Just a word, at the end of this great year. Many of you have been following us over the past year(s). Some as a Superconnector, some as companies sharing jobs, some as talent looking for jobs and some just as Yearn fans. We would like to thank you for that! The input, help, feedback, compliments and complaints from people like you help us grow and improve every day.
2017 was a very interesting year for us. A year of development, learnings, product updates, pivots, business models and moving to a new office. My god, did we learn a lot!
There is a lot to talk about and I would love to bring you up to speed on everything.
Q1 In the beginning of the year we were busy brainstorming and planning on the direction our referral platform should go. Writing down every feature we wanted to implement, thinking about how we can help our users best, and bring in results. Back then, companies paid for sharing jobs and hiring candidates, and Yearn rewarded the Superconnector for recommendations, interviews and hires.
Q3 Soon, we realized that between an introduction and a hire, there are too many variables for us to be responsible for. We therefore decided somewhere in Q2 that it was time to test a new business model for companies as well as a new reward system for Superconnectors. Many Superconnectors told us that they felt quite uncomfortable making money by doing a good deed for someone they know. Long story short, rewards changed and from then on companies paid us through a fixed fee per month based on the amount of jobs they wanted to share.
Q3 In Q3 we did a major product update. A full re-design of our web-application and the implementation of new features, one of which was the option to apply for jobs as a Superconnector. This was very interesting because from the moment we implemented that, the activity on the platform increased significantly. Turned out that many Superconnectors were also looking around for jobs themselves. That was also when we realized that we needed to make a change. A referral platform is great of course, but it’s almost impossible to create a business model around it that allowed us to grow and further innovate.
Here’s the thing. Superconnectors don’t have a ‘pain’, we could solve. They want to help out people they know, or earn some extra on the side. Which is great, but the event you see a job and you know someone, does not happen very often unfortunately. We realized that we can't force people to become recruiters. What does happen more often, is that you want to know which opportunities are out there that might be relevant for you. And that’s when we started thinking...
Q4 In Q4 things started to move pretty quickly. The team came up with great ideas. We started to map which high-level problems there are in recruitment and assessed if we were solving them. If we were not, we came up with solutions. The starting point of every conversation was our deep believe that technology can and will enable us to impact the way people find opportunities and change their lives for the better.
In the end it resulted in a ‘by-invite-only’-pilot. We got together a group of people who were looking for new opportunities, mapped what they experienced in their search and looked at how Yearn could help them. We started to pro-actively support them in their job-search, using smart technology and the power of the network. Then we came up with product features that could support us in that process.
Conclusion, and looking at 2018
The conclusion of everything that we’ve learned in 2017 was that if we really want to change the way recruitment works, we should change the way Yearn works as well.
As great as it may seem, unfortunately, you don't build a new product for no reason. Yearn, the referral platform as we all know it will stop as of January first. We tested, developed, validated, build and started over again a few times throughout the last 2 years. The conclusion is that it for us, at this point in time, in this market, it was impossible to create a sustainable business model around our dream.
I can speak for the team as a say that it feels like a defeat. Yearning for recruitment to change, we started Yearn in 2015. Of course, 'If we knew then, what we know now', oh well, we did what we did with the best intentions and from a true believe we could make a change.
As of January 2018, we will stop all current activities of Yearn as we know it. Instead, YearnPRO (the pilot we started this summer, which is currently running in beta), will take its place and will be running at the domain www.yearn.com.
What can you do?
Not much at the moment. But please, if you have any ideas, questions, remarks, feedback or tips for Yearn, let us know.
In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season and we wish you an amazing 2018.
Thank you for everything,
Kaan and the team