Gregory Ronczewski leads the design of the TeamFit platform – view his profile on TeamFit
Top photo published with the permission from Laughing Stock Vineyards.

The main character in Borges’ Funes the Memorious is endowed with the ability to remember everything. It is an impossible position. Our individual or collective memories are set to preserve some data and at the same time allow other bits of information to pass through and disappear. At the same time, we are quite aware of the importance of preserving information. We have constructed Archives and Libraries so we can consult the sources when our own memories are failing us and to take advantage of what others have experienced. Today, all we need to do is to type a query into Google’s search window. We don’t have to remember everything. In fact, we remember different things than we used to. No need to memorize phone numbers, street addresses, postal codes or birthdays as long as we know how to search.

The filtering ability seems to define the level of quality and sophistication. Everyone wants more relevant and smarter search functions. It’s all good, however we seems to forget that who controls the menu, or the choices also controls the outcome. More and more we are giving up our own decision making to the hands of machines that “selects” for us. It works well and I must admit, “customer who bought this item also bought” system that amazon uses is one of my favourite ways to find new books. The art of curating and moderating is well represented in the online tools.

Sometimes thought we long for the old fashioned approach when we do not consult our smart devices. Winemaking is one of the areas where we see the return to the basics. For instance, Amphora from Laughing Stock Vineyards is produced using an ancient method. The owners went to Chianti, Italy to visit the terracotta factory and see how Amphorae are hand made by artisan potters. The interesting point here is the connection between two businesses from two different parts of the world using their complementary skills to create another value much appreciated by LFNG clients… the Amphora wine is almost always sold out.

I love libraries, bookstores, or second hand book merchants. There is something magical in browsing the shelves and not having the “search results” neatly arranged on computer screen. At Bowen Island Library—for a small library, it has a surprisingly good collection—I found a book by Jean-Claude Carrière and Umberto Eco titled This is Not the End of the Book. The big black letters on the spine attracted my eye. Apart from the two great minds discussing the future and the past of one of the finest human inventions (the book of course), the pages are filled with writers, collectors and titles that I would be hard to find without a conversation between these two. Like the eighteenth-century French writer Rétif de la Bretonne (1734 – 1806) who wrote and published himself—among many other pieces—several volumes containing the record of his nocturnal rambles through the city of Paris. Since the final two installments were written at the time of The Revolution, along with gathering his stories, he also collected every piece of paper he could get his hands on. In his basement, he made very simple pulp—paper was in short supply—and he printed what he wrote in the morning on his own paper. What an incredible set of skills. Historians disagree if the accounts were true, but that’s beyond the point, his work has been preserved – not filtered out by history.

The original editions of all his books have long been bibliographical curiosities owing to their rarity, the beautiful and curious illustrations and the quaint typographic system in which most are composed. Les nuits de Paris, ou Le spectateur nocturne.

 

At TeamFit we allow the user to organize skills into Core and Target. There is a third category – Downgraded – skills that you wish to remove from the list. Everyone can arrange their skills into different categories. In other words, TeamFit helps people present their skill portrait according to their current goals. We are working now on various skill filters, and apart from the obvious and expected, we are thinking of creating filters that will allow people to find other people through skills, but that preserve some aspects of the “unfiltered” experience. We want to help people connect through skills and realize that some of the most valuable connections are unexpected. Complementary skills are one way we will do this. Complementary skills are skills that are not generally found in the same people, but which are more valuable when used together. Some examples are a person with technical skills in content marketing and an excellent blog writer, or when making a new optical device, optical and mechanical engineers need to be able to work together.

Is this sort of filtering user-friendly? Should we aim at the fastest and simplest way of retrieving the information? I am not sure. So many articles have been written on the frictionless user experience. Sometimes people want to slow down and be given an opportunity to think. Looking at a career through a skills lens is a process of self-discovery. I don’t want to rush it. It’s a time machine. Questions like “When did you first use this skill?” bring back memories of places, people, projects. One thought leads to another much like one skill helps to build another and our skills support our network of relationships.

TeamFit will give you the tools you need to manage your skills and career. It will help you by suggesting skills and offering advice. At the end of the day, what we hope to support reflection and engagement. Even if we wanted to provide an “unfiltered” experience, TeamFit is still a data driven platform that learns from users. In this book that I am reading now, it is the conversation between Eco and Carrière curated by Jean-Phillippe de Tonnac that is so rich and full of ideas. The high energy and finesse is achieved by the exchange of thoughts between the three of them. I hope that through TeamFit people will be able to compose teams that are equally engaged in conversations that lead to a better understanding of their skills. This will lead us to a better understanding of each other.