LinkedIn has become the robocall of the internet. Yet, it could be so much more.
Adobe announced it will be buying Figma for a whopping $20B. It made a desktop-centric creative tools company in one swoop a whole lot cooler and more relevant with the addition of a cloud-centric collaborative tool creators and designers love.
LinkedIn is in need for a similar infusion of fresh blood. After the purchase by Microsoft, the company focused on serving companies with products for recruiters and corporate learning. In the process, LinkedIn forgot about the users who put their data freely on their site.
My experience has degraded rapidly over the years. Rather than connecting with kindred spirits, the connections are now dominated by sales calls.
“Hi, your profile looks interesting to me. I like to meet and connect” is quickly followed up by “I have this thing to sell you” or “I have these engineers to offer you”. LinkedIn has become the RoboCall from the Internet. ”No Thank you.” Click.
With Slideshare, LinkedIn had a great community product, where users could profile themselves, and where you could learn freely on all kinds of topics. It since sold of this product and now promotes Linked Learning. At $27/month, LinkedIn Learning is still a good deal. However, that product misses the larger networking effect: discovery of interesting people and content, and sharing knowledge and profiling oneself.
It may be hard to change LinkedIn from within. After all, those enterprise-focused products surely must be bringing in a pretty penny. Similar to Adobe, with its cash generating desktop products, LinkedIn may need to look outside for a new spark that will please its “users”.
- Acquire LunchClub. This Tinder-for-professionals networking application pairs you with folks you may be interested in for a 30 minute video call. Many of my calls have gone much longer. I’ve kept in touch with several of the folks since. It would bring LinkedIn back to its roots, and offer something useful to its users.
- Reset LinkedIn Groups with a Reddit-for-Professionals. Hire community shepherds who manage the LinkedIn Groups.
- Provide better options to control the newsfeed. Start with providing the ability to turn off the marketing machine of your own company. Working at a small company, I am connected to almost everybody in the company. Every company post and employee repost shows up in my timeline. This is in addition to the internal marketing feed on the same subjects. I want to learn something new when I come to LinkedIn.
- Invest in building a mentorship product, partner with Enrich or Plato.
- Partner on mental health to provide online coaching sessions.
The big bucks may be in the B2B products. It is important not to forget that this is possible because all of us sharing freely our information. We want something useful in return.