This is going to sound horribly vain, but I’m pretty good at what I do.
I have noticed that before they come to me, quite a few of my clients have used other consultants – many of whom, it would seem, are not quite as careful as I am.
Thing is, I talked to a number of my friends in the same line of work and they have all said that they have had similar experiences.
One commonality between all these cases is that the previous contractor was found either through a job site or through an agent. On paper the contractor looked rather good, but when it came to the actual work their skills (and in rare cases their personality) was found to be somewhat lacking.
With many people focussed on just ‘getting the gig’, in both these cases there seems to be no real incentive to put across wholly accurate information.
Clients too often ‘big up’ the project in order to make it more attractive, often promising options in lieu of immediate payment. All too often enthusiasm for the idea trumps reality.
To my mind, the problem that people are trying to solve here is almost exactly the same as the one you’re trying to solve when dating… basically that both parties have a set of requirements and are looking for mutual compatibility, but there is a strong incentive to exaggerate.
This got me thinking.. could it be possible to use the dating paradigm to improve success?
Perhaps the algorithmic approach employed by OKCupid could be adapted to this domain?
OKCupid is interesting because it asks seemingly unrelated questions which betray some aspect of the user’s personality. It is hard to game the result as results are averaged over a very large dataset, and a user is encouraged to add to this set all the time by means of making it feel like a game (and as Ben pointed out in his blog, this can be used to provide an incentive for much).
That said however, most of my clients have been found by word of mouth or from meeting face to face at events. So, like dating, I suspect that while the internet is a handy tool the real results are going to occur in the real world through social interaction.
So go to the next tuttle!