12ish "Can I pick your brain?" 

It's something you may have heard before. I totally welcome it. I have friends, people just getting into the workforce and other interesting contacts that I love having productive conversations with. Paying it forward with what I know is something I love to do. Networking, when done right, is awesome. It's something more of us should do, since we're all in this together.

Then there are times when you hear it from a total stranger. A lot of times the "pick your brain" question is regarding very specific marketing advice. When your livelihood is based on knowledge sharing, this gets sticky, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you are getting taken advantage of. There eventually comes a time (if you're a consultant) when you should start charging for your time, especially if it appears there won't be a knowledge exchange. But how do you do it?

That's the problem 12ish is looking to solve.

12ish is a new service that allows you to bill your time in 12 minute increments. To sign up, you connect your PayPal account to your user profile and set up topics that you are willing to share your expertise in. Then, you simply set a billing rate for a 12 minute conversation. It took no time to set up. People can then look at a calendar (that you share) and book time with you to "pick your brain" at the rate that you've defined.

I had my first 12ish call yesterday with their CEO and it runs incredibly smooth. A third party automated operator calls both of our phones at the defined appointment time. We had our conversation and were even given a 30 second heads up before the call ended. After the call was over, I received a notification from 12ish that the money ($10 minus 12ish's fee) was being transferred to my PayPal account.  It was incredibly easy and you didn't have those sticky things like invoices or tracking down payment. The person calling you has to have a 12ish account (with a PayPal account connected) so the payment system happens automatically.

Who Could Use This?

While there are people on the site selling time/expertise to talk about anything from car repair, religion or even just being a listening ear for a venting session, I see a huge application leaning towards freelancers. Not only is it a potential revenue source for sharing information that you may have worked hard to learn, it keeps conversation right down to business. You go into the call knowing that the time is limited and the person calling you will want to get the most out of the time booked.

Now if I had a wish list to give 12ish, here are a few things that I think would be great to see come from the service:

Freshbooks Integration

Or integration with any invoicing service. Freshbooks just happens to be the invoice tracking service I use for side projects outside of DeMoss work. It'd be great to be able to track revenue/expenses from 12ish directly into Freshbooks for tax and record keeping purposes. If there was a way to sync up client contacts with contacts on 12ish, that'd be awesome too.

Make PayPal the only barrier to entry

As of now, the only people who can call you on 12ish are people that are registered on 12ish. What if someone wants to book time with you on the fly but doesn't want to sign up for a new service? If there is a way to have someone only have to connect via PayPal and a phone number to book time, that'd be great.

LinkedIn Integration

What if there was a thought leader on LinkedIn that you wanted to peg for advice? How about recruiters struggling to get prospects to return their calls? I think a great asset (though maybe a pipe dream at the moment) would be to have a 12ish call button embedded directly on your LinkedIn profile for people to try and book time with you that way.

Philanthropic Campaign

[Free idea] I think a fantastic campaign would be to tap established business thought leaders or celebrities to use a day like #GivingTuesday to charge for their time but with all of the money they earn talking to people going to a charity. How much would you pay to talk to a Richard Branson or Seth Godin for 12 minutes?


Instead of having money going to a PayPal account, a user could have the money go toward a "giving account" to donate their time (monetarily) to a nonprofit charity of their choice. It be a cool social good angle for the company IMO.

I don't think this should replace helping folks out, offering advice/counsel or a way to monetize networking at any given opportunity. I'll still have morning coffee with folks and I'll probably be a grateful recipient of coffees/happy hours from other folks I'm looking to learn more from. That said, I do see value in this from a pure consulting POV.

How about you all? Ever use 12ish? Do you see it sticking?

And, if you're looking to chat....