Inside the Anthillz: The Team’s Blog

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About Us: The Story Behind Anthillz

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If you are new to Anthillz, you are probably wondering, “What is Anthillz anyway?”  Let me share our story with you, including what we are and why we are here.

Anthillz is a business network focused exclusively on the trusted business relationships that really matter.

We created Anthillz because, as power networkers ambitious about our careers, we found ourselves connecting with the wrong people on networks like LinkedIn.

It seemed like every day, instead of building helpful relationships, we were responding to requests from acquaintances and people we hardly knew.

We found ourselves distracted from the close and trusted relationships that were actually paying off for us.  In a sense, our networks were actually getting weaker.

So we started to wonder…

What if we focused our startup, Anthillz, on doing business networking the right way?

As we started to explore the idea, most people told us we were crazy.  They told us we were too late, too small, and too inexperienced.

Of course, as any good entrepreneur will tell you, hearing “No” only adds fuel on the fire.  

So we said, why not give it a shot?   We know real-world professional networking as well as anyone, and we think we can do this a lot better.  What’s more, there are a lot of people who are just as frustrated as we are.

We figured that in the best case, we would create a thriving alternative for professionals like us.  And in the worst case, we would inspire the big fish to do a little better themselves.

So in a flurry of inspiration, the new Anthillz was born.

Unlike traditional social and professional networks, Anthillz encourages you to connect with only your trusted colleagues.

The way we do this is simple.  Before you make a new connection, we require you and your colleague to write recommendations for each other, which helps to ensure that you know and trust each other.

Our emphasis on trusted colleagues—rather than acquaintances and people you hardly know—makes our network a more reliable source of recommendations, referrals, and introductions.

Our goal with this first version is to show you the power of our trusted approach to networking.  It’s just a start, and we’ve got much more in store.

Try trusted networking for yourself.  After you do, tell us what you think!


Written by Blake Jennelle

September 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Posted in About Us

About Us: Meet the Anthillz Team

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Blake Jennelle, CEO and Founder—Blake started Anthillz in response to his frustrations as a power networker in the Philadelphia entrepreneurial community. After accumulating hundreds of contacts on a leading professional networking site, Blake started to wonder, “What good are all these connections if I hardly know most of these people?”

He decided to build a different kind of professional network, one that would help him get more out of his trusted business relationships. Anthillz would become a better source of recommendations, referrals, and introductions for him, while his Anthillz profile would showcase his reputation in his community.

To his friends on the Anthillz team, Blake is the guy with the crazy stories. Never one for the traditional 9-5, his resume includes two years on the professional poker circuit, political campaigning in the Arizona desert, non-profit legal work, and four years as a freelance web developer.

Blake has won awards for his leadership in journalism and politics at Harvard University. Anthillz was named as one of the three most innovative products and services in the Ben Franklin Emerging Business Awards. And this year, Blake was named as one of Philadelphia’s 101 most important “connectors” by Leadership Philadelphia.

Blake is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, and the entrepreneur network he founded, Philly Startup Leaders, has helped transform Philadelphia into a leading entrepreneurial city.

Blake graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Social Studies, magna cum laude.

Chap Ambrose, VP of Product Design—As a freelance web designer, Chap lives and breathes usability. He likes to say that if a user can’t figure something out, it’s the designers fault. So if you have any trouble using our site, feel free to blame Chap—and e-mail us so he can fix it right away.

Relentlessly curious, Chap is constantly teaching himself something new. Programmers love him because he taught himself to write code, so that he can integrate his designs without their help. With his curiosity comes an obsession with questioning assumptions. When Chap asks, “Why?,” you better have a good answer! Thanks to this, Anthillz is always getting better and easier to use.

Chap graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Industrial Design.

Nate Bartley, VP of Technology—Nate brings a musician’s sensibility to technology. He likes to bring order to complex systems, whether as a freelance web developer, violinist, or student of economics.

Nate is a natural optimizer. From his experience as a web developer and CTO for startups, he has learned to embrace constraints and to insist on a highly focused development process. Don’t let the crazy hair fool you—Nate is serious about development!

A classical violinist trained at Julliard, Nate graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Maryland.

Joe Norton, Marketing—Joe has “Future CEO” written on his forehead. Still in college at Temple University, Joe takes on responsibilities beyond his years, when he really should be doing normal college things. We hope he will send us a postcard from his penthouse office in 10 years.

Bill Quinlan, Business DevelopmentBill is an easy-going, no-nonsense guy who knows how to get things done. On any given day, you can find Bill making a splash on the networking circuit or thinking of a new and creative way to get the word out about Anthillz. If you havent met Bill yet, you probably will soon!

Alex Hillman, Community Advocate—Alex is the ultimate networker and community builder. In just one year, Alex went from being a busy freelancer and consultant to co-founding Independents Hall, Philly’s first coworking space. He’s a leader in the indy movement nationwide and a driving force behind the thriving creative ecosystem in Philadelphia.

Alex’s passion for networking and community-building are part of the secret sauce of IndyHall. Now he’s bringing that passion and experience to the Anthillz team.

As the Community Advocate, Alex not only advises Anthillz on how we can best serve our community from a usability and workflow perspective, but also helps us communicate with our users and helps them communicate with us. All along the way, Alex’s overarching goal is to use that feedback to make Anthillz the most useful platform it can be.

Written by Blake Jennelle

September 22, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Posted in About Us