Students of the Week

In this social age, students need to communicate their passions, personality and where they’re heading – I think that’s one of the main reasons we’ve seen such enthusiastic adoption of about.me by College Students amongst our broad community of users.

The about.me Blog

We are big fans of students here at about.me – and it’s clear students like us too. We’ve seen a major increase in students on the site in the past year. One reason for the increase is that there are simply more people than ever creating pages. But there’s also something specific driving student engagement.

Beatrice Tretbar on about..me

Pages help students present themselves positively. While a resume may still be necessary to get a job or internship, it only focuses on what you’ve done. Using just a resume (or CV) students will always come off looking second-best compared to someone with more experience. But experience isn’t everything.

An about.me page allows students to showoff their passions, personality and where they’re heading, in addition to past experience. And the free business cards don’t hurt either.

evankuhl

The students here represent just a sliver of the academic community on about.me. Try searching for your college or…

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The Connections That Bind Us Together

Great post – we all use about.me to achieve a few core goals:

1. Present ourselves.
2. Discover new people.
3. Connect with people.

Our simplicity sets about.me apart. There are literally millions of us onl about.me from every country in the world. We swap compliments across continents. We learn about people living drastically different lives from ourselves and about people in the same situation living across the globe.

The about.me Blog

One essential part of building a strong community is helping new members settle in quickly. This process is something we talk about a lot here at about.me, and we are always working to improve the new user experience.

As our Community Manager, I’m especially proud of how quickly people can get into the groove of browsing, complimenting, and making new connections. Given the broad range of people on about.me, it’s amazing how quickly new community members get started interacting on the site.

popular on about.me

Here, With Purpose.

The geographic, professional, and cultural diversity on about.me is amazing. But what is truly astounding is that we are all on about.me with a similar purpose.

There are many uses for about.me and infinite ways to interact with the platform and with other people. Yet we all use about.me to achieve a few core goals:

  1. Present ourselves.
  2. Discover new people.
  3. Connect with people.

The simplicity sets…

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BAM. BOOM. AARGHH. F*&^. PHEW. SIGH. SMILE……….. Everyone’s Been There Before

Screen shot 2014-01-26 at 9.16.27 PMAt the end of yesterday, I connected with friends I hadn’t been in touch with for far too long.  I scheduled lunch with former CNET CEO Shelby Bonnie in a few weeks. My Twitter followers increased.  We added new about.me users.  Many of my friends logged in and sent me notes about how blown away they were with what we had built since buying back about.me.  Turns out I’ve got a lot of good friends who have our back.  I learned a lot about our team, marveled at their maturity and skill in the moment of crisis and fell in love with them all over again. But that’s not the way the day started……

It was a stunning, peaceful Saturday morning – the kind of morning when the heat is dry and the sound is very still (sorry to those of you who live in the brutally cold East Cost weather but this is San Francisco in late January).  After a morning run in the Presidio, I made myself some Blue Bottle Coffee in my Chemex, hit play on John Coltrane’s Giant Steps and settled in to play around with one of our newest features that enables about.me users to invite friends to join our service.

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I clicked send.  Nothing happened.  So I clicked it one more time and it wasn’t clear anything happened. Hmm.  So I decided to send my team an email to see what was broken. When I opened my email, literally 2-3 minutes later, I had a crazy number of unread emails flowing in (like “I love you, man, but I’ve gotten ~30 of these so far….”). It’s just awesome to getting an email from someone you admire like Marc Andreessen letting you know you’ve sent them 20, oops, actually 24 emails in the past few minutes.

Screen shot 2014-01-28 at 5.09.08 PMAnd then Twitter alerts started popping up on my screen (and each time I clicked, I had less followers than I had minutes before).  My phone rang.  It rang again.  And again. And then iMessage started popping up alerts (like “Please, like really please make it stop”).  And then I had that “aw f*&^” moment when I realized I’d jammed all my contacts with messages, more messages and even more messages.  I had triggered a weird bug because my email contact list is quite large and it would time-out, and then re-activate, creating a continuous loop.  It also somehow tied into my WordPress blog which was a separate issue (to be clear, not a WordPress issue but one on our end) that’s too complicated to explain.  NTL, I was on my way to sending 47,402 emails in a span of 4 minutes, an average of 23.6 emails per person. BAM. BOOM. AARGHH. F*&^.

 

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I sent out an urgent note to our team.  My co-founder Ryan, calm as always, called and told me to 1) make my tweets private; 2) start deleting all the repetitive tweets; and 3) disconnect my WordPress blog from the automatic tweet feature.  On his end, he disconnected the feature we were testing.  I then spoke to Matt, Founder of WordPress, who calmly told me where to go to disconnect the automatic tweet feature.  Just in case you missed it, there’s a theme in there, they were calm, I wasn’t.

