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Innovation

Gist iPhone app; your mobile talent scout

Do you ever go to meetings wanting to know more about the people who will be in attendence? Do you ever have some spare time while traveling and think it would be a great time to touch bases with a client or prospective client? If you answered yes to either then I highly recommend you give the free Gist service a try. And if you have an iPhone you can now take that experience mobile and have a ton of valuable information right at your fingertips with the Gist iPhone app (iTunes store link). I have been testing Gist for about a month and the iPhone client for just over a week. I am not in sales, marketing, or an industry that meets with a ton of people, but I do meet with clients and other industry people at conferences and events and find Gist to be a valuable tool to have in your arsenal, especially if you are socially connected.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

Do you ever go to meetings wanting to know more about the people who will be in attendence? Do you ever have some spare time while traveling and think it would be a great time to touch bases with a client or prospective client? If you answered yes to either then I highly recommend you give the free Gist service a try. And if you have an iPhone you can now take that experience mobile and have a ton of valuable information right at your fingertips with the Gist iPhone app (iTunes store link). I have been testing Gist for about a month and the iPhone client for just over a week. I am not in sales, marketing, or an industry that meets with a ton of people, but I do meet with clients and other industry people at conferences and events and find Gist to be a valuable tool to have in your arsenal, especially if you are socially connected.

Gist brings together a large amount of online data from people who you want to know about, including data from Facebook, Twitter, your email account, LinkedIn, Salesforce, and other supplied sources. It is available via a web interface from any browser, as an Outlook plugin, and now as an iPhone application. As you can see in a couple of screenshots, the iPhone application gives you access to your data with an optimized Dashboard, event view, and more.

Gist automatically assigns importance values to your contacts based upon algorithms that look at the way you interact with that contact, but you can also manually control those values if there are people you want to keep up to date with more often than what is presented to you. The service is extremely customizable, yet it also works hard to give you what you need with little effort on your part. The iPhone app is mostly a viewer of your data being presented to you from the Gist servers where all the heavy lifting is being done. It is designed to give you access on the go to all the data and while there are Twitter and Facebook status update pages, I found the most valuable functionality to be the search capability. Rather than scrolling through the data you can simply enter a contact's name or business in the search box and then view specifics about that contact. As you travel in a cab to your meeting destination Gist on the iPhone is a good way to learn what is going on in your contact's life and see what their latest interests and events may have been, which is usually a great way to open and continue conversations.

Imagine how impressed a client would be if you knew what they have been doing lately, and publicly sharing, when you show up to meet with them. You no longer have to look like a fool when a colleague or client has been promoted and you had no idea they were moving up the ladder.

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Gist lets you see how many times you have sent and received email from people, how many news articles have been posted, and much more from both a specific person and company in your contact list. You can filter the data by tags too in order to apply more specific filters and see the data how you want to see it presented.

I find the Outlook plugin (working well with Outlook 2007) to be quite cool as a small Gist icon appears in the email header and then clicking on that brings up a list of all the contacts in the email recipient areas. You can then see some information on each contact, including email address, company, phone number, and when that contact was last contacted. Clicking on the contact name then brings up the specific contact data, including contact details, news feeds associate with them, email history with that contact (this is very cool to have available), any links, Tweets, Facebook updates, and other data associated with that person. While I have plenty of this info available for those in the mobile phone industry, I find there is not much of this social network information for those in the marine engineering field.

There is quite a bit of customization available with Gist and I think you should give it a try to find out what it is all about since I can't share tons of specific screenshots with my personal data. If you have an iPhone, get the free iPhone client and try that out as well.

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