Open Source for Business Data: JigSaw

jigsaw.jpgThis week I met with the CEO and co-founder of Jigsaw, Jim Fowler. Over the years I’ve heard about Jigsaw but their “buzz” had been over shadowed by FaceBook, LinkedIn and Myspace – not to mention the many other social networking web sites cropping up like flies. I’m now getting a number of invitations to be on H5.

Between a lot of laughs and boundless energy, Jim quickly got me up to speed on what Jigsaw is really all about. It’s NOT a social networking site. It’s a powerful sales tool for finding correct information on companies and their employees. Think about Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica or any other dictionary for that matter.
A traditional dictionary is good, but quite limited in that the information is input from a limited number of editors and new information is only input in the next publishing cycle. Wikipedia on the other hand is so popular as a) if it’s not 100% right, it’s pretty darn good because its editors are the entire Internet. What I’ve found is that there is a treasure trove and an abundance of information on any topic b) it’s evolving; definitions that mean one thing today or have a limited entry today, could be more substantive next week.
Jigsaw’s does the same for business.

People enter information into Jigsaw about business contacts they have. Other people can go in and correct this information and penalize people for entering wrong information. Jigsaw’s currency information. The more data you input, correct, etc – the more points you get. The more data you use the more points are taken away. Quite simple.
What you end up with is an “Open Source” Dun and Bradstreet. D&B, who Jim refers to as a data dinosaur, is in fact the arch competitor to JigSaw. If you sell cakes and you are looking for 10 local florists to partner with – do a search on JigSaw instead of getting inaccurate data from D&B.
JigSaw only includes business information in its database you would normally find on a business card. Nothing else. If you’re in JigSaw – you can define and tell people how you want or do not want to be contacted.
While you might bu doing the “hamster wheel” looking for contacts on LinkedIn – be more productive and search for those contacts on JigSaw.
Jim says that Facebook is nice for relationship building, seeing what people are up to and etc. LinkedIn is great for posting your resume and having others find you. JigSaw is the ideal (my words) weopon for finding companies and individuals at companies. Their making an announcement soon – that’s going to be really interesting.