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Where Is Jeff Weiner Taking LinkedIn?

Weiner is now running product on top of CEO duties, and he has got a number of irons in the fire.


Sure, LinkedIn can get you a new job — but CEO Jeff Weiner wants you to know it does a lot more than that.

Over the past few years, the site has transitioned from a place to upload your resume to a social network for your professional self — the self you spend 40-plus hours a week living with. Weiner doesn’t want you to come to LinkedIn just to find a job; he wants you to log in to get better at the job you already have.

“Our mission is to connect the world’s professionals, to make them more productive and successful,” Weiner told Re/code in an interview last month. “Only a very small minority of people on LinkedIn at any given time are actively looking for work.”

That is important to Weiner, who is building a product with that distinction in mind. When previous product head Deep Nishar left the company in August, Weiner took over the product team “indefinitely.” Now it appears that Weiner will take on that position for the long haul — LinkedIn isn’t looking to bring someone else in, and Weiner says he likes the idea of a product-heavy CEO at the helm.

He has a long-term vision, one he talks about often: To get every member of the global workforce — all three billion people — onto LinkedIn.

It’s an obvious goal in many ways; of course, LinkedIn wants as many users as possible, although Weiner would never frame it that way. In fact, he doesn’t frame anything in a way that might be construed as negative. He routinely uses the kinds of phrases you’d likely see on a resume, things like “initial addressable opportunity,” “operationalizing a vision,” and one of his favorites, “value propositions.”

So even though job-hunting is big business for LinkedIn — the site will have two million postings by the end of the year, and recruiting products bring in over 60 percent of the company’s revenue — it won’t be the only thing happening on LinkedIn next year.

Here are three other areas Weiner plans to address.

A LinkedIn Built Just for You

The company is focused on something called anticipatory computing, which works exactly as it sounds — it is LinkedIn’s attempt to get you what you need without you asking for it.

“It’s going to play an increasingly important and significant role in the product [moving forward],” said Kevin Scott, LinkedIn’s senior VP of engineering, in an interview with Re/code. “Getting people as quickly as possible to the right part of the site or the right piece of information … is super important.”

LinkedIn already offers similar features, like job or group recommendations (e.g. “Jobs You May Be Interested In”) that anticipate what you’re looking for. But the company’s first real foray into what it considers anticipatory computing was its Connected app, which pulls data from your calendar and encourages you to visit ahead of time the profiles of people you’re scheduled to meet, and then follow up with them after your meeting. That feature may seem basic — give us your appointment book and we can send you reminders — but LinkedIn has lots more planned in the same vein.

“We’re at this really interesting tipping point where we have some very cool products coming out [in the next six to 12 months] that are going to use this in a much less subtle way,” Scott said.

Adds Weiner, “We’ve only scratched the surface there.”

Of course, Scott isn’t spilling the beans on what those products might be. Still, it’s possible that one day LinkedIn will be able to predict when you’ll be looking to switch careers, or, even better, predict your career path multiple years into the future. It’s not that crazy. LinkedIn has already forecasted my career five years into the future even though a product for the general user base isn’t yet available.

Sound creepy or scary? In some ways it is, and Scott says LinkedIn is moving slowly on rolling out anticipatory computing products for this very reason. It can’t move too slowly, however; others — think Facebook and Google — are working on the same types of products.

LinkedIn Wants to Be Your New Blog

LinkedIn confirmed that publishing would be a major part of its service in February when it began rolling out blogging capabilities to all 330 million registered users, a tool previously reserved for a hand-selected group of notable “Influencers.” The move meant that anyone could share blog-post-style content on the site — and more than 40,000 unique posts are shared every week, according to Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s head of content.

Weiner says the publishing tools help users build a brand and stay more informed, thereby boosting their value to potential employers. But LinkedIn has a stake in this game, too, and now has more than 100 employees working on its content team. User-generated posts touch on all three of LinkedIn’s revenue streams, Roslansky added.

If you’re checking posts by people in your network, you’re also likely seeing sponsored job postings (LinkedIn can charge for those). There’s also a better chance you’ll update your profile more regularly, and that increases the value of LinkedIn’s subscription accounts for recruiters (it can charge for those, too). Sponsored content — posts that businesses pay to put in front of users — is LinkedIn’s “fastest-growing business,” said Roslansky.

So, what should you watch for? LinkedIn plans to improve its algorithm — that means you’ll see content better suited for what you’re looking for — and has redesigned its home page in the hope that people will share more often. You’ll likely see more videos, too — something that’s already happening on Slideshare, the company’s presentation-sharing service.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Per usual, the least sexy of LinkedIn’s major product focuses for next year is arguably the most important; it has the potential to be very lucrative. The company launched a subscription service for sales professionals earlier this year called Sales Navigator, a tool that helps users find new sales leads and manage existing ones. It is going to play a major part in LinkedIn’s business moving forward, according to Weiner.

“Hire, market, sell. Those are the three core value propositions for customers,” he said, lumping Sales Navigator in alongside the company’s other more established revenue streams, recruiting and advertising.

Just a few months in, it is difficult to tell how well Sales Navigator is doing. Revenue generated from the product is buried within a revenue stream labeled “Premium Subscriptions” on LinkedIn’s quarterly earnings report, but the sales product isn’t similar to these premium user subscriptions — it is more closely aligned with the site’s expensive Recruiter subscriptions, which drive the bulk of the company’s revenue.

In other words, it has a lot more revenue potential than LinkedIn currently lets on.

This article originally appeared on

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