LinkedIn CEO Talks Social Network Success and the FutureBy: Sean Patterson - May 31, 2012
After warming up the crowd at D10 with a funny video making fun of modern brand marketing, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman sat down with All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher for an interview about where LinkedIn fits into the social landscape. Weiner responded in his normal way – by throwing out quotable slogans and business-speak faster than they can be comprehended. Weiner is a PR department’s dream CEO, and he would place well in a business-knowledge quiz tournament against other tech CEOs.
“Today LinkedIn is about connecting talent with opportunity at a massive scale,” said Weiner. Both Weiner and Hoffman believe LinkedIn is still running on the same vision as when it started, and has simply scaled to massive proportions. Weiner boasted that the social network has over 161 million members who use the site. Oh, and don’t think LinkedIn began as simply the “Facebook for professionals,” as Swisher called it. Hoffman was quick to point out that his company started before Facebook.
Even so, the comparison of LinkedIn and Facebook is one that is hard to overlook, and the topic of Facebook’s recent IPO inevitably came up. While Facebook is under fire for its IPO’s poor performance, LinkedIn saw their IPO as a huge success. Weiner did not gloat, though, and compared an IPO to a wedding. “A lot of people can remember what the weather was like on their wedding day. I don’t think it has a lot of bearing on the success or health of their marriage.” said Weiner. “For us, the IPO was a stepping stone.”
Hoffman mentioned that he believes the high number of current tech startups creates a noise that means company valuations are going “up in a way that is probably unsustainable,” and Weiner said that business fundamentals, not a successful IPO are what produces success. The CEO certainly has results to back up his claims: LinkedIn’s first-quarter financial results for 2012 blew past analyst expectations by more than doubling the company’s revenue since the first quarter of 2011.
Weiner also summarized what is in store for LinkedIn in the future. He stated that the company is working on simplifying its products and services, continuing to grow, and localizing its products using more languages. As an example of the company’s localization efforts, LinkedIn India has been slowly growing successful over a number of years and recently hit the milestone of 15 million members. Weiner also declared that LinkedIn will invest in monetization products and invest in “everyday value propositions,” which he explained to mean products such as the new LinkedIn iPad app.
You can watch the highlights from the interview below. The D10 conference is a yearly conference organized by The Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital website. The conference eschews presentations and marketing pitches in favor of one-on-one interviews with people at the forefront of technology.
(via All Things D)