We all know that person: the superconnected one whose career doesn't rise so much as it levitates. You may be that person — or if you're like me, you hate him. "We wanted to reverse-engineer success," says Promise Phelon, founder and CEO of career-path Web tool UpMo (short for upward mobility). "We've learned from those elite networkers."
I wanted to learn also, so I subjected myself to the UpMo treatment. The first step: a brief test to gauge "network readiness" — how much my contacts will help me. I answered questions such as how often I'm in touch with former colleagues. (Answer: annually.) UpMo characterizes my style as "reactive." I get one star. Out of five. At least I didn't get zero, right? "One star is the lowest rating," Phelon tells me gently.
Next, I'm told to pick a role model — UpMo currently offers 200 — whose career I'd like to emulate, and UpMo charts my path against theirs. (You can try several, as I did.) I can tweak my career trajectory based on "tipping-point moments"; if I start writing a book next year, my salary arc becomes a hockey stick. Woo-hoo!
UpMo then creates an "action plan," prescribing 10 exactingly allocated hours a week to work on my career — managing contacts, going to events, etc. Ugh. Three minutes for self-Googling? That I can do. Eight of Google's top 10 results for "David Lidsky" are me. Yay! And it took just 15 seconds.
UpMo will be in free public beta for most of 2009, so it's worth a look now. (Eventually, it will cost up to $15 a month.) Does it work? Call me in 15 years. But if you do everything it says, I can't imagine you wouldn't succeed: You'll be that person I love to hate.
A version of this article appeared in the April 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.