Interview with Avery Smith (JobGizmo)
JobGizmo is a web based job search tool that helps job seekers by organising their job search. It’s designed from the perspective of the job seeker rather than the job giver. An iPhone app is on its way.
I interviewed Avery Smith, JobGizmo founder to find out more. This interview is the ninth in a series of interviews with people working on interesting online projects. Big thank you to Avery for the interview!
How would you describe JobGizmo in under 50 words?
JobGizmo is a job hunt organizer. Its purpose is to make a job seekers life “simpler.”
What made you decide to start working on JobGizmo?
The idea of a job hunt organizer came to me back in 2005. I was in a continuing education program, trying to expand my web programming skills, in preparation of finding a new job. My instructor told us that a practical way of using our newly acquired skills was to create a database that housed our job search information for each opportunity. Simple stuff like the job title, contact info, job posting link, etc…
Being one to rarely back down from a challenge, I accepted his charge and built one. It was purely for personal reasons but the light bulb went off then–what if I could create a website that others could use? Although a great idea at the time, I just wasn’t that motivated.
After bouncing around for a few years more, dabbling in things from network marketing (of which I greatly regret), to stand-up comedy, to movie making, I needed to settle on a professional vehicle that maximized my skill-set (web software development).
During the summer of 2010 I was thinking about switching from my iPhone to a Blackberry Torch (I know, I know) and wanted to make sure that the apps that make my iPhone most useful were available for Blackberry. One app that I’ve used throughout the years is Mailchimp for iPhone (shout-out to Mailchimp). When I did a search for Mailchimp for Blackberry, I came across a mobile app called, “Minichimp”. It had a beautiful website, and although developed for Mailchimp, it was made by a 3rd party developer, a solo software developer named, Eric. On the bottom of the homepage was a link to the “Micropreneur Academy”, which is a program designed to foster solo-software entrepreneurship. So the combination of wanting to maximize my skill-set, coming across the Micropreneur Academy, and also being married created the perfect storm for me to pick up where I left off with my job search organizer idea.
What made you decide to use Twitter as a development journal?
I needed content for my twitter account. I didn’t think that it would attract many job seekers at the time with tweets about web programming but I needed something to talk about.
You launched a website for JobGizmo 30th November 2010, what were you making available at this point in time?
The website was in “prelaunch” mode, and contained a description of the service, along with an email sign up form for those interested in being notified when the software launches.
JobGizmo is beautifully designed, what’s your background in web development?
Thank you for the compliments. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design (UMBC 2003), and a Masters Degree in Web Programming, Database Development and IT Project Management (Rockwell U 2006).
You’ve gone with just one price plan ($24.95 quarterly). What was your reasoning behind this decision?
At first I was going to launch a month-to-month plan for a 3rd of the price. But when you think about it, job searches don’t go month-to-month. They typically go longer than that. Since that’s the case, users should have a continuous length of time that would enable them to get real use out of the software.
Do you think users will continue to use JobGizmo after they’ve found a job?
No. I don’t expect users to use JobGizmo after they’ve found a job. JobGizmo is for helping people who are in an active transition. I do; however, hope that users pick up JobGizmo again, once they’re ready to hunt for a new one. The purpose of JobGizmo is to provide people with a comfort, a feeling of “progress”, during a time when most people feel frustrated and lost.
When do you expect to release the JobGizmo iPhone app?
My hope is to release the JobGizmo iPhone app any day now. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to be the first to know!
Has JobGizmo got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
I am very surprised and extremely humbled at the overwhelming support JobGizmo has gotten thus far in the job seeker community. Our newsletter and subscriptions have been growing steadily ever since launch. I do wish; however, we would receive more feedback from users of the website and software. We really want to make the job seekers life easier, and we can only do that if they tell us how. We listen!
Who is your biggest competitor?
I’d rather not say except for the fact that there are a couple.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
The biggest hurdle I’ve faced was finding the strength to tell my previous employer that I wanted to resign so that I could work on JobGizmo. Although he was extremely supportive (of which I am extremely grateful), it was scary to bring up the topic. The second biggest hurdle was working on it for months with no pay check.
Can you convince the reader to start using JobGizmo in under 50 words?
JobGizmo exists to make the job seekers life easier. Most job search and organization software is made from the perspective of the job “giver” (employer/recruiter). JobGizmo is made from the perspective of the job “seeker”. Give it a spin, and tell us what we’re doing wrong! We can take it!
Finished reading? Check out JobGizmo!