Gist-Virtual Windshield to Your Connections

Gist-Virtual Windshield to Your Connections

Merriam-Webster defines gist as: the main point or part ; the main point or meaning of something:the gist of an argument, Pronunciation: \ jist \.   After today, you might consider a new definition:  Gist; The virtual windshield to your connections, as in


As of 8:00 a.m. (EST) today (09/15/2009)  the public beta of opens.  You can now experience for yourself what only those involved in the private beta have been able to enjoy.   Their goal -to help you “know more about who you know”.

What exactly is Gist?  Think of Gist as the virtual windshield to your connections.  If you are tech savvy, then envision a heads-up display on the windshield to your connections.  Gist is an online webtool that helps you build stronger relationships and become more effective within those relationships. They go about helping you accomplish this by integrating with Microsoft Outlook and Gmail to aggregate, organize and prioritize emails, links, attachments, and related information (news, blogs, etc.) in a user’s email inbox.  Gist then integrates with LinkedIn, Facebook,  Twitter  and  others, bringing feeds and information together across social networks. Users can access Gist on the web, inside applications (i.e. Outlook), or on their mobile device.  Most recently, they have added integration into

When I began working with Gist, I was thinking this is similar to  another one of my favorite webtools; Xobni.  But once you get Gist installed and integrate your Outlook, Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook connections, it becomes clear that this is NOT Xobni, but something a whole lot more.  Gist has a desktop application that you can download.  You can access it separate from Outlook. You can use the mobile version on your iPhone or other mobile internet device.  Then add the capability to integrate your LinkedIn and Twitter connections…whoa!

I had the opportunity to sit down with T.A. McCann, Founder and CEO in early July of this year to learn more about Gist and their goals.  T.A. shared survey results they received from over 6,000 business users that have helped Gist’s team develop and shape their product (italics are mine):

Prep time is either rare or too burdensome

  • Almost 60% of those surveyed reported spending less than 10 minutes searching the web ahead of an important meeting.
  • Over 40% of those surveyed reported spending an hour or more searching the web ahead of an important meeting.

Favorite sources of information lean toward new sources

  • All use some type of search engine (Google, etc.)
  • 75% reported spending time on LinkedIn.
  • Almost 50% use Facebook.
  • 15% use Twitter.
  • Less than 15% of those surveyed reference their CRM system.
  • Other sources include Hoovers, Zoominfo, Jigsaw, & company websites.

Personal email stores continue to grow

  • 75% of those surveyed by Gist reported having 2,000 or more emails saved with almost 40% having over 6,000.
  • Almost 30% reported receiving between 40 and 100 emails per day.
  • Number of inboxes multiplying (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

How do those statistics compare to your experience?

Gist approached the problem with the following steps:  Connect to a list  -> Parse the list -> Stack rank the list by inference/relevance -> Enhance each Identity -> Present the information in a way that encourages action.

Within Gist there are 3 primary views of your relationships:

Dashboard View-from this view I get the gist of the day in front of me.  On the left I have a list of the important contacts for the day, ranked by relevance.  By clicking on one of the names on that list, I view all relevant activity from and/or about the contact on the web (Gist currently searches over fifty thousand web sources and over twenty million blogs for this information)  I also have drill-down capable views into Upcoming events (from my calendars),   Attachments from this person and other links that are of value.  All this information is available for any of your connections from the Dashboard view.

Gist dashboard view

People View-provides focused information about only the individual I selected.  Provides valuable information in their Profiles from the major social sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, shared contacts and many other useful categories of information that might be useful to me.

Gist Person View

Outlook View-the information within Gist can be accessed directly from your Outlook email client as shown in the screen shot.

Gist Outlook view

There are two additional ways that I can now use the power of Gist:

From my iPhone:

Gist iPhone View

And now, from my Account:

Gist Salesforce Mashup View

If your time is important to you-get Gist.  If you understand the power of your network, and want to utilize your connections to their fullest-get Gist.  If you are committed to expanding your relationships and growing your business-get Gist.

See for yourself the power and usefulness of Gist.  Then let us know if you get the gist of Gist in the comments area below.

You can follow Gist on Twitter and join them on LinkedIn at their Friends Of Gist Group.

Subscribers to the Fill the Funnel  newsletter should be expecting the arrival of  the calendar of web demonstrations for Gist and all the other webtools in this series coming in their email within the week.

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