I’ve always been about connecting people, and contributing to the sense of community where I can. In the dark days BT (before Twitter), I used to sell my knowledge and experience, and guard what I know quite closely. I viewed my knowledge as this big secret tat had a big value. I had a business as a trainer that did quite well for a few years, then not so well when the recession came along and no one had any money to pay.

The thing I came to realise was that I didn’t have any big secret about recruiting. I didn’t invent anything. I was quite good at framing it. Explaining and simplifying what I knew and inspiring people to get on and do it. I could map out a good process, and spot problems, but there was nothing secret about it. Then everyone ran out of money and there was nothing to pay for a consultant or trainer, and I had to start again.

What I learnt from all this is that information and knowledge is free, and everywhere in the net age. The more of my knowledge and experience that I gave away and made public to anyone who wanted to talk or listen or read, the more people wanted to work with me to just try something crazy, something different. With #tru, I wanted to make knowledge sharing as cheap as possible, and give anyone who wanted to share a platform to do just that, and I wanted a community where  anyone with an idea, even without a reputation could share it. I also wanted a community where people can connect and help each other. Help each other not for financial gain, though plenty of people do naturally buy from the people they get to know and trust, but just because we can and it is what we do. When someone wants some help from some of the crazy folk who think differently, then we give it, because it feels good, and you never know when you are going to be doing the asking.

A few years ago I discovered Stack Overflow, the programmer community where anyone can ask questions, get answers, rank answers and recognise other contributors to the community. It mirrors my philosophy of not having any competitors, only collaborators. You can read my review of Stack Overflow HERE. This is a real community run by the community. I’m delighted that founder Joel Spolsky is going to be at #trulondon on Monday to share the story from 4.00 PM GMT. You can watch Joel’s conversation live via the Kelly Services Live Hangout (along with the rest of the 2 days by registering HERE.

Since starting to follow Stack Overflow and seeing how the community runs itself, and members help and rank each other, I’ve wanted to build something similar for the people space to do the same. I define the people space as anyone from recruiters, technology folk, HR etc who have anything to do with getting people hired.

Stack Exchange gives anyone the opportunity to set up their own Q & A site in any niche. To make this site, #trufriends, a reality we need your support. Area 51 is the incubator for these communities to test interest and content before moving to Beta and public launch. To move to the next stage we need 51 followers and 10 test questions. In Area 51 you will be asked to:

“Write an actual question that you might ask on the site.

Discussing whether questions are on-topic or off-topic helps figure out what the site is about, and, more importantly, what it’s not about.”

YOU can help make this a reality by signing up to follow the site and asking the type of questions you would want to ask on the live site, and to share the concept in your own networks. There is a way to go before we are live, but my plan is to take the community to 1000 members over the next 6 weeks. The important thing here is that the community determines for itself what #trufriends is going to be about. We are 31 followers from the next step. Please be one of the 31.

I think this will be a great resource for sharing and helping, and a real community. I want to provide the on-line place through Stack Exchange, and let the community do the rest.

Please sign up HERE and spread the word.

Bill.