Top Influencers v1.34: Jason Davis

Top Influencers v1.34: Jason Davis

Posted on 09. Oct, 2009 by in Blog, Top 100

By John Sumser

Increasingly, when Jason Davis speaks, people around the industry listen. The Canadian entrepreneur (who runs is a high energy player whose creative output is vast. When Davis tries an experiment, people around the industry watch and imitate. Jason has been at the forefront of one wave of innovation after another for the past decade. Blogs, Social Media, Recruiting Splits, Twitter Job Postings have all emerged in viable forms from the labs known as Jason Davis. (RBC), for example, was the first Ning Network for Recruiters. Today, there are over 1,000 Ning networks devoted to recruiting and or HR. Many of them ‘emulate’ the things developed at RBC.

When Davis launched as a collaborative blog 6 years ago, no one was really blogging in the Recruiting space. With what is now the typical process, Davis introduced the idea and built visibility and readership through a series of simple moves. was so successful that Jobster (the fabled VC backed social media pioneer) purchased it early on. Today, Jobster trades under the brand.

Like many really great entrepreneurs, Jason’s evaluation of risk is not the same as less effective creators. When Davis sees an opportunity, the question is always /component/option,com_banners/task,click/bid,2″>cialis wholesale how quickly to get it implemented. Projects like hashjobs (a twitter job distribution tool) and hashlove (a twitter greeting card) demonstrate the Davis knack for quick execution and instant results.

The portfolio of projects is amazing. With 12 or 15 current initiatives, the ‘Davis labs’ always run at the edge of distraction. Lots of creative juice gets poured into the hottest idea of the moment. Earlier prototypes are thrust into a ‘perform or die’ status as soon as they are viable. This sort of fast incubation followed by a quick shove out of the nest is a recipe that terrifies more conservative business people.

But, it works amazingly well. Jason’s techniques are natural and organic unfettered by an overload of theory or thought. For Davis, being an entrepreneur is all about being in the moment and seizing the opportunity. He creates value right here and right now.

One of his gifts is the ability to create enthusiasm for an idea in very raw form. He’s like the crazy kid you grew up with who was always able to coax people into trying the next adventure. The astonishing thing is that he’s almost always right.

Take Recruitfest. The unconference is nothing like you’ve ever seen. The first year, it began with a 90 minute drum circle. The second year it was held in a noisy church like room. Both times, the participants derived enormous value from the social innovation and experimentation. In each case, the agenda centered around track leaders who were pillars.

Working as a track leader at Recruitfest is unlike any other speaking gig in the industry. The tracks last the whole day. The leader faces a series (4) of workshops built of somewhat different people. They come and go as their interest wanes. In order to be effective, you have to be willing to engage a series of audiences on a single topic over the course of six hours. Exhausting for the speaker and powerful for both the speaker and the audience. It puts both parties directly in touch with the limits of expertise.

Today, the more formalized projects include:

  • RBC Community The premiere recruiting community.
  • Calendars, reports from the conferences, /component/option,com_banners/task,click/bid,2″>cialis wholesale video interviews. is a single source of information for shows and get-togethers around the industry
  • is the job board for the RBC Network.
  • Recruitfest the most ‘un’ of the unconferences.
  • a tool to facilitate ‘spilts’ through Twitter.
  • Twitter Job Distribution.
  • Like RBC, TalentBar is an HR-Recruiting community built on the Ning platform. With a membership 20,000 strong, Talent Bar is slightly more HR oriented than the core RBC site.
  • With about 170 vendor listings, is becoming a reliable source for links to a broad range of Recruiting Tools
  • The exclusive online home for people who work in the job board industry, the site provides conversation and insight. A flow of industry news and interesting groups for subsets of the job board universe.

Jason’s influence comes in two distinct forms. Contagious enthusiasm and charisma help the insecure participant to make the leap. Relentless innovation and creative idea production ensure that there is a backlog of new experiments.

John Sumser is the founder and CEO of TwoColorHat, a company specializing in market strategy for HR – Recruiting Vendors. You can keep up with his other stuff at Follow the rest of the Top 100 Influencers project.

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16 Responses to “Top Influencers v1.34: Jason Davis”

  1. Rayanne Thorn

    09. Oct, 2009

    It is not surprising that the incomparable Jason Davis is on the Top 100 list. His influence over so many has grown exponentially over the last two years. I am glad that I caught the train 21 months ago and happy to be riding on it full steam ahead.

    While his influence is great and far-reaching, he is one of the most grounded people I know. His humility and tenacity work hand-in-hand to create a formula ready to ignite any project he sets his mind to or gets his hands on. His ability to engage and create community is incredible and every other online network should take notice.

    He is, undeniably, a force to be reckoned with in the HR/Recruiting industry. Watching him is like watching a slow-moving earthquake, his unassuming mannerisms and speech patterns belie the underground movement he is constantly coordinating.

