There’s something about Quora. Its interface has just the right ratio of cleanliness to sexiness. Its seamless implementation of Facebook Connect login catches one’s mouse from across a crowded monitor. Its lithe speed makes the heart beat a little faster. But the quality of its questions and answers makes one fall in love. The rest of Silicon Valley seems to share my infatuation; after all, everyone is on it.
Yet for the Silicon Valley set, “everyone” equals fewer than 8,000 users. This has led to an insidery Q&A wonderland filled with rarefied folks in our world… Plus a whole lot of fanboydom. To wit, a recent question: “If Quora were a reality show, who would the archetypal characters be?” Evidently, the Quora crowd crushes on Keith Rabois the Jock, relishes Yishan Wong’s profundity mixed with humour, and is mesmerized by — albeit slightly scared of — Eunji Choi, the Bad Girl.
Speaking of Eunji the Bad Girl, we now work together. How’d we meet? On Quora. Of late, it seems every startup worth its salt is recruiting employees there. I know three separate founders who’ve met and hired people via Quora in the past few weeks. Question and Answer quality is an excellent screen for both general knowledge and domain expertise. Moreover, the interplay between users – as captured by follower : following ratio, comments, and voting – is often a good proxy for how one engages with others in the physical world. LinkedIn had better be watching these guys and gals closely.
Quora is also becoming a destination where VCs suss out new companies and evaluate potential investments. Want to quickly gauge social proof around a startup? Search Quora. The startup I work at – Topguest – has been deliberately under the radar since we wrote our first line of code about 8 weeks ago. After all, we’re pre-launch; no need to make a big fuss. Yet after we popped up in a few Quora questions earlier this week, I was deluged with inquiries from close to a dozen VC firms.
If you work at a startup but aren’t on Quora, you’re missing out on one hell of a stash.
Geoff Lewis is the Founder & CEO of Topguest, a new NYC-based startup launching soon. His team’s previous product, Udorse, premiered as a finalist at Techcrunch50 in September 2009. On Twitter @justglew
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