Tag Archives: LinkedIn

When did it get so complicated?

This should be the logo for the new LinkedIn

In January LinkedIn released its new user interface. It’s now four months later and the user interface is still as shocking as its January release. Some of the best, unique, features of LinkedIn such as ‘who connects me to this person’ are hidden from view.

Do you want to refuse to link to someone because you don’t know them? The “I don’t know this person” notification appears out of immediate eye focus, so a. it’s hard to see and b. you need to either move the mouse (or your finger on the mobile version).

And the speed of the site is appallingly slow, with that irritating loading icon on every screen. LinkedIn owner’s, Microsoft, might as well show a rotating hourglass for nostalgia. Continue reading When did it get so complicated?

Contact me (20 different ways)

This is how I feel when I get into the office (minus the Blackberry) - Source: OU.
This is how I feel when I get into the office (minus the Blackberry) – Credit: OU on Flickr

This post coincides with some thoughts that I’d been collecting about communication methods and was finally provoked with an article in the FT about Coca Cola and JP Morgan removing voicemail from employees’ phones.

I seem to have too many communication methods, spilling over between my work and personal life. Each morning I get into work and go through a process of attempting to keep up with all these methods via a myriad of smartphone apps, PC applications and web browser tabs.

And it’s getting worse. Last week Mrs H went on a holiday abroad while I led a Scout camp in the New Forest. (Mrs H likes camping, but is strictly a good-weather camper, and we had the worst weather during the camp that I can remember). Before departing for a flight to a sunny destination she asked me to install WhatsApp.

I’ve always abstained from WhatsApp because my kids all use it and I don’t want a zillion more notifications from them while I’m at work. And besides, I have enough alternative communication methods for people, including my kids, to reach me. Continue reading Contact me (20 different ways)

Happy Tenth Birthday to YouTube

This weekend was Valentine’s Day, and it was also the tenth anniversary for YouTube. On 15 February 2005, the domain name youtube.com was first registered.

Today, YouTube has more than 1 billion users, and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views – and this is growing 50% each year. 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

20 months after the domain name was registered, the site became incredibly successful and the founders Chad and Steve sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion.

Continue reading Happy Tenth Birthday to YouTube

LinkedIn creating a Global Economic Graph

By far and away, my favourite social network is LinkedIn. I respect LinkedIn because its user base sees LinkedIn’s core usage so differently. Some see it as a recruitment tool. Others see it as a sales tool. Others see it as a high quality content tool.

LinkedIn has transformed recruitment and networking. When was the last time you spoke to someone and they said “If only you’d have asked me if I knew someone at ABC company? I know Fred, and he works as a blah blah.” These conversations don’t happen any longer because users can go to LinkedIn, type in ABC company, and see how they know people there – sometimes former colleagues work there, sometimes you know someone there without realising. Continue reading LinkedIn creating a Global Economic Graph

The Free trials business model

This is the sixth post of the monetisation series, and is about how Free trials can be used by large digital audiences.

Free trials should not be confused with a Freemium offering. The Freemium model is a long-term model which offers customers something for nothing, and an opportunity to buy something more for a price.

Free trials is usually a temporary offer (otherwise it wouldn’t be a trial!).

Continue reading The Free trials business model

LinkedIn’s future looking good

LinkedIn have had a third quarter and with quarterly revenues up 81% to $252m, they are set to have annual revenues of $1bn.

It’s still staggering how on revenues of $252 million they still only make less than 1% profit of $2.3m, although being fair to them, their EBITDA is $56m – 22% of revenue.

Their income is split as follows:

  • 55% Hiring Solutions (recruitment)
  • 25% Marketing Solutions (advertising)
  • 20% Premium Subscriptions (sales and headhunting)

This is a healthy mix – I’m still concerned how many Internet businesses are based on an advertising model. It works so well for some (Google), not necessarily for others (Facebook) and I prefer mixed models where it’s closer to a freemium or retail model (Spotify, Amazon and LinkedIn).

LinkedIn have successfully implemented the freemium model perfectly – most users can get value from the site without paying a penny. Users who want more information about other people’s profile, or want to contact people they’re not connected to, or look at who’s been looking at their own profile, can upgrade.

LinkedIn has become synonymous with Internet based recruitment and B2B business networking. Two thirds of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from the US, so there’s still huge opportunity in Europe and Asisa (22% and 7% respectively). To continue the B2B toolset acquisition, I would expect them to buy an events organiser such as EventBrite.

Fake reviews


There was a great article in the Sunday Times last week about fake reviews on the Internet. Some senior figures at well-known book publishers have been writing positive reviews on Amazon and other sites using false names, and were uncovered by a Sunday Times investigation.

I don’t have a problem with the fake reviews – we’ve had product packaging for several years that hasn’t been entirely honest. And how many times have you been to see a film that received fantastic press reviews that you thought was a waste of time? I do have a problem with using a fake name, especially on Amazon where you can use a nickname instead.

Walk along any market and listen to the traders explain how their products, whether it’s fruit, clothing or pretty much anything else, are the best on the market.

