- Using Maven
- Joining Maven
- Invitations to Consult
- Consultation Behavior
- Identity Verification
- Privacy, Security, Communications, and Participation
- Terms & Conditions
No. Expert networks are boutique research services for professional investors. They typically help hedge fund analysts gather information about publicly traded companies so they can trade those companies’ stocks and bonds. While expert networks can be used for legitimate equity research, they are also frequently associated with insider trading cases.
The term “expert network” itself is something of a misnomer, since these services are neither “expert” nor true “networks.” Some participants in expert networks are, in fact, experts (i.e. key skills, thought, and opinion leaders within their professions), but most are typical professionals who aren’t fully aware of the implications of their consulting with hedge funds. Moreover, the services themselves usually do not employ any technology, instead relying on human employees to match customers with consultants. Finally, there is little connectivity or community involved in the membership of a typical expert network – they aren’t really networks, just lists of company insiders with rudimentary profiles and contact information.
Expert networks also tend to focus almost exclusively on a single type of interaction, the short phone call, because the professional investors they serve are mostly interested in gaining quick data points on specific companies rather than developing a deeper understanding of specific technologies, products, and markets.
By contrast, Maven is a technology-enabled platform for the discovery and acquisition of professional expertise built for all types of professionals EXCEPT public equities investors. We don’t do business with hedge funds because we don’t believe that exposing our participants to equities analysts serves their interests or those of our other customers (many of which are publicly-traded companies that do not wish to reveal their areas of interest to individuals who might be moonlighting for hedge funds). We consider this to be an enormous potential conflict of interest that we would rather avoid altogether. While one of our products (Telephone Consultations) resembles the phone calls offered by expert networks, it only accounts for a relatively small percentage of our overall business, and we go to extraordinary lengths to screen for potential conflicts before brokering such interactions.
Furthermore, Maven is a true professional network. Both through our Knowledge Marketplace and our Knowledge Communities system, participants connect, interact with each other, and collaborate to address business challenges of all sizes. Our “expert” technology powers consulting interactions ranging from a few minutes to several months, and constantly learns and evolves in order to drive better matches in a clean and conflict-free environment.
In a way it is a shame that the term expert network has been adopted by the independent equity research firms, since the literal meaning of the term is actually a better fit for Maven!
When our customers submit requests for expertise, they often have very specific requirements regarding the exact level of expertise or perspective they seek. In many cases, they want to speak with someone who lives in a particular geography or has experience with a specific product. Frequently they do not actually want to speak with “experts,” preferring the perspectives offered by less experienced individuals.
If our system informs you that you are not qualified for a particular engagement, it is not intended to mean we believe you lack expertise with the topic. Rather, it simply means that you do not fit the specific profile requested by the customer.
Maven is not a phone book. To protect the Privacy of our participants, we do not publish a directory or allow “browsing” of participant profiles. If you are seeking a specific type of expertise, please login and submit a new inquiry via your Dashboard.
I accepted an invitation to participate in a Telephone Consultation. When will I hear back from the customer?
Depending on the urgency of the request, this could be as little as a few minutes and as much as several weeks. As long as you do not hear anything, the opportunity is still “alive” and your response is still under consideration. Once the customer decides whether or not to proceed with a Telephone Consultation, you will receive an email notification of their decision. If they choose to have a Consultation with you, the message will include scheduling information and further instructions.
There are two ways to do this. First, simply click the relevant link in the invitation email and follow the instructions on the screen. Alternatively, you can login to Maven and click the relevant link adjacent to the invitation message on your Dashboard.
Please do not send an email or written reply to the invitation, as we will not respond. The correct method is to follow the links provided for this purpose.
Maven requires full disclosure of your current employment status, including all companies that currently consider you an employee or who have considered you to be an employee within the past two (2) years. This is for your protection and that of our customers. Without this information, Maven’s Conflict Management System can not function properly and avoid routing inquiries to you for which you would have a clear conflict of interest. If we have reason to believe that your employment information is inaccurate or incomplete, you will not be permitted participate in Maven.
There are two ways to share your Maven Profile. First, you can send your “Preview” link to any registered user of Maven who is eligible to see your profile according to your Privacy Settings. The viewer will see your Knowledge Summary, Experience, and other relevant details, but will not see your name or other personally-identifiable information about you (unless you have configured your Privacy Settings to display such information).
A more convenient option, however, is to activate your Public Profile, which is a special version of your Maven Profile that is visible to anyone (including search engines) without logging into Maven. Note that Public Profiles are just that – public, meaning that your name, current employer, picture, and other personally-identifiable information will be displayed. You can learn more about Maven Public Profiles here.
