My Wish List for LinkedIn

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Kurt Network

Most people I’m connected to on LinkedIn (4,448 to be exact) know that I’m a pretty active user. I was the 54,622nd person to join LinkedIn, so I’ve been around almost since the beginning.  If you want you can find your member number as it is the number embedded in your LinkedIn profile URL (after “id=”).

When I first joined, there wasn’t a lot you could do, but LinkedIn has done an amazing job of innovating while growing to over quarter billion users as of this past June. That’s why it’s still my go-to tool for staying connected and engaged with my network, and increasingly, my main destination for consuming business content.

I love LinkedIn; still there are a few things that I think could make it even better. So, just in time for Christmas, here’s my wish list for LinkedIn:

1. Mobility. I log about half a million miles on the road every year, so this is number one for me. I’d love to see more mobile-specific applications to help us make our networks physical as well as virtual.

I’d especially love a Foursquare-like app for professionals that tells you who in your network is nearby so you can connect. I’m trying an app called here on biz that does exactly that. It works great– but only with the people who are on it. It will be a long time before here on biz has the kind of critical mass that could make this app really useful.

2. Communicating best practices. When you innovate as rapidly as LinkedIn has, you need a single destination where people can go to see everything that’s new and learn how to use it. As an unofficial evangelist for LinkedIn, I find it hard to know where to point people to get help. I read a lot of best practices blog posts from social media experts but I’d really like LinkedIn to be more proactive about communicating all the innovations as well as their own recommended best practices. And, as long as I’m asking, can you do it in multiple languages?

3. Keep investing in CardMunch. Back in 2011, LinkedIn bought CardMunch, a service that scans your business cards and converts them into contacts so you can easily invite people you’ve met to connect on LinkedIn. I used to recommend CardMunch to everyone, until I found out that LinkedIn is no longer investing in it.

In my part of the world, Asia-Pacific Japan, the culture of the business card is deeply ingrained. You can’t just bump phones and exchange information like I do in the U.S. with an app called Bump. That’s way too informal. The V-card is also popular in Western cultures, but business cards are going to be in APJ for a very long time. So, how about adding translation capabilities, so when I’m in China or Japan I know who I’m meeting? A phonetic pronunciation guide to go along with that would be nice too. . .

4. Backwards compatibility. Go ahead and snicker those of you in the U.S., but Blackberry is still very popular in APJ. In fact, over 22% of BlackBerry users are in APJ, which means there are more users in APJ than North America and Blackberry is number 2 or 3 in Indonesia and the  Philippines. In just those two countries there are over 350 million people, which is more than the U.S. population. Don’t just make all the cool upgrades for the new generation of smart phones. Make sure they’re backwards and forwards compatible.

5. More languages. Yes, English is the common language of business but if you really want to win hearts and minds, use the native language. The platform is in multiple languages, but not all of the support is, and not all of the apps are. At least make everything available in Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, English, and one or two others. Bahasa is really important in the Indonesian marketplace. Again, we’re talking about very large numbers of people—with 237 million people Indonesia is world’s fourth largest country.

6. Analytics. I sell analytics so maybe I have more of a bent for this than the typical user but there aren’t enough analytics for me. LinkedIn could create a whole new revenue stream if they started offering analytic capabilities to premium users.

With over 4,000 connections, I need easy ways to segment my network and personally curate my messages. How do people from different segments interact with my posts by clicking, liking or commenting on them? I’m trying to add value to my network, so understanding what they’re consuming and what they like is important to me so I can start tailoring my content.  Here is a cool way to visualize my network from ProInsights.

Kurt ProInsight

7. Influence scoring. I’d love to see who are the 20 people that influence me the most, or vice-versa. Or, who are the most influential people in my network or in my connections’ networks?

The way you could potentially calculate it is by measuring how are you contributing through things like referrals, posts, likes and comments. It could also measure your network and the strength of the people in it. It would be kind of like a Klout score, but specific to LinkedIn.

8. Native buffering capability. I was using Pulse before LinkedIn bought it in 2011. I love that I can see all the blogs and periodicals I read from one location. When I like an article, it’s great that I can immediately post it, but unfortunately I do most of my reading between 10:00 to

11:30 at night or first thing in the morning Singapore time. My network is global, so having the ability to buffer my posts for later distribution would help me use Pulse better. What I do now is, I find something I like and I email it to myself and then I go back and use bufferapp.

9. Behave more like a platform company. LinkedIn is already a platform, but they need to better define what they want to be and what they don’t. Build the apps for everything you want to be. Whatever you’re not going to be, let that be extended by partners. Support the partner ecosystem and have a way for people to find those extensions, such as LinkedIn certified partner solutions.

LinkedIn has delivers a lot of value for me, and has since the very beginning when all it offered was a way for me to find people and extend my network. Now my goal is to stay active and engage with my network at scale. Anything LinkedIn can do to make that easier would be welcome in my Christmas stocking.

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