I had a great evening yesterday with some of the LinkedIn staff and fellow members, celebrating LinkedIn reaching their million member mark in the UK. That is a lot of people! It was nice to be invited along and an amazing opportunity to meet and talk with Dan Nye (CEO), Patrick Crane (VP Marketing) and other members of the LinkedIn team. A truely excellent bunch of people. I came away with the sense of a brilliant company with a great vision, a wonderful set of values and a team that is passionate about what they do. I got the chance to meet some fellow LinkedIn users and had some inspiring conversations – note to self: It is good to get out and meet new people, there are some amazing people in the world. The details of the conversations fall under NFYB – you just had to be there. I hope someone posts some pictures (LinkedIn has a blog too) and that they make this a regular thing!
I strongly believe that LinkedIn and similar social uses of technology have the ability to transform the business world. The Internet is increasingly creating an indelible record of all that we do – for better, or for worse. There have been various media stories about how social networking sites have been used by employers, I am also sure there are various stories about how they have been used by employees too! The fact is, as well as becoming slightly famous, it is equally easy to become completely infamous.
Today there is a window of time where people can pretend to be something that they aren’t, be it in a virtual world like second life or by misleading people in the real world. That window is closing. By their own figures, LinkedIn have nearly two thousand British professionals signing up everyday, roughly a million people a month worldwide. That means we aren’t far away from being able to check out the person we just met. We can find someone that we know that used to know them or work with them. We will have to get used to greater transparency in life. On the negative side, that might be a loss of privacy, but on the positive side it means that people will be obligated to live out their lives with integrity. That is a big challenge.
Once again communications is revolutionizing communication. Integrity leads to trust. Trust leads to openness and openness leads to powerful communication.