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GDS International's B2B social network Meet the Boss soft launches

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 20 August 2008

Publishing and event organiser company GDS International has entered the world of social networking this week through the launch of Meet the Boss, a business networking site for the financial services sector.  The B2B network has soft launched in beta, with a call to executives in the financial services industry to register, there will be a full public launch on 08 September 2008.

Meet the Boss’ goal is to foster collaboration within the financial sector so that they may make the most of their budgets during a challenging financial climate.  The project began over 18 months ago, and has been available for some time by invitation only to what Meet the Boss describe as the C Level execs or Elite 500 – senior executives within the top ten financial services companies globally.

The business social network’s Managing Director Tara Bradeen says that there is no other network available in the market that is dedicated solely to the financial industry that fosters peer to peer interaction to the same level as Meet the Boss.  She explains the importance of the network during the credit crunch, “Executives are forced to do more with less, and their technology investments and budgets are more scrutinised than ever.  There needs to be an element of trusting their business partners and Meet the Boss will allow these industry stakeholders to collaborate and make decisions during a very difficult time.  This will better enhance their organisation by allowing them make better decisions and use their budgets more smartly.”

Meet the Boss, which describes itself as ‘the future of business networking’ aims to give financial services executives a platform that will enable them to be more effective vendors in the industry through things such as content sharing, vendor referrals and knowledge sharing with leaders in the field through moderated panel discussions.  Meet the Boss also aims to serve financial recruitment by opening members up to opportunities they may not otherwise have known about.

Meet the Boss is broken in to two tiers, one of the C Level (or Elite 500) and non C Level executives.  The Elite 500 will be a closed network that are protected from members not within this group, which Bradeen describes as being almost like a private club.  She says, “These executives are protected and this is what is missing from any other business networks out there – they don’t have the safety and security of being in a safe environment with peers and the top 10 global financial services organisations in the world don’t have the ability to network within the C level, and we’ve created a safe platform for them to do this.”

The non C Level executives will be linked together through their area of expertise, technology investments and technology priorities, which Meet the Boss aims to allow them to succinctly come together with likeminded peers.  Users in both groups will also have the ability to protect their privacy by choosing to not share their content details freely with other members.  Non C Level executives will be able to contact the Elite 500 by request only.

Video will be a key feature of the site, with services such as Meet the Boss TV and video conferencing where users can speak ‘face to face’ with peers from across the globe.  Other features include SMS, email and a scheduler which allows members to request to speak with someone not already in their network by giving them the option to speak immediately or schedule a time (from three different alternatives given) to talk at a later date.

Bradeen has ambitious plans for the growth of Meet the Boss, saying they would like to see over 50,000 members by the end of 2008.  Members are vetted through their email address, job title and geographical location to ensure the credibility of the site remains as intended.  Bradeen concludes, “Meet the Boss will be a plethora of knowledge for executives, and a cost saving mechanism for executives to share ideas and get referrals from people that are trusted.  It will help reduce costs in terms of not making the same mistakes that somebody else may have made.  The interfaces, such as video conferencing, that are so easy to use, will be widely used by executives and they won’t be afraid of the technologies but rather embrace the technologies to collaborate.

As part of the official launch on 08 September 2008, former CIO of JP Morgan Chase, Austin Adams, will be hosting a discussion about how collaboration can help organisations who are often sensitive to what information they can or should be sharing with peers and his experiencing of network during his time at JP Morgan.  

GDS International eventually plans to roll the Meet the Boss concept out to other industries.

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