Today I received this nice letter from Reid Hoffman recognizing me for being an early adopter. Too bad I wasn’t an early investor!! I remember while at PA Consulting Group in 2003, I wrote an article and started working with clients around the concept of using “relationship intelligence” for business (sales) advantage. The ideas stemmed in part from my excitement over the early stage company and service called ” LinkedIn” and my work building digital businesses at Viant. I have been a user ever since.

Here is the letter I received today.. I guess I was user number 104,302 on LinkedIn and now they have reached the 100M user mark.


Fast forward. Today we work with relationship-centric clients like Blackrock, Putnam, MFS, HighMark Funds and Wasatch Funds, ConRes, The First Group along with a range of mid-market clients, financial advisors and RIAs to develop personalized revenue strategies that use social media.

Why do we social tools are so valuable for business?

To me it boils down to TRUST and TIME. With so many people jumping on board and in many cases “gaming” the SEO system with content marketing strategies, buyers like you and me increasingly rely on our HUMAN network to get our answers. Our human network IS our social network. Our social network is our business network, we buy from people we know and trust.

Two recent examples:

Just yesterday, I networked in and met with my former colleague, Pierre Loic Assayag, at Traackr and gained lots of good advice on potential partners, tools and systems. He also shared with how the culture in California – where they are moving – is very much about human social network that drives business success. Perhaps we in Boston-Cambridge need to learn a lesson here and get out into the cold and network more so we can keep up. I trust Pierre to give me good input. Nothing has changed. What has changes is that I can in seconds search my LinkedIn network for people I know that can help our business.

A month ago, I was going to share Emily Guertin’s LinkedIn profile with a business colleague… but the profile did not say “Registered Dietitian” so I had her add that in. Within a week, she was contacted by another former Viant colleague and offered a fantastic new position. The hiring manager was looking for a “Registered Dietitian” within his personal LinkedIn network. She was right there. Now, Emily, there is a lot more you still need to do on your profile, so let’s talk. 🙂

Soon we will be starting with our human network first and using tools like LinkedIn and other social and business networks to support most every business and personal buying decision. I know I already do. Perhaps it is time I dust off and re-launch one of our projects – Goodasitgets – the social ranking system to support buying experiences. Thanks, LinkedIn for making a good product and also for reminding us how impactful social media has become.