Product & Experience Introduction

Circles matches and guides groups of peers who want to help each other get better at work.

We’ve got to build automation for three core processes. The idea is to build as little as possible at first and try to learn about the processes in the field as quickly and cheaply as possible. For the testing, we’ll either use the nearest-fit partner or the “Mechanical Turk” approach of having a person do it.


sorting and matching How we handle matchmaking is one of the most important processes for creating circles that will stick. It is also Circles’ first impression on learners. We need to extract data about each person, and apply algorithms to match them. Learners need to be engaged and involved so that they begin to buy into the circle and truly commit. This includes, but goes beyond, the usual challenge of getting someone to submit payment. And as groups inevitably evolve, re-sorting will be a key question.


meetThe heart of the Circles experience will be online video meetings of 6-8 learners. To foster deep learning, this experience needs to be free of distractions. But in between meetings, learners maintain connection to each other and to the journey in a way that easily blends into their lives. Mobile chat offers a way to carry the power of your Circle everywhere. We envision a drip feed of relevant content into this chat feed to support the specific journey a Circle is on and to catalyze discussions. We also need to facilitate offline meetings, scheduling, the logistics of a live guide, and many other steps.


journeyWe expect each Circle will choose to concentrate on certain learning goals. The journeys will involve questions to explore, short and relevant content, assessments, and some other modes. Experts will initially design maps for the journeys. The journeys will be designed to get the group to a specific destination, while building fundamental skills along the way. At scale, we’re hoping that learners with similar goals will organize and rate relevant content for each other. Many of the journeys will offer benefits that transcend the designated destinations.

Other Tools

There’s lots more to build. We need operational support systems for all of this, and for all the business functions of Circles. We might build small apps that are useful to anyone running groups, and distribute them widely in order to support the peer-group movement and build brand.

This might include:

  • A game layer that reinforces a sense of forward progress
  • Circles meeting scheduler
  • App for recording lifeline and basic demographic learner info securely
  • App to facilitate different group exercises
  • App that sets up email, WhatsApp, slack or other communication groups
  • Assessments
  • Meeting timer/agenda builder
  • Social media aggregator for following your friend’s news
  • Anonymous satisfaction rating (tracking openness, meeting satisfaction, etc.)

What Do You Think About This?

There are some big design questions…

  • Should Circles have any learning journeys at all, and just focus on participant issues real-time, like YPO forums do? Or will this work best against a full curriculum, like Philipp has done with P2PU and learners taking MOOCs together?
  • Do we need guides?
  • Should we prescribe a single video and group chat platform or let people use their own prefered tools?
  • Details matter: what ideas do you have to improve this experience?

Share your comments and feedback about the product and experience over on this blog post.