E527: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner on the 5 markers of great product and what’s next for the premiere professional platform

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Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn since 2008, has grown 32m members to 347m, $78m in revenue to $2.2b, and 338 employees to 6k. Prior to LinkedIn, Jeff lead various product teams at Yahoo for more than seven years, most recently as EVP of Yahoo’s Network Division where he led a team of 3,000+ employees and managed products reaching 500m+ consumers. Jeff sits down with Jason at the Launch Festival 2015 and reveals the biggest driver of LinkedIn’s revenue (along with the other area that has been the fastest growing product in the company’s history), how members can use the publishing platform to increase personal opportunities, why Jeff took over the product function, what five attributes make a great product, what it was like working at Yahoo, why he doesn’t want to buy The Wall Street Journal, and what the future holds for this powerhouse company.

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  • Daniel Taibleson

    Really amazing to hear someone in such a powerful position (with years of experience) not only reaffirm the importance of creating a world class product, but outline his 5 most important characteristics of what comprises “world class.”

    Jeff’s energy and passion for the product is contagious!

  • Adeel

    Super awesome interview! Towards the end, Jeff talks about being able to connect the right kind of talent on an almost real-time basis. Based on my experience (foolish enough to do an interest based social network last year), I think that instant and on-demand connections and the ability to collaborate could be a key component of any social network in the professional and crowdsourcing category. However, is it enough that the users are provided with the ability to be able to connect instantaneously? If not, then: How do you enrich that experience? So imagine, connections and groups that band and disband, based on the need (at the time). This could be related on an individual level and also a group level. I mentioned based on the need, because that is the most plausible reason why anyone would want to connect with someone else on a real-time basis on a professional social network. So the construct that has to be enabled in order to provide a rich user experience, is to answer the following questions beforehand and do a really good job at answering them. 1) Why should I connect with this individual or why are they even coming up on my feed. To state the obvious, this is what the design of the algorithm should be focused on. 2) How can this individual help me in meeting my objectives right now. 3) What kind of work has this individual performed in the past. Something tangible that I could look at and then make a decision based on what I see 4) A quick and easy mechanism for selecting the right kind of candidate and bringing them in the pool 5) Selection process. 6) Invite to connect and tying it with a Project/goal/objective. 7) The list goes on.

    From the list above, items 1-6 could use a lot more innovation. From the design perspective (how things function and how they look in this respect), I think that http://www.about.me is doing a pretty awesome job.

    For Linkedin, I would personally focus on a simplification of design and on the core features. Because it sounds like there is may be a slight shift in focus. From just connecting individuals to connecting individuals based on individual and group needs? The idea professional social network would borrow design elements from about.me (front end). Some ability to be able to curate content and contacts in lists (Twitter). And the connectivity would be powered through something like clarity.fm (Inmail, text based messaging may become outdated in 2 to 3 years of a time or less). The overall intent would be to design a social network for professionals that is more open and democratic. Something that can be a true enabler for networking.

    Overall, I can certainly see strong growth prospects for Linkedin for the next 7 to 8 years. They’ve got the first movers advantage and will continue riding the momentum. But the question that Linkedin should also be asking is how the nature of work is changing and how will their platform change in order to remain in sync with the changes occurring.

    Great interview. Thanks for posting!