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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser

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Materials written
by John Sumser
© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

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  • Best Bets

    (April 23, 1999) In the daily rush to cover trends and emerging stories, we sometimes forget to point out things with enduring value. The single best place to unearth salary data is on Job Smart. The site is a completely remarkable private-public partnership. After you've absorbed the more than 200 links to Salary Surveys, check out the rest of the site. As usual, California leads the nation. Every region should have a vibrant resource like JobSmart.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    How Not To

    (April 22, 1999) The idea itself isn't bad. The letter suggest that we have been carefully chosen to be the member of an elite "Who's Who". Ooooh that feels so good. Someone noticed.

    Dear Candidate, (US, CANADA, and AUSTRALIA ONLY) You were recently appointed by The Office of Public Affairs for a free listing in The Lexington Publishing Who's Who Directory.

    Please fill out the form provided at our website below.


    Our Public Affairs Office gathers information from many recognized sources, including professional associations and societies, trade organizations, newspaper and magazine articles, professional reference publications, web presence, and referrals from existing members.

    As a highly respected professional in your field of expertise, we believe your contributions merit very serious consideration for inclusion in The Lexington Publishing Who's Who Directory.

    To maintain the level of accuracy, we ask you to click on the web address highlighted below and fill out the brief bit of information required for inclusion.

    There is no cost or obligation to be listed in The Lexington Publishing Who's Who Directory. All applicants will receive a free listing compliments of Lexington Publishing Who's Who.


    My Sincere Thanks,
    Lisa Narod
    Office Of Public Affairs

    The email addresses in the from: and reply to: fields do not accept incoming mail. Please excuse the anonymity of the email addresses provided. A Lexington Publishing representative will contact you shortly after submission of the application form. All information provided will be used solely for the purposes described herein. We apologize if this has reached you in error. We thank you for your time.

    Unfortunately, the clicking on the URL yields the following message:
    File Not Found . . .
    This page has moved, has been deleted or is otherwise unavailable at this time.

    Be sure to look at our Terms of Service

    Not smart at all.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    New Entrants

    (April 21, 1999) The explosion in fee based job boards continues. At the end of 1998, there were about 25,000 places that would accept money to display a job posting. The number is closer to 30,000 today. We routinely hear from entrepreneurs planning to introduce a broad range of services at extraordinary rates. Where it was once the norm to introduce a single, nationally branded site, today's entries often come with complex regional strategies and a different board for each region.

    The video Resume is finally beginning to make a real appearance. The unfortunately named GetARealJob offers candidates the opportunity to prepare an interview and have it attached to a complex on-line resume. While the early entrants in video delivery are all hoping to profit from selling candidates on video attachments, we imagine that the reasonably near future makes video a standard. The interesting thing about the GetARealJob approach is that it could easily be duplicated as an adjunct feature for many current boards. At GetARealJob, the candidate tapes the interview using a VHS video camera. The tape is then sent to GetARealJob who converts it to a realvideo clip and hosts it online.

    A system that processes video resumes in this way could easily be set up for under five thousand dollars. Able to process video at 10 "resumes" an hour, the cost to a job board would be five dollars per production unit. Shipping the video cassette is likely to be the most expensive part of the recipe. But, even at $10 or $12 per Resume, the resulting database would have a tremendous advantage over the competition. Expect to see these things multiply. It's one way to capitalize on the technical inflection point.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Inflection Point II

    (April 20, 1999) In addition to the broad industry moves we discussed in yesterday's article, a number of technical dynamics are in place that will lift the industry to new heights. Every so often, the computer hardware industry evolves to a point that the current crop of machines have a lot of unused capacity. As the installed base of the latest machines grows, the software and services industry play catch-up. They design features into new version of their core products that take advantage of the excess capabilities. Ultimately, the software companies catch up and begin delivering tools that exceed the abilities of the next generation of hardware.

    Because the two industries complement each other, this market based balancing act is the normal way things work. When you talk to long term users of desktop computers, they are more likely to remember buying software that had a lot of capability but performed slowly. The balancing side, when computers easily absorb the existing software are easily forgotten. Things seem to work smoothly when the hardware has more capacity than the available software.

    We are currently sitting in one of those times when available hardware has a lot of excess capacity.

