Category Archives: schalk

Early adopting Linkedin: Member no. 39,974 out of 100 million users

I received a lovely letter on March 25th from Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chairman of Linkedin.    He wrote to personally thank the first 100, 000 linkedin members as Linkedin secured its 100th million user last week.  I was member 39, 974 – in the top 0.03% (so better than top 1%) of early adopters for Linkedin.  Okay – so my ego is stroked.   Honestly though – its not just ego – but I feel strangely validated for having promoted Linkedin to scores and scores of colleagues over the years.

Here is a copy of that letter:

Dear Laurie,

I want to personally thank you because you were one of LinkedIn’s first 100,000 members (member number 39974 in fact!*). In any technology adoption lifecycle, there are the innovators, those who help lead the way. That was you.

We hit a big milestone at LinkedIn this week when our 100 millionth member joined the site.

When we founded LinkedIn, our vision was to help the world’s professionals be more successful and productive. Today, with your help, LinkedIn is changing the lives of millions of members by helping them connect with others, find jobs, get insights, start a business, and much more.

We are grateful for your support and look forward to helping you accomplish much more in the years to come. I hope that you are having a great year.


Reid Hoffman
Co-founder and Chairman

*Your member number is the number embedded in your LinkedIn profile URL (after “id=”).

I started using Linkedin over seven years ago mostly because as a mobile IBM worker, I had no desk and so keeping a rolodex wasn’t digital enough for me.    I was also using Friendster, encouraged by a friend in Hong Kong, well before Facebook took over my personal social life and I tried Plaxo for a bit before I gave up.

I really only grasped the huge value of Linkedin, however, when I took my first maternity leave in 2005 only to return 12 months later and instantly be able to find my marketing network because each person had updated their own profile.   Heaven.

In 2009, when the market took a dive and I was laid off in my twelfth month of my second maternity leave (after hiring a nanny), I turned to linkedin to better position me and my business.  I used Linkedin strategically – optimizing not only my profile but how I used the tool in order to make connections, update my network and secure information.

In the year of exponential social media growth (still in 2009), I had a lot of friends in career transition.   Many of whom were not on Linkedin or if they were, not using the tool well.  So I started to trade drinks for lessons with friends.   I got pretty good so I made my community give back to volunteer at employment centers around the city to teach disadvantaged people how to use social media to find a job.  I taught close to 700 people how to use Linkedin.   During that time – I started to win business through Linkedin – some quite sizable deals – not to mention provide social media education & consulting across the gamut of networks.  I often asserted that too many companies forgot Linkedin as a potential B2B strategy.

(Its at this point that I fear readers think a personal usage of Linkedin formed the only foundation for my social media expertise… no actually my eight years in emerging tech at IBM and years in marketing – contribute far more)

This is all a long way of saying how grateful I am for this relationship with Linkedin.   And it certainly was nice to see correspondence from Linkedin outside of their proprietary messaging system.


The death of my notebook

Ah.. I have not been prolific of late.  The cause?  My notebook completely died a fantastic death from an unidentified motherboard problem rendering my hard drive completely unrecoverable.  Damn!   

Believe it or not – in my early, early career (1991), I worked at Toshiba as advanced technical support for five months.  I actually provided hardware support to retailers like futureshop, computerland, etc – often taking apart notebooks and giving advise on problems retailer support couldn’t solve.  It was a career that was dangerously heading down the wrong path – I’m not an IT person per se but a marketer who loves technology.   Long way of saying that I used to be able to diagnose the problems with my hardware but that was sooo long ago.  So I double checked the notebook death with a fix it type in Perth, Ontario.

Interestingly, went Mr Fixit called with the bad news of my notebook death, I was able to get the notebook trucked to Smith Falls where it went into an environmentally responsible grave.  And my hard drive?  Mr Fixit just took a hammer to it since reformatting is impossible.

This did happen two days before a two week holiday and so I’ve been completely unplugged from twitter, blogs, facebook (well.. mostly) and it felt terrific.   Of course, I feel totally out of touch with my net friends – whom I follow with great interest.

So now I’m investigating buying a netbook – the Asus eee pc 1000.    What is interesting is the 3lbs weight, near full size keyboard 92% and battery life 4 -5 hours (look for six cell battery) all with wifi connectivity.   I wonder how my software will perform on it but will continue to read the user forums.

Netbooks are quickly gaining share in the laptop market as they are cheap, and trade power for portability.  The price range is about $350 – 800 bucks (though some say a netbook over $600 is not really a netbook).   I found a great article by James McGuire on the top netbooks for 2009 as well as a useful asus user forum for product reviews.