My Key Takeaways in 2014 : Clarity.fm
I was trying to find my friend’s house in a new locality in a somewhat complex architecture. It was 10:30 AM and I had the detailed address card. I saw a small grocery store at a corner and I felt like asking him for some directions right away, rather than first using my judgement and directions shown by the signboard there. He guided me politely. I thanked him and also wondered how he may have responded if I was the 15th such person in the day to seek such directions. It was in the year 2011.
The store owner and his staff do not make any money from such interactions; they may find it distracting too. Whether or not to help a visitor depends on their schedule, mood, and their personal preference.
I could reach the store owner because he was so accessible to me. We see it online everywhere. Increased online connectivity means more accessibility.
On Either Side of the Table
I often find myself sitting between the two tables. On one side, I get messages and emails where technical writers seek inputs on career paths, or on starting a technical documentation company; information architects seek directions in planning content gap analysis; seekers want to discuss their product idea, validation strategy, market size, or pricing models.
Sometimes, I end up spending lot of time replying to their messages, and even more when we share a coffee to talk. If seekers are approaching me for directions, that is basically a consultancy for my skills and expertise, and I should charge them for this service.
On the other side, I seek some directions such as on customer onboarding for our product, or on facebook marketing strategies. Last year, I wanted to discuss a ‘solar power harnessing’ opportunity with a local entrepreneur. I traveled to his office, had coffee and came back after an hour where the actual meet of discussion lasted for just 15 minutes.
Clarity.fm Changes the Game
When I found Clarity.fm, I saw many experts listed there who were ready to give advice. The well-structured listings include VCs, marketers, entrepreneurs, financial analysts, programmers and so on. I could immediately relate it my own experiences, on either side of the table.
Key Takeaways from Clarity.fm
[A] Right Value for Expertise
Experts get right value for their skills and expertise, in a very streamlined workflow that Clarity.fm offers. They can set their profiles and the pricing, and it cannot get any simpler than this. Outside of Clarity.fm, seekers and advisers plan a meeting over a coffee table, and spend an hour to discuss something that they could easily discuss on phone in less than 30 minutes. Apart from saving time, Clarity.fm helps users save cost on traveling and on coffee too. Personal meetings have their own merits but one, you may not always find experts in your city and two, not all advisers are so keen to meet because they have their own priorities and schedule.
Takeaways: Experts can provide professional consultancy and advice-giving services and make money. Seekers value experts’ time, and they are more structured and prepared while seeking directions on a paid phone call. It is a win-win call for all.
[B] Open Answers
The open Questions and Answers are a real wealth of knowledge for anyone who lands at Clarity.fm. It is an open forum where users can post questions and experts try to answer these. I have been contributing too as you can see at my Clarity.fm profile. See an example, below.
Takeaways: Experts are happy to share their experiences and skills, with a sense of paying back to the community. If seekers see real value in an expert’s answer, they can setup a call. It was never so easier before.
We find experts with tons of experience in their area of expertise. Clarity.fm helps us make new connections with these experts. We can find experts whom we look to as influencers, and seek directions. Where else we get such an opportunity? Lets say that I am planning a new product where my customers are startups. I can easily find my audience on Clarity.fm, setup calls, and plan the onboarding strategy in the right direction!
Takeaways: Whether we seek or offer advice, it is a an excellent opportunity to make connections either for knowledge sharing, or for leads.
[D] Insights at Blogs
The Clarity.fm blog is an excellent resource where experts write on a variety of topics. Dan Martell has ensured that the editing team is experienced and skilled enough to sustain the quality of posts. In addition to this blog, I also read Dan’s personal blog. Dan has always been open to share all his professional experiences in the community. Being a good marketer, Dan ensures that he is reachable via the comments.
Takeaways: Be accessible, focus on quality, and be personally connected to all audiences.
[E] Recap on Takeaways
As a recap on the basic Clarity.fm model, my key takeaways are:
- We have a few platforms such as LinkedIn groups, or community-specific forums to help seekers connect with experts and seek directions. However, we see a lack of structure where seekers are not sure of the turnaround time, they may see too many variables, and they are not sure of the focus with which an expert goes into the detail of a their real problem. Clarity.fm is the answer.
- Seekers value advisers’ time. It being a paid service, they are more prepared and clear for what they wanted to discuss.
- Advisers are always keen to share their skills and experiences. As seen in Answers, experts are so willing to pay back to the community.
I have not received any call requests so far because I was not promoting my Clarity.fm profile smartly enough. I hope to change it in 2015.
PS: This post is not complete if I do not talk about Ivan Walsh. When I formed my first company, vhite in 2009, I was not sure of so many things. I do not recall how exactly I came into Ivan’s contact, but he always extended his support whenever I approached him. If Clarity.fm was there in 2009–2010, I would have certainly paid to Ivan. Thanks Ivan!