This interview is part of a series with HR Tech Founders who are solving key people-centered issues concerning work and work life. Today we are speaking to Chris Pisarski, founder of Chet — a re-imagined professional networking platform.
You can join Chet in live Beta now — Click here.
We are much more than our traditional resume.
There is so much more that is likely unwritten. In today’s interview with founder Chris Pisarski, he discussed his new platform Chet, built on the premise that to build a meaningful career, we need to be sharing more than titles and dates of tenure.
We should be sharing the books we are reading, the courses we are taking, and the videos that we are watching that contribute to who we are professionally. To develop networks that are strong and informed — a boarder more descriptive foundation in necessary. Moreover, to grow and evolve, sharing information about our own methods to self-develop — we build a community of professionals to guide our paths.
What is the backstory behind Chet? What led you and your team to develop the platform?
Chet is the culmination of a few disparate ideas. First and foremost: my family, friends, and I would often share random things we were doing via text and in person. I noticed a pattern: many of these talking points were repeated and they often revolved around a song of the moment, a book someone was reading, a new podcast, the Netflix show someone was binging on, or the movie one just saw. People enjoy sharing these elements. We wanted to develop a platform where people felt encouraged to share their interests not just in a social context, but in a professional context. As we were reiterating, we realized that not only did people want to connect with others over mutual interests — people wanted to learn.”
There are platforms dedicated to learning and there are those dedicated to networking and career development. However, to us, these activities go hand in hand. Additionally, we thought we could improve the networking and career development by creating an environment that encourages building connections over platforms that serve as more than a glorified contact book. So we thought: why not share what you do independently to develop professionally? Why not learn what others are doing to improve themselves?
What key features does Chet bring that have been previously missing in other work-focused platforms?
Chet’s focus is designed to help you get where you to go in a professional sense. We are taking professional and personal development into our own hands more than ever. Why not utilize the proven success strategies to personalize paths? We’re focused on using information such as real-time professional objectives, preferences, development related activities and past professional experiences. With that base of information Chet recommends the right people to follow, books, courses, events in line with your career goals.
Chet also allows you to aggregate all your out-of-the-office professional development activities and accomplishments in one place. The books you read on Kindle, the podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher, courses on Coursera and Udemy, and the events on MeetUp and EventBrite. We all work hard, we are disciplined, we are attempting to master skills and build a network that can help us achieve our professional goals.
We’re providing people a way to show that off that determination and possibly gain recognition for that process. Chet will serve as a signal to managers, colleagues, recruiters and friends concerning what your focus, level of mastery you’ve achieved in different areas — and the journey you’ve taken to get there.
How can professionals best engage with Chet? How can they bring others into the conversation?
Professionals can best engage with Chet by doing what they naturally do on known social focused platforms — simply be “social” about your professional development. By sharing “real time” activities (there are no random pictures or memes on Chet), users will cut through the noise and start conversations around things that matter.
You will be able to see what others are up to. How did the manager you admire achieve what she has achieved? With Chet you can take a look at the books, podcasts, courses, and events she’s posted and possibly to emulate that path. Just as important — we’re going to be able to recommend people (just like her) for you to connect with based upon your goals. With those recommendations, we’ll show you common experiences, interests, and activities to get the ball rolling.
By sharing and connecting, the community (as this progresses there will be experts and influencers” there as well), the app builds a low-anxiety networking environment — a channel for people to connect.
What is your long-term vision for the platform?
The long term vision of the platform is to support users in all aspects of professional development — utilizing Chet’s network to build a personalized “career counsel”. The world is changing at a blistering pace. Industries are being created and organizations are failing. Even if you have a strong, generous group of mentors, it remains difficult to navigate the entire professional development landscape and find what you need to get where you want to go. With contributors from varied backgrounds sharing what they are doing to develop — in real-time — we’ll aggregate information concerning different career paths that are mapped out, along with what was done (out of the office) to achieve goals along the way.
We would love to use all of this data to offer contributors a specific step-by-step plan to achieve their goals — whether that’s a promotion, a pivot or an entirely new career. Chet would share this; book by book, course by course and person by person. The best activity to focus upon and the right people to connect with, based on where you are, where you want to go, and how people before you achieved something similar. Not only will we offer a plan, but we want to offer people the confidence and encouragement to achieve their dreams by offering a clear, step-by-step plan that’s proven and data-backed.
Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.