A Different Approach: 4 Companies to Learn From

You are probably familiar with the adages “Why fix it if it isn’t broken” or “Why try to reinvent the wheel.”  While you don’t always have to reinvent or fix something that works it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for ways to try and make improvements.  If people would stop trying to improve things then we would still be tapping messages in Morse code instead of picking up a phone.

To continue with that analogy, if we would have settled for land lines then people would have never found the freedom that the cordless phone gave us.  The cordless phone then evolved with new technology and we got the cell phone.  If we didn’t try to make the cell phone better then we wouldn’t have our smart phones.  No smart phones means no camera phones, GPS Apps, Bejeweled or SIMs when we get bored on the go, and no texting.

The bottom line is that you don’t always have to fix something or reinvent it to solve a problem. Sometimes you just need to be creative to find ways to improve and enhance a product or service. That is exactly what the following 4 companies are doing in their field:

Job Matching, a new way to search for jobs from Jobfox.com

Jobfox.com’s CEO Robert McGovern was the original founder of CareerBuilder.com.  He saw a need for companies to be able to list all of their open positions to a larger candidate pool and also provide a marketplace for job seekers to be able to have access to a database of open positions.  By creating a portal where job seekers could find normally hidden positions within a corporation, and do it all for free, he helped to reinvent the way we look for jobs.  Now McGovern has a new vision on how to improve this model again.

Jobfox not only provides its users with a free traditional job search engine, but it also has improved its effectiveness.  Jobfox acts like a dating site where it helps to match you to jobs and open positions based on your skills, what your requirements are, and what you feel is important.  It also works the same way from the reverse side for companies who are hiring.

Jobfox is similar to a dating site during its sign up process.  Instead of asking question about what you look for in a man or woman, Jobfox talks about what you look for in a job or career.  The site also leverages the social aspects of social media by helping to open the lines of communication between the HR Departments and the job seekers with their product Breakthrough.

By matching candidates with positions and opening up the communication and interaction between companies and job seekers, Jobfox.com is advancing the way for people to search for jobs online.

SaltRox – A Salty Dish and a Shot of Tequila

There is a demand for foods that are perfectly salted, especially when grilling or cooking meats.  The problem is that new cooks and chefs may find it hard to figure out exactly how much a “pinch” or a “dash” of salt might be.  Many meats require salt to be placed on them perfectly and evenly in order to help tenderize them and make them taste better.   The problem is that it is almost impossible for a novice chef or home cook to be able to estimate how much salt to use and when you have applied too much to a particular spot.

Because of this John Tucker, Mary Porter McKee, and Willis McKee created SaltRox. Instead of adding salt to the food, they created a way for you to either cook on the salt slab or serve your food inside a vessel made of salt.

SaltRox takes pink Himalayan salts and has them poured and cut into slabs, bowls and even shot glasses for tequila. You can then take the slabs and lay them on your grill or just lay the sliced fruit in them.  This not only perfectly seasons and salts the foods, but the food tastes amazing when it is ready to be served.

I was lucky enough to have him give me some samples of steak right after Tucker pulled them off the heated salt slab on a grill. SaltRox’s idea of cooking on salt instead of salting your food then cooking it not only takes the guess work out of tenderizing meats, but it also makes an excellent conversation pieces when you are cooking for friends.  SaltRox’s products are also perfect for fruits and vegetables as well as serving chilled tequila shots.

GrowMap.com’s Anti Spam Plugin for WordPress

Super blogger Gail Gardner from GrowMap got tired of receiving over 1,000 spam comments a day so she started to use the standard anti-spam plug in for WordPress.  Although it worked extremely well, she soon discovered that when real visitors tried to leave a message, including other well-known bloggers, their comments automatically got blocked as spam.  This not only stopped them from commenting, but some wouldn’t share her posts because of not being able to comment.  Because of the lack of friendliness of the plug in, she tried to find a better solution.

Unfortunately the better solution didn’t exist, so she decided to seek help from her friend Andy Bailey from Comment Luv to develop a spam blocker of their own. Her biggest issue was that she always had spam bots and link bots hitting her site.  Since some of them can read captchas she had to find a new way to block the bots while enabling real people to be able to comment.  They came up with a great solution, ask the commenter to make a simple action that only a real live person would understand.

Unlike other spam blockers, the GrowMap anti-spam plug in for WordPress simply asks people who are not logged in to check a box if they are real.  If the person doesn’t read where to check then they cannot comment.  Bots for the most part cannot read this or understand it so they can no longer spam her blog.

After installing it and trying it out not only did she see great results, but when I tried them on my own blogs I also saw a huge difference in the amount of spam from both bots and non English speaking spammers.  The bots and non English speaking spammers can’t get through anymore but my readers can so it became a win win situation for me and for Gail.

“Wanna Bump?” -  The iPhone and Android Bump App

One thing I hate about social situations is when I meet someone I want to keep in contact with and I either run out of business cards or I don’t have something to write with.  Asking for a pen at a nightclub and finding something to write on, besides a bar napkin, is a pain.  Because of the need for an easier way to exchange information anywhere at anytime, someone decided to figure out a solution.  Why not let our phones share our contact information for us?

That was the thought David Lieb, Andy Huibers, and Jake Mintz started Bump Technologies with, launching Bump application. Available on iPhones and other smart phones, Bump allows you to not only upload all of the contact information you want to share like your phone number and email address. Additionally you can also upload your twitter info and other social media contact information.  All you have to do is open up the app and bump your phones together.

Your phones instantly exchange your information and save the other person’s contact information for you.  You don’t have to worry about typing in information incorrectly when it is hard to see or hear over loud music.  Bump makes the issue of getting people’s info wrong or having to find something to write with a thing of the past.

For those of you who may want to give out the wrong information on purpose, Bump does allow you to do this as well.  This way you don’t have to be rude and refuse to bump with someone who you don’t want to have contact you.

What Can You Tweak?

Look around you. If something doesn’t do what you want it to do, you don’t always have to reinvent it.  Sometimes all you have to do is find out how to enhance it or make it better.

Without us trying to improve things we will stop progressing and evolving as a society. Without innovation we can quickly fall behind the rest of the world as far as ingenuity and creativity go.  If you ever think something could be improved, don’t just sit back and wait for someone else to find out how to do it, go and figure out how to do it yourself and maybe you’ll be the next start up success.

About Adam Riemer

Adam Riemer has been an Online Marketer for over a decade. Having worked in house and on his own, Adam Riemer helps both large and small companies develop, execute and analyze Marketing campaigns for ROI and branding in both the B2B and B2C world. You can reach Adam or find out where he is speaking or which Clients he is working with by visiting his blog at http://www.adamriemer.me or follow him on Twitter @rollerblader.

5 Responses to A Different Approach: 4 Companies to Learn From

  1. Pat Grady says:

    enjoyed the GrowMap plugin write up!

    reminded me of an article i read recently about how well the human mind crushes algorithmic image recognition.
    psychworld.com/optical-illusion-of-the-week-guess-the-faces-2010-10

  2. Gail Gardner says:

    Thanks for sharing information about the GrowMap anti-spambot plugin. It saves me so many hours and is already up to 1832 downloads. I wouldn't want to blog without it any more because logging into a blog and seeing hundreds or thousands of spam comments to slog through is just too depressing.

  3. Things can get better incrementally. Look at these four site reviews for job recrutiers/seekers, bloggers, networkers and grill masters.

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