LinkedIn API "Sometime Next Year": 6 Words Of Advice

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LinkedIn API "Sometime Next Year": 6 Words Of Advice


I came across on article on TechCrunch this morning announcing an update on Linkedin.

I think it's great that LinkedIn is continuing to talk about an API.  But, here's why I believe they're missing the boat on this stuff:

1.  Moving Too Slow:  The last update we heard on the LinkedIn API was June, 2007.  That's over 5 months ago.  Sure, I understand some of these things take time, but this is one of those clear examples where capturing mindshare early is important.  Hundreds of developers are making decisions right now as to where to invest their time, energy and creativity.  How many developers will spend the time building on Facebook -- and as a result, likely not switch to LinkedIn?

2.  Not enough information:  If the goal is to attract lots of developers to the platform, there likely needs to be more information than availability than "sometime next year".  If the goal is not to attract lots of developers, then I don't know what the goal is.

3.  Where's The Creativity and Innovation?  Right now, there's only a single identified partner, "BusinessWeek".  In today's day and age, brand name partners are still useful, but I think LinkedIn would have done better with a list of half-a-dozen companies (maybe even including a couple of startups) to apply some creative use of the API.  I've got a bit of a bias here, as I'd love to include some LinkedIn-powered data into WebsiteGrader, our free tool for internet marketing analysis

For some reason, it just seems that LinkedIn is taking a very "old school" approach to this.  Rather than putting something simple out there as quickly as possible, that lets people tinker, experiment and create, they're seemingly working on something "perfect" and only trickling information out to those that care the most. 

I have just six words of advice for LinkedIn:  Release early.  Release often.  Engage passionately.




Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Mon, Dec 10, 2007


Good advice. I suspect they are primping the company for sale - someone over there has to be thinking to cash out before the bubble bursts! -OT

posted on Monday, December 10, 2007 at 1:52 PM by Oliver Taco

I suppose I'm gonna have to play contrarian here and say... so what! It's their site, their API. Kudos to them for not following the herd and rushing out some half baked API, like some of these other startups pretending to be relevant.

If I were them I wouldn't be too concerned about winning developer share from Facebook developers. They pretty much own the business professional space. That information in their network is valuable enough that there will be plenty of developers that will jump to the opportunity whenever their API finally reaches beta. These developers will build solid apps that will have longevity. No food fights or virtual sex toys.

posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 12:34 AM by Joe A

Joe: You're welcome to play contrarian. And, agreed that the current crop of apps on Facebook are, on average, pretty inane. But, my question would be: How long will this continue? I think the demographic of the Facebook user-base is already changing. Eventually, the app developers will follow the market and deliver what the millions of professional users on Facebook are looking for. Then again, that's just my opinion, and I could be wrong...

posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at 1:15 AM by

Although I appreciate the sentiment that they need to get on the ball and do frequent updates to keep their third party developers engaged, I'm not sure that approach fits their core audience. LinkedIn is one of the few social networks that actually attracts and retains serious business people – not just the uber geeks that desire the latest feature. Whereas, Facebook has a much younger and fickle audience that appreciates style, but expects frequent improvements and new features. With that being said, I think LinkedIn is doing just fine and I have no doubt they have a good and steady plan in place that best fits their entire client base.

posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 8:05 PM by Jon Henshaw

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