Afterward, it stopped.  Kinda.  I watched as my Twitter followers continue to melt away, I lost about 400 in a few hours.  I turned my attention back to email and oh my, so many messages, many from me :).  I wrote a simple acknowledgement and apology response, copied and started pasting it in reply after reply after reply.  Then I went back to Twitter, announced “It’s just a hunch but I think there are a lot of people who are going to delete me from their address book.”  Then I let everyone on Twitter know “oy, even my family deleted my account.”  And then, people on Twitter started interacting, retweeting and favoriting those tweets and voila, I started adding new followers. And people invited friends to join about.me and many of them logged in and updated their pages.

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Meanwhile, the amazing about.me team started doing forensics around how many emails were sent to individual addresses in order to get a pattern to any duplicate sends.  We exchanged inputs in real time (exactly how did we do this before we had tools like Slack!?!) and figured out the root cause and, more importantly, how to make sure that didn’t happen again.

I read the hundreds of email replies to my apology and this is what was said more often than anything else “dude, don’t worry, everyone’s been there before.”  It reminded me how amazing our community can be in a moment of crisis. We are lucky.

And then we all went back to our beautiful, peaceful Saturday. BAM. BOOM. AARGHH. F*&^. PHEW. SIGH. SMILE.

Tips for Discovery

One of my favorite aspects of about.me is discovering people with whom I have things in common. I also love the serendipity of browsing profiles on our Discover button that displays featured and popular pages.

The about.me Blog

There is so much to gain from meeting new people. This should be obvious. But far too often we settle into a predictable rhythm at school or work and neglect the opportunity to learn about someone new. This post will outline a few simple ways to surface interesting people on about.me and make the most of our opportunities.

samlimeemei on about.me

One benefit of modern connected life is interacting with people around the world. Because about.me is built to show off your who you are — your passions, profession and background — it’s a public, dynamic directory for millions of interesting people.

So how do you find the people who are most interesting to you?

ed.roberts on about.me

A great place to start is by hitting the Discovery button in the top bar. From there, you can look through Popular to see trending pages, with new people joining every day. The Featured page showcases handpicked top pages…

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Future Forward

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By now you’ve likely heard today’s announcement that Toni Schneider is stepping down as CEO and Matt Mullenweg is becoming CEO of Automattic. It’s an inspiring example of how one amazing person (Toni) passes the baton to another (Matt). Toni is taking on a product role within Automattic, it’s something he’s talked about for a few years. Matt, who founded Automattic in 2005, is stepping up to take on the role of CEO.  Together they’ve quietly done beautiful work, building Automattic into a billion dollar company in which over 20% of the worlds leading websites publish daily.

In events like this so many of us are searching for a newsworthy back story of what happened but in this case, it’s just a deeply talented entrepreneur/ CEO wanting to change their role and a Founder being ready to lead the company he started. It’s something that Toni and Matt have prepared for the past few years. It’s inspiring to see them proactively evolve their roles in a way that makes sense for them personally, for Automattic and for all of us that have been privileged to be a part of a magical partnership – just check out the above photo from the 2008 Crunchies when Automattic was named the Startup Most Likely to Succeed and Toni was named Best Startup CEO.

I first met Toni in Stinson Beach in the summer of 2003. He had just joined the uber hip team at Oddpost as their CEO and a few months later I led their first and only investment round. Oddpost was acquired shortly thereafter by Yahoo! but Toni and I kept exploring new ideas around self publishing that we could work on together. We eventually co-founded Sphere (acquired by AOL a few years later) and we simultaneously joined the founding team of True Ventures. He is an amazing friend, CEO and partner. Without Toni, I never would’ve had the courage to found Sphere but he made me believe I could do it and then we did. There is no one I trust and respect more in our community of entrepreneurs.

Around the same time, I met Matt via an email introduction from Om, he was 19 and living in Houston. He was the key person behind the open source community building WordPress. We had a number of phone calls and when he moved to SF in late 2004, we finally met in person. I was blown away by his intelligence, manner and vision for democratizing the world of publishing. My relationship with Matt is as meaningful as any in my life. In our 10 years of knowing each other, we’ve been each other’s partner, mentor and friend.

Little did I know how much meeting Matt & Toni would impact my life. Thank you fellas and congratulations on taking an important step into the future and for providing us all a powerful example of how to navigate change.

Here is a link to Toni’s post. Matt’s post is here. And Agent Zero’s (OM) post is here.

The Value of Time

The following post was written by my close friend, amazingly talented tech reporter and about.me Advisor Om Malik as part of our Stories about.me project. Om survived a near fatal hear attack in 2007. Annually he raises money for heart disease-related projects at UCSF and we’d like for you to consider joining us in supporting his charity: Heart to Heart for UCSF Cardiology.

The about.me Blog

Tony’s note: The following post was written by my close friend, amazingly talented tech reporter and about.me Advisor Om Malik as part of our Stories about.me project. Om survived a near fatal heart attack in 2007. Annually he raises money for heart disease-related projects at UCSF and we’d like for you to consider joining us in supporting his charity: Heart to Heart for UCSF Cardiology.

For 27 years I was a slave to cigarettes. I would plan my day around smoke breaks, avoid long flights because I knew I would need a fix, and seek out new apartments based on their “smoker friendliness.” I resented snide comments about my smoking habit, because I was not in control of the habit. The devil’s weed controlled how I lived.

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