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

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on December 10, 2007 in development linkedin 4 Comments

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.