OK, I’m going to say it. LinkedIn sucks. I don’t care that they did a huge IPO and have a $9.5 billion market cap. That just proves the greater fool theory of investing (See: Bubble, Internet, 1999). But, worse than that, it’s a pain in the arse. I’m now getting something like 15-20 LinkedIn invitations per week, almost all of them from people I’ve never heard of. Doesn’t that completely defeat the purpose of LinkedIn, which is to have an on-line network of people you know and can call on for favors (including, perhaps, making a qualified introduction to someone you don’t know)? Randomly sending LinkedIn invitations to people you think might be interesting or helpful is just plain stupid. So, STOP IT!
More on LinkedIn later. But, now we need to talk about my dog. And, at some point, we need to talk about LinkingIn with my dog. Yeah, I’m serious.
I can’t believe that with all the thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of readers of this blog nobody has ever asked me about the tag line at the bottom that mentions my annoying dog. I guess it’s time to come clean on him. His name is Knox, he’s cuter than hell, but profoundly annoying. He’s a Poster Child (Poster Dog?) for why we should not be genetically engineering life. Knox is a Goldendoodle. Aside from the near total emasculation one suffers when he tells his high school buddies he bought a dog with the word “doodle” in it, the genetic theory behind Knoxie failed miserably. Here was the general idea. You take the gentle nature of a stupid golden retriever and combine it with the brainpower and hypoallergenic features of a poodle and, presto, you get a smart, gentle, calm, non-shedding dog. Unfortunately, that’s not how it played out for Knox. He got the stupid gene from the golden side and the hyper gene from the poodle side and, presto, we got a hyper, skittish, yappie, stupid dog. Oops.
Did I mention he is really cute? He’s also available for adoption by anyone who wants to give him a good home. Though, you may have to fight my wife for him. She claims to like him.
Back to LinkedIn. I think we just need some basic rules. Maybe we can start with what my colleagues call “Bruce’s Buddy List.” It goes something like this. We’ll be sitting in our partners meeting, reviewing new deals or the like. Somebody’s name will come up and I’ll say, “oh yeah, he’s a buddy of mine. I can give him a call.” Everyone stares at me uncomfortably until someone finally says, “which buddy list is he on?” Then I have to fess up. There’s the Golfing Buddy List, the High School Buddy List, the College Buddy List, the College Fraternity Buddy List, and so on. Bottom line – I know a lot of people and they’re trying to ferret out just how well I know this so-called buddy. Can I really just pick up the phone and ask him for a favor or is he likely to answer the phone with “uh, Bruce….say your last name again….” This is an important distinction as it is a measure of the strength of my connection to said buddy and whether I can get a favor out of him.
The original premise of LinkedIn was to put my Buddy List (and your Buddy List) on line. Instead, it has become more like an on-line phone book where everybody can get access to everybody else’s e-mail address without regard for whether they know you or not. It might be more aptly named SpamMultiplier. Did I mention how stupid it is? So, here are the rules as to whether you might be a buddy of mine and are thus entitled to LinkIn with me.
- Just because I shook hands with you at a conference unequivocally does NOT make you my buddy. In fact, see prior post on handshaking. That act, in and of itself, demonstrates that you are NOT my buddy.
- The simple fact that we went to the same college or grad school does NOT make you my buddy. If, however, we once staggered home together from the same frat party, you probably ARE my buddy.
- Working in the same general industry as me does NOT make you my buddy.
- If you applied for a job with my firm and we rejected you, you are NOT my buddy.
- If you hope to someday apply for a job with my firm, you are NOT my buddy.
- If you have played golf with me more than once, you ARE my buddy.
- If you waste time reading my blog regularly, you ARE my buddy.
- If you have something I need, you ARE my buddy.
- If I have something you need, you are probably NOT my buddy.
- And, finally, if you are not a human being, you may be my buddy, but LinkedIn is not the appropriate place for us to connect since you may not have opposable thumbs.
And, that brings us full circle back to Knoxie. This week I received a LinkedIn invitation from the breeder we bought Knox from. OK, she is a human being and there are other reasons she’s NOT my buddy (See: purchase, dog, very annoying). But, her invitation really felt like an invitation to LinkIn with my pup. She was a very nice lady who lived out in the sticks of West Virginny, but other than the Knox connection, I can’t imagine our paths will ever or should ever cross again. Thus, connecting on-line with her would be about as useful as an on-line connection to Knox. Really really stupid.