I guess if you're being anti-stealth, you can't win 'em all

Perhaps I'm being too defensive here, but I can't help but feel the need to respond to a recent post I sawon InsideChatter.   I first came upon InsideChatter when Donna ripped on Nick O'Neill's post on LinkedIn vs. Facebook.

"Nick O’Neill pens one of the many indistinguishable–and unreliable–”unoffiicial” Facebook blogs: Today he unoffiicially takes credit for sparking what he deems to be an official Facebook “killer” strategy.”

Aren't most blogs indistinguishable and unreliable?  I mean, I guess mine's pretty special because I like kayaking (j/k) but other than that, it's no better or worse than anything else out there.   There aren't very many great blogs out there, except maybe danah, Scott Adams, or Marc AndreessenEric's and Fred's blogs are pretty good, too...  but I'd be careful saying that other people's blogs are indistinguishable.  I think we're all lucky to have any readers at all, but I digress.

What she failed to see was that amid all the Facebook ra-ra! from Nick, which I actually disagreed with, because I do think there's a point to a network for each of my different selves, was a really good point...   If Facebook can present several faces of you to different people, then it's a real challenge to any social network out there, not just LinkedIn.  Dismissing that point out of hand may prove to be the death knell for many networks. 

Today, she wrote about Path 101, which is to be expected of course.  I mean, come on, did we honestly expect we wouldn't get negative feedback to putting ourselves out there so early?  I would have written a response in the comments to her post about us, but she doesn't allow comments.

First, Donna did a nice job of catching my slip up in saying that it was "top 10" within the post.  Nice job.. I started out with ten, but didn't really feel like all ten were strong, so I shed a few, and forgot to re-edit.  I fixed that.  Thanks!

"Path 101’s MAIN LinkedIn problem, though, is its utterly transparent pleas for help from Hoffman and company to help buid a business, Path 101’s business. Path 101 is hoping to piggyback off LinkedIn’s years-long successful efforts in building out its thriving and growing business."

I think if you check the overview, you'll see that there isn't much of our business that has anything to do with LinkedIn.  All we were trying to do is not add in features that already exist elsewhere and cause users to sign up for yet another social network.   

Connecting professionals isn't our business.  That's theirs.  We just figured it makes sense to be discovering careers and connecting to professionals in an integrated way, that's all...a nice feature.  If we just have to create links to say, "Go here and create a LinkedIn account while you're discovering careers on our site, you'll thank us for it", we'll do that, but it seems silly. 

"Despite Path 101’s “confidence” in its unproven ideas and its projected ability to “hedge” migration to Facebook, its open airing of its open needs offers much in the way of bravado, but little in terms of what it actually brings to the table, LinkedIn’s table, TODAY!

Path 101 on its “status,” as of October 11: “NO assets, NO revenues, a two day old empty checking account…and now, back to actually building this service.”"

Just to update, we'll have money in our checking account by the end of the week, from Fred Wilson (who leaked his own involvement before we were even ready!) and others. 

As for what else we can do today, that's not what this post was about, mostly because the LinkedIn API isn't ready today either.  If we're building the service TODAY, does it make sense to speak up when we're done, or when we actually have time to integrate with their proposed API based on our proposed vision?  This is something that happens in the startup world all the time.  Someone plans on building something and they talk to others in the same space to get a sense of how they could work together in the future.  It's pretty commonplace.

This post also seems to imply that if you're friends or family with someone, they don't belong in your LinkedIn network.

"O’Donnell’s advice for LinkedIn to build a wizard to “get the whole family involved…whether or not your mom is the CFO of a Fortune 500 company,” is not in sync with LinkedIn’s distinctive, core value proposition....the high-end LinkedIn “gated referral network” is getting the job done professionally, for professionals."

Yo, did you say my family is not professional??  Oh, snap!  :)   Actually, I got my first job in the Waterhouse Securities mailroom through my older (by 17 years) brother, who was their Regional Vice President of the whole 30+ office Midwest branch at the time... and his network would probably be highly accretive to LinkedIn.  Perhaps if there was an easier way for his techie little brother to show him the ropes on it, they'd benefit. 

But you're the expert on LinkedIn, right?  You and your.. um...wait... 14 connections???   Are you serious?  I was assuming I'd get ripped apart by someone who is even a more passionate user of the service than I am.  (See my "Getting Started with LinkedIn" post.)  Don't get me wrong, I love a good back and forth about what that service needs or doesn't need, but I was assuming it would come from someone who uses it a little more.

Ok, so maybe it was better off that there are no comments on InsideChatter, because I had more to say and it wouldn't have fit. 

We did get some good positive comments, too.  Its nice to know that others seem to be behind what we're doing:

Comments from Fred's post

" Good to know that more people are taking up the challenge to revamp the career space - particularly career 2.0" - Alfred

"Despite my firm belief in having a sound business plan and projected financials, I've heard respected investors suggest to start with a blog.

I would agree that blogging during the start-up phase is an excellent idea. It let's a new company establish credibility before the product is ready, bounce ideas of potential customers and let's other stakeholders participate in the growth of the organization. Nicely done!"   - Voices.com CEO

"it sounds pretty cool what they are doing" - Aruni

Comments on our post

"great idea charlie... best of luck with the effort, and hope Reid/Dan/et al take you up on the offer!"  - dave mcclure

"Congratulations. Brilliant! Simply brilliant! Always expected big things of you, Charlie. Looks like sooner rather than later. Also, terrific (and generous) idea to blog start up. Should be a great help to budding entrepreneurs of all stripes. Best of luck to you and your partner." - Marta Mooney (Professor at Fordham's Graduate School of Business for 30+ years)


Thanks to all who've been really supportive and even those who haven't!  I'll definitely be adding Donna's blog to my blogroll to get her feedback in the future...  because just listening to praise is never a good idea.



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