    In our offices, there is a growing room full of machines that operate at 500hz with 20 Gigabytes of hard drive space. Just a year ago, we were excited about having one third of that capacity. (Mind you, we've been buying current hardware for our various video projects. Video takes a lot of capability and storage capacity.) We see no visible performance difference in standard office software, databases, Internet browsers and the like.

    Meanwhile, the sophistication, quality and speed of the servers that are the Internet's processing backbone are improving dramatically with each passing day. Again, the hardware leads the software capability. While the servers are capable of complex transactions, the software that could analyze these transactions remains astonishingly primitive. Today, if you want to really understand the dynamics of your website, you have to develop the tools yourself. The industry standards (like Web Trends) are pathetically inadequate.

    The industry moves we discussed yesterday indicate a broad move towards a service model that is priced as a percentage of the employment transaction, putting intense downward pressure on traditional headhunters. The third party firms are taking it from all sides. Just as the newspaper industry clearly lost the first round of the job board competition, third party firms are about to take it in the shorts from web enabled competitors. There's an open window, but the solutions involve software development. That is hardly a core strength of the Traditional Staffing Industry. It took actual declines in Recruitment Advertising revenue to prompt the newspapers into real action. We're currently betting that it will take the same dynamic to bring the old school Recruiting firms out of their slumber.

    If you haven't had the chance, take a look at the current edition of our print newsletter. The major story concerns the web development efforts in a major third party firm. Hampered by low stock price and cash flow problems, the company is unable to drive meaningful investment into its web operation. Floundering without a serious long term strategy (or the resources to back it), the company offers no near-term web potential. Even though the current inflection points were entirely predictable, the company continues to sit at a juncture where its leverage could be great. The web development team is left to scrape improvements out of whole cloth.

    The combination of the moves in the Electronic Recruiting industry and the excess capacity in desktop systems creates a huge opening for agile market entrants. The old school is slow to move and invest. They are burdened with outdated business models. This inflection point favors new entrants. Keep your eyes open, they're coming.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Inflection Point

    (April 19, 1999) We've been watching the evolution of online Recruiting every day for five years. There's a rhythm to the progress and development. Money comes in waves and corporate commitment surges with each new year's budget cycle. The constant pressure of shifting demographics and generational labor shortages produce a universe of customers who are ready to use the Net to solve real problems.

    The market dynamics change like the seasons. Sometimes, the market is flooded with new entrants. Sometimes, the emphasis is on marketing and market development. Sometimes things simply move along. Sometimes, and they are few and far between, the industry seems to explode with new and useful ideas. We relish the times that explode our preconceptions. After all, the web is a revolution in progress. We are most entertained by companies who are sure that they know the answer.

    Over the past several weeks, a series of product releases and news items have consistently blown our assumptions to shreds. For instance:

    • ITTA's latest version of Pro-Recruiter (and its embedded referral program capabilities) suggest a world in which the number of online job pages is equal to the number of employees with web pages.
    • Virtual Job Fair's alliance with the price conscious and rapidly deployable SearchLinc suggests the imminent arrival of real videoconferencing capability and a consequent reduction in Recruiting cycle time and travel costs.
    • Heidrik and Struggle's release of Leaders Online ushers in an era of deeply targeted individualized Recruiting tools.
    • Reports from Forrester, Jupiter, the Industry Standard and a number of investment banks continued to misunderstand and undervalue the Recruiting marketplace. But, they are reporting more frequently and starting to get it.
    • set a new (if silly) standard in Electronic Recruiting Industry PR campaigns.
    • The much maligned CareerPath is now routinely touted as the number 3 online service (by its competitors, no less).
    • Old school entrants (companies with many years of market experience) are routinely losing competitive accounts to agile entrants like CareerCast.
    • CareerPath, in an unanticipated burst of competitive energy, has partnered with Waldroop Butler Associates to deliver CareerLeader, a self assessment tool that is a cut above Futurestep's offering.
    • unleashed a full media spectrum approach to Recruitment traffic development.
    • In spite of our grumpy critiques, Futurestep itself is poised to generate $25M in revenues this year!
    • TMP has become the world's sixth largest Executive Search firm through acquisition.
    • Peoplescape, an arm's length offering from Christian and Timbers has enlisted the support of John Sculley (ex Apple and Pepsi) as a board member. Peoplescape offers the clearest business model of all of the current old school entrants.
    • The bidding war for candidates and Resumes has begun in earnest with CareerCentral's affiliate program.
    • After year's of patient development, CareerSite took control of the Recruitment advertising function at Advent communications.
    What we're seeing is a shift in the market. Moments in time when the market changes quickly are called inflection points. We think we're beginning to see the emergence of real, second generation, web Recruiting business models and technologies. The notion that the web is best used as a job advertisement vending machine is beginning to shift towards a service based delivery model. We're extremely excited about the prospects.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    What's Up?

