All posts by Alison Morris

License to Skill: Patrick Berzai

At Smarterer, we’re not shy to say we love our users. From students who are embarking on their career to professionals looking to validate their long-learned knowledge, each of our users has their own story of skill and success. We’re sharing these stories on our License to Skill Q&A series, so read up and get inspired to embark on your own skill-seeking mission.

Tell us about yourself! Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m Patrick Berzai.  I do business development at Boston Logic Technology Partners which is a software and online marketing company focused on real estate.

What digital tools do you use every day for work? What about for play?

For work I use both Twitter for lead generation and ‘soft’ outreach and a CRM (Zoho CRM) to keep track of sales leads.  I also use Facebook forums to discuss industry trends with other real estate agents and brokers who consider technology to stay ahead of the curve and close more deals.

Personally, I mostly use Facebook to keep in touch with friends.   I use Facebook as a social CRM in my lifelong effort to flout the Dunbars Number.  I can maintain  meaningful relationships with all of my friends old and new, all over the world.

What has changed about the skills that your job demands since you first started?

Since I began my job at Boston Logic, I’ve acquired a significant amount of offline skill in sales as far as asking the right questions and consulting our clients about how to get ahead in their online marketing by leveraging technology to get better search engine ranking for real estate sales searches, as well as use social media to drive traffic to their websites.

Boston LogicAlso, I’ve slowly gotten people at my office to see the value of social media in lead generation efforts.

How do skills play a role in your personal and professional brand?

Most of my skills enhance my personal brand in effort to enhance the profile of my company and drive revenue growth.  People need to trust that I know all there is to know about online marketing and social media so that they trust that my company is the best choice for their personal and professional brands.

Where do you go to learn new skills? What resources do you use?

I have always been curious about the internet and marketing in general, which comes from my background studying philosophy.  The internet changes almost daily, so if you do not stay on top of it, you will fall behind.  I read TechCrunch, Mashable, Search Engine Land as well as various real estate sources and blogs daily.

What skills or tools do you plan on learning in the next year?

I’d like to get a bit better with Google Analytics as well as perfect my ‘voice’ for my own personal blog.  I would also like to be a bit better at using Salesforce.com, even though I do not use it now.

Which of your skills are you most proud of? Why?

Well, I would have to say it is my social media skills.  Personally, I dont think you can teach social media.  Sure, you can show someone who is bad at it how to be confident.  But those who are good at it are just naturally good networkers.

How did you first hear about Smarterer? Why do you keep coming back?

A friend of mine told me about it and I wrangled an invite.  What keeps me coming back is that I love trivia and challenging myself to know all there is to know on certain industry (and non-industry) topics.  It’s fun.

LinkedIn

How does Smarterer help you professionally? How do you use your scores and badges?

In the era of LinkedIn, you get many recruiters scanning your profile so I put a link to it on there. Many start ups or tech savvy companies know of Smarterer and what it does.  Some companies that have contacted me even have tests on Smarterer so it is a great way to get a leg up on the game.

I have used it in resume’s as a list of my skills as a way to make my resume more visual and to highlight the fact that when I say I know Google Analytics, it’s not just me saying that; a third party source can verify it.

If you could challenge anyone to your favorite Smarterer test, who would it be? Which test would you challenge ‘em to?

I’m a lover, not a fighter so I dont think I would challenge anyone in particular.  I do like to look at the leaderboards, so whomever knocked me off my spot on a particular day I’d likely challenge.  All in fun, of course!

January 28: Content Call-Out

Every day, Smarterer users add new tests and questions to our system, giving you more chances to test your smarts and show off your skills. Each week, we like to highlighting the recent additions and fresh finds so that you can keep improving your scores! Remember, because these tests are brand new, their questions are put through our Question Nursery to make sure they’re accurate — keep an eye out for the Nursery screen so that you can make edits if needed. Here’s what’s new this week…

New skills tests this week:

PathPath: Path was launched just over a year ago as a simple and private way to share life with close friends and family only, going back to the origins of why so many people loved social networking prior to it becoming mainstream – it used to feel like a small town with your closest friends, new or old. Path is an iPhone and Android app that, as demonstrated above, documents your lifestream. This test is so new it still needs a few more questions before you can take it. Help us out by adding questions of your own – get started.

New interests and knowledge tests this week:

NBANBA: The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the pre-eminent men’s professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada. Put you basketball rules, teams and league smarts to the test. Get started!

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart: Ok Twilight fans, we all know you love Bella, but how much do you know about the actress who plays her. Put your movie trivia smarts to work. Take the test!

 

January 21: Smarterer Content Call-Out!

