I’d seen Phil’s endorsements of Ryze, but it was Matt Mower’s e-mail this morning urging me to take a look that tipped the balance.
For those that don’t know, Ryze is a business networking web site. The goal is to make it simple for people with common interests to find each other. There’s a geographic element (for example, I’ve now joined the Chicago “tribe”), an educational element (find alumni from the same schools), a corporate element (who works/worked at company x), and so on.
I tried this before with sixdegrees.com.SixDegrees collapsed under its own weight, and really relied on your friends proactively signing up in order to make the system worthwhile. Ryze seems much lower-key than that.
Most surprising is the sense of community that’s apparent after just a day… I set my personal site up this morning, and already five (scratch that, a sixth signed while I was composing this post) people have signed my guest book. These are people who are interesting to me – one, for example is a woman in Chicago who has a technology marketing background, another is a guy who maintains a blog that I’ve now subscribed to.
The key to something like this is to have a true sense of community. Though I don’t know all the ins and outs of it yet, I’m impressed with what appears to be a robust community… people have gone out of their way to welcome me, Ryze meetings are popping up all around (I just missed Chicago’s last party, but will try to make the next one; Matt just attended a mixer in London this week) – and this seems to be a genuinely good way to discover and maintain friendships.
If you’re a Ryze member and want to share your experiences, I’d love to hear them. I’m eager to learn more to discover whether this is where I want to spend some time.