Item #10: Reach Networking App (http://thereachapp.com)
While I’m not sure of too many things in life, I am sure of one thing. For those of you who take 83 seconds to watch the introductory video you’ll find here describing the new Reach mobile networking application, you’re either going to 1) think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread or 2) that it’s the most frightening, intrusive, and awkward technology ever invented.
Mark my words. The face of networking is going to be changing, distinctly, in the next few years to come. And for those of us who tend to prefer old-fashioned methods of meeting and building relationships with folks, we’re going to have to stay open and possibly get a lot more comfortable with new technology-enabled ways to expanding our relationships. Propelled by the near-ubiquity of mobile devices today, not to mention the billions of dollars now raked in by the online dating world, a wave of companies (including Big Rock Labs out of Canada, producers of the Reach app) appear to be in the process of developing new business networking tools designed to help “bridge the gap” between social media and the real, physical world.
In this particular app, the concept is that you can be sitting in a coffee shop — or going about your business around town — and decide to spin up some networking opportunities on the spur of the moment simply by hitting a button on your phone and seeing what other gregarious business people happen to be lingering nearby. At that point, after quickly reviewing their profiles (which are based on LinkedIn data) and/or using a filter to hunt for people by a particular category, you can then rendezvous with these people in the flesh, hold an impromptu chat, and see if some win/win opportunities present themselves.
Arguably, this process isn’t going to be comfortable experience for many of us, at least at first. Even in the promotional video, there’s a bit of heebie-jeebie factor involved. It feels more as if the protagonist is asking the other fellow for a date, versus connecting up to advance mutual business interests. Additionally, Reach (and similar firms) will first need to attract a decent following of participants in order for the technology to consistently produce results. For example, when I run a search on the application myself, virtually everyone it suggests I meet is located about three hours away in Vancouver, Canada. But the same could have been said about Match.com, eHarmony, Tinder and similar dating sites a few years back — and as an outside observer of such tools, they now seem to be effective, mainstream, and “all the rage” among my single friends.
So in conclusion, while I can’t formally endorse Reach or similar sites like Switch or the Weave app (which I also reviewed in recent months) quite yet, I’d suggest we all to keep an eye on this emerging “genre” of technology — since I think it’s going to big in the years to come and might, just might, open up a whole new frontier of job hunting and networking possibilities for those forward-thinkers willing to embrace it!