I am taking an extended vacation or leave of absence. How can I temporarily deactivate my Maven account?
You can temporarily deactivate your Maven account here. Expand the Account Status section, click the “Deactivate My Profile” button, and complete the short wizard. While you are away our system will not target you for consulting opportunities.
You can deactivate or close your Maven account here. Expand the Account Status section, click the “Deactivate My Profile” button, and complete the short wizard.
Maven is the fastest and easiest way to connect and consult with knowledgeable people all over the world. Through our Global Knowledge Marketplace we deliver true insights from on-the-ground professionals, leading to better and more informed professional decisions. Click here to learn more.
Knowledge seekers (“customers”) submit inquiries to Maven outlining their needs. The Maven platform analyzes each request, selects participants (“Mavens”) who might have appropriate expertise (or be connected with someone who does), and sends the selected Mavens invitations to consult. The invited Mavens review the details of the inquiry and decide whether to apply for consideration or refer others who are more suitable to the customers’ needs.
Interactions come in many forms, including Electronic Surveys, Telephone Consultations, Workshops & Seminars, Research & Analysis, and In-Person Engagements. Depending on the specific form, the duration of the engagement can range from a few minutes to several hours, days, weeks, or even months! Regardless of which form an interaction takes, Maven handles all of the relevant logistics, including legal agreements and billing/payment arrangements, so the customers and Mavens can get to work right away.
Unlike most professional networks, Maven’s participants can profit financially from their participation. Maven is specifically built to offer its participants opportunities to leverage their knowledge, perspectives, expertise, and contacts for financial gain.
That depends on a number of factors, including your background, experience, industry, skills, and demand for your knowledge. In general you want to set your rate high enough that you will be motivated to prioritize your time to consult with our customers; this typically works out to 2-to-4 times your current hourly salary. Keep in mind that Maven is a marketplace and customers will be able to compare prices between you and other Mavens. In the end it’s up to you – you are free to set your rate at any level and change it as frequently as you like.
If you’re just getting started with Maven, our Rate Calculator can help you select an appropriate starting rate.
Everybody Knows Something! Participants include professionals from every educational background, occupation, level of experience, and geography. At Maven we believe that everyone who has ever had a job possesses knowledge that others might find valuable. Whether you are a physician, an electrician, or a race car driver, Maven welcomes you to sign up and participate in the Global Knowledge Marketplace.
Believe it or not, you ARE an expert. Simply by doing your job, you accumulate knowledge about a whole range of topics, products, services, technologies, activities, and people that others might find valuable. By providing access to people who possess such knowledge – people like YOU – Maven is able to help professionals make better decisions, while providing you with opportunities to profit from your own knowledge.
None. Once you create your profile, simply go about your normal business and wait for invitations to consult; we will notify you when we have an inquiry that might match your expertise. You can always invest time in improving your profile and inviting others to join Maven, but you are not required to do so, nor are you required to commit any minimum time to consulting.
I don’t want to participate in Telephone Consultations/Electronic Surveys/Extended Consulting. Can I still join Maven?
Yes! Our platform gives you the flexibility to choose what types of interactions are right for you and opt out of those that are not. You will be given the opportunity to make these selections during registration, and you can change them at any time as your situation changes.
While microconsulting is our specialty, there are a lot of other reasons to join Maven. In fact, many Mavens completely opt out of these types of activities but still have a rewarding experience with Maven. Here are a few things you can do with Maven that don’t involve consulting:
- Build a private and secure professional network.
- Refer others to Maven and earn Referral Commissions.
- Use Maven to source professional expertise, get answers to your important questions, and solve critical business challenges of all sizes.
- Find job opportunities.
In short, if you participate in any online professional network, you should also participate in Maven.
This is certainly a valid concern, and you should always exercise caution when joining and participating in any professional network. The key thing to remember is that with Maven, you are always in the driver’s seat. We will never share your identity or contact information with anyone without first seeking your specific permission. In the event that a customer expresses interest in speaking with someone like you, you will be allowed to thoroughly evaluate the opportunity before we connect you. You may decline any invitation to consult at any time for any reason, no questions asked. We will never penalize you in any way for declining an invitation to participate in a consulting interaction.
Furthermore, as a Maven participant, you are required to conduct yourself in an ethical and professional manner and to abide by Maven’s User Agreement at all times. This includes being aware of your external obligations and declining any interaction that could potentially pose a conflict of interest for you or place you in conflict with your agreements with others. Our system automatically screens for potential conflicts and we provide tools that help you to manage your outside obligations and avoid conflicts, but there is no substitute for your own good judgment. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and decline an interaction when you feel you should.
