The Gist

We all need a little help from our friends.

Maybe your colleague has breath that could fell a rhinocerous, but you've never known quite how to tell her. Or maybe you find yourself counting the "ums" every time she delivers a presentation. Maybe she's your boss, and you need to drop some serious hints about how she's ruining a client relationship — without jeopardizing your own career.

Or, maybe you're the one who wants to improve your public speaking, client relationship, or leadership skills. If you've ever done a 360-degree review, then you know how good your friends and colleagues are at seeing your blind spots. They know what you could be doing better — the trick is to get them to tell you.

CrowdBurst is your answer. Send advice to friends, (ex-)lovers, and colleagues on any topic. Send the people who know you best a survey targeting the advice you need the most.

Performance reviews are out. Self-help is in. Help us help you.

Sending Advice

Send anonymous advice to anyone with an email address.

Sending to an email address

You can send advice to anyone with an email address — they don't need to be a CrowdBurst user. The recipient will never be able to tell who sent the email, even if you're logged into your account when you send it. Feel free to change the "from" field to something of your choosing (like "a colleague" or "your secret admirer").

Sending to a CrowdBurst user

If you don't know the recipient's email address, you can search for users on CrowdBurst and see if he or she has posted a public profile. You'll be able to send an a-mail without an email address. If you plan on sending more than one message, just add the user to your Contacts. Even if you and the recipient are both logged into your CrowdBurst accounts, your anonymity is guaranteed.

If you want the recipient to know who you are, just put your name or email address in the "from" field. You might wish to do this if you're using CrowdBurst for the survey functionality and not for the anonymity.

Sending a survey

You can simply type some advice and hit send, or you can choose from a variety of different surveys on every topic. If you're providing advice on someone's public speaking, for instance, you might look through our surveys in the Professional category. Just went on an epically bad date? Try Romance.

Can't I just send an email?

Of course — but not if you want your advice to be anonymous, so you can feel free to state your mind with no embarassment or fear of reprisal. Using CrowdBurst also means you can fill out and send a relevant survey with your advice, which will often both save you typing time and improve the quality of your advice by raising issues you didn't think of.

Asking for Advice

Ask friends and colleagues for their real, confidential, anonymous opinion on whatever topic you want. CrowdBurst is your personal 360-degree review!

Sending an invitation

You can ask one or several advisors for advice at the same time. If you ask just one person for advice, then of course you'll know who's responding. Your advisor will be notified that his or her response is not anonymous — you'll know who sent it.

If you ask more than three people at once, we'll make every effort to anonymize the results. Your advisors will be notified about how many other respondents there are. The more advisors you have, the more anonymous the responses will be.

You can ask your advisors a question of your own, choose from a variety of surveys to send out, or create your own survey.

Why Don't Traditional 360-Degree Reviews Work?

360-Degree Feedback is a hot trend in business performance evaluations — but it has a dirty secret. When the company asks an employee (say, Ted) to review another employee's (say, Allison's) performance, Ted usually believes, rightly or wrongly, that the feedback will be read by management. If he likes Allison, he's unlikely to mention her flaws; if he doesn't, he might exaggerate them. Either way, Allison doesn't get an honest appraisal.

When you send out your own request for a review on CrowdBurst, there are no doubts about the information ending up in the wrong hands. Combine this with CrowdBurst's anonymity assurance for your raters, and you get the constructive criticism you need to improve.

Skin Thickness

Create a user profile to set your skin thickness, which lets other people know how gentle they should be when giving you advice. If you're new to constructive criticism, try a low setting like 1 or 2 to encourage your advisors to be gentle with you. If you're a no-nonsense power user, crank it up to 10!

How is CrowdBurst different than existing 360-degree review software?

There are already a number of solutions for hosting 360-degree or similar performance reviews. The CrowdBurst difference is in the ease of set-up; you don't have to be a large organization or an expert to quickly create performance review surveys on a variety of targeted topics to send to friends and colleagues.

Responding to an invitation

If someone asks for your advice, you'll get an email invitation. Just click the link in the mail and you'll come back to CrowdBurst.com to answer the question or fill out the survey. You'll always know how many other people were sent the same invitation; that way, you can judge how likely your response is to be anonymous. (See Anonymity for more information.)

Listing a survey

Click the icon icon to add a survey to your List. When friends and colleagues browse your profile, they'll see your survey list and know which areas in particular you'd like advice about. They can click a survey on your list to quickly send you advice on that topic.

Surveys

Send surveys on any topic for your personal or organizational use.

Using a Survey

CrowdBurst is intended for both personal and professional use, so there are existing surveys on all kinds of topics, organized by categories: Grooming, Miscellaneous, Personal, Professional, Sex and Dating, and Social TBD. You can browse surveys by keyword or by category

Creating a Survey

You can create a new survey from scratch or by modifying an existing survey. Choose between three types of questions: text (a freeform answer), multiple choice, or scale (e.g., 1-10). Mix and match question types to get at exactly the information you want!

Public and Private Surveys

By default, surveys you create will be public, so that other people in the CrowdBurst community can take advantage of your hard-won wisdom. This does not imply that other people can see your answers to the survey (or anyone else's) — it just means that they can fill out and send the survey to their own friends and colleagues.

If you really don't want to share your survey, mark it as private and it will be visible only to you.

Open Surveys

You can also create an open survey on a general topic, designed to be filled out by a broader audience who doesn't know you personally. For instance, you might want general advice on the best topics of conversation on the first date, or how much time per week you should spend on programming competitions, or whether or not learning a new language is a wise investment. Really, the sky's the limit here.

To guarantee the integrity of your results, users must be signed in before they can fill out your open survey or view the results.

How is CrowdBurst different than Quora, StackExchange, Yahoo! Answers, etc.?

You can post open-ended questions to the Internet on a number of existing sites. Those sites are tremendously useful, but they give you data in the form of freeform text. On CrowdBurst we give you quantitative survey results that you can take to the bank. (Of course, the numbers may not capture all the nuances, so we still let users leave comments.)

Favoriting a survey

Add a survey to your Favorites by clicking the icon button next to a survey. (Just click the button again to remove it). Your Favorite surveys are the ones you like to send most often; you'll have easy access to them when composing new advice, so you don't have to search for them every time.

Anonymity

Remember when anonymity was cool?

Internet anonymity gets kind of a bad rap these days, but let's not forget why it was invented in the first place: to let people say what they really think without embarassment or fear of reprisal. That's a double-edged sword, sure — but it's exactly what you want when you ask someone for advice, and it's hard to get that honesty any other way. We created CrowdBurst just so people could speak their minds in a frank but constructive way, helping you learn to improve yourself.

When you send advice to a user or an email address, we won't include any identifying information in it, so they'll have no idea who it came from. That frees you to deliver your honest opinion.

When you ask for advice, the situation is a little trickier. Obviously, if you only ask one person, the response won't be anonymous. That's why we encourage you to ask invite several people at once for advice. Before they respond, we'll tell them how many invitations were sent out and how many others have already responded, so they'll know whether they're comfortable with the level of anonymity before they respond.

Ask the Crowd

Crowd-sourced wisdom at your fingertips.

If it's general advice you want, tap into the wisdom of the entire CrowdBurst community by posting a question to the crowd. Your question will appear on the front page of the site, where anyone can read it and suggest an answer. Asking the Crowd is best for more open-ended questions like "What's the best way to sever relations with a client?" or "Does sharing family pictures on Facebook make me more likable?"

For questions that are easier to quantify (like "How many days should I wait before calling her?"), try posting an Open Survey instead.