It’s natural human instinct to promote one’s own work, especially where sales are involved. If I wrote a book, I’d definitely ask friends and family to review the product online, and I would hope that those closest to me would be more favourable.

This is one of the issues I have with LinkedIn recommendations. The only people who write the recommendations are friends and colleagues who will always give a highly biased view of an individual. People who recommend others on LinkedIn don’t include any of the negative aspects of the person they’re reviewing, so I don’t see why we expect any difference from a publisher who is trying to sell a book.


2011 favourites

Last year I wrote about my 2010 favourites and it was one of my most viewed posts of the year. So I thought I’d repeat it for 2011 too – and there’s a clear theme running through these favourites!

Favourite new gadget

One of the things I’ve really got involved with in 2011 has been cycling. It started in February when I was out of breath going up a local (yet very long and steep) hill, then got to June where a group of friends rode the BHF London to Brighton. I then started riding into work (13 miles, from North West London to the City). 

Three rear wheels later, thanks to the Holloway Road, I decided to go for a new bike. My £27 eBay investment (see below) had had its day after almost 1,800 miles between May and December. 


However my favourite gadget wasn’t the new bike, it was the base layer clothing. Base layers have been around for a few years and despite some literally freezing motorcycle journeys, I hadn’t used one until cycling this winter. They are fantastic and if you get cold easily, try wearing them under your clothes. There you go, a favourite gadget that doesn’t run out of batteries!

Favourite book

Without a doubt, it was Lance Armstrong’s autobiography. It’s a very easy read that is very emotional about someone’s battle with cancer, from denial through to winning the Tour de France afterwards. Thoroughly recommended.

In second place was Alan Sugar’s autobiography which was several times longer than Armstrong’s, but just as enjoyable. 

Favourite iPhone app

I’ve started using Barclays Boris bikes to travel around the City if the meeting is only one or two tube stops from the office. So the BarclaysBikes app is really handy, showing how many bikes and spaces are at a specific location. The AR (Augmented Reality) view is genuinely useful to find the nearest bike.

A close second is the updated LinkedIn app. The previous version never seemed to work without wifi. The latest app is excellent for looking up contacts after a meeting or even in the middle of a meeting when we’re discussing a mutual ex-colleague.

For outside work, the Geocaching app is excellent. It shows the three nearest geocaches and makes a spare hour disappear quicker than you can say “Where on earth would someone have hidden it around here?”

Favourite award

Without a doubt, I was extremely proud of the team to receive to a Sitecore Site of the Year award this year for our work with Cadbury.



Review of my 2011 predictions


Back in January I made 12 predictions for digital media for 2011. I did the same for 2010 – i.e. I made the predictions and then analysed them in December, and faired well. How did I do this year?

1. Rapid demise of Flash

Bang on here. We’re witnessing HTML5 rapidly overtaking Flash, mainly because users want to view sites on their iOS devices, which don’t support Flash. Flash for mobiles has been dropped in favour of Adobe Air – the problem with Air (an irony in the product name) is that it’s too heavy for downloading over mobile: Adobe Air apps are very large. HTML5 is both very powerful and not linked to a specific vendor, which is exactly the type of technology web developers embrace quickly.

Prediction rating: 10/10

2. Local local local

The use of Google on mobile devices is increasingly rapidly, and one of Google’s most powerful functions is to provide local results on mobile devices. Facebook Check In and FourSquare will continue competing in the future, providing more relevant functionality which is only good for end consumers.

Prediction rating: 10/10

3. LinkedIn to IPO

Yes, LinkedIn IPO’d in the summer at a market capitalisation of around $6bn. At the end of the first day of trading, shares were selling at over $94. They are now worth just under $65. The actual variance has been from $55 to $122. Personally I think the future is very bright for LinkedIn, as long as it sticks to it’s core, professional-only values and steers cleer of Facebook.

Prediction rating: 10/10 

4. More “paywalls” will increase the expectations of having to pay for content

I predicted that we’d see at least six mainstream publications start charging for online content. What was very difficult to predict was that this was going to be made possible via the iPad. The iPad has been the saviour of global newspapers by offering a simple charging model for content owners. Many newspaper websites are still free, but most apps charge for content. The main point is that user now expect to pay for content, but it took the shift to a new platform to illustrate this.

Prediction rating: 8/10 

5. Financial Services move into social networks

Banks have had other things to worry about this year, and whilst many are dipping their toes into the water with Twitter and Facebook, I’m not aware of any doing it particularly well. Searching for the popular high street banks on Facebook returns a rather fragmented list. I expect this to change in the near future. 

Prediction rating: 2/10 


6. Facebook to follow Compuserve even more

Try and name a brand that isn’t on Facebook. In January I said that we should expect a Skype messaging style interface and in July, we got Skype inside Facebook. I predicted we’d have a billion users by the end of the year, although this is unlikely to come true because in September, Facebook announced they’d broken through 800 million users – still an amazing feat. 