In the end, whether or not to sign up is up to you, and you should carefully consider your options and make the decision that is right for your own situation.
Your Knowledge Summary is the single most important part of your profile. It is the first – and often only – thing customers will read about you. Your Knowledge Summary outlines who you are, what you do, and what you know in a clean, narrative format that is faster and easier to read than a resumé. A well-written, succinct, specific, and detailed Knowledge Summary can make the difference between being invited to consult or passed over in favor of another Maven.
The two most important things you can do are to refer others to Maven, and update your profile with more information about your background and expertise. By doing so, you will improve your chances of getting invited for paid interactions and of earning Referral Commissions from work done by those you introduce to Maven. Also, check back periodically as we are always adding new features and new ways to interact with our platform and fellow Mavens.
Yes! Everybody is welcome to use Maven. By signing up for Maven you gain access to our complete Knowledge Marketplace. No up-front payments or subscription fees are required.
You have a few options. First, if you have strong doubts about your qualifications, decline the invitation. The most important thing is to be honest about your knowledge and capabilities. It is better to decline an invitation than to misrepresent yourself and waste a customer’s time. What’s more, we actually reward you for declining: your MavenScore will benefit from your honesty!
If you believe you might be qualified, you could accept the invitation and make a note of your strengths and weaknesses regarding the topic in your response. The customer who invited you to consult will read through your comments and determine if they want to continue.
Finally, if you happen to know someone who is a better fit for the customer’s areas of inquiry, you could refer them and earn referral commissions.
No. You may decline any invitation at any time for any reason, no questions asked. In fact, you should decline invitations when you don’t have first-hand knowledge of the subject matter and/or when you perceive that you may have a conflict of interest (for example, if you are bound by a confidentiality agreement that prevents you from discussing a particular topic with others). It is much better to decline an invitation than to misrepresent yourself and waste a customer’s time – or even worse, put yourself in a conflicted position!
First, congratulations on being so popular! Clearly there is some very compelling content in your profile and our system is matching you to many customer requests. However, if it’s just too much to handle, here are some tips for slowing things down:
- First, make sure you do respond to EVERY invitation. By declining those for which you are not appropriate, our system will learn more about your capabilities and avoid targeting you for unsuitable topics.
- Next, carefully review your profile and remove content that is old or no longer applicable. For example, perhaps you are receiving invitations to consult on a topic on which you had experience several years ago, but no longer feel qualified to discuss. In this case, you should try to remove some of the details of that past experience from your profile.
- While you’re reviewing your profile, check to make sure you didn’t go “keyword crazy” when you set it up. There is such as thing as “too much” detail!
- Finally, feel free to contact us for some advice on your specific situation. We might be able to provide some insight regarding why you are being targeted so frequently and help you to reduce unwanted invitations.
I received an invitation to a Telephone Consultation that indicated the customer would like to record the call. What is this? Do I have to agree? If I agree, will I receive a copy of the recording?
Maven offers its customers the ability to automatically record Telephone Consultations. This is permitted if the customer requests the recording IN ADVANCE and the potential consultant agrees IN ADVANCE to being recorded. Many customers use this feature so they can review the conversation at a later time or share it with colleagues who were not available for the actual call.
MAVEN WILL NEVER RECORD YOU WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.
If you choose not to be recorded, you may be disqualified from participating in the Consultation, depending upon the customer’s preferences. If you agree to be recorded, you will be provided with a digital copy of the recording upon your request.
I have been a Maven for a few months but I’ve never received an invitation to consult. What can I do to improve my chances?
There are many reasons why you might not have been targeted by our system for consulting opportunities. Perhaps you haven’t provided enough information about yourself or the information you have provided doesn’t include the right kinds of details. It is also possible that there just aren’t any current opportunities requiring someone with your expertise. Either way, here are some tips to maximize your chances:
- Complete your profile. Make sure that every section is filled out and that you provide specific information on topics, products, markets, companies, and technologies with which you are familiar. If you don’t provide us with enough details on the things you know about, you’ll never get invited to consult.
- Make sure that your email address in our system is up-to-date and that your email spam filter is not screening out emails from Maven. Some Mavens have missed invitations because their spam filters ate the messages! (NOTE: We STRONGLY recommend that you provide us with your personal email address, NOT your business email address. If you leave your company or change jobs, we still need to be able to reach you!)
- Make sure you have opted into consulting opportunities. You won’t receive invitations to consult if you haven’t activated a consulting profile on Maven, as you are not eligible to participate until you take this important step. If the “No Consultations” or “No Surveys” tags appear on your profile, it means that you have adjusted your settings to opt out of these types of interactions.