    (March 23, 1999) If you look back at the top of this page, you'll notice a couple of little changes. Our March '99 print newsletter is now available for downloading. The print newsletter has an interesting circulation and tends to get passed around a wide variety of offices. This issue features a detailed look at one company's complex web strategy and the person behind it. It also covers some useful sites, a range of people finding tools, marketing tips, our current Top 100 Recruiting sites, and the usual tidbits.

    Along the road to publishing this edition of the print newsletter, we've undergone some changes here at IBN.

    After two solid years of bouncing around the North American continent delivering classroom seminars, a couple of simple things dawned on us. First of all, it became increasingly clear that many job boards were going to be delivering free seminars as a part of their marketing strategy. It's a natural and important evolution. Internet Recruiting tools currently require a heavy dose of education before customers can effectively use them. Secondly, it became clear to us that classrooms are not effective in delivering the sorts of advanced techniques that we've pioneered.

    As a result, we've split our training product line into two separate components. For the past couple of months, you've probably noticed the piece at the bottom of this page offering our onsite individualized training. By focusing on the specific needs of a specific company, we've been able to leave our customers glowing, effective and ready to move full tilt into the online recruiting game. We're convinced that this customized approach is a necessary part of building a solid online recruiting team. With a dozen, of these engagements under our belts, we can assure you that our customers end up extremely satisfied.

    In the print newsletter, we're announcing the second part of our training initiative. Seminar In A Box, our CD based training program, will begin shipping on June 1, 1999. The idea is simple. Rather than taking a full day out of the workplace to digest relatively foreign ideas, we're building a day long training program that can be constantly reviewed by all of the people in an office. The courseware is built around our day long Advanced Searching and Sourcing Techniques seminar and includes video, text, testing and a completion certificate.

    We are convinced that solid Electronic Recruiting can only happen in a work environment that shares a base level of competence. With a CD based training program, the workforce can be trained during slack hours. Because the material is reusable and repeatable, it's now possible to create a solid foundation of expertise within a company. We're proud of the fact that we're the first (as usual) to use the technology to reduce costs, increase benefits and further expand the capabilities of our customers.

    We're offering the course at $295 for prepublication orders (through June 1, 1999). After that point, the package will sell for $395. Given the fact that similar seminars, held in hotel classrooms away from the workplace, retail for $995 per person (and more), we're sure that you'll agree that the offering is a bargain.

    You can learn more about Seminar in a Box and get a copy of the order form by downloading the print newsletter. It's a great way to bring your entire office up the learning curve.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Customized Onsite Consulting

    (Early Winter, 1999) Over the past four years we have had a large number of requests for Onsite Consulting. We are continually looking for new and improved ways to help with your Recruiting needs. We are now offering personal one-on-one Consulting in "Advanced Searching Techniques".

    We've recently added Nicky Gordon to our staff. Nicki is a seasoned recruiting research professional and an acclaimed trainer with extensive hands-on experience solving sourcing problems with the Internet. She will be delivering these customized training programs in which:

    • We will explain how to make a clean move to web recruiting as the principal source of prospective candidates
    • You will receive the tools needed to search the Internet effectively including A CD with over 30 Software Tools to get you started.
    • You get the full benefit of our "Advanced Searching And Sourcing Seminar" without having to leave the office.
    • You gain the knowledge needed to use Spiders and Robots, advanced Search Engine Techniques, Candidate Pool Access and the development of Just-In-Time Sourcing techniques. We'll teach you the skills and tools used by visionary recruiters.
    • You will get a detailed course of action; we will walk you through the steps involved in going from Job Order to Placement.
    • All Examples are done Online specifically tailored for your operation.
    Book your On-site consulting today. The fee for each One-Day Onsite Consulting is $2,500 plus Expenses. We are offering a discount to previous Seminar Attendees, our way of saying Thank You for your continued business. We would like to help set the techniques you've learned into action. Please contact us for more information.

    Contacting Us
    Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to talk about your project.

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    (The Internet Business Network), PO Box 2474, Mill Valley, CA 94941
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