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How LinkedIn can help make the world flat

How LinkedIn can help make the world flat

How technology platforms, like LinkedIn, can make the world a better place to live in by making it flatter and connected?

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by Jayesh Menon

When Thomas Friedman wrote his book “The world is flat” , one of the things he noted is that in a flat world , one can innovate without having to immigrate. This is a possibility that seem to be happening in at least some of the developing countries. For example companies like Xiaomi in China or Flipkart in India is precisely doing this innovation without having to move to the capital of all innovations- the silicon valley.

However it needs to be noted that the speed at which these innovations are happening has not really made the world flat. Richard Florida, the author of books like “who’s your city”? maintains that globalization has changed the economic playing field , but has not leveled it and likes to term the world as "spiky". This is true and even the latest data available from pew research points that the trend of educated Asians migrating to “greener pastures” like united states stills continues.

The biggest constraint in innovation is not creativity , but the ability to execute it. Nikola Tesla is a good example of someone who in spite of being a genius was not able to transform his ideas into executable projects because of lack of “appropriate funding”. Execution of ideas require the right kind of network of people who can be part of your team, fund you , support you, mentor and be part of your growth story.

So how does LinkedIn help?. Its vision statement reads like this .- “ To create economic opportunities for every member of the global work force”. Here are a few things that I feel that vision can translate into making the world a really flat one.

  • Reduce the distance between the people who can generate ideas and who can fund it. For example a good connection with a VC may help you break that 20 minute rule of distance adopted by most VC’s . After all, if there is comfort factor that you can create with these VC’s, then you are just a click away. If you make the right moves and be persistent, you may be able to get your network with some of the VC who are active in LinkedIn, or at least someone who knows them well.
  • As Reid Hoffman, co – founder and chairman of LinkedIn and Ben Casnocha in their book” The start-up of you” says that in today's world you have to be a in a stage of “ permanent beta”. For you to be in a state of permanent beta, you need to know that the world is moving faster than the speed at which you are acquiring knowledge. If you have been a regular reader of some of the publishing that happen on linkedIn and Pulse , then you would find yourself a bit “ unsettled” which is actually a good time for you to unlearn and relearn new skills.
  • Many often the biggest mistakes organisations makes is not identifying and placing the right talent and the main constraint for this is lack of knowledge of available talent in places that one might have never thought it may be available. It is said that Mark Zuckerberg spends half of his time recruiting. Any good leader is on the lookout for talent. A place like LinkedIn where you may be able to tap in from a pool of approximately 277 million people is better than any campus placements or job fairs without the constraint of geographies.

I would imagine LinkedIn to be a country, where approximately at least 600 million or so knowledge workers around the world may be able to connect with each other. While it is impossible for every connection that you make to be meaningful ( even in real life), I hope technology platforms like LinkedIn can make the world a better place to live in by making it flatter and connected.