- Check out the Bulletin Board (located halfway down the page on your Dashboard). It contains current open inquiries to which you can apply or refer someone else.
- When you do receive an invitation to consult, be sure to respond quickly EVEN IF YOU DECLINE THE PROJECT! Our system tracks responsiveness to invitations and prioritizes Mavens who are more responsive. We learn a lot about your areas of expertise from your responses to different inquiries, which improves our ability to match you to new opportunities.
Finally, be patient! Over 75% of all Maven participants receive at least one invitation to consult within the first year, but it might take some time for the system to identify the right opportunity for you
You were probably referred to us and invited to join by someone you know. Also, from time to time we partner with other professional networks and associations to make Maven available to their participants as well.
We would never steal your personal contacts from you, and we are committed to compensating you for introducing other smart people to us. Specifically, for every new person that joins Maven as a result of an invitation from you, we will pay you Referral Commissions equal to 10% of their total earnings from Maven consulting interactions for the first year after they join. Furthermore, if you refer someone for a specific customer inquiry (either via a consulting invitation you received or via the Bulletin Board) and that person successfully participates in that interaction, we will pay you a one-time bonus Referral Commission equal to 50% of what they earn for that interaction.
Some Maven participants have earned thousands of dollars just through our referral program alone!
When a consulting interaction occurs that makes you eligible to receive a Referral Commission, our system will place a message on your Dashboard and notify you via email (depending on your Communications Preferences). Your Referral Commissions accrue until you have earned over $25 and request payment from us. You may also use your accrued Referral Commissions toward using Maven’s services yourself.
When in doubt, don’t talk about it. Generally speaking, you should avoid sharing any confidential or proprietary information that you don’t personally own and do not have the right to share with others. This includes trade secrets and other confidential information belonging to your employer or other entities with which you conduct business. Do not discuss any aspect of your company’s business unless you are specifically authorized to do so.
In addition, you should always observe the standards of practice and ethical behavior for your profession. For example, if you are a physician involved with the clinical trial for a new medication, you should avoid discussing the results of the trial before they have been made public. Be sure to review the Maven User Agreement and complete your Consulting Orientation for more information on what is considered appropriate.
Politely decline to answer the question. You should never put yourself in an uncomfortable position or risk sharing inappropriate information.
If a customer puts any pressure on you to answer a question you are not comfortable with, hang up the phone immediately and contact us right away. We will review your feedback and take appropriate action.
How do I know that the person I’m talking to is who they say they are? What kind of identity verification do you perform?
All Mavens in the United States who participate in Telephone Consultations must have their identities verified by our partner IDology prior to speaking with a customer. Unverified Mavens may receive invitations to consult, but they must complete ID Verification prior to accepting an invitation. The verification process is conducted electronically and takes only a few minutes. Mavens are only required to do this once; after they have been verified the first time, they do not need to repeat the process again in the future.
I received an invitation to consult, but your system won’t allow me to accept it without going through the identity verification process. Why?
In order to prevent fraud and reassure our customers that they are speaking with “real people,” we require all Maven participants to go through the identity verification process prior to accepting an invitation to consult.
ID Verification assures Maven and its customers that you are who you say you are. This also helps us to prevent fraud and remain in compliance with applicable laws. Furthermore, after completing ID Verification, we will add a “Verified ID” tag to your profile and give your MavenScore a permanent boost.
The ID Verification process is easy and should only take you a couple of minutes.
Maven has partnered with IDology, the leader in online identity solutions, to provide identity verification services to our users in the United States. When you verify your identity through IDology, a special “IDology Verified” seal appears on your Maven profile, showing others that you are who you say you are.
Information required for ID Verification is limited to:
- Your name
- Your residential address
- The last four (4) digits of your SSN (this is permanently deleted immediately after you complete ID Verification)
I am willing to prove my identity to Maven, but I prefer not to use the electronic system. Is there an alternative method?
We strongly encourage you to use the electronic method, which is more accurate and secure than manual methods. The electronic system utilizes state-of-the-art SSL encryption, and all sensitive information is permanently deleted immediately after you complete the process. In addition, the electronic system is very fast and easy – it should take you no more than a couple of minutes to complete it.
However, if you still prefer to verify your identity manually, please contact us and we will provide further instructions. Note that the manual process takes considerably longer to complete, which may result in you missing opportunities to consult.
In that case, you are not eligible to participate in Maven.
Visit your Communications Preferences page to specify what kinds of messages you’d like to receive from Maven and how frequently.
By default, Maven shields certain personally-identifiable information in your profile. This includes your name, the name of your current employer, and your photograph if you provide one. These settings are adjustable, meaning you can elect to display personal information if you like.
