I’ll let Nancy’s post talk about how the technology works, I’ll stick to what it does—and what my quick 15 minutes of use has indicated of its value.
PeopleMaps takes your contact database—auto download from LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, and/or Facebook, or you can upload your contacts by hand—and then when you enter an individual or company you are interested in connecting with, the program takes your contacts, compares them with all the other contacts in the entire PeopleMap database and figures the 10 best routes for you to get introduced to the individual or company you want to be introduced to.
Sounds pretty nifty huh?
Well, I wanted to see how it works.
To date I’ve only loaded my LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, so my searches were conducted with some limitations on my total universe of connections, but I wanted to see what would happen with a small universe of only about 200 connections. Even with such a limited number of personal connections, I found the program gave me quick paths to almost anyone or any company I entered.
Let’s start off with the absurd:
Barack Obama: I’m two connections away from the President although my 2nd connection (I would have to be introduced to them through my primary connection, that is, the person I know) has only a weak connection to Obama. The system ranks connection strength from a low of 1 to a high of 10. My 2nd connection’s connection rank to Obama is only a 3. Is the Barack Obama in the PeopleMap system President Obama? I don’t know since it didn’t identify him in any political position.
George Bush: Since I live in Midland, Texas which is the town where George Bush grew up and spent most of his early career, I figured I had to see what would happen with a connection search for Bush. Bush isn’t in the PeopleMap system indicating he isn’t in the public databases of any PeopleMap users.
Let’s get down to business:
I sought to find out how close I was to numerous executives in companies such as Ford, Johnson and Johnson, Goldman Sachs, and Georgia Pacific, as well as local west Texas companies and regional Southwest companies.
In all I ran people maps on 25 possible connections. Almost all of my connection paths were from one to three people, only two inquiries required me to go four people deep. Almost all of my final connections had at least a 7 and most a 9 rating in terms of their strength of connection to my desired prospect.
All of the connections after my initial connection and prior to the desired contact were rated anywhere from a 5 to a 9. One of the nice features of the PeopleMap is it give up to `10 connection paths so you can find the path you believe will be the strongest to your prospect. If one path peters out before you get to your prospect, you can try a different path.
I’ve not tried to connect with any prospects using PeopleMap yet. But just having a map from who I know to who knows who I want to know is a tremendous benefit. I now know how to get from where I am to where I want to be, and if my first connection is someone I have a strong relationship with, I have great potential to get where I want to go.
PeopleMap offers two levels—free which is very basic but is the one I’ve been playing with, and a paid at $49 per month which gives considerable more information. I’d advise using the free service until you determine the additional benefits of the paid service are necessary for your needs.