Joshua Schachter and his team of star developers at TastyLabs have begun work on a second project, an endorsement and people search engine called Skills.to. The site lets you endorse people for their skills in various fields, see what the people you know have been endorsed for and search for people with particular skills.
The site is just beginning. “We have a lot to do, lots of ideas here and lots of places we can go next,” Schachter told me by Twitter DM today. What’s the core idea behind the site? “Search engine for people by property of the person,” he says. “Portable reputation someday.” There’s certainly something refreshingly Delicious-like about it, the way you can navigate around the site by clicking any link and navigating by a few simple properties.
The TastyLabs team, which is full of rock-stars beyond just Schachter, first built a social-help site called Jig last Summer. That site works well and is fun to use, but it’s not clear how much traction it’s seen yet. That service launched an iPhone app earlier this month, a welcome move since Jig is particularly conducive to mobile use.
Schachter is best-known for building archetypal social bookmarking site Delicious, which he sold to Yahoo who didn’t know how to love it. The site has since been sold again to a team led by the founders of YouTube, who may be even worse still at loving it. Delicious offered something simple on the surface – the ability to save links you wanted to read later – but surfaced far more interesting information when analyzed in aggregate.
That potential was never really realized but it’s the same kind of thinking behind Jig, and I presume behind Skills.to. These are services that offer a clear and simple value proposition to the end user, but that can offer even more derivative value once patterns of use are analyzed and used as a platform to reform the user experience.
Lots of people have tried to create a discovery-through-endorsement website, but I’d be willing to bet that the TastyLabs team is going to bring some extra special insight and creativity to this seemingly simple space.
The portable identity angle that Schachter mentions could be the first example of that dynamic: imagine taking your Skills.to endorsements with you to sites around the web. That could prove useful in all kinds of circumstances – from establishing credibility to targeting content to powering recommended social and content connections.
Disclosure #2: Upon announcing internally that I was going to write about this, RWW Community Manager Robyn Tippins also disclosed that she has done some marketing consulting for TastyLabs. Lucky them, their team of smart people goes on and on.