The idea for LinkedIn was born in 2002 from what Reid Hoffman learned as a co-founder of Socialnet, an online dating site. He realized the online world needed the creation and management of one’s personal brand to distinguish themselves from others on the Internet. He felt the professional life was the most important facet of online identity and saw the need for a site on which to cultivate a professional persona.
Hoffman and Jeff Weiner, CEO, never wavered in leading LinkedIn over obstacles and propelling the company to its current state of success. Initial growth of the online network was one of the first and biggest challenges to the company’s viability. Critics stated that the member base needed to be large to create network effects and value for members, and viewed building that network to be a huge hurdle.
Through innovation, utilizing their own networks and hard work, memberships began to increase. Once the address book feature was created, allowing members to import their e-mail address books and send each contact an invitation to join LinkedIn, membership growth was sustained.
When Jeff Weiner joined as CEO in 2008, the network grew even further. Under Weiner’s leadership, LinkedIn has rapidly expanded globally and nearly tripled its membership base from 33 million to 100 million members across the globe.
The value of LinkedIn’s business model is driven by a proprietary technology platform which processes, filters and indexes a vast and growing amount of user-generated content, including updates to members’ profiles, connections, activities and recommendations. The more data members share, the more valuable the network becomes.
To further grow the business, the company plans to keep growing membership and expand its international presence through registration optimization, search engine optimization, integration with other applications and enhancements to communications capabilities. The company also plans to expand to more international members by making the platform available in more languages and further developing its brand.
HOW TO REACH: LinkedIn Corp., (650) 687-3600 or www.linkedin.com