Entries in Linkedin (14)


LinkedIn Co-Founder Shares Secrets with US Veteran

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman says entrepreneurship is like throwing “yourself off a cliff.”

“One of the things that Silicon Valley tends to be known for is this phrase, ‘Fail fast’.  And the reason why you fail fast is not because you want failure, but because if you fail and learn, you can get to success in the long term much faster,” he said in ABC’s Standing Up For Heroes series.

A Stanford engineering grad and alum of various tech companies, Hoffman started LinkedIn in his home living room in 2002.  After launching in 2003, it became the largest professional networking service, now with over 175 million members in more than 200 countries.

As an early investor in Facebook and now a partner with venture capital firm Greylock Partners, the 45-year old’s estimated net worth is $2.1 billion, according to Forbes.

The venture capitalist recently swapped stories with U.S. veteran Jennifer Vollbrecht.

Vollbrecht, 26, is a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crew chief and mechanic.  In Iraq, she and her team of Marines risked their lives helping save others.  Currently an integration and test engineer, she faces a new challenge of transitioning into civilian life and moving past an entry-level position.

Vollbrecht asked Hoffman, who mentors young entrepreneurs as a venture capitalist, how she can fulfill her dream of being an entrepreneur.

“One of the metaphors that I use for entrepreneurship, you may or may not have heard this already, is, you throw yourself off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down,” he told Vollbrecht.  “In your case, it may be a helicopter. ”

Well before he started LinkedIn, Hoffman was founder of the online dating site Socialnet.  That site flopped but was a valuable experience that led him to his investment in social media site Facebook, and the founding of LinkedIn.

While he was CEO, Hoffman eventually led LinkedIn to profitability in 2006, a key achievement for tech startups that are known to bleed money in their first several years.

“The key thing is, to figure out where you see a problem in a way other people don’t see, and evaluating whether or not that can be a company,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


LinkedIn Co-Founder Mentors Former Marine Helicopter Crew Chief

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the war in Afghanistan begins to wind down, hundreds of thousands of troops are transferring quickly from the military world to the civilian world.  

Fewer than 1 percent of American citizens have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, so when they get home it takes time for them to restore their relationships with the people of their neighborhoods and the companies who could hire them.  It has been years since they deployed overseas so they need to relearn how to find a job and plan their longer term career.

As part of its Standing Up For Heroes Series, ABC News is pairing veterans with mentors who can help them achieve their professional goals, and perhaps at the same time, help ease this transition.  As you know, many of them have been physically or mentally wounded.  There are also hundreds of thousands who return home healthy and safe but they are also facing a very quick change in direction.

One of these veterans is former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter crew chief and mechanic Jennifer Vollbrecht, who ABC News met through American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce.

Vollbrecht, 26, served in the Marines for five years.  She was stationed in Al Anbar Province in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, where her job as part of a helicopter crew was to transport injured military civilians and others to the hospital.  Vollbrecht was in charge of the back of the helicopter and of the door gun in the rear.

She is currently working as an integration and test engineer and hopes to move up within the corporate structure.

With this in mind, ABC News was able to reveal to Vollbrecht that her mentor would be renowned businessman and tech entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn.

With Reid as her mentor, she will be able to pick the brain of one of the country’s top businessmen about professional development and getting ahead in the business world.

Reid, 45, has also played key roles in the development of a number of now-dominant companies.  He was an early investor in Facebook and a founding board member at PayPal.  He currently sits on the board of directors of online game company Zynga and at the Mozilla Corporation, among others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


eHarmony Passwords Stolen by LinkedIn Hackers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The same hackers responsible for the theft of over 6.4 million LinkedIn passwords also acquired passwords from the popular dating site eHarmony.

“After investigating reports of compromised passwords, we have found that a small fraction of our user base has been affected,” eHarmony’s Becky Teroka wrote on the company blog Wednesday evening.  

According to the Los Angeles Times, 1.5 million passwords were stolen.  That’s significantly less than the 6.4 million LinkedIn passwords, but still a considerable amount of eHarmony’s 20 million users.

The Russian hacker responsible uploaded the encrypted passwords to a Russian-language website forum.  Many of them have been cracked, and while the usernames are not posted, security experts believe the hackers are in possession of that information as well.

Similar to LinkedIn, eHarmony has reset the passwords for those with compