There have been some interesting new developments at LinkedIn, the business networking hub, over the past few weeks.
For starters, LinkedIn announced plans to provide APIs that will open the site to developers within the next nine months, according to co-founder and former CEO Reid Hoffman. Many see this as a quick response to a similar move by Facebook - a social networking site that provides complete professional networking to its rapidly growing membership base. Referred to as "social networking fatigue," LinkedIn could be suffering from their defining niche, whereas Facebook offers a one-stop shop for all social and business networking needs. Opening up to developers may help solve the pigeon-hole problem.
But there is good news. Very good news. New CEO Dan Nye says that membership to LinkedIn has doubled - to nearly 12 million users over the past nine months and also predicts revenue to reach "... somewhere in the $100 million range next year." Undoubtedly, about $30 million in backing from Sequoia Capital and Greylock and Bessemer will help catupult LinkedIn towards their planned initial public offering as early as next year.
In addition, three new executives were hired this week: Steve Sordello as CFO (formerly of Tivo, Inc. and AskJeeves), Patrick Crane (former marketing leader for Yahoo Answers) and Anil Khatri (former vice president of engineering at Yahoo).
LinkedIn is making a don't-look-back move into professional networking and has no plans to deviate from the plan. "LinkedIn is a productivity tool," Nye said. "We expect people to come to LinkedIn and accomplish tasks, then move on. We have no intention of becoming a social site. We want to remain focused on productivity that is important for professionals."
Expect big things from LinkedIn in the near future. If you don't have a LinkedIn account, now would be a good time to get started.