Every day, Smarterer users add new tests and questions to our system, giving you more chances to test your smarts and show off your skills. Each week, we like to highlighting the recent additions and fresh finds so that you can keep improving your scores! Remember, because these tests are brand new, their questions are put through our Question Nursery to make sure they’re accurate — keep an eye out for the Nursery screen so that you can make edits if needed. Here’s what’s new this week…

New skills tests this week:

CisionCisionPoint: CisionPoint is a web-based “software as a service” solution that allows professionals to build media lists, distribute press releases, manage PR campaigns, monitor news coverage and analyze results. Take the test!

New interests and knowledge tests this week:

Basic Math: Test your basic math skills! All of the questions are limited to the four basic operations (+, -, x, ÷) and math vocabulary related to those operations. Put on your thinking cap and get ready to work quickly, this test is pretty speedy. Take the test!


License to Skill: Trish Fontanilla

At Smarterer, we’re not shy to say we love our users. From students who are embarking on their career to professionals looking to validate their long-learned knowledge, each of our users has their own story of skill and success. We’re sharing these stories on our License to Skill Q&A series, so read up and get inspired to embark on your own skill-seeking mission.

Trish Fontanilla
Tell us about yourself! Where do you work? What do you do?

Hi my name is Trish Fontanilla and I’m the community manager at Vsnap. Vsnap is a simple web (and soon mobile) platform for sending 60 second video messages with attachments. It’s a startup, so I try to help out with everything… creating content, social media marketing, documenting features, creating user interface mockups, filtering through and answering tech/media/info inquiries, engaging with the community offline, and of course, being Vsnap’s number one fan. :)

What digital tools do you use every day for work? What about for play?

For work: Google Analytics, Rapportive, TweetdeckFacebook, Balsamiq, Jira, Tumblr, Skype. I’ve also been playing around with TwitSproutSocialBro, and ManageFlitter too to see what fits.

VsnapFor play: Twitter for Mac, Twitter.com, Seesmic, Foursquare, Runkeeper, Foodspotting

And of course Vsnap which spans work, play, dreams, everywhere!

What has changed about the skills that your job demands since you first started?

When I first started, our site wasn’t live and now we’re in our alpha. Over the past several months, I’ve learned more about bug reporting, website testing, documenting features, and creating UI mockups. I’m sure there’ll be new demands once we launch our beta and mobile apps in the coming month. When you work at a startup, you learn on the go and you lend a hand where you can. Job descriptions and titles be damned.

How do skills play a role in your personal and professional brand?

In my personal/professional brand, being a resource has been really beneficial to me. When I was looking for work and freelancing, most of my recommendations were from people I had helped (mostly volunteering). Because I shared my brain with them, they knew what I was capable of and recommended me right away.

Where do you go to learn new skills? What resources do you use?

When I want to learn something new, I usually dive right in. The process is usually Google search > websites > Twitter > hashtags > then Meetup. If after meeting up with folks it seems like something I’d like to continue/pursue, I join some Linkedin groups and really start getting into forums/blogs on the topic.

What skills or tools do you plan on learning in the next year?

I want to use Gimp and Photoshop more. I’m a design fangirl.

Ooh and code. I went to one of the project based workshops put on by the Boston Python User Group last year. As a n00b, it’s important to keep up with the coding since my brain isn’t used to thinking in that way. To add on to that pile, I signed up for Code Academy’s Code Year. :)

Which of your skills are you most proud of? Why?

I’m most proud of the skills I’ve learned documenting features and creating UI mockups with Jira and Balsamiq. There’s an awesome sense of accomplishment after you’ve spent hours/days/weeks thinking through a feature and how it’ll affect everything else on the site, then taking a stab at designing what it should look like.

How did you first hear about Smarterer? Why do you keep coming back?

I remember watching an interview with Jennifer Fremont-Smith (Smarterer Co-Founder and CEO), then that same week hearing about it from Dave Balter (Co-Founder, Executive Chairman), and across the web. I had to check out this site everyone was talking about since there was this continuous amount of buzz.

I keep coming back because the quizzes are addictive and I kind of like to get things wrong. It means I’m learning something new. haha That and Smarterer can be a bit of an instigator with all the “You’ve been bumped” emails.

How does Smarterer help you professionally? How do you use your scores and badges?

BadgesI mentioned my scores to my boss, CEO Dave McLaughlin and he just smiled and said, “I already knew you were awesome”. I haven’t had the need to build out a resume page, but I do plan on adding the badges to the bio page on my website. You can say you have skills on LinkedIn, but in some cases there’s no way to tell. I think Smarterer is a great way to show off a little bit and people know that it’s based on a test you took as opposed to some complicated algorithm.

If you could challenge anyone to your favorite Smarterer test, who would it be? Which test would you challenge ‘em to?

Would this be live? I gave up on live, timed competitions after I got 7th place at a spelling bee (I swear the woman said Appalachian). I suppose I’d challenge Eric Andersen to the Twitter test. He always tweets me whenever our scores are close or he’s ahead of me on the leaderboard.