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Harpaul Sambhi was raised in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. His lifelong desire to impact and help millions of people motivated him to start his first business, Careerify.
The premise of Careerify was employee referrals, and they empowered every employee to become a recruiter. They built technologies that, with a couple of clicks, helped their employees leverage their social networks to find and refer people who would be a good fit and available for the jobs at hand. That created a win-win-win situation for the employer, the employee, and the candidate.
Careerify was bootstrapped by Harpaul, and he scaled it to a quarter of a million users and a couple of million dollars in revenue in eighteen months. Careerify was sold to LinkedIn.
Harpaul recently started his second business, Magical, which focuses on automating soul-crushing, repetitive tasks.
With Careerify, Harpaul experienced several years of trying many different things and failing miserably.
One of his mentors told him that to be successful, you have to be unconventional. That means you should be on either end of the pack, but not in the middle. Because when you are in the middle, you become just another competitor amongst the thousands against whom you are competing.
Harpaul looked at the conventional things that he and his competitors were doing and saw that they were all doing the same things, like inbound marketing, messaging, and webinars. He decided to change tack. He realized that people like to do business with people they trust. So he started thinking of ways to create trust with people.
The product Harpaul was selling at Careerify was employee referrals. Referrals became their sales engine, and they started using their technology to provide referral solutions. Referrals became about 65% of their business. Then, they began using growth tactics to rev things up even more by combining outbound and inbound with the intelligence they had been gathering about people’s networks to acquire new customers.
Harpaul felt a high likelihood that his current customers would be interested in what their alma mater is doing. That brought about a solid 7x increase in the conversion rates of email responses and responses overall.
Harpaul points out that mailing someone a personal note is an unconventional thing to do. It will cost you no more than $1.50, and it will have a much higher conversion rate than sending out an email.
Building trust with someone unknown usually gets done through people or affinity via brands. Using trust as a tactic along with the tactic of land and expand, helped Careerify grow very quickly.
After selling Careerify, Harpaul stayed on with LinkedIn, on their product team, and he even helped with LinkedIn’s transition to Microsoft. At Microsoft, he found the partner ecosystem to be phenomenal! Now, when he thinks about selling to, marketing, or building relationships with larger businesses, he no longer takes his failures personally. Working for Microsoft also allowed him to gain a better understanding of how to triage, get into deals, and not lose deals, to begin with.
While at Microsoft and LinkedIn, Harpaul was fortunate enough to be a part of some of their corporate development and evaluations. That taught him that corporate development could get done at a lower scale without buying a big company. He points out that very few small business owners, or people with between zero and 250 employees, think about user acquisitions as a way to do asset deals for user acquisition.
Approximately 60% of Harpaul’s new team is from LinkedIn and Microsoft.
For Harpaul, everything boils down to people wanting to work with people that they trust and like. That boils down to recruiting, sales, and how you build your life. With some of the deals he looked at with acquisitions, if Harpaul did not like the people, and even though the technology was great, he would not agree to partner with them.
With social acquisitions, you should ensure that the users, the entity, and the asset you are buying, will ultimately continue to live on in its current form because that is where the success lies.
The idea for Harpaul’s new company, Magical, took twelve years to become a reality. Magical is a product that studies and learns what people are doing and then does their repetitive tasks. Most of us, while doing a repetitive task, have wondered if a computer could do it. That thought was always on Harpaul’s mind throughout his career. He realized that although we are all unique as individuals, our processes can get summed up in a handful of fundamental frameworks. Sourcing, for example, could apply to sales, recruiting, or even verticals in real estate. So Harpaul decided to automate the process with Magical. Their goal is to remove the soul-crushing tasks from people’s lives, to allow them to do what they love. Magical is still in stealth, but you can sign up on here.
Links and resources:
Harpaul Sambhi on Twitter and LinkedIn
Email Harpaul – firstname.lastname@example.org
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