What LinkedIn is Good For

Ben Evans is annoyed with LinkedIn:

LinkedIn fails to hit absolutely basic product features that should have been in there 5 years ago, both on mobile and desktop. Instead, the core features get buried under successive layers of mediocre non-core products, the latest being a flood of me-too news aggregation that’s creeping through the product like ivy, and none of which can be properly configured, let alone turned off.

David Veldt says its creepy:

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while. In fact, it stems from something I noticed way back in August of last year. After digging for answers and even a couple attempts at contacting their customer support, I’ve concluded that LinkedIn is by far the creepiest social network. The primary reasons LinkedIn is the mustached, trench coat and wire frame glasses wearing mouth breather of the internet are the “People You May Know” and “People Also Viewed” features.

LinkedIn is the poster child for value chains: the jobs you pay LinkedIn to do work very well, and the stuff you get for free doesn’t. Specifically:

  • Recruiters pay for the right to scout and spam you
  • BD/Sales people pay for the ability to “cold contact” potential partners/sales leads

Use LinkedIn for these two functions, and maintain your profile only to the extent it fits these two scenarios (i.e. if you want to be recruited, update your profile).

If you want to market yourself, don’t depend on LinkedIn. Own it and show the world what you can do.

  • If you’re business person, blog. Regularly. Prove your expertise.1
  • If you’re a developer, publicize your GitHub profile. Document your talent.
  • If you’re a designer, build the most amazing portfolio website you can. Demonstrate your ability.

For too many years, I fell into the LinkedIn/resume trap, but after starting stratechery, I’ve received more offers for better positions with more interesting companies worth more money than I ever did on LinkedIn.

Oh, and for the record, I’d hire Ben Evans in a heartbeat.2

UPDATE: To be clear, I’m not blogging to get a job — that part has come as a total surprise. Rather, I blog because I really do love it and plan to do it for a long time. And, now that I think about it, maybe that has something to do with getting traction as well.

  1. I’m referring primarily to the tech industry here – PMs, PMMs, BD folks – and appreciate that blogging often isn’t possible for other types of roles. My bad for being so cavalier. Of course, many more traditional roles also have more traditional career progressions, so a resume works []
  2. To clarify, he’s not looking. However, he has an amazing blog and is one of the best Twitter follows I know. That’s his resume []