Prediction rating: 8/10

7. A clear leader will emerge in Interactive TV

Interactive TV is now firmly called Smart TV, and no, a clear leader hasn’t emerged yet. The remotes all look different, and operating systems are different, and with the latest XBox release, Microsoft is putting up a decent fight to use your games console as the Interactive device.

Prediction rating: 0/10

8. Rapid rise in CPC

I said that CPC rates would rise, and noted the cost of some terms. Here they are:


Cost in
December 2011

Cost in
December 2012

ebook  £0.55


sandwich  £1.00


drink  £1.00


laptop   £1.25


paper  £0.75


I estimated costs would increase at least 50% over the next year however they have mostly gone up a much smaller amount, with the exception of the highly competitive ebook market.

Prediction rating: 2/10

9. A $50 A5 eReader

I was $10 out – Walmart are selling an eReader for under $60. Bearing in mind there was nothing available for less than $120 at the start of the year, this demonstrates how mainstream eReaders have become. 

Prediction rating: 6/10

10. App stores will decentralise, leading to confused customers (again)

The term app store has become abused. Now everyone has an app store whereas a year ago their product had an ‘add-on’. If you go into a car showroom I’d half expect the optional extras to be available from an app-store! Fortunately the market hasn’t become decentralised as predicted – to the benefit of end users.

Prediction rating: 0/10

11. The economy will continue to splutter

Obviously this has come true. I predicted that companies would need to start demonstrating clear revenues, including Twitter, and this has materialised as $140million this year.

Prediction rating: 10/10

12. Chrome to far exceed Firefox market share

Perhaps ‘far exceed’ is an exaggeration, however in early December Chrome overtook Firefox for the first time, and it’s here to stay. I’m a big fan of Chrome for a number of reasons (all the settings are stored centrally “in the cloud”, it auto updates seamlessly and it’s very fast), and hardly use Firefox any longer.

Prediction rating: 8/10

So there we have it. Overall I was reasonably accurate with the predictions. I’m working on 2012 predictions, which feels more difficult at this time. Maybe it’s the economy/ general outlook. Any help would be appreciated!

Photo courtesy of lacomj on Flickr

The future of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+


I haven’t written about social media that much recently after a few readers inside and outside of work criticised this blog for talking about it too much. Lo and behold I was in a meeting recently and asked “I don’t see where Google+ fits in with Facebook and LinkedIn, what’s Google’s strategy?”, of which the answer was worth recapping here.

Facebook background

Facebook started as a platform to link people (“friends”) together. As people used it more and more, messages became more popular, and then businesses started moving in, realising the power of recommendations between social groups.

The problem Facebook has is that everything on Facebook is (or at least feels) quite personal – not private per se, and not necessarily rude, but the kind of stuff I don’t want my business colleagues, customers or suppliers to be reading. I don’t bring in printed photo albums into meetings to share with them, so I don’t want them looking at my holiday snaps on Facebook for the last few years either.

So when I’m investigating a new website for a customer, and I see a ‘Facebook Connect’ signup process, 99% of the time I avoid using it, and fill in the forms separate to Facebook.

One final note on Facebook – we all have tens if not hundreds of “friends” on Facebook. Think about the question that if you wanted to categorise them all into groups, such as “close friends”, “acquaintances”, “work colleagues” and so on, how long would it take? Hold the answer…

LinkedIn background

LinkedIn started as a platform to connect business people together. There are two main reasons for this.

The first is as a job hunting tool; it’s a huge job board full of candidates. It’s one of those perfect balances between supply and demand – lots of people looking for a job and lots looking for a candidate. 

The second use is as a sales tool, literally to network with contacts to find out who works within a specific organisation. It’s the ultimate tool to stop the “If only you would have told me you wanted to know someone who works for Company Y, I’d have told you” conversation from happening after spending hours of cold calling.

LinkedIn has stuck to its core focus since day one. It’s remained targeting professional users and staying away from the social (traditional definition) side.

Google+ background

Google have some key advantages with their social network. On the one hand, they have a fantastically high number of users who log in – some 260 million Gmail account users.

As a quick aside – this shows how undervalued Yahoo! are, with 310 million email users. Hurry up, buy Yahoo! and convert these huge traffic figures into massive revenue.

Back to Google+ again – Google has tried and failed a few times (which gives it an immediate experience advantage) to create a social network, and has now launched Google+.

And due to the maturity of the web, and especially some HTML coding techniques, has managed to create an environment which from day one allowed users to setup all their contacts into distinct groups. I asked the question above of how long it would take you to organise your “friends” into groups – and I haven’t met anyone who can be bothered to do so.

So Google has cracked the Facebook (social) and LinkedIn (professional) overlap. It’s very easy to have content which is only visible by social contacts and/or professional contacts. It also has dozens of brands committed to using the platform as well. And don’t forget – advertising agencies spend billions of pounds a year with Google’s advertising platforms. Having the agencies on board from day one is a major advantage.


In truth I think all three networks are here for the medium to long term. They are not mutually exclusive, and there are tools to link them together. I think brands should be building apps and brand pages for each of the networks –obviously adopting a different approach for LinkedIn compared to the other two.

Photo courtesy of US Embassy New Zealand on Flickr