    I am anxious to see where he goes next and how his influence will evolve. ‘Cause it isn’t going away.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Monastra. Jason Monastra said: Top Influencers v1.34: Jason Davis: By John Sumser Increasingly, when Jason Davis speaks, people around the ind.. […]

  3. WorkFarce

    09. Oct, 2009

    Firstly, you are right on the money with this one. I see Jason as one of the OZ behind the curtain types.

    As we all know he built these massive sandboxes for us recruit-o-types to play in…and most of the kiddies who play, don’t know that it was Jason’s party that we all showed up for.

    He has built the stage for so many in our industry to, step up, grab the microphone and have a voice. Community is a good thing…and Jason has a way of not only bringing people together but the RIGHT people together.

    It’s interesting to watch Jason work. He makes people happy. He isn’t like most selfish and self-serving entrepreneurs who are out for a buck….or someone who will try to sell you betterment/happiness via a product or service. He firmly believes that if by being right, decent, true and blatantly honest (and often walking away from huge financial opportunities to keep his high-level of integrity intact), that it will be best for everyone…his heart lies with all of us in the community, first and always….individually and collectively.

    If you have a chance to check out some of the videos of RecruitFest 2009, I would suggest taking a look at the video of the bash Jason held at his house. Lots of laughing, drinking, singing, networking and an overall undercurrent of happiness.
    The person filming finds Jason and asks, “So JD…what is your favorite part of RecruitFest?”
    Jason replies, without hesitation and a shine in his eyes, “All the smiles.”

    I think that pretty much sums it up.

    I love you,

  4. Maren Hogan

    09. Oct, 2009

    As I’ve gotten to know Jason (it’s only been a little over a year or so) I go through cycles. First, I’m infected by his enthusiasm about an idea. Then, I think he’s insane and it’ll never work. After that, I go through a period where I think “this person lives a completely charmed life.” But none of those are (completely) true.

    His enthusiasm comes from his firm and unshakable belief that he WILL make an impact and a mark on whatever the heck he pleases. You can probably thank his parents for that one. His insanity comes from the fact that while the rest of us are just getting comfortable with an idea, he’s getting ready for whatever he thinks will be next. He relishes the discomfort. And his “charmed life” comes from a voracious appetite for knowledge and a tremendous capacity to research and dig into anything that fascinates him, for however long it fascinates him.

    His ability to “flit” from one idea to the next is tempered by the wisdom and humility that he can’t do it alone and Jason is always telling others how smart and capable they are. I’m happy to see someone telling him for a change.

    John this is written with insight and clarity and it’s one of my favorite pieces of the series. That’s probably because both you and Jason have made a tremedous impact on me professionally and personally and I am happy and honored to call you both my friend and mentor.

    (As Jason would say)


  5. Dennis Smith

    09. Oct, 2009

    Difficult to write an article about a guy in the recruiting industry who lives on the edge of “what’s next.” But John has done a remarkable job.

    Jason means a lot to a lot of people. It goes without saying that he’s been a mentor to me and a source of inspiration that I’ve found in no other person in our industry.

    Career stuff aside, they come no better than this guy – keep inspiring us, Jason.

  6. Craig Silverman

    09. Oct, 2009

    John: You hit the nail on the head with this entry. Jason and I have been brainstorming buddies for 5 years now. I have enjoyed our time together and look forward to future chapters. From breaking bread with him both in Vegas at Fordyce to his home in Toronto following the first Recruitfest, to sitting with him in a San Diego ERE session where hecklers shouting from the back row were drowning out the presenters, to putting on webinars together, to just talking about tools and trends he has been a pleasure. Thanks for sharing his story with the industry!

  7. Jim Canto (medXcentral)

    09. Oct, 2009

    Yep… great things being done in recruiting by Jason. But, John; I’m going on record with the following…right now:

    You know how sometimes you hear a song for the first time and say to yourself; “Oh man…That’s a HIT” ???

    I’m saying that about right now. THAT one is screaming “Hit” to me. One of those “wish I thought of it” ideas. Holy crap Jason. I see the skin coming off the ball now. But.. that’s just my opinion.

    To your continued success!

  8. David Perry

    09. Oct, 2009

    It’s called leadership – plane and simple. It’s what we look for in our best candidates for our best clients. It’s what’s least prevalent in our industry. Jason fills the void time and time again.

  9. Gerry Crispin

    09. Oct, 2009


  10. Karla Porter

    09. Oct, 2009

    It’s a wonderful honor to be recognized in such a way by your peers. Congratulations Jason!

    John, This is a very interesting project. To study 100 people in the industry must be highly rewarding.

  11. Miles

    09. Oct, 2009

    John, thanks for writing this. It’s been a great privilege to get to know Jason. He is one of the most creative and positive people that I’ve ever met. He’s an artist who can execute and he’s hard to hang up on.

