Crystal vs. Emma: Which personality tool is better?

I’ve been talking about a tool called Crystal for many years. Crystal lets you look up people to see a personality analysis based on their social media profiles, writing and other factors. I’ve generally found it to be pretty darn accurate, and, consequently, insanely creepy.

So yesterday when I saw a new tool from Bunch.ai that claims to do the same for free, I investigated right away. They call their analysis tool Emma. This morning I put the tools side by side to compare.

Personality Categorization

Crystal puts people into a DiSC(R) profile using characteristics they learn from your profiles and writing. You can also take a short test on their site.

DiSC(R) has four major categories then lots of sub-classifications and degrees of those categories. You could be highly dominant leaning toward Conscientious or a little Influential and a smidge Dominant, like I am. The advantage of Crystal’s use of this classification system is that it’s widely used and has documented characteristics that you can look up.

Emma uses a classification system that I couldn’t find anywhere else or understand from their site. I looked up a bunch of my colleagues, and Emma classified them into several categories:

My sister was The Guardian, which made sense because she’s a teacher. My husband was The Customer Advocate… again, logical because he’s a consumer protection lawyer (student loans and bankruptcy). But it lumped several us into Coach and Co-Creator, and their characteristics seemed to be similar.

Accuracy

This is kind of a tough category to judge, since I’m not really sure I 100% know my colleagues — or even myself — well enough to say if a profile is accurate. But I would think that the two tools would be somewhat in agreement about the personalities of each person in order to prove overall that this type of assessment works, right?

My Profile

  • Emma says…
    • Strength: “Organized, pragmatic and good and managing their time.”
    • What matters to them: “A culture where honest feedback is valued.”
    • Things to avoid: “A loose organizational structure.”
  • Crystal says…
    • What comes naturally to Beth: “Try to reduce or avoid structure and bureaucracy.”
    • What drains Beth: “When others nitpick details” and “Feeling micromanaged.”
    • In a meeting with Beth: “Send a reminder the day before” and “Be casual about scheduling a meeting”

These two lists of characteristics seem at odds. I’m not really good at organizing my time because I’m always going off on nerdy tangents… that’s what helps me find cool tools like these! It’s best to remind me a dozen times and put a meeting on my calendar because I tend to get distracted…. I always come through, but I really struggle with this.

Emma says I value honest feedback. Yeah… kinda. I like feedback to a point, and I always want honesty, but don’t nitpick or criticize. I’m a delicate flower… a snowflake, if you will.

Troy Malone’s Profile

Troy Malone is a friend and former boss. I tell the story about how I used to feel like I was a bad employee for Troy because he didn’t laugh at my jokes and he cut meetings short and he just didn’t seem like he liked me.

But years later when I looked him up on Crystal, I had a huge AHA moment. Troy’s personality was significantly different than mine, and what I had perceived as dislike was really just the way he operated more efficiently.

  • Emma says:
    • Troy is The Achiever, results-oriented and independent.
    • Potential weakness: “may move ahead without getting buy-in from the team.”
    • Things to avoid: “necessity of constant collaboration.”
  • Crystal says:
    • What comes naturally to Troy: “Pause a conversation to correct something inaccurate.”
    • What drains Troy: “Expressive displays of emotion.”
    • When speaking to Troy: “Don’t get offended if they end the conversation abruptly.”

You can probably see where we would have trouble working together unless we understood each other’s weaknesses and strengths, right? In addition, Troy’s personalities seemed to be the most aligned with the two systems.

Detail Level

Both of the tools have LinkedIn plugins that give you the personalities right there on the profile pages.

But with Emma, the little sliding bar is all you get. Crystal lets you click through to see a full profile with more personality traits and characteristics. They’ll even show you how your personality fits with the person.

Pricing

Right now Emma is 100% free, so even though you’re not getting a very deep or long or even maybe scientifically based analysis, you get a little extra glimpse that may help you communicate. Crystal is much better at this, but the functionality comes at a price. You get ten profile requests for free, then it’s $29 a month. They’ve played around with the pricing a lot over the years, and every once in a while they give me more credits to look people up for free.

Bottom Line

Crystal seems more accurate and more in depth, and it even has a writing coach for Gmail that pretty much sits on your shoulder to help you write better emails for your contacts’ personality types.

If I worked in sales or recruitment or managed a large team, I’d invest in Crystal. But since I do it more for curiosity than for sales or relationship manipulation… errr… I mean management, I will stick with the free Emma tool for now.

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