We spoke to Japan-based startup Wantedly back in December, discussing their online social job platform that leverages your social graph to give you a better chance at the job you love. And as of today, that platform is accessible via a brand new Wantedly iOS app as well.
A few weeks back I spoke with the two Wantedly team members who worked on this app, Feras Yasin and Rei Kubonaga . What I found most interesting was that they both come from very different backgrounds – Feras from design and Rei from mathematics – but apparently they found a way to work very well with each other and within their team.
The app itself will be familiar to you if you’re accustomed to the web/desktop version of Wantedly. You’ll see a list of projects/jobs, which is just the same as in the PC version. But in the app there is also a “Today’s Pick-up” that features a few selected jobs each day. Feras (pictured right) explained the intention here is to make it seem almost like a news reader here. Initially I thought this section would have to be curated, but he reassured me that they have an algorithm doing the dirty work here. He adds:
Visually the app is more like an SNS with the friend-list view. This is one of the features that is unique to the mobile app. It’s a place where you can see who among your friends is using Wantedly . Another button shows the activity of your friends within the app.
So why develop a native iOS app, instead of just making their platform into a mobile-friendly web app? Why not make an Android app too? Rei says that they’ve found many Wantedly users access the platform from iOS, and at a rate of about three times that of Android users. But nevertheless, they do hope to make an Android version eventually too.
It’s especially interesting to hear 26-year-old Rei talk about this app, as he confesses he didn’t even use a computer when he studied natural mathematics at the University of Kyoto. But he quickly decided that in order to do more, he wanted to supplement his math skills by learning programming:
In high school I was very good at math, but you can rarely see the impact on society with math. But in business the impact is rapid and easily seen. I wanted to incorporate my math in a way that could be used for business, and that meant learning to code.
Given that Wantedly’s CEO Akiko Naka has some coding background herself, I was curious to hear what kind of development dynamic they had within the team. Often developers are segregated from teams, especially here in Japan – but I had a feeling that wasn’t the case with Wantedly. Their communications rep Nozomi Umenai elaborated on how their meetings typically proceed:
We share the concept of a new project, then Akiko, engineers, and the designer work close together. She knows exactly what she wants, and also what we lack. It’s nice to have someone who has coding background, a more clear vision, and knowledge of the output of the product. […] In Japanese companies, engineers are not often valued as much as they should, and with bosses who have non-coding backgrounds it can be hard to communicate with them.
While their product is currently just for Japan’s domestic market (in Japanese only), I understand they’re hoping to have a version for English or some other language soon. Most of the people I’ve spoken with there display an fluency in English that is regrettably uncommon in the Japanese startup scene, so communication won’t be an issue for them.
In a great show of dogfooding, both Feras and Rei were hired using Wantedly, and as far as I can tell they both look like smart pick-ups. And if the company can continue to hire good talent with diverse talents and backgrounds, they should be able to expand their service well.
Above all else, the Wantedly platform does offer a unique value to both employers and job seekers. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how they grow. If you’d like to give the new app a try, get it here.