The world is still broken, for most of us
Good morning. Had your coffee? Here is something for you to think about…
Most live with an elephant in their room
My personal journey started a short while after I watched an inspiring interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Jeff gave his personal career advice to an audience full of young aspiring professionals. In this interview I discovered what I want to help change in the world.
“You don’t choose your passions, your passions choose you,” Jeff said of his commitment to space exploration. “All of us are gifted with certain passions, and the people who are lucky are the ones who get to follow those things.”
He then added that “identifying your passion” is the main advice he gives to interns, young employees, and his own four children. “You can have a job, or you can have a career, or you can have a calling,” he says. “And if you can somehow figure out how to have a calling, you have hit the jackpot, cause that’s the big deal.”
“Calling?” I am thinking... OK, great - when someone identifies his calling… how can she pursue her higher calling when the friction of life stands in the way? Most people worry about their very essentials throughout most of their lives on a day to day basis.
Think of how many times you dreamed of starting something, building a website, or changing your career. The challenge of achieving personal fulfillment is something others have experienced before us, we ourselves go through it, and if we aren’t lucky, our kids will go through it too..
Technology is powerful
As a technologist, I live my life thinking how technology can be leveraged to make something that’s traditionally hard, become simple. Or more specifically, in my narrower field of practice, how can we build software to help us out? Every app icon on your screen tries to do exactly that: Allow you to do more with a tap than what was even imaginable just a few years ago.
Think for a moment of the ways in which we communicate, purchase, pay, or order a taxi today. Technology is not only making it simpler for us to do things at the speed of a tap, it builds markets and creates opportunities. Think of the taxi market in San Francisco in 2014 - a $200 million/year market - and with the introduction of Uber, it’s now a thriving $5 billion market in San Francisco alone, all using an app.
“I am actually a lawyer...”
During the summer of 2017, I spent 6 months working on a project in San Francisco. We rented an apartment not too far from the office and commuted back and forth daily using Uber. During one of those trips, I had a short friendly chat with Max, the Uber driver. Out of curiosity, I asked Max how he likes driving for Uber.
“It’s pretty nice, I am happy I can pay my bills this way... more or less... but I am actually a lawyer by profession…”.
I remember it hitting me; a lawyer, making close to minimum wage driving an Uber at night?
“What’s holding you from doing what you studied?” I asked.
“It’s hard to get started,” Max replied, “getting your first customers, finding someone who will take a risk with you in your early days…”.
Wow I was thinking, these people are trapped doing things they don’t like doing, blocked by the “getting started” barrier. Max is no different than most of the professionals you know. 9 out of 10 times local professionals get their business through referrals from previous customers. We’ve all asked for referrals or have given referrals.
Local professionals rely on people they hope would one day refer someone to them. They have no idea when, or from where a phone call would come, living in a random reality. Not sure I’d like my kids to live that way.
“LinkedIn for the locals”
I have to admit, we don’t exactly know how technology can help remedy such a complex word of mouth problem for local professionals. But since 50% of our countries’ GDP is driven by services provided by local businesses, we know there has to be an opportunity to help the local market become more efficient.
We know that people love friend referrals - friends give the honest truth, and connected professionals give a better service. It’s good for everyone. So unless we change our DNA, the concept of referrals will be with us for a long time.
Since the local market is a network of connections between people and professionals, fueled by recommendations, we decided to try to build a network that maps the relationships between people with their local professionals. This network will tell you who does what around you, which professionals you or your friends personally know, and who your friends recommend.
We believe that if it was simpler to find trusted professionals, just like in the Uber case, more people would hire more professionals, professionals would be hired more often, and a better service would be given to all. And linking back - more professionals will be able to pursue their passions.
We invite you to try our humble beginnings and give us your feedback at https://links.contactsapp.com/get
For the extra curios, expect new powerful social features to soon follow.
Do what you love.