Would You Do Me A Favor?

May 5th, 2011 by Jay Levy View Comments

We live and work in an extremely “networked” world, which has altered how we interact with people personally and professionally.  As a result, our ability to ask for help as well as receive requests has beensignificantly leveraged due to our accessibility with many people.

Think about how often you or someone else has asked for a favor in the past day, week or month? These favors include:

  • Can you help spread the word by sharing this link or retweeting this message for me?
  • Can you recommend a subject matter expert to help me solve a problem?
  • Can you introduce me to someone in your professional network?
  • Can you help me fill or find a job?

How have you asked (or been asked) a favor? Probably one of the two ways mentioned below:

  • Some people make these requests one-to-one: face to face, via a phone call or by email. While the chances of fulfillment are high due to the personal nature of the interaction, it’s not the most efficient process.
  • Some people make those requests on a one-to-many basis: on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social sites. That’s also good, because those networks are force multipliers, which spread messages faster and reach more people. On the other hand, this method is impersonal, so fewer people (per capita) are likely to fulfill that request.

Neither method of requesting or answering a favor works perfectly well. There has to be a compromise between the two systems. These requests can be made more efficiently, powerfully and still maintain a level of intimacy. The bridge is Favo.rs .

Favo.rs is the newest addition to Zelkova’s portfolio and is not another social network. It works in conjunction with existing networks allowing professionals to broadcast and fulfill each other’s help requests. Requests can be as simple as a retweet, or as important as an intro. And each time a request is granted, Favo.rs records the exchange enabling both parties to constantly see how they are building and exchanging social capital with each other.

Most significantly, however, Favo.rs facilitates building relationships between professionals who are unfamiliar with each other. I’ll use myself as an example. As an early stage VC, I have a constant stream of help requests from people I don’t know, or don’t know well. While I always try to be as helpful as possible, I also have to establish a filter for who gets priority and who doesn’t. Usually, this filter is based on a rough mental calculation of my relationship with the person who made the request, but if I don’t have any connection to the person, I am stuck.

Favo.rs eliminates being “stuck” because you don’t know how to proceed with someone you lack a relationship with. Once you join the Favo.rs beta, you’ll be able to follow my public requests and myself. I might ask you and my other followers to tweet and share this blog post, or I might ask someone to refer an expert who can help one of Zelkova’s portfolio companies. Every time you fulfill those requests for me, you’re building social capital with me. And when you have a request for me, I’ll be able to see that you’ve helped me in the past and deserve higher priority. Pretty simple, huh?

I’m really excited for Favo.rs. not only because I think it’s a great company, but also because I think it’s going to help us all be more effective at helping each other. I hope you’ll join me by signing up for early access to the Favo.rs beta now.

PS: Favo.rs will be opening up its beta in just a couple of weeks. If you signup by May 10th, you’ll get a priority invite code so you can check it out early.

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About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »

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