Om Malik launched a job board today. I first found out about this when I called Om a few weeks ago to tell him we were launching the CrunchBoard job board. Om congratulated me, and said he’d cover it, but I could just tell by the way he spoke to me that he had something cooking, too. A few phone calls later and it was confirmed.
One thing we want to do with CrunchBoard is create a decentralized job board for tech. Right now it’s completely centralized, other than the fact that RSS feeds are available if people want to read them in a feed reader or re-post them on a website (like we do on CrunchGear and TechCrunch UK).
I didn’t want it to be centralized, though. The first thing we did when we decided to start building CrunchBoard was ping Jason Fried at 37 Signals to talk to him about partnering with their job board. I imagined an API for entering jobs, and an API for outputting jobs, that could be displayed anywhere. Jason didn’t want to partner beyond having me post his listing on TechCrunch, so we built our own.
When I realized Om was building yet another job board I told him flat out I wanted to partner with him, offering to make CrunchBoard a new company and splitting equity with him 50/50. Hell, we could even rename it to something more neutral. Given that TechCrunch has more traffic than GigaOm right now, and that we had already built and launched the board, I thought that was a fair offer.
Om passed on my proposal, and I’m sure he has his reasons. But in my mind, this is all a very web 1.0 way of thinking. I don’t want to have my own garden, a sort of mini monster.com. I want to be a part of an ecosystem. There’s no way we can compete with the big job boards fighting individual battles. We need to partner, create a distributed system, and win virally.
To start, I think we should create a single widget that shows all of the jobs listed by 37 Signals, Om and CrunchBoard. That’s the right thing to do for the companies. We also need to allow other websites to join the network and get a fair revenue split (read: large majority) for bringing listings or potential employees to the service.
Job boards are trivially easy to build. The hard part is the network effect. Just as blogs are ripping apart big media, a decentralized approach to job listings and other businesses can win, too.
I’m in. Who’s with me?