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Sumazi: Why Learning How To Do One Thing Teaches You How To Do Another Thing Better

Image representing Sumazi as depicted in Crunc...

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Sumazi helps me connect intelligently to people who can help me complete tasks in my day-to-day life. This could be helping me vet a business model idea; it could be finding a new video editor for a project; it could even be finding interview subjects for an article. It’s a very simple connection engine that goes beyond finding the BEST person for the job. that person is usually too far out of reach, or too expensive, or too busy to care.

As I have written about before, this is the next layer and the new organizational model for the web. Google search did it’s job of helping us find information. But now that the organizing and finding of that information has created a disorganized tribe of self-taught and industry-sponsored experts, we need a better way to find the people we need to solve problems in the near-term.

Finding the right people is the same as finding relevance in a sea of noise. People have so much network access that the network access fosters the opposite of what it should foster. Instead of showing you the most relevant people, the current setup of networks just shows you everyone that you know, over a period of time, or all at once. It’s almost nearly impossible to find the right person. (This is a problem that startup is also working on, but through the commenting field of blogs, and in social networks like Twitter and Facebook.)

A segment of a social network

Image via Wikipedia

Sumazi’s discovery process is more narrowly defined. It finds people in my extended network whom I don’t know and introduces them to me to get a job done.

It also does something else, and this something was unexpected.

Relevance-Seeking Creates Opportunities for Growth

Once you find who you are looking for, you have to figure out how to behave. Sales training thinks of this in terms of approaching a lead.

I think of it on the web as nurturing a relationship. Working within Sumazi has taught me how to address people and get done what I want done, because it puts the person I need right in front of me. I can’t hide behind anything. We must work together. I was having trouble before with finding the right person. Once I found the right person, I then had trouble getting anything done. I worked with a faulty assumption.

What I learned is that having a simple format of communication does not complete the real job of getting someone on your side, to complete a task. Just telling them that they have an opportunity to help you is not enough. Most people need to be told what you want them to do. You must be direct with the people.

Here is where technology ends and a person’s soft skills take over.

Every interaction on the web is actually an opportunity to improve one’s social approach. Design can only go so far in helping you by framing your expectations and enabling you to complete a task. it can entice you to interact, but it cannot complete that job. Sumazi designs your interaction to within an inch of the goal being completed. I love this about Sumazi. It basically reinforces the behavior that makes someone successful in business.  That behavior is to push forward and use soft skills, listening and direct approaches to get a job done.

What makes Sumazi successful is this tapping into a person’s real need to get something done. The problem sales people always suffer is that they can’t find enough of the right person. I can see Sumazi being a kind of smart sales engine, lead generation, but much more organic, much more focused on natural relationships.

This is important.

If I was going to make one improvement to Sumazi and other recommendation engines, it would be to find a way to deliver these soft skills to the people who need to know how to use it. Not everyone has them. People, like me, have a tendency to believe that if the product exists, the job is instantly completed. That’s probably not going to happen with Sumazi, because like any lean startup, they need to focus on their core. Sumazi’s core is smart recommendation of organic relationships.

The more I think about it, the more I think it’s really really groundbreaking. I have used it eight times. Of the eight times I have requested someone to work with, I have found nine people. One request has so far not delivered anything. Think about that.

How many sales people in seven calls on a lead can say they even got five of those to get buy-in? It can’t be my approach only that works. After all, I’ve said that I’m not that good with the soft skills.

Using Sumazi is like standing at the plate with a bat in your hand, only you don’t just swing. You’re actually selecting the pitch you want delivered to you.

Swing, batter!



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