    Jason, keep up your great work and know that a lot of people out there are rooting for you.

  12. […] Iterbiznet is a good place to start.  Lately, he’s active on with his Top 100 Influencers project. Tags: John […]

  13. Dan Nuroo

    12. Oct, 2009

    I haven’t physically met Jason, although I’ve chatted on here and spoken to a couple of times, but because of him and his vision in getting this site running, he has changed or at least heavily influenced my thoughts on Recruitment. This site has given me a voice, I didn’t know I could have or where to express it, and a community which has been a blessing to find. Always generous with his time and advice.

    It will be interesting to see how he can monetize this :)

    Thanks Jason and Thanks John for recognising him…..

  14. Michele

    12. Oct, 2009

    Great article recognizing Jason Davis and his presence in the Recruiting space. Joel Cheesman is another recruitment guru that we have to keep our eye on — especially now since he’s working with

  15. Harry Joiner

    14. Oct, 2009

    great article. frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t cover jason first. he’s just amazing. great ideas. great people skills. excellent at the execution. the guy’s just unfairly talented.

  16. Jason Davis

    24. Oct, 2009

    I appreciate all of the nice things said here. When I read the post it makes me smile because it’s nice that someone knows me so well. Thanks John for paying so much attention for so many years.

    The thing about what makes work and everything else I have going on is that there are a lot of people who spend a lot of time working on it. There are also a lot of people who contribute great things because we have a great audience.If we didn’t it would not work

    Harry, you are my domain name partner in crime though there is a guy names Miles Jennings who is giving us both a real good run for our money. We have had so many great conversations over the last many years and I think about a lot things differently because of the way you look at things so thanks.

    Dan, We will meet one day. I love your frequent blog posts to and we feature them a lot. Today we did. Thanks for it and thanks for always complaining and letting us know when the chat is not working. It’s a struggle all the time.

    Miles, its a real pleasure working with you. It’s a lot of fun and we are on to some very interesting times. Miles knows exactly when it’s time to say, the conversation has to end now because we can’t do everything. It has been fantastic getting to know you and we are now finally beginning to show the basis of something I consider to be real.

    Karla, I’m glad you made the trip to RecruitFest. It was great to meet you and put a face to you. I have a great picture of you kissing my 130 pound dog. It’s great and sugar still talks about you. Thanks for the comment and John has talked to a lot of people and he continues to talk to a lot of people for this series. It’s really amazing.

    Gerry, part of my justification in all of the money I spend going to conferences is what I call the Gerry Factor. It represents a decent % of the cost to get to where you are because it’s a great investment. I talked to Joe today. Thanks and I’ll see you in about 2 weeks in Chicago.

    Dave, Thanks for that and I don’t know if I buy it. I never get job offers or calls from headhunters. I could not even get into university.

    Jim, I like HashLove also and Dave Manaster who runs ERE always says to me that HashLove is by far the best I idea I have had. I hope you are right. It at least has proven that the engine that runs it has other applications which are really exciting. Thanks

    Craig, I remember being too intimidated to call you when I first read your name in a press release and your picture was on the page of Halkinion management team. I remember thinking that that is the guy I would love to talk to but I never called because I was afraid. I’m really happy that we are now good good friends with a real history of just the things you said in your comment. Thanks

    Dennis, I think you were the third guy I new because of the blogs. You had a black mask on then but it was funny. I loved hanging in Jamaica last year and we did some real business together. Long live Rush and long live catfish. You are a real original contributor and influence to the Recruiting Blogosphere and I bet a lot of people don’t know that. Thanks for being a friend,

    Maren, It is 100% my luckiness that I get to work with you and to know you and to call you a friend. For all of you who don’t know who Maren is, she is the Chief Marketing Officer for We have so many projects on the go and Maren is involved in every one of them at a high level. Miles and I are lucky that you have not fired us. I love the creativity that you have and it’s great that you can articulate our daily conversations to others so that things get done. It’s really a new thing for me. Thanks for the comment. I liked it.

    Josh, It is the smiles and everything that goes with it. Thanks for writing that and it has been great to know you for all these years. Josh is the VP of sales at and so far it’s a lot of fun to work with you and you are really good at what you do. Everyday day because of you there are great opportunities on the table and I love discussing them and being a part of it. The WorkFarce is a lifer and so am I. I Love You

    Rayanne, thanks for saying what you said. It has been amazing to become great friends with you. The amount of writing you have shared with is amazing. Every single day a featured post for almost 180 days straight. I’m amazed by it. I remember when I was in Jamaica and we launched the Bonus Track, I was panicked because I was so afraid of it not being right. I remember you saying “stop calling me, you are in Jamaica.” It worked great as usual. Thanks