Solving the agency problem… My take on a self service expert network that requires no installation
People experience an agency problem often in their daily lives; When evaluating new ideas, markets, potential investments, and even when hiring engineers and car mechanics. I have a VC friend that often complains about having to find an expert when valuing new investments (his limited solution is to use CTOs of current portfolio companies), and after my most recent conversation with him I set out to prototype a concept for a new take on an expert network.
An agency problem occurs in circumstances where a principal hires an agent with misaligned incentives to act on his behalf. The problem is at its greatest when the principal lacks the technical know how or resources to conduct an effective performance evaluation and cost analysis. The problem can often be remedied by finding a subject matter expert to help make up for the principle’s lack of knowledge.
The expert network industry has existed for a long time servicing clientele ranging from hedge funds to technology companies. I’ve been previously paid upwards of $350 an hour on multiple occasions to simply speak to Fortune 500 companies and explain why I made the stack choices I made (definitely the easiest money I’ve ever made). It is far from self service, with consultants operating like head hunters and average expert calls costing upwards of $1000.
The current industry model is not conducive to millennial and SaaS accustomed technology minded folks, and consequentially I’ve never felt the urge to use an expert network. As such I’ve set out to create a concept of a network that I would use. My ideal vision for an expert network includes:
- Not needing to install an app or going through a lengthy registration to use it when you need it
- Should be as easy to share as sending a contact
- Self service, no need to speak to someone for an hour to just see whats available and get a quote
- Cost effective, the industry’s current average cost per call is over $1000:
The above concept took a weekend to prototype and is made up of a simple intent classification and keyword extraction model. The model enables a process that can understand complex queries around subject matter expertise, education, and work experience. The last two are optional while the former is the only requirement for a query. The video’s last scene shows an example of how scheduling/booking can be done.
CTO @ Trueface