Note: This is a paid partnership with Polywork.
Not long ago, I saw a thread on Twitter from an connection of mine about Polywork.
— James Cook 👨🏻💻 (@OfficialCookJ) August 11, 2021
To be honest, at this point, I’d not heard of Polywork, so I decided to check it out, this post talks about what I’ve found so far.
What is Polywork?
The first time I looked at Polywork, I thought it was a nicer looking LinkedIn, the more I did some research, the more I realised I was way off the mark with my earlier assessment.
One of the things I feel professional networking platforms don’t do all that well is capture what we do. Yes I can put down my title, job history, and even what school I went to, but I cannot capture what I do in my professional life.
I find LinkedIn especially very mono as well, I mean that by day, yes I am the Head of DevOps at Transparity, and that’s all LinkedIn wants me to be. Polywork addresses these things and goes a step further.
Outside of my day to day work, I build applications, blog, write, speak at events, and much more. Using Polywork I can tell my story, about what I am working on, when I am working on it and view a history of that, as can people who look at my profile.
What traction does Polywork have?
I wanted to understand if Polywork was just a fad, would it survive long enough to gain any real traction and even make a hit in the LinkedIn user base. It didn’t take me long to find the Twitter Love page on Polywork.
I could tell from looking at that page that a number of prominent online personalities were already registered and telling their stories. One of the things I noted was that this was not just in a sector. I often find on LinkedIn, unless I know somebody in a different sector to mine, I’m not likely to come across someone from the music industry, or the fashion sector.
This is where Polywork is different, because I’m looking for people who are working on similar things and do similar things to me, I can see they’re not all just in technology.
What does Polywork do well?
First of all, one thing everyone will see the moment they visit their website and register, is that the product is incredibly well designed. The user interface is sleek, clean, and mobile friendly.
My personal Polywork profile page
Even the profile page is nice and clean, incredibly simple to use and very intuitive. You can customise most things, like the background colour you can see I’ve done blue.
Not that my account is yet verified, but the platform has a verification system, akin to Twitter, this let’s you know the personal you are looking at is actually them and not an imposter.
In my profile screenshot, at the top you’ll notice some pills which show a logo and text, you can see Software Engineering, Product Design, and Speaker to name a few. These are called badges.
When you click on a badge you can see the other people on the Polywork platform who have added the same badges to their profile. That makes it really simple to find like minded people. Badges are either things you do, or things you work on, so it’s a great balance.
For example, if I wanted to connect with other speakers, I can just click the speaker badge, and viola!
I can then follow people and see their Polywork pages.
The timeline on the profile page is also something I have fallen in love with. In keeping with the rest of the product, it’s simple to use and very clean. I love the integration with pasted in URLs displaying the appropriate content.
The page also employs an infinite scroll feature, so it loads quickly, even with a lot of content on your profile and will continue to load the next chunks when you scroll down.
One of my biggest loves is the ability to map your own domain to your own profile. You can get to mine using the root domain here… https://m12d.com/
It uses a CNAME, so it’e easy to integrate into any DNS provider. Given the platform is not wholy aimed at technical folk, I feel like an improvement in this area could be the automatic setup of this by logging into your DNS provider. Microsoft do this really well in the Office 365 setup. For example, pick Cloudflare from your dropdown, log in and the records are created for you.
Of course that relies on an API, but if one doesn’t exist, the ability to email those to someone who may know better would also be an advantage.
What does Polywork need to do better?
For me, two things stand out that would help make Polywork even better. The first one is a mobile app. I’ve already said it’s very mobile friendly and I’ve updated my profile on my mobile before in the browser, but I’m a fan of application based interactions and feel many people would make use of it.
The second is an API. Anyone who writes a blog or articles in general, knows how hard it can be having your writing workflow. Write, share to Twitter, share to LinkedIn, etc etc.
Having an API I could use to post profile updates would be great, I could add that into my own workflow and just have it dealt with without having to make sure that I’ve posted it everywhere I need to.
Polywork is a strong product, I think it has a bright future, the functionality is great, the way you interact with people is really clean and you can find people with similar interests really quickly.
With the investment from a16z, I think Polywork is going a long way, I’m thankful to have had an early look at it and be able to pick a nice username before everyone is using it!
Where can I sign up?
Currently you’ll need an invite code. If you want to know more, try it out for yourself, I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed. You can skip the waitlist and use invite code m12d-dratini.