Mike Kus on Workfu

WorkFu is a web app that uses your social networks to find work opportunities that are relevant to you. Mike Kus, co-founder and designer, tells us more about the project

.net: What is Workfu?
MK: WorkFu is a platform for discovering work opportunities and talent. We want to simplify and improve the process of posting and applying for work opportunities, utilising social networks. Users sign up through Twitter, but can associate additional networks. The WorkFu algorithm then builds a profile of the user based on their Twitter connections and a selection of relevant keywords. Users can edit and update their profile to make sure they see the opportunities most relevant to them and also showcase their talent.

When we launch the opportunities users will view them rated and ordered by FuScore. It will work in the same way for opportunity posters viewing applicants; when they post an opportunity to WorkFu they are also shown a small selection of relevant candidates that they can approach immediately, alternatively they can wait for talent to apply. It's important to confirm that a users score is unique to each and every opportunity.

.net: Who else is involved in the project, how did you team up and how did you come up with the idea?
MK: The WorkFu team is myself, Neil Kinnish (core skill – developer), Pete Nelson (core skill – developer) and Adam Martin (core skill – community manager). We've collaborated on a few client and personal projects over the last year. Neil had the initial idea and we all immediately realised it had a lot of potential, Adam already had the domain and so it made sense to go with it. Since then the team has worked together really well, everyone contributing ideas to what WorkFu is now and will become.

.net: WorkFu presents all the available work opportunities ordered according to their relevance to you. How does Workfu work out the relevance rating?
MK: The relevance rating is an average of two percentage scores: relevance and connections. The relevance score is calculated by looking at how your keywords match an opportunity's keywords. The connections score is calculated by looking at how well connected you are to the opportunity poster, but also how relevant those connections are. The user can see the breakdown of the two scores for any opportunity.

.net: What are the 'Smart Profiles' you launched yesterday?
MK: It became apparent to us quite early on that we would need some kind of user profile, initially we intended to keep this simple and although simplicity is a key factor of every decision, we are now putting a lot more focus on the profiles. We want to help users represent themselves in the best possible way.

On our Smart Profiles a user has a professional bio, micro bio, photo, website link, location, keywords and associated networks. A user can link up their favourite networks such as Dribbble and Facebook and so on. We've also integrated more detailed stats using the API's from networks like Forrst, GitHub, LinkedIn, StackOverflow and Instagram.

Something we are very excited about is a new feature which we've called 'reading list'. Each user has a bookshelf on their profile where they can display books they are reading or would like to read. We think this is a really nice way for users to express their personalities and show what they're into both work and leisure related.

Finally, when opportunities go live a users Smart Profile will have the ability to realign itself to focus on the skills and networks you have that are relevant for the opportunity the user is applying for.

.net: What's under the hood of the app? Can you give us some technical details?
MK: WorkFu is built on .NET MVC 3 and utilises Redis, Memcached, MS SQL 2008 and RavenDB. We are hosting in the cloud on multiple instances with AppHarbor.com and have separate Amazon instances for background tasks and caching.

Here's a quick list of some of the tools, services, libraries and disciplines we are using: jQuery, HTML5, Git, CSS3, S3, Lucene, Dapper.net, Autofac, Booksleeve and Postmark for mail delivery.

.net: What were the main challenges in making the app responsive?
MK: Myself and Neil have worked on a number of responsive sites together already so we have a pretty good understanding of how to approach it. The main challenge for us is to make WorkFu look like it's designed for the device you're using it on. It's reasonably simple to get all the content to fall into one column but it doesn't stop there. We're working hard so that when you use it on a phone it feels like it was designed for your phone. One day there might be an iPhone/Android app but until then we'll strive to make the mobile experience as good as it possibly can be.

.net: How are you going to finance Workfu?
MK: At the moment we're bootstrapping WorkFu. We have a pretty solid pricing structure in place for when we start charging (on launch the app will be free for a limited period). There will always be a free plan along with a couple of paid plans. Funding is also a possibility but we're just concentrating on getting the full app live at the moment.

.net: What's next for Workfu? When's the full app launching?
MK: Well, having just launched the Smart Profiles it's now straight onto preparing for the launch of the opportunities themselves. We're hoping to launch the full beta in a few weeks. Initially opportunity posting will be invite only, so If anyone wants to post an opportunity on WorkFu for launch they should get in touch with us at invite@workfu.com.

We're talking to lots of interesting individuals and companies who are interested in using WorkFu to post some incredible opportunities and we're hugely excited about what WorkFu could achieve in this space. I think it has great potential and can't wait to get the next phase out.