Hello everyone and welcome to a new episode. After two weeks of discussing Pods we are moving onto pastures new. This week I want to focus attention on the continued development of #LinkedInLocal with LocalX.
I was lucky enough to get to attend the launch party of LocalX in London recently and wanted to share my thoughts on this new initiative and also why I think LinkedIn have really missed an opportunity with LinkedIn Local.
More of that later but first…..
Interesting Stuff I Saw This Week
OK, I’m obviously VERY short of anything interesting to report this week!
Find the most promiscuous posters you follow.
New LinkedIn Features
Thanks to Mark Lee who sent in this interesting message about his experience with LinkedIn pods.
LocalX and the missed opportunity of #LinkedInLocal
I knew that this would be a big announcement about the future of #LinkedInLocal but I had no idea what they would announce.
What is LocalX?
It’s a website designed to help #LinkedInLocal organisers manage their events. It’s not fully operational yet but you can get a good feel for it and read about it here. Most #LinkedInLocal events are currently held on Eventbrite but this is costly and not ideally suited to their needs. LocalX will provide a free platform to host the organisation of their events and collect fees (if applicable) from attendees.
The core principle of #LinkedInLocal has always centred around the opportunity for online communities and contacts to meet offline – LocalX provides the facility to organise that and it doesn’t have to be limited to LinkedIn contacts and communities. There is nothing to stop people organising Twitter tweetups, Snapchat meetups and Facebook group gatherings via LocalX. The founders very much see #LinkedInLocal as being just the start.
And that, for me, is the wasted opportunity, not for LocalX but for LinkedIn.
I posted this video about the event and my thoughts the next day.
I totally understand where Alex, Anna, Ryan and Manu are coming from. This is the right direction for them to go, given the lukewarm reaction of LinkedIn to #LinkedInLocal but I can’t help thinking that LinkedIn have massively dropped the ball here.
LinkedIn, it seems to me, still see themselves as a company that make and sell products. This is true but they make products on the back of a community of real people – they call us members but we are not treated as ‘members’ of anything, just a resource that facilitate LinkedIn’s monetization objectives.
This is a flawed strategy because, without us (their ‘members’) they would be nothing. Their whole business model is underpinned by normal people, an online community. The principal behind #LinkedInLocal is that is cements and further grows those online relationships – this makes LinkedIn stronger.
LinkedIn publicly say they support #LinkedInLocal but in truth, it’s just individual employees who show support. The corporate brand LinkedIn has done nothing to support the growth of #LinkedInLocal. The result of this is that the founders have felt the need to expand their offering to other online communities and I believe they wouldn’t have gone down that route had Linkedin provided more support.
I’m not suggesting that they run #LinkedInLocal (they would probably mess it up!) but they needed to realise that this could be an important initiative to further support the growth and long-term stability of the community of LinkedIn users worldwide.
As a Liverpool FC supporter, I have seen a similar situation occur. A Football club (owned by a large US enterprise) that aims to make money but it’s monetization model depends on a community – the fans. The owners (previous and current) didn’t really understand this and as a result, the fans felt distant from the owners, a real ‘them and us’ tension grew over time culminating in a walkout at a match a few years ago when the club had tried to implement a ticket price increase. Fans had been consulted but not really listened to, a mindset of fans being an annoying necessity was prevalent amongst the owners (something I believe LinkedIn are guilty of now).
Enter Jurgen Klopp, a world class manager who immediately impressed the owners with his ability to create a great team ‘we are all in it together’ mentality. Jurgen comes from German football where the club and fans typically have a much closer, collaborative relationship. His influence inspired a change in attitude from the owners who started to do more and more for the fans – this eventually resulted in the club organising and financing a massive fan park in Kiev for the champions league final earlier this year. Everyone that went was full of praise for the club and the investment and effort they had put into making the champions league final a day to remember – we lost the match but most fans still state that it was one of the best days of their lives. The club is together – players, owners and fans…..all moving in one direction.
I see massive similarities with LinkedIn, a business that relies on a community of people and supporting #LinkedInLocal would have been a fantastic way to show that they really care about their members.
Here’s what LinkedIn should have done;
- Allowed #LinkedInLocal events to use their logo and branding, possibly even created a new #LinkedInLocal local that incorporates the main LinkedIn logo
- Employ at least one full-time member of staff whose job would be to work with the #LinkedInLocal team to ensure the continued success and growth of the movement
- Provide IT support and financial assistance to help the creation and maintenance of a new website for #LinkedInLocal hosts
- Provide location support for events worldwide. Offering their premises where appropriate or using their leverage to do a deal with a multisite location provider that can be used worldwide by hosts.
- Provide a link to the #LinkedInLocal site through LinkedIn.com via the ‘Work’ menu
A few people have asked me this question “Why do I need to organise a #LinkedInLocal event through LocalX. What is to stop us just setting one up ourselves?”
The answer is nothing……but why wouldn’t you use LocalX? The reality is that wouldn’t even be a question if LinkedIn had supported #LinkedInLocal in the ways detailed above.
In summary, I’m fully supportive of LocalX. I think the team are doing a great job and I’m sure they will go from strength to strength. As for LinkedIn….I’m afraid this is just another example of the hypocrisy of their mantra ‘Members first” as well as being a bad business decision.
Question from Alex;
That’s all for this week.
If you have any questions, suggestions for topics to cover or people to interview, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail by clicking on the orange ‘ask me a question’ button on the right of this page.
Have a great week.