Saturday, January 20, 2007

Linkedin and bathroom stall walls

Someone posted an interesting question, which might reflect how many people feel about the overtly public aspect of Linkedin user information. My answer below.


I was at a networking event yesterday and as usual was trading business cards and finding out if the other person was on LinkedIn or not. Most were and those that weren't (except for one) asked me to send them an invite. That one person firmly had the impression that joining LinkedIn reminded them of putting their name and phone number on the bathroom stall wall. I am interested in how you would have responded to that impression. Thanks.


Well, Linkedin is interactive, so when you post something (such as on this Q&A board), people can respond to you. If you write a message on the bathroom stall wall, you usually do not expect a written, thoughtful reply. Nobody ever goes, "Wait, I gotta go to the bathroom and check my messages!" But seriously, beyond the interactivity, there is also the legitimate credibility or transparency: most people can see your profile, and also WHERE you work. This should reassure people, especially women since in their case, there is the security issue which is rightly at the top of their minds. Thanks for posting this question, it raises a lot of important issues!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Make a living or make a FORTUNE?

A leader once said that "a single idea of genius is more profitable and powerful than a lifetime of meticulous office work."

Jim Rohn, the best-selling author and motivational speaker, put it this way: "Success is something you attract by the person you become. Work hard on your job and you will make a living. Work hard on yourself and you will make a FORTUNE."

This is why I encourage people to use Linkedin proactively and strategically, as if their lives depended on it. Indeed, Linkedin can be an instrument of economic and financial liberation, IF (and this is a big IF) you know HOW to use it strategically.

For example, you can learn AMAZING things and acquire high-value knowledge by reading the answers of top executives and respected authors/consultants in the Answers section of Linkedin.

Of course, you can also answer questions, but it's better to proceed cautiously. Many answers I have read are incomplete, disorganized, or empty of real knowledge. The risk is that it could damage your reputation in the Linkedin community.

So how does Linkedin enable you to heed Rohn's advice of "working hard on yourself"?

Well, for one thing, Linkedin forces you to write a CLEAR description of what your career is all about. A great many people do not write a clear (let alone compelling or memorable) description of who they are in the profile section.

Self-knowledge is critical to effective networking. If you don't know who you are (I mean "professionally," not "existentially"), then you cannot be confident when you network. As a result, others who meet you also CANNOT be confident about you.

Here's something useful to remember, which I tell all my (career and business) coaching clients:

"Clarity does not need charity."

In other words, if you are CLEAR about your unique value proposition (the added value or the strategic solution you provide to employers or clients), then you do not need to sell so much. You don't even need to go out of your way to network with people. Word of mouth will work for you.


Because you are so unique, memorable and valuable.

However, lack of clarity means you will have to rely on people's goodwill (charity). Charity from others is great if you're homeless or are recovering from a major disaster in your life, but it is NOT a good career foundation, alas!

The good news is that "working hard on yourself" doesn't necessarily mean you have to make a lot of strained effort to acquire new skills or get into evening classes. No, all you have to do is answer the key question that Peter Drucker asks of people who come to him for career advice: "What do you want to contribute?"

The late masterful business intellectual did it again: he phrased, in extremely simple terms, a key problem that if solved would dramatically change a person's career or business!

He also wrote: "Don't think in terms of achievement, think in terms of contribution."

Many Linkedin users write their profile in terms of their achievements, but this is too self-oriented. Writing in terms of what you want to contribute to future clients and employers is much more appealing, and shows that you have a service mentality.

Yes, it's important to mention one's success track record, but it is best to formulate it in terms of how you were able to contribute to the company's success or to the success of your team.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Linkedin Answers

Linnkedin has a new service called Answers. This is really, really great! (People can actually see your answers to other people, on your Profile page -- see picture above).

I use it to show off, oops, I mean, share my (very limited) knowledge on a (very limited) range of topics.

I guess Linkedin saw the success of Yahoo! Answers, and decided to launch a service that would allow users to easily share their knowledge while solidly establishing their expertise within the Linkedin community.

Of course, Linkedin Answers is very different from Yahoo! Answers. For example:
  1. Askers and answerers on Linkedin are not anonymous. Their profile is publicly accessible, so this works as an incentive for answerers to write thoughtful and informative answers.
  2. On Linkedin, you can decide to network with or email other people after you read their answers. This is not possible with Yahoo! Answers (the best you can do is send them a note via Yahoo! Answers' messaging service.
  3. Both the questions and answers on Linkedin are general much more career-relevant and business-oriented than on Yahoo! Answers.

Overall, one could say that Linkedin Answers is the more robust, corporate version of Yahoo! Answers, which seems to be the consumer version of open-source Q&A board.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Make money with Linkedin!

The above is a screenshot of a page from a Mind Map book I'm publishing through Linkedin. This ebook will contain all the contents of this blog as well as mind maps, diagrams, templates, etc. NOT found on this blog.

