Available Gets an Update

by Todd

It’s been nearly three years since we launched Available, our Twitter-powered job board.

Available started as a three-sided experiment: minimalist interaction design, a place to try out Twitter’s realtime API, and something for us to find good people to work with while giving independents a hand finding work. It’s never been blow-it-up busy, but the stream of posts has been steady, and people often comment positively on it when we meet them.

At the start of this year we decided to take another step with Available, targeting a specific problem we heard about last summer while working on the WeAreYVR brand. In our community consultation process, we learned about a consistent frustration in the local tech and design community: there are people who need certain kinds of help, people who have something to offer and would like to be more involved, but they’re not finding each other.

Around the same time we also heard about Todd Smith’s mentorship research under Cultivate, where he had been hearing how there is a desire for mentorship from both sides, but that challenges and changing work norms that make those relationships harder to start and sustain.

Spot Mentoring

So in revisiting Available, we wondered if we could make mentoring more accessible for people with busy schedules, or who are unsure about the commitment or their suitability.

We envisioned a structure where people might mentor in smaller doses, as little as a conversation over Skype or a coffee. We called it Spot-Mentoring, and extended the Available model to let people both offer and seek mentorship on a more casual, ad-hoc basis.

Starting today visitors can post to two new sections for mentoring just as they do for jobs: by tweeting keywords to @HeyAvailable. In this case, the keywords are Mentor and MentorMe, and people can have posts on both sections simultaneously. The full details are in an updated FAQ at heyavailable.com.

Our hope is that more people step forward to offer their expertise and ask for help, without feeling like they need to know each other for years or retreat to the mountains for big lessons. We think there are a lot of people who don’t see themselves as mentors, but have something to offer, and hope this format gives some of them a chance to connect.

Some other changes in this update:

So that’s Available’s new thing! If you know someone in Metro Vancouver who needs a hand, or someone who can offer one, let them know about Available and let’s get our community even more connected.

Visit HeyAvailable.com to see more.

Follow @HeyAvailable on Twitter to hear about jobs, and now mentorship happening in Metro Vancouver.