When you’re too busy to blog… It’s probably best not to

It’s because you’re engaged in too many trade secrets to blog. So apologies for not blogging for several months (I used to blog bi-weekly!)

Truth be told, it’s easier to tweet than blog. Perhaps because you don’t actually write tweets. One must only press a button in order to be meaningful. Reconstituting others’ content is just fine.

We are live, fully operational, and able to serve clients. We’ve transitioned to a full pay service now. This is due to several important considerations we’ve learned:

  • paying customers make demands. We’re capable of meeting them.
  • paying customers on a site that demands user input, create input. They throttle the service to get the best value for their dollar. We like these kinds of users.
  • paying for the service guarantees it gets better. Money creates budgets.

But most importantly, when the user pays a small monthly sum, the user becomes an active participant. Our model is similar to the array of dating sites (sort of like employers looking for potential mates, er employees – a strange but linear comparison). When the daters pay for the site, they tend to invest time to match their money. No different than buying a tool for your garden, a sponge for the kitchen, or a toy for the kids. Buy it, use it.

But above simply using it, when students pay for the service, companies know they are serious about the labor market. Strange but true, many students exit college with little idea about how companies work. This is ok, but when they exhibit professionalism in the form of a research chronology or electronic portfolio, they make placement so much easier. This form of consideration for the employer shows professionalism. It says, I understand your challenges, and I am doing something about it.

 Making a website devoid of advertising

We found, quite simply, that making advertisers pay for the site ran into two problems:

  • the experience suffered, as ads intruded into the immersive experience
  • advertisers paid less and less, due to the explosion in ad inventory, everywhere

We were earning less for their imposition, and had to cut that cord.

 Enhancing the Experience

But for a site to go ad-free means, also that they have the confidence to charge for their services. This is a shift toward a more affluent user base, such as the Wall Street Journal, who actively charges for news. We mitigate the barrier cost by lowering the monthly fee. By making it cheap we avoid deterring potential users.

Back to the idea of quality. When you fear charging users, you also send the message that the site is not worth even a small amount of money. It also opens your site up to the perception that you earn money in some invisible way. Selling user information, or allowing user information to seep out to apps. Either way, it strikes the user as mellifluous, non-transparent, and generally un-american. We hated the feeling that advertisers collect the web history of each user, and though no online advertising is possible without this, we simply knew we could make a product worth paying for.

So we embarked on a project to build up the quality of data, and the quality of experience. We drew down data from search engines, web APIs, and other communities, and composed a new product that went far beyond the initial design.

 In the latest version of Next you’ll find:

  • tools to connect you to students who share your academic focus (which we will turbo-charge in the future)
  • tools to connect you to jobs posted outside of Next
  • tools to deliver real-time news related to your major areas of concentration
  • tools to deliver live blogging in your areas of focus

In short, Next has transitioned to become a tool for 360-degree career development. That’s why we changed the name to Next Vantage. Now, you achieve a viewpoint over the landscape of opportunity, as it relates to you and you alone.

 Why this matters. Now, it’s what you know that matters. No more must you wade through the daily news, because all that is relevant to you, appears. And the news that appears helps you build up your life’s pursuits, deepen your expertise. When you get the landscape view, you overcome the barriers to awareness that block traditional career growth.

I found that with the new product, each time I logged in I received the news I really needed. I spent vast amounts of time with the quantity of material. The new Next exposed everything that was going on that I need to be aware of. It was true that for every hour that I spent, the tool opened up new nuggets I could really use.

In short, I knew we had to charge for it. Give it an hour, and it will realign your career. It’s that simple. That is the Next Vantage. It’s renewable, constantly available, and it overcomes all barriers for you, instantly.

Forget Social

The macro-buzzword of our micro-era is social. However, what I find is that the design of the major ‘social’ sites is that they make the user into a silo. You must obey the boundaries of your neighborhood, high school, college friend-set, or employer. Though this may open things a bit more for you, it doesn’t make progress on the key concern I have, which is, how do I overcome all those boundaries to arrive at where I am supposed to be? Why can’t my day-to-day life center around my needs, rather than the constraints of my community? I know this sounds rather harsh, but in order to fulfill my missions, my ‘friends’ are really just bystanders to my progress. Additionally, the further I  pursue my ambitions and succeed, the more friends I find I have.

We as a culture struggle with this objectivist dilemma. We define compassion by the extent to which we help those around us, but define success by the extent to which we pursue our own self-interests. I am now sure what to tell you. All I know is, if you want to communicate within the boundaries of your network, use the current tools.

But if you want to locate the people and companies who can help you to be you, use ours.


About stefan bund

Founder of Next Acropolis. MS in Information Systems and Technology, Claremont Graduate University... Background in software engineering and teaching.
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