October 02, 2014

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Outside of Facebook, other social networks are helping people create niche communities. Credit: Facebook(LET) / Flickr Creative Commons

Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg's behemoth of a social network, is an excellent tool for connecting with people you already know. Your siblings, high school girlfriends, gym buddies…even your tech-savvy grandmother is on Facebook these days.

But what about connecting with people you’ve never met?

“The most valuable networks are those where you can meet the people you should know, not the people already in your address book,” says Gina Bianchini, the CEO and co-founder of Mightybell, a online tool for building professional networks.

“What we believe we’re doing,” Bianchini says, “is looking towards a future where the guild model of the Renaissance is done on an Internet scale, and on a global scale.” Through Mightybell, self-employed professionals can help each other navigative the world of being one’s own boss. Two dog walkers on opposite coasts could create a forum to discuss advertising strategies, or a group of Philadelphia graphic designers could share tips on setting project rates.

And those dog walkers are out there, in force. By 2020, more than 40 percent of the US workforce is projected to be self-employed.

An Outlier CEO

Gina Binanchini

Credit: JD Lasica / Flickr Creative Commons

Bianchini isn't just trying to shape up the social networking world. She also stands out as a female CEO – a rare creature in Silicon Valley. But she believes that being different is a useful advantage for an innovator.

“I’m going to have a different point of view on products, services, and opportunities than somebody who fits the pattern,” she says. She acknowledges that the dearth of women in leadership roles in tech needs to be fixed, but, she says, “I increasingly see it as a competitive advantage to be female and to be different.”

Facebook, Business, Gina Bianchini, social media, Mightybell

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