The way we work is broken. Existing talent marketplaces are public companies that extract more and more value from you. They own your professional history, your reputation and, in essence, your careers. There has to be a better way.
That’s the fundamental thesis behind Braintrust. And it is the reason why the user-controlled network we started three years ago has grown so quickly, now including a community of over 300,000 Talent members working together to work better.
This blog takes a look at some of the most interesting things happening in the world and on the network, based on the conversations had on the Braintrust Talent All Hands Webinar hosted in early May, which can be viewed here.
The Macro Environment
First, the bad news: As the spring of 2023 wraps up, we’re in a recession … whether or not governments technically have declared it one, Braintrust co-founder Adam Jackson said, noting that half of Braintrust clients are experiencing some form of hiring freeze.
Particularly in the US tech sector, there have been thousands of layoffs, and we can probably expect another two to four quarters like this.
“This is painful, but it’s all cyclical,” Jackson said. “I don’t think it’s going to get better in the near-near term. So we focus on the things we can control. We can’t control (rising) interest rates, but we can control how we build the network, making our software better, building better things that advance all of our careers.
Part of that has been in recognizing the opportunity that AI presents. “People think this is going to eliminate jobs and throw us into economic ruin. I vigorously disagree with that premise,” Jackson said. “In fact, I think the best application of AI that I’ve seen to date, is actually making people like us, tech people … more efficient, more brilliant, more creative, better, faster, at our jobs.
Everybody should be getting up to speed on AI skills to harness their full potential. The network has also seen a 170% YoY increase in AI and machine learning jobs, and has seen a 55% YoY increase in Talent available with those core skills.
“My advice: Make sure you’re sharp on these things,” Jackson said. “It’s an Ironman suit: It’s not meant to replace people, it’s meant to make people better.”
As far as crypto and the blockchain, key drivers of Braintrust’s user-controlled network model? “Crypto could not be more unpopular right now in the public view,” Jackson said … and that is OK. “That will also not last forever. Crypto is too big, too important, too valuable, to put that genie back in the bottle.”
There still is a ton of interest in the space from entrepreneurs, builders, founders, and investors, and in the meantime, it’s critical to keep building better.
Network Update: Who is Hiring on Braintrust?
Despite those negative tailwinds, both for the global economy and the crypto space, Braintrust is continuing to grow, and it’s because the network is continuing to build actual, real-world value.
“We’re the best shop in town if you’re going to refer clients and Talent, and earn BTRST tokens for that: Our connector program is growing like crazy, and is the main source of growth for the network,” Jackson said.
Despite broader tech layoffs and hiring freezes, Braintrust has seen a 43% Quarter-over-Quarter increase in clients hiring on the network. “While it feels rough in the news, we’re actually seeing more clients coming on to Braintrust,” Grady Gardner, the founder of Distributed Labs, one of the key nodes building Braintrust, reported.
Those clients see the value the network brings with our blockchain-based model, which allows us to reduce centralized costs so they can pay industry-low fees instead of paying some consulting firm a 2-3x market markup.
Braintrust also hired 23% more people through the network over the previous quarter, doubled the core team of people trying to recruit and manage clients on the network, and expanded partnerships with channels that can help bring in new jobs as well.
Next up? Launching “a really, really badass professional network that will help you advance in your career,” Jackson said.
The Product Roadmap: Get Career Help and Community
As the world changes, so too must the network. The product and marketing teams, as well as other core nodes, have worked together to further refine the network’s vision. And at its core, Braintrust’s mission is to build products that enable global talent to earn, learn, and grow.
Most already know Braintrust as a great place to work and to find a great job with great pay — but Braintrust will eventually grow to become the network that is there with you throughout your entire career.
“You'll be able to get that help directly from people who are experiencing what you're going through. So that way, you don't have to be alone. You have your peer set,” said Elena Luneva, the General Manager of Braintrust.
Building the Professional Network
There are apps to get jobs, learn new skills, and ask questions … but there isn't one network that can help you unlock everything you’ll need to advance your career.
The Professional Network is an easy to use one stop destination that helps you get access to professionals outside of your network and unlock opportunities, learn, and grow in your career. With the Professional Network you'll connect with like-minded people and gain relevant personalized knowledge from a community you can trust to motivate you to move your career forward.
“Your career is often the result of the people you've met along the way. Whether that's mentors, advisors or peers, those connections end up being what unlock opportunities for you,” says Maddie Neveaux, Director of Product Management at Braintrust.
“Building out that network of trusted professionals, even to get a simple question answered, can be challenging, and unfortunately, a limiting factor to taking the next step professionally. The Professional Network is an opportunity to democratize access to people and connections that will allow you to accomplish your career goals.”
The Professional Network will be launching to all Braintrust users in the next few weeks with announcements sent over email.
Upcoming Improvements on the Network
The ultimate goal is to empower Talent, so they can take more control over their careers and get the right opportunities for them. “We all know here, firsthand, the ups and downs of being a job seeker,” said Nasser Khan, Director of Product Management. “We want Talent to spend less time job hunting and more time earning in roles that compensate you fairly and advance your career ambitions.”
There are three big priorities for improvements on the platform.
- Getting Talent matched quicker to a job that aligns with their skills
- Making it easier for clients to post jobs on the platform
- Providing better guidance for job seekers throughout the application process
Talent will see a few changes over the next few months, with improvements to the Talent onboarding screening experience, so Talent know exactly what they need to do at each step to start earning.
It’s going to be easier for Talent to find jobs that match their skills and experience, rather than wasting time scrolling through irrelevant jobs. And there are also going to be additions to enhance account security and profile management as well.
For clients, Braintrust is working to provide more accurate recommendations and build out the matching algorithm. The goal is to use improved tooling on the matcher and client side, so that Talent see faster turnarounds on applications getting reviewed and interviews scheduled.
How to Get More Involved in the Braintrust Community
Braintrust is user-owned and community-controlled which means your engagement makes a huge difference in the decisions being made on the network you make your living on.
Feedback is fuel. Let us know what you learned from this quarterly update, and what you would love to see more of in future community gatherings by submitting your feedback here.
Know someone who is hiring? Earn $BTRST by referring clients to the network: 2% of every invoice they bill, up to $100K per client that ends up hiring on the network. Learn more here.
Get career help. Keep an eye out for your invite to join the Professional Network between now and the end of May!
Stay connected. You can follow Braintrust on Twitter or LinkedIn, or subscribe to the Adam Jackson Show on YouTube.