Departing from my usual role as an observer and reporter, allow me to be a futurist. If you don’t want to read conjecture (that may turn out to be fake news in a few years), click to another blog now.
OK, you’re still reading and properly “on notice”.
I’ve always thought of LinkedIn as Google for finding people. It’s great for finding people:
“Pulse”, an app, started as a class project by two Stanford University graduate students during their spring 2010 semester. They created a business news aggregation engine that produced news you can use customized for each user (AKA business professionals). Tens of millions of users signed up. The following year (as documented in Wikipedia), “Pulse was selected as one of 50 apps in Apple’s App Store Hall of Fame and named one of TIME’s top 50 iPhone apps of the year.”
In spring of 2013, LinkedIn purchased Pulse for $90 million. Today, while the stand-alone app no longer exists, much of what you see when you’re signed in to LinkedIn is assembled specifically for you by the Pulse engine. Pulse considers your company, your industry, your job title, posts you comment on, what you “like”, people you follow, what they “like”, companies you follow, and more.
Quick tip: If you’re seeing content in LinkedIn that is not of value to you, click the ellipses (the three dots, as in “…”) to the right of the uninteresting post and select “hide this post” or totally “unfollow the author”. While you’re at it, click the option to “improve my feed”.
Around the time of the Pulse acquisition, another Stanford University alum (Bhavin Shah) was inventing what soon became my favorite app, Refresh. The company tagline was, “Don’t just meet people; connect with them.”
Refresh connected my LinkedIn account, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and calendar. Then, exactly 15 minutes before my next meeting, Refresh told me exactly what I needed to know about the person(s) I was about to meet. For example, it reminded about my 8:00 AM prospect and listed:
Yeah, don’t just meet people; connect with them.
On April 15, 2015, LinkedIn completed an acquisition of Refresh and shut down the app. In addition to it being Tax Day, I remember that day well because my favorite app ever was deep sixed. Behind the scenes, twelve of the fifteen engineers who built Refresh joined the LinkedIn team in Mountain View, CA.
Fast forward another couple of years and today Microsoft owns LinkedIn, which also means they own the Pulse and Refresh “anticipatory computing” technology.
Now, imagine that LinkedIn and the Pulse/Refresh technology connect to your Outlook contacts (or Mac or Google contacts), your email inbox, your task list (Microsoft’s previously acquired Wunderlist, another one of my favorite apps), your other social accounts, and your Outlook calendar (or Mac or Google calendar). With that, 15 minutes before every meeting imagine what you’ll learn about the various participants.
I am reminded about my Sandler sales training. Making a sale is a 6-step process. Step 1 is find points of rapport to build trust. Yes, I believe that LinkedIn of the not too distant future will do this in spades!
I’m my prediction is right, you’ll probably want to begin improving your LinkedIn connections today.