Linked Into What Exactly?

As of late everything social is getting front page headlines across the media as many are announcing their earnings report. The dribble: “Better than expected, and the jump in stock price is showing they’re learning how to monetize.”

Well OK. However, exactly how are they monetizing? And is the jump in price a true jump? Or a short squeeze? Hard to tell either way.

If you listen to the analysts or the so-called “smart crowd” when these reports are given. One thing stands out to my ear when they begin to gloat on the spectacular increase in sales as the cause for the rise in earnings or other metrics.

I listen for one thing: Sales of what?

That might seem irrelevant to many; questioning the “what.” However, it can be a critical difference as to decipher what’s really going on.

Analysts, Wall St., and anyone else that’s hitched their wagons to the social media parade only care about one thing: Is it making money yet?

Like a child in the backseat on a road trip they will ask their version of the “Are we there yet?” just as often. (if not more)
And like that child – they also don’t care how; just as long as “it gets there.” You or I on the other hand might not be as impressed, or possibly might even get concerned with just “how” they’re getting there.

Let’s use LinkedIn® for this example. Everyone currently is clamoring about what a great business model, or great this or that. Fair enough, maybe it is – maybe it isn’t. However, entrepreneurs should be asking what does all this mean; and what are the opportunities if any?

Questions such as: What exactly is LinkedIn? As an entrepreneur can one make money from it? What does it offer in ways of putting actual legal tender into one’s bank account? For most the answer is one word – nothing.

Unless you’re a marketer (or data miner of sorts) and you want to pay LinkedIn for all that great data they’re collecting as to sift through, dice, and keep or sell to others. Just what’s in it for you?

And there lies a problem no one sees that I believe is coming down the pike that will catch many by surprise. And, for some many other consequences good or bad are unknown.

LinkedIn is basically a place to sport (or post) one’s resume online. In return people hope (and most pray) someone or some company will see their great achievements and offer them the job of a lifetime with 6 or 7 figures, corner office, and more. It wont. (Please save the emails about one’s friend – of a friend, that knew someone, that was told about this person, that now runs Amalgamated World Dynamics of the Universe, all because of posting there.)

Personally I don’t use LinkedIn. I cancelled early on and wrote about it when the founder made the public statement about people’s concerns with privacy (I’m paraphrasing) “People who are worried about privacy are old people.” Something akin with brushing any concerns aside as in one is stupid, or foolish to worry about such things. Well why would a company that makes its living by selling your data and info think any different?

They make money by selling all that great uploaded information to anyone and everyone that will pay. And, probably to people or places you wouldn’t want them to also. I don’t know whom exactly good or bad – but, do you?

So, if the head of the company says he doesn’t care, and thinks you’re a fool for caring – well I guess that solves any questions on who will or wont get your seemingly private information doesn’t it? I bet you feel better now since I reminded you – right?

Here’s how I look at all the great “connection” to be had there:

If you make all your information and job history public. Have you not just made available to everyone including the not so upstanding side of recruiters (aka: sleazy) access to all your info as to job search you?

In other words; to scrape your data off the site (or pay for it) and submit it to hundreds or even thousands of companies in hope of a hit without you even knowing or realizing it.

What happens in the event you get “that call” from one of these people saying: “Hey, we have an offer for you from XYZ inc. and you say great I’m interested! Only to get a call later that day from the actual XYZ inc. saying they saw your resume and would like to make you an offer. I’ll bet you just went: “Huh?” Which is exactly my point.

Guess what… You have a problem. Possibly legally, monetarily, or both with the added benefit of losing the offer all together because XYZ wants no part of this dilemma. (say lawyer or legal issue to a company and watch how fast they lose your number)

You see even though you didn’t give any recruiter permission to shop you exclusively your info is out there – publicly. There’s nothing but possible profit to be made if “they” get someone to bite. You may think: “So what, I’ll take the offer” that’s their problem about getting paid. Oh contraire.

Maybe you won’t pay but, sometimes it’s not about you. You might not but that doesn’t mean they won’t pursue payment from the employer through the courts. To them it’s a lottery ticket. To you – it might be your livelihood.

How do you think XYZ inc. will respond to Sleazeball Recruiters calling them for payment? Or worse, threatening court action if they feel they’re getting brushed off? Maybe they’ll call after you get hired and you luck out. Maybe – it’ll be before and you never get called back. Then what:
“Hello, Hi: is my cousin Vinny there?

This hasn’t become an issue currently. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t or wont.

For the average person the stakes might seem worth it. You’re a needle in a haystack for someone (or sleaze ball) trying to keep track as to if they can lay claim they had anything to do with you getting hired somewhere. However for the high 6 figure executive? Well now – the stakes change here don’t they?

One must assume this crowd will be monitored a little more closely as sleaze ball’s love to watch bigger stake races. And, if all of a sudden such controversy erupts; what happens to all the current users of LinkedIn if overnight its realized posting there could hinder rather than enhance a possible job?

Not saying it could or would. However, to not think of such possibilities ever playing out and there implications, let alone the speed at which they could take place – is incomprehensible in my way of thinking for entrepreneurs that are serious in today’s marketplace.

Let’s look at few more questions or points:

In today’s environment; the more people who are out of work – the more people will post there. So what happens if the job market turns around and things get better? Does the site gain or lose users?

What happens if just ONE headline story as I described hits the media headlines? You think its a back page story? Or – a headline above the fold, juicy tale of woe to help already eyeball starved media outlets attract readers? Then what happens?

Here’s something I know first hand from real people. Every single entrepreneur or business owner I know has either never visited the site again after signing up. Or, stopped responding to invitations of linking because; not one of these ever resulted in a worth while business opportunity. Ever!

I know some that have posted directly onto their info the equivalent of “No collaboration offers need apply.” Because that’s all they’ve ever received. Offers of collaboration that resemble offers more in line with letters from a Nigerian Prince. When they ask me what I did with my account and I say: “I deleted it.” the most common response I get is: “Yeah, I think I’ll do the same next time I remember.”

Only for not remembering is their info still there. Remember, I’m speaking here about entrepreneurs. Not job seeking hopefuls.

Far too many I feel use it in hopes they’ll hit the lottery.
The true entrepreneur hopes they’re not the winning ticket.

Here’s a link I feel is a credible source on this topic and might give more context to my argument. (Ask The Headhunter® Nick Corcodilos)

Although we come at this from different angles, its his insights that makes one view the possibilities in lights we may not have thought of at first glance. And as entrepreneurs sometimes we don’t have the luxury of a second chance or look.

We need to make sure our lenses are as focused or as clean as possible so we can see opportunity – or trouble – before others.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr