It is great honour and privilege to interview Boris Golden, the CEO and Co-Founder of Pealk. Boris is also a connection on LinkedIn.There has been quite a buzz among the Recruiters in South Africa on LinkedIn about Pealk. As a LinkedIn Coach I have been hearing quite a bit about Pealk lately and was keen to find out what it was all about and so I invited Boris to an interview which he gladly accepted. Let’s start with some basics.
The professional and academic achievements – I am in complete awe of Boris’ professional and academic achievements. According to his LinkedIn profile summary Boris is about discovering, building & launching innovative web products with a compelling user experience. Added to this are a strong analytical & entrepreneurial background. He loves leading cross-functional teams within collaborative, creative & fast-paced environments and to turn ideas into successful products!
Boris believes that elegance and customer experience are key and you can expect him to fight for it. His listed Specialties on LinkedIn are Software as a Service, Social web applications, HR 2.0, LinkedIn, Human-based computation, Analytics, Customer experience, Lean start-up and Entrepreneurship
More than just CEO
Boris is not only CEO and Founder of Pealk but also Head of Product. In his LinkedIn profile he describes his role as leading a talented cross-functional team, using lean start-up methods. He is in charge of defining, designing and driving the development of an innovative product that people will love! He is also responsible for overall strategy & communication, and for bringing our product to market. Boris’ background is in research and product design and he has an entrepreneurial streak as well having started a few companies over the years.
Boris holds a Bachelor and Masters in Computer Science and a PhD in Systems Design. His Doctoral Thesis was entitled “A formal model-driven approach to systems architecting”. Theoretical work (published in international scientific journals). The application of this this is to key IT & organizational projects in Fortune 500 companies. Boris also holds a Masters in Innovation Management (Master PIC) from Ecole Polytechnique / HEC Business School. Boris manages to find time to Lecture Ecole Polytechnique where he is response for Undergraduate/Master level courses: Systems Architecting, Computer Science, and Programming.
If you wonder when Boris sleeps let me help solve the mystery. The interview was conducted in the early hours of morning and at that time Boris said he still had lots of things to do. When we spoke over Skype he seemed very excited to talk about his business and what he was up to. Personally I doubt he will get more than 3 hours of sleep.
More on Pealk
Pealk is a fast-growing new web application making it extremely easy to find & contact professionals on LinkedIn (the world largest professional network, with more than 160 million members worldwide).
Pealk is dedicated to hunting that is searching, sorting & engaging people for professional purposes (proposing a job opportunity, approaching a prospect, etc). The web, and especially LinkedIn, has been disrupting the practices of all hunters in recruitment, B2B marketing/sales, business development, and more.
Pealk brings innovative productivity features, plus a smart & user-friendly interface, dedicated to hunting on LinkedIn. The aim is to make the work of the hunters much more simple, efficient & pleasant!
More questions for Boris
1) What inspired you and your team to start Pealk?
In our previous start up, Anthony and Nicolas spent hours everyday hunting on LinkedIn. We decided to create a piece of software to save their time and energy. Slightly, we identified several pain points and decided to create Pealk to seize the market opportunity behind!
2) Your team seems very small. How do you manage everything?
We’re working a lot and we try to be efficient 🙂 Moreover, you know that on the web a lot of things are easier! Still, it means huge week for us… Anthony and Nicolas are in charge of the marketing & user growth. Yann is in charge of the web development (with the help of two freelance engineers). And I’m in charge of the product development (from ideation to launch).
3) Who is the target market for Pealk?
Our market is global, as you can imagine! We target recruiters, business developers and sales 2.0. But in fact, all professionals wanting to use LinkedIn to find & contact people are in our target!
4) Is Pealk not actually competing with LinkedIn for Daily hunters? Do you see any conflict in your business models?
We know we’re taking risks with our current positioning, but that’s on purpose! There is a HUGE opportunity here, as LinkedIn is not doing so good for the User Interface and productivity features of its products. And users complain! That’s where Pealk comes! We really want to bring productivity upon LinkedIn User Experience.
We think mixing data and productivity would make an awesome tool. That’s why we believe we’re complementary with LinkedIn, whose focus is clearly none of data or productivity so far! Their first reaction has been really good, but we know we have a lot of work to convince them that we are the good partner!
We received more than 100 user reviews, plus 15 press & blog reviews so far (www.pealk.com/press). They are all really amazing and we’re happy to see that everybody thinks we’re doing a great job 🙂 Let’s hope LinkedIn will think the same!
6) Where do you see Pealk say 5 years from now?
That’s a hard one! Bought by LinkedIn and integrated with LinkedIn Recruiter 🙂 But if it were to happen, that would be in 2013, not in 5 years…
7) Are there plans to have search functionality outside LinkedIn?
Indeed! We’re approaching LinkedIn competitors (Viadeo, BranchOut, etc) to see if they like Pealk 🙂 We’re open!
The team behind Pealk
Pealk has been founded by 4 French entrepreneurs:
• Boris Golden, CEO, in charge of the product
• Anthony Simon, in charge of marketing
• Nicolas Lemonnier, in charge of business development
• Yann Hourdel, in charge of engineering