The purpose is to help Linkedin users to profitably and strategically use Linkedin for career and/or business purposes.

If you have more than 50 connections on Linkedin and would like to become an affiliate and make $$$, please contact me asap. Thanks! ( -- mention "Linkedin user manual affiliate" in the subject heading).

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Make it happen in a spreadsheet first

In the business world, if it can happen in a spreadsheet, it CAN happen in real life.

That's the point of my uploading, in the previous posting, a screenshot of an actual spreadsheet that I actually use.

I start with the yearly revenue, or one million dollars.

Then, I break it down into 10 cashflow templates (that is, easily replicable business centers -- preferrably Web-based). Each cashflow template is licensed to 5 business managers, who compete to become the best.

Each business manager has 5 product lines, with separate P&L tracking.

In total, there are 50 business managers.

I use Linkedin to find high-potential entrepreneurs who then work with me as Business Managers.

My point is that you first have to make it happen in a spreadsheet first, in order to see the numbers. Only afterwards can Linkedin be used to help realize the vision.

How I make a million dollars

Please write to for explanations regarding this spreadsheet.

I'm printing MONEY!

Well, it's not actually REAL money (I hope the feds won't come after me).

But it is an official document I'm selling on Payloadz. It's called a Consulting Service Certificate, and it allows the buyer (or "holder") to have access to the contents of my brain.

If you sell such a document on Payloadz, then Linkedin will be EXTREMELY useful to you. Linkedin can generate tons of leads for your e-products.

If you are not in business (i.e. you don't have a service or product to sell on the Web), then Linkedin will not be that profitable for you. Sure, you can find job leads, but that's pretty much it. There are tons of other ways to find job leads.

The great thing about Linkedin is that you can read other people's profile, and customize your sales proposal to their situation, goals and priorities.

Friday, January 05, 2007

3 types of networking

The current issue of Harvard Business Review talks about 3 types of networking: operational, where you network with people in the same organization for work purposes; personal, where you network for personal and professional development; and strategic, where you network inside and outside the firm, in order to better understand and appreciate strategic issues, trends, environmental opportunities and threats, etc.

Compared to the other two, strategic networking seems to be the most valuable but also the most difficult. Indeed, it is reserved for leaders and executives. The professionals and managers who do engage in strategic networking are, of course, lavishly rewarded for their effort given the strategic value of such networking.

However, one should proceed with caution when it comes to strategic networking, because one would usually be networking with high-level people.

For instance, in strategic networking, there is always an element of power during social intercourse (or even in non-personal communications such as emails). Politics (or the perceived evolving power of players) plays an important role in strategic networking.

I've noticed, for example, that powerful people I meet (CEOs, millionaires, editors, etc.) are highly sensitive to cues that I emit in regards to such things as acknowledging their elevated status, confirming their eminence (for lack of a better word), etc.

In short, powerful people are quite sensitive. White-glove treatment is always de rigueur.

A book I highly recommend to learn the art of the courtier, so as to be more effective at strategic networking with people in high places, is The Art of Worldly Wisdom, by Baltasar Gracian.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Using Linkedin for business purposes

The above map shows the vision I've had since the beginning, in co-founding Talentelle ( with my sister Zoonie.

Linkedin is about to play a major role in our search for Country Managers to rapidly deploy our e-learning infrastructure.

This strategic use of Linkedin for business purposes is often missed by employees, who merely see Linkedin as a way to have access to a greater pool of job opportunities.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, if being an employee is what you are aiming for.

However, nobody ever got rich by working for someone else.

This is why I began to write this blogzine: to introduce the idea that Linkedin can be used most strategically for liberating oneself economically and financially.

The very first step in building one's business network, is to look at oneself and ask: "What is it that is so special about me that other people, especially the people I want to network with, will WANT to meet me and get to know me?"

Unfortunately, most of the Linkedin profiles I've read so far show a lack of professional purpose. Nobody writes down their career objective, or their mission, or anything that would show that the person seriously thought about the critical career question: "What do you want to contribute?"

This question is the one Peter Drucker asked of people who came to him for career advice. I find it to be a simple, yet poignant, frank and direct question.

You can have 500 connections on Linkedin, yet it won't help much if you don't know what it is that you are trying to do in your career.

Clarifying one's career objective is not that difficult. At first, you start with a basic sentence like: "I would like to become a marketing professional."

Then, you refine it further: "To become a marketing communications professional working in the IT industry, and use my creativity, leadership and project management skills to ensure the long-term success of my clients."

Once it is clear to you, and to everyone you know, what your career is all about, it then becomes easier to network since you are operating from a solid foundation of self-honesty and vocational clarity.

From then on, it is also easier to develop business contacts if you are running a business on the side, or have plans to launch a business in the future.