I have been a member of LinkedIn since April 24, 2006 and I have about 50 connections. I have been a fan of LinkedIn but since I have been at the same company for over 5 years I have to say that LinkedIn has really only gotten me back in contact with a few people that I lost touch with in the past. Most of the people that are on my list I regard highly – people that I have personally done business with and would more than likely enjoy doing business with in the future. I am not too concerned about a “network” per se, so the number (50) doesn’t bother me. I have several people in my list that have over 500 contacts. So, if I needed to find more people or get a reference or introduction I certainly could.
Then I joined Facebook (don’t remember when but it was shortly after they started to allow users without .edu email addresses). I have begun to get into Facebook a bit more and started to look through their groups and networks. I found an interesting group called Web 2.0 (Entrepreneurs). Currently, there are over 7500 members and they are people who are either looking for help or want to offer their help with startups. The group’s officer list is a who’s who in Web application knowledge. People like Kevin Rose (digg.com), Michael Arrington (TechCrunch), Om Malik (GigaOM), Guy Kawasaki (Garage Technology Ventures) and others. The group got so popular that they had to spin off another group which they entitled Web T.e (T.e = Trust, Integrity and Ethics) where you essentially need to be invited to participate.
In the “Recent News” section of the group Mark Fletcher (started Bloglines.com) had 25 (15 + 10) things to remember when starting up a Start-Up:
+15 Startup Commandments
1. Your idea isn’t new. Pick an idea; at least 50 other people have thought of it. Get over your stunning brilliance and realize that execution matters more.
2. Stealth startups suck. You’re not working on the Manhattan Project, Einstein. Get something out as quickly as possible and promote the hell out of it.
3. If you don’t have scaling problems, you’re not growing fast enough.
4. If you’re successful, people will try to take advantage of you. Hope that you’re in that position, and hope that you’re smart enough to not fall for it.
5. People will tell you they know more than you do. If that’s really the case, you shouldn’t be doing your startup.
6. Your competition will inflate their numbers. Take any startup traffic number and slash it in half. At least.
7. Perfection is the enemy of good enough. Leonardo could paint the Mona Lisa only once. You, Bob Ross, can push a bug release every 5 minutes because you were at least smart enough to do a web app.
8. The size of your startup is not a reflection of your manhood. More employees does not make you more of a man (or woman as the case may be).
9. You don’t need business development people. If you’re successful, companies will come to you. The deals will still be distractions and not worth doing, but at least you’re not spending any effort trying to get them.
10. You have to be wrong in the head to start a company. But we have all the fun.
11. Starting a company will teach you what it’s like to be a manic depressive. They, at least, can take medication.
12. Your startup isn’t succeeding? You have two options: go home with your tail between your legs or do something about it. What’s it going to be?
13. If you don’t pay attention to your competition, they will turn out to be geniuses and will crush you. If you do pay attention to them, they will turn out to be idiots and you will have wasted your time. Which would you prefer?
14. Startups are not a democracy. Want a democracy? Go run for class president, Bueller.
15. You’re doing a web app, right? This isn’t the 1980s. Your crummy, half-assed web app will still be more successful than your competitor’s most polished software application.
+10 More Startup Commandments
1. You will have at least one catastrophe every three months.
2. Outsource effectively, or be effectively outsourced.
3. Do you thrive on stress and ambiguity? You’d better.
4. The best way to get outside funding is to be successful already. Stupid but true. But you, cheapskate, don’t need money, right?
5. People will think your idea sucks. They’re even probably right. The only way to prove them wrong is to succeed.
6. A startup will require your complete attention and devotion. Thought your first love in High School was clingy? You can’t take out a restraining order on your startup.
7. Being an entrepreneur requires a healthy amount of ignorance. Note I did not say stupidity.
8. Your software sucks. So what. Everyone else’s does also, and re-architecting is the kiss of death for a startup. Startups are no place for architecture astronauts.
9. You do have a public API, right?
10. Abject Terror. Overwhelming Joy. Monstrous Greed. Embrace and harness these emotions you must.
With online networking opportunities like this who needs LinkedIn?
I am not the only one thinking about LinkedIn like this, in fact TechCrunch has recently posted that LinkedIn may face a
“real risk of long term irrelevance as Facebook becomes the social networking platform of choice for professional networkers. “
Today I will keep my accounts on both sites. Currently I only have a handful of people in Facebook and I am currently only using Facebook for personal not professional reasons but who knows. Maybe I will ditch LinkedIn and get all of my contacts to join me on Facebook.
I can tell you this: I will more than likely pull down my MySpace account and focus solely on Facebook – it is leaps and bounds ahead of MySpace.