Maven also avoids shields your complete profile from individuals who work for the same company as you. By default, you will not be targeted by our platform for consulting interactions requested by other people at your company. Again, this setting is adjustable, but unless you authorize us to display your profile to your employer, we will prevent unwanted snooping by your coworkers.
You may also elect to prevent your profile from being viewed by others you designate, either on an individual or company-wide basis.
Finally, you have the option to activate a Maven “Public Profile.” This is a special version of your Maven profile that is visible to the general public (including search engines) without logging into Maven and it does display personally-identifiable information such as your name and current employer. By default, your Public Profile is turned OFF; only you can activate it. Click here for more information about Maven Public Profiles.
No. We only provide personal contact information to third parties with your specific permission to do so. Practically speaking, this typically only occurs within the context of an Extended Consulting engagement in which you need to interact directly with the customer or consultant on an ongoing basis in order to complete the assignment.
If you don’t give out personal contact information then how are we supposed to have Telephone Consultations?
The Maven platform includes an integrated scheduling system and automated conferencing system to handle all Telephone Consultations. This allows us to protect both our customers’ and our participants’ personal contact information and determine the exact duration of every Telephone Consultation, thereby ensuring accurate billing and payments.
However, we understand the need for privacy and confidentiality during the steps leading up to a Consultation (including qualification, scheduling, etc.), so we have designed our system to peel back the layers of privacy in a logical fashion as an inquiry moves from invitation through qualification to selection and scheduling. By the time a Consultation takes place, all participants have been provided with the identities of all other participants and given the opportunity to back out of the interaction before it takes place if a conflict of interest is detected.
No. Surveys are double-blind and anonymous. If you commission a Maven Survey, your identity is not shared with the respondents. If you respond to a Maven Survey, your identity is not shared with the customer who commissioned the Survey. However, the customer is provided with a limited view of your Maven Profile so they can see more about your background when reviewing your responses, but your Privacy settings are enforced and no personally identifiable information is shared.
One of your customers called to say he wanted to schedule a Consultation with me. I never received an invitation to consult with this customer, and the request isn’t listed on my Dashboard. How did he get my contact information?
Our customers should NEVER contact you outside of the Maven platform, and Maven will NEVER give out your personal contact information to anyone without your specific permission. Such unsolicited inquiries are unacceptable. We assure you that the customer did not receive your phone number from us. Furthermore, if you never received an invitation to consult from our system then there is no Consultation scheduled. Maven does not compensate participants for Consultations that take place outside of our platform, so if you agree to consult directly with the customer you will not receive credit or payment from Maven.
In this case, you should politely inform the customer that they need to submit a formal request via Maven for a Consultation with you. After you have received and accepted the invitation, the Consultation will be scheduled via our automated system.
A Maven called to say he wanted to schedule a Consultation with me. Do you allow Mavens to market themselves directly to your customers?
Absolutely not. Mavens should NEVER contact our customers directly, and solicitations like this are completely unacceptable. Please contact us with information on the individual and we will take appropriate action.
During a Telephone Consultation, a customer asked me for my personal contact information. Should I give it to them?
We strongly recommend that you avoid giving your personal contact information to our customers. You are under no obligation to provide this kind of information to them, and they are prohibited from soliciting your personal contact information by their agreements with Maven. If you receive a request like this, you should politely decline it.
Please remember that the protections that apply to you as a Maven participant (confidentiality, payment terms, dispute resolution, etc.) only apply when you are conducting business with Maven customers via Maven’s platform. You will not be compensated by Maven for interactions with customers that take place outside of Maven’s platform. For example, if you give a customer your phone number and they then call you directly for a Follow-up Consultation, you will receive no credit or compensation from Maven for the follow-up discussion.
No. You are responsible for paying all required taxes, including income taxes, on your Maven earnings.
If you are a United States Person and receive over $600 in payments from Maven in a single calendar year, we are required to report your earnings to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service using form 1099. When you reach the $600 threshold we will request your tax identification number for reporting purposes.
Yes. For more information on how to do this, please contact us.
Yes! You can send a portion or all of your Maven earnings to charity. You can set this up via your Payment Preferences.
One of Maven’s customers asked me during a Consultation to do a larger consulting project for her. What is your policy on this?
Congratulations! Clearly the customer found your insight valuable and wants to develop a stronger business relationship with you. Maven calls this type of opportunity Extended Consulting, and we have designed our platform to handle such engagements. We have a daily, weekly, and monthly consulting rate on file for you and can quickly set up your Extended Consulting project so you can begin working. Please contact us right away to get started.