not want a record of the sites you're visiting, here are two tools I've used that come in handy:
1) Ixquick: It's a meta-search engine that leaves no trace of what you search. It's not as clean as Google or other search engines, but it still does a decent job getting relevant sites in front of you, and there's also no record kept of the sites you visit from the listings.
2) Stealthier: This Firefox extension lets you surf without leaving a trace, and it's easy to turn on and off as you go about visiting various sites. Note that if it's fully enabled, you can't visit sites that require cookies, so if you're an average web user, you'll want to use this selectively. Google, for instance, tells you when you try to access its personalized services while using Stealthier, "Your browser's cookie functionality is turned off. Please turn it on."
For both of these services, I did a cursory check on them by logging into Google's personalized services, using Stealthier and Ixquick, and then checking my search and web history in Google. There was no trace of the searches or sites I visited using those tools.
(A funny aside: I tried posting this while I was signed into Stealthier, and it signed me out of TypePad.)
In toying around with Google Sitemaps, I came across some great reminders of advanced search features Google offers for webmasters, or for anyone looking for more info about a site. To use these, see the examples, or just go to google and type the query, such as site:www.yoursite.com.
David Berkowitz is Chief Marketing Officer at agency MRY. A frequent speaker and media pundit, he has been published hundreds of times in MediaPost, Ad Age, eMarketer, Mashable, and elsewhere. Get to know him in the links below the blog's header.