LinkedIn For Startup Entrepreneurs: 5 Hypothetical Reasons To Join

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LinkedIn For Startup Entrepreneurs: 5 Hypothetical Reasons To Join


I've been a LinkedIn member for a pretty long time.  People use LinkedIn in different ways.  Some are trying to amass the largest possible network (i.e. the most "connections").  Others are simply using it as a search tool to find opportunities.
My general practice has been to limit the size of my network in order to keep the signal to noise ratio pretty high.  As such, I only connect to people that I know personally or have had some personal or professional dealings with. 
One aspect of LinkedIn that I think is underused is their concept of groups.  Basically, a group is a sub-network within LinkedIn for a specific area of interest.  For example, I'm a member of several groups, including several affiliated with MIT (where I was a graduate student last year).
Several months ago, a number of members of the OnStartups community asked if I might setup a group that could be used by entrepreneurs to network and connect with each other.  I thought it was a good idea, and put in the request.  After a bit of back and forth with LinkedIn, the group is now setup.
So, why would you want to join the OnStartups LinkedIn group?
5 Great Reasons To Join The OnStartups LinkedIn Group
1.  Find other people in your area interested in startups (even if you live in the middle of nowhere).
2.  See if you can locate a co-founder for your maniacally brilliant startup idea.
3.  Recruit unsuspecting victims to join your startup team
4.  Locate a promising startup to join and try your hand at this whole entrepreneurship thing.
5.  Find funding for your current startup so you don't have to beg and plead with your friends and family.
Of course, you may find your own creative uses as well (such as using it as a gauge for the level of entrepreneurial activity in a given area).
So, how do you join the OnStartups LinkedIn group?  It's easy (and free).  Simply register for an account here at  This will give you access to the OnStartups forums where there is a link in the announcements area to join the group.  This is the preferred way (and I'll immediate approve members that use this mechanism).
Another option is to submit a request directly to join the group by clicking the link below:
Of course, the value of the group increases with the number of passionate startup people that join.  So, if you are a member of digg, reddit or other social networking sites, please help spread the word by voting on this article on those sites.  If you have ideas or comments on how we might use the group more effectively, please leave a comment.

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Sun, Apr 22, 2007


Great idea Dharmesh! I've been pondering trying to find some weekend time to build something simple to solve this need... I'm not entirely sure that a generalized business networking site like LinkedIn will do the trick, but I'm willing to give it a go. For the record,the things I think a service like this should capture are: 1. Startup Phase - Are they just looking? Do they have an idea? A prototype? A beta? Funding? 2. Whether they are interested in cofounder ops 3. Whether they are interested in employment ops 4. What the target market of their idea is (consumer, biz, both) 5. What their biz model is (advertising, subscription, product sales, etc) 6. Are they looking to hire? What skillset(s)? 7. Are they looking for investment? 8. Rough overview of professional experience Regardless, I look forward to seeing what the LinkedIn Group has to offer.

posted on Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 11:21 AM by Tony Wright

Why I don't use LinkedIn? Or Meetup entrepreneur groups. Why I'm dubious that this would be useful? Well, I'd love to be proven wrong though but here's my gripes:

1) lack of focus - specific ventures require a particular group of entrepreneurs with relevant talents. If you do hardware and embedded software, hanging with AJAX weenies is largely a waste of time. Even the money people are the wrong crowd.

2) Too many wannabes and scammers who will waste your time and not enough actual entrepreneurs. The simple fact is that if you *are* an entrepreneur, you are going to just do it or you already are just doing it. If it's not high yield on time, it's a problem not a resource.

3) Too many unemployed folks who are looking for work after layoffs. These folks have only worked in big, comfy, pampering companies. They tend to be the worst start-up employees because they lived narrow, specialized professional lives. "It's not my job" is their tired refrain and unacceptable in a start-up. I feel for these guys - don't get me wrong - but they're a waste of time.

4) Precious few people understand the "big picture" of running a business. Further what works for large enterprises won't work the same way for start-ups. Statistically you get more contacts or posts from people who are clueless know-it-alls needing to run their mouths or who only have big company knowledge.

The signal to noise ratio really does suck on existing similar groups- real, real bad! Running my company is already a full-time job. Again I'd love to be proven wrong but nothing I've seen beats personal networks *outside* the Net.

posted on Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 12:39 PM by Mantra

I don't see how it can hurt to have a lot of LinkedIn connections, especially when you are planning a startup. I've added a couple people that I don't know for the reason that there may be someone they are linked to that could be a potential co-founder or the source of a startup opportunity, or could serve as a mentor. Even that bugger flipper connection could be connected to an angel investor or someone of interest down the road. You can talk about limiting noise in your network, but the fact is is that noise carries little downside.

Strangely, I am connected to you Dharmesh by 3 degrees.

posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 1:24 AM by Joe A

Your forums are broken/inaccessible. I click on the "Forums" link at the top and it brings me to this page, asking me to register/login: (And note: it brings me there even if I'm already logged in! Bad.) Fine. But after I login, I still don't get taken to the forums. I just wind up on a blank page:

posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 10:38 AM by

Does anyone else have the same problem ( error messages) with registering to this site?

posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 1:17 PM by Vera Newman

I think its a great idea. @Mantra: Since this blog is mostly focussed towards web software, at least that's why I read it, I think the network will be pretty much self selecting. You cannot avoid the noise level, its every where. Its also not hard to recognize it and deal with it fairly easily, either online or in meetups. I go to the local web focussed meetups and I meet a lot of entrepreneurs, engineers and other people looking to "do" something in this industry. However, most of the mixers are loosely organized with no clear focus. If the idea was to find people with specific skills for your startup it was hard work. There's only so many people you could talk with during the event. Dharmesh's project, if it works and draws people with varied backgrounds, could help all of us.

posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 3:27 PM by SFGary

Sorry, people. For some reason the paragraph breaks I put in did not work...

posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 3:30 PM by SFGary

I recently launched a site that was designed for this specific purpose -- allow aspiring entrepreneurs to meet others to find a cofounder, raise capital, or simply get advice. If anyone is interested, feel free to check out the site: I apologize for giving my own site a plug but I just couldn't resist given the topic of the post. Of course, LinkedIn can also be useful for many of the reasons Dharmesh mensioned, so I also encourage others to join the LinkedIn group.

posted on Monday, April 23, 2007 at 3:58 PM by Rami Bitar

I've just joined your Linkedin group - I may be part of the noise. My project however is in serious need of software enhancements. I hope to learn, and perhaps find some partners there. It is worth my time to find out.

posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 4:45 PM by ARWally

Great post. I'm a software guy and really enjoy your site. I think that your group is going to be quite valuable for interacting with other entrepreneurs, getting advice, bouncing idea off around and getting to know people. The company that I work for, PartnerUp, is a free web site that helps people find business partners. Basically, people who are looking for partners can post the details of their idea/venture and who they're looking for as a partner in terms of skills and experience. And, people who are interested in getting involved in startups can then find these opportunities. The web site is Keep up the great work with You provide a lot of insight and inspiration to a lot of us.

posted on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at 4:51 PM by Mike

This is a very helpful post! I am an avid LinkedIn user and huge advocate for using it and needing it as a start-up entrepreneur. I've even blogged about it and the value of LinkedIn for any start-up getting going.

posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2007 at 1:46 PM by jtreiber

Am I going crazy or has anyway else taken notice This site is the vertical social network for rocks on.

posted on Friday, August 24, 2007 at 9:46 PM by Tom Williams

Hi Dharmesh,

Could not locate your email on the site so posting a comment:

I am a journalist and blogger based in India, and am writing a book on how to get LinkedIn to work for you.

In that regard:
1. Could I send you a few questions - I would like to carry your quotes in the book?
2. May I use any useful portions of your posts about LinkedIn with proper attribution for the book?

Should you agree to it, I would be happy to post you a free copy of the book when its published; this would be a way of showing my appreciation.

White Paper on 'Ten ways to get Linked to work for you': I have written this document to precede the book; should you be interested in reading it, click or copy and paste the URL in your browser.

And if you would like to connect with me, I could send you an invite.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Ajay Jain
Journalist / Blogger

Mobile: +91.99100 44476

My Blogs On things that matter to all of us Profit from technology at work Simple ideas for a healthy planet

posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 5:08 AM by Ajay Jain

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