Business software that sparks joy.
June members using Polywork
You may or may not have heard of Polywork. The product took over Twitter after prominent Tech people shared their Polywork profiles a year ago. Some people thought the product was a trend. It wasn’t. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) even invested into the company a few months later.
Polywork is a singular professional social network. It lets users share what they're up to both personally and professionally. And enables people to collaborate.
It's a mix of your Linkedin, your blog, and Indie Hackers.
Polywork was founded on the idea that people are more than the labels society has placed upon them. In other words, humans are not just job titles and the schools they went to. Hence the name: “poly” work. Your work is polyvalent.
As Polywork continues to grow, we hope to be able to empower people to express what’s important to them, and enable them to take professional paths more colorful, unique and different than they once thought possible. Because when people use their agency to make the life for themselves that they want — without feeling suppressed, embarrassed or intimidated — only good can come of it. - Peter, Polywork founder
To understand Polywork you need to understand who the product is aimed for. Polywork early customers are people that can't define themselves with one job. This includes:
Software engineers engaged in the open source communities
When it launched, Polywork was “invite only”. There, for a lot of people like me, the experience on Polywork started with an invite.
When Tech twitter shared their Polywork profiles, people got very excited. When they realized they needed an invite, it created FOMO.
What Polywork brilliantly executed was adding some urgency.
When you sign up to Polywork you secure your handle (ex: Polywork.com/0zne). This pushed people to sign up fast so they could secure their handles.
On Polywork you own one space on the internet where all your work is listed. Profiles containssome basics: a bio, current role, location, links to social media profiles, and a follow button. But it goes further.
One of the most exciting things you can add to your profile are badges. Badges are themes that highlight jobs, skills or hobbies. In short something catchy and descriptive about you. The list is almost infinite.
Badges are also a way to navigate in the product because they categorize people.
If you are on a user profile and find a relevant badge, you can click on it. You’ll go to more people with the same badge. This pattern turns a simple user profile into a way to navigate the community on Polywork.
Highlights let you showcase what you’re working on. It can be work related or not. It’s a journal of the things you did.
With highlights people share projects they’re proud of that add dimension to their work. They can celebrate their accomplishments.
You can add tags to your highlights. They start with an action word, then with what you did, such as:
taking a certification
attend an event
design a website
designed social media asset
launch new project at work
and of course starting a new role
Here also, tags are ways to navigate the product. You can click on a tag and get a list of relevant people who added it to a highlight.
One limit worth mentioning when picking a tag: you can only preview 6 profiles. It's not clear who these people are and if they’ll match me. I assume Polywork works on the algorithm to avoid surfacing only the influential people.
What I love about this platform is that it connects the do-ers together. Hopefully the algorithm here does not always connect you to the same influential people.
The true power of the platform being that it can elevate anyone.
Posts are a way to share casual free form thoughts that you don't need showcased on the profile timeline. They will appear on a different section of your profile and be posted to the home (called “feed”) for the community to engage with.
The best thing with this product is that it enables collaboration with people you don't know. Opportunities rank from being guests for a podcast, partnering on a side project, and more.
In Polywork you can offer someone to collaborate by sending a message.
Collaboration works in two ways:
To make sure that requests are relevant, people can share what they're opened. This limits the amount of spam you can receive like on Linkedin.
On their profile people can edit the section “I'm available for”.
Picking a block opens a message editor for this person with some context attached.
You can also find people to collaborate with from the "opportunity" section.
This section is to discover collaboration opportunities. You can also see who’s collaborating on what already.
This part of the product is insane. It's a never ending list of people you may work with.
But does this work?
You don't have to look much on Twitter to find out that it does:
Inspiring. Collaboration is Polywork’s key feature I’d say.
This feature can exist because people spent time filling their great looking journals. Hence they communicate learn what kind of things they can collaborate on.
How often have you met someone great at something but who’s Linkedin was boring? Polywork creates the profiles and tools to fix that for you.
How much does it cost?
Polywork is free at the moment.
They haven’t communicated on the way they want to monetize in the future.