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June 02, 2008

The Art of Unintended Uses

Most people in the mid eighties used personal computers for three primary purposes: spreadsheets, databases, and wordprocessing. Thank God that Paul Brainerd came up with the idea of PageMaker and desktop publishing, or we'd all be listening to music on cassette tapes. The principle that I learned from Aldus is that ultimately customers decide how to use your product or service, not your marketers. I recently came across a company called VisualCV that offers a "multimedia resume" service to help people find a job, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. VisualCV's service is applicable anytime you want a web page but don't want the hassle or expense of a web site. Here are examples to inspire you:

  1. Annie.jpgWin a wedding. If the big day is coming up, you can build a VisualCV to try to win a wedding from the Today Show like Annie and Tom did here.

  2. Vicky.jpgFind a date. Maybe you've got no one to marry yet. Then build a pitch to find a date/hero. Or better yet, have those dates put together a VisualCV and pitch you.

  3. Display your portfolio. Here's how photographer Mike Fox displays his pictures. And here's how interior designer Michael Anthony displays his restaurant designs.

  4. Show off your talent. YouTube is great for some things, but if you really want to show off your acting talent, VisualCV can help too. Check out what Lara Hopewell did here.

  5. Showcase your research. Check what Ann Gales did here to tell the world about global health. And what Jeremy Epstein did here for the IEEE Society

  6. Make a sales pitch. Kickbutt Sales Training did this and Premier Career Potential did this to provide online sales pitches for their services. These sure beat a PDF.

  7. 201144014247b5d0a694056-visualcv_link_guy_kawasaki.jpgCreate a multimedia "About Me." Click on my VisualCV button in the sidebar and, it goes to my profile. It’s a great way for people to get a one-page snapshot of my current activities and to see me in action.

  8. Picture 9.jpgLaunch a product. Jewelry designer Dina Mackney used VisualCV to launch her Spring 2008 collection. Check out what what she did here to include press coverage and photos of new pieces in the collection.

  9. Pitch a conference planner. The next time that you want to speak at a conference, try using VisualCV to pitch the conference planner. This is what Dave Saunders does.

  10. Cliff.jpgPromote your inner rocker. Cliff Sims built this to showcase his band called The Skyline Drive as well as other music-related projects.

You could just use VisualCV for its original purpose: job search. This is what landed Carol Anderson her new position. After all, you could us a Macintosh for spreadsheets, databases, and wordprocessing too.

The bottom line is that VisualCV is more than a resume replacement. It's a kind of website "for the rest of us" so I hope you'll use it in ways that the company never anticipated.


I am an advisor to VisualCV. And Annie of Annie and Tom, the contestants for the Today Show, is the managing director of Truemors so please vote for them here. More help for people looking for jobs here.

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