Quibb.com logoIf Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Quora, LinkedIn and HackerNews weren’t sufficient for sharing links and professional thoughts, there’s now a “new” kid on the block.

What it says on the tin: “Quibb lets you share what you’re reading for work. Use Quibb to post newsworthy articles, see what colleagues are reading, and discuss the day’s industry news”. But isn’t it a social network for professionals, just like LinkedIn? Not exactly.

As a former product manager, I found Quibb very cool and looked into what sets it apart from the other news-social-professional networks:

1) It’s selectiveQuibb‘s homepage boasts on the title – “We accept 36% of member applications“. Brilliant. Since most of us subscribe to Groucho Marx’s rule: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will accept me as a member”, this is almost an immediate call to action – apply! The selectivity keeps it highly curated and less spammy than its big brother LinkedIn. According to the homepage, Quibb only accepts members from 2619 startups and companies.

Quibb.com homepage

2) It’s new – launched only eight months ago, Quibb only has several thousands of beta users. Rather than being boring, it feels like strolling through Twitter in the early days, before 181,000 self-proclaimed ‘social media gurus/ninjas/experts’ discovered it. Quibb is the place to start fresh, but that could come with the risk of being boring. Thanks to some good flow it isn’t – you automatically follow Quibb members who you also follow on Twitter (as well as some other very active featured members), which gives you an engaging first experience, rather than an empty feed.

3) It’s targeted - Forget about posting professional updates that your family has to read on Facebook. If you haven’t taken time to customize your circles on Google+, you’re probably making lots of public and ‘all circles’ posts, which loses the targeting and in places like HackerNews you don’t know who’s behind the cryptic usernames like pkrefta or trendspotter in the comments. Quibb shoots for personal, identifiable high calibre early adopters making thoughtful posts.

4) It has Growth Hacking written all over it  - Andrew Chen, one of the people synonymous with the term “Growth Hacking“, is listed on the site as ‘Advisor to Quibb’, and his contributions are evident throughout the product. From the auto follow of members to a prompt to invite new users from your company via Twitter, levering your social graph, Quibb is a closed network that constantly invites the user to explore other users or bring new ones in. Users get credited for reading posts (by name) and can also like, comment and share any post. The can also ‘Say Hello’ to new followers, ask specific users to comment on a post, most popular posts have a link to ‘discuss on HN’…  It has the familiarity and functionality of a Twitter feed, but with more transparency. I’ve posted a question on Quora asking people for their views on Growth hacking on Quibb – let’s see what comes back.

5) Curious Founder - while it’s been around for over 8 months and has some of the valleys top product people active on the site, it’s still pretty unknown. You won’t find a Crunchbase or AngelList profile for the site, and the founder of Quibb, Sandi Macpherson, a Canadian who moved to the valley just over a year ago, doesn’t even mention Quibb on her Twitter profile @sandimac… case of being extremely humble? or just odd?

6) It has unusually high levels of engagement - PandoDaily noted that some of the comments on the popular posts on Quibb are 2000 words long. In a recent guest post on Kissmetrics, Sandi shared that the daily digest email from Quibb has opening rates of 50 to 70 percent. The post shows the level of though put into creating these email notifications, and my favorite:”Put Yourself in the Reader’s Shoes”

Since Quibb is a news product for professionals, a daily digest email matches the inherent frequency of that product – reading news is an activity that most professionals expect to do every work day…. Whether you’re sending content you’ve created (e.g., interviews, articles), announcing new products or features, curating a collection of links, or sending network updates, think about the expectations of your subscribers and try to match the frequency and content of your newsletters to meet (or hopefully exceed!) those expectations in a meaningful way.

7) It hasn’t F**ked up yet - sometimes products do things that annoy users. For example, since Instagram changed their terms of service, it created a huge uproar that prompted the creation of services like Instaport, a way for users to take their content and close their account. Another example is the Quora privacy snafu Quibb is very new, and it still needs to earn the trust of its users, but as the Kissmetrics post above shows, it’s already focused on putting the user first.

8) Clean UI goes a long way – Quibb reminds me the most of AngelList. A clean, low-clutter UI, with white background. When it comes to reading news, it’s a great fit for purpose. The time-stamp is on every post and comment, giving the product an emphasis on freshness (it’s news, after all). The profiles have a lot of information – jobs, schools, current occupation, Quibb has a mini-LinkedIn profile. HackerNews on the other hand, serves its audience well too – if you’re a developer writing code on Python all day/night, the scrappy message board and threaded comments work just fine.

While Quibb is private, I encourage you to apply. It will upgrade your professional news experience. You can take a look at my Quibb profile here. I’ve asked Sandi for a comment, maybe she can add the two points that will get this list to a round 10!

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Eze Vidra

Head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe and Campus London at Google
Eze is the Head of Google for Entrepreneurs Europe and Campus London. In 2005, he started VC Cafe to shine a spotlight on startups and Venture Capital in Israel, and in 2012, Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for-profit that supports education through cycling challenges for techies.
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  • dupegataqy717

    Knowing that Sandi and Andrew Chen are a couple might clear up some of those questions.

  • http://twitter.com/clairedwillett Claire Willett

    I’ve been using it for a few months now, and from the beginning, it buttoned into my morning reading+tweeting routine really seamlessly. I like that you can do async and sychronous communication on it, and I think in general the quality of links shared is high. The only quibble (heh) I have with it is people do sometimes share front-page stories from, like, the WSJ–stories we have a high likelihood of seeing anyways. 

  • http://twitter.com/sandimac Sandi MacPherson

    Thanks for writing this up, Eze! You’ve hit on a lot of the subtler aspects of Quibb that some people aren’t able to explicitly define :) I’ll try to add 2 more points…
    One of the most common pieces of feedback that I hear from Quibb members is ‘Wow. Someone cares!’. I’ve tried to build social feedback into the product as often as possible. Several members have noted that when they write a blog post, they don’t really have a big/active audience, and it’s common for that (really great, insightful) blog post to never be shared or commented on. However, when they share that same blog post on Quibb… they’ve created an audience that’s directly related to them as a professional, and they get really valuable, pertinent feedback.
    Claire hints at something too (Hi Claire!) – another thing that I consistently hear from Quibb members is that   the quality of links (and comments) that show up in their Quibb feed/daily digest is very high. In the KissMetrics blog post that you link to, I talk about the overall email open rates – but the CTR of those daily digest emails is also pretty high (quickly glancing at SendGrid now…  it ranges between 60-80%). The content that members are sharing is really, really great and the type of content that other professionals/startup & tech people want to read – versus a lot of other news aggregator products that I find simply re-publish the day’s most popular/trendy/link-baity articles.

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