Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ON THE ROAD: A social network startup


I stop for a chat with Carlo Desierto about the social network he created for small and Fortune-100 companies: 

  Every week, Carlo Desierto opens a drawer in his office in San Diego and pulls out a long sheet of paper that stretches from one end of the room to the other.

The long sheet of paper is a timeline Desierto created to track his goals, failures and achievements.

The timeline begins in 2001, before Desierto left Iraq and picked up three jobs.

"I knew if I could (stay in a fox hole for two weeks), I could do anything,'' he said. Every month he reflects on how he can make himself better.

Just this year, he started a social networking Web site designed for small to fortune-100 businesses called MyCCMpro.

Carlo said one day he was sitting at his desk looking at his database management system on one side of the screen and MySpace on the other.

Then it clicked.

Why couldn't he create a social networking site as a contact and client management program?

Using the MySpace model of banner advertising, Desierto offers the database management system for free. The system allows users to input contacts and tracks notes written about the person. What makes the system effective, is that users can set up reminders to follow-up with contacts.

Desierto says he now can make 50 calls in under 20 minutes to check up on potential clients, instead of the hours it took before.

Desierto uses the social networking site and word of mouth to bring in potential users to trains them how to use MyCCMpro. Desierto hosts classes at 5440 Morena Blvd. in San Diego.

During my visit to his office at Credit Report Atlas Services LLC, Carlo pulled out a green binder in which he keeps a journal of his goals.

He points to a entry dated back to over four years ago, "Understand that going out is expensive ... Remember not even having enough to buy a burrito."

While the numbers of users on MyCCMpro are at a meager 141 subscribers right now, he remembers what it was like to have nothing and keeps recruiting more users.

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