5 Ways That LinkedIn is Like Apple

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5 Ways That LinkedIn is Like Apple

LI Apple logosWhile 11-year old social networking site LinkedIn is an adolescent compared to 38-year old Apple, the two companies share many characteristics.

1. Market Leaders
According to Forbes magazine, Apple is the world’s most valuable brand for the third straight year. That’s not just a fluffy “brand awareness” metric. Apple is the largest publically traded company in terms of market capitalization according to the Financial Times Global 500.

Having just reached 300M members, LinkedIn is the largest social network for business. While Facebook has over 1B more users, LinkedIn’s business focus makes it the social network of choice for corporate recruiters, marketers, and sellers. LinkedIn stock has experienced an 83% increase since it’s IPO in May 2011.

2. Emphasis on Mobile
Apple introduced the iPod and iPhone, two of the most ground-breaking mobile devices ever. They paved the way for Apple’s resurgence as the top producer of consumer electronics.

LinkedIn is also getting on the mobile bandwagon. In an April 18 Business Insider blog about LinkedIn reaching 300M, Joff Redfern, VP of Mobile at LinkedIn, said nearly half of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile. Three years ago it was 8%.

3. Platforms Turn to Content
While both started life as pure technology platforms (computers, social network), each realized that a platform means nothing without content. Apple’s biggest content play was iTunes, which changed the music business (remember Napster?).

LinkedIn has acquired content apps like SlideShare and Pulse. Recently, it announced plans to expand its success LinkedIn Influencers program to all 300M members. A New York Times article [LinkedIn Builds Its Publishing Presence]  quoted CEO Jeff Weiner on a conference call with analysts reiterating his goal to make the company “the definitive professional publishing platform.” The article noted that was a big challenge in a market that includes publishing titans like Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal as well as sites like The Huffington Post.

4. Walled Gardens
Much of the success of each company can be attributed to its philosophy to limit outside partners and distractions in order to main control over functionality and quality. Apple’s situation is well known compared to the openness of Microsoft last century and Google this century. Likewise, LinkedIn’s “Members First” philosophy has result in a fairly closed, though large, community.

5. High Profile CEOs
What more can be said about Steve Jobs? He’s been referred to as the Thomas Edison of our time. He was a charismatic visionary who revolutionized the computer, music, and phone industries. His life was one of the most dramatic hero’s journeys of success-failure-success seen in the business world.

Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner may not quite be in line for a Walter Isaacson biography just yet, but he was recently named as the Most Admired CEO of 2014. That admiration is not an external recognition. It comes from a 100% approval rating from LinkedIn employees. That’s not bad. The highest ranking that the brilliant and sometimes brutal Jobs ever scored was 97%.

Can you think of any other way that LinkedIn is like Apple?

Kurt Shaver

Kurt Shaver is a co-founder and Chief Sales Officer of Vengreso. Kurt is an expert at getting sales teams to adopt new sales tools and techniques. Through a successful career in technology sales, Kurt learned what it takes to reach B2B decision makers. As a VP of Sales for a global software company, Kurt was the executive sponsor of a Salesforce.com rollout. That’s how he learned what it takes to get salespeople to adopt new tools and techniques. That knowledge led to him launch his own Salesforce consulting business in 2008. When LinkedIn went public in 2011, Kurt recognized that LinkedIn would be the next great sales technology and that it would require expert training. He pivoted his business and now has over 10,000 hours of experience training corporate sales teams like CenturyLink, Ericsson, and TelePacific Communications. Kurt is the creator of the Social Selling Boot Camp and is a member of the National Speakers Association. He frequently speaks at corporate sales meetings and conferences like Dreamforce, Sales 2.0, and LinkedIn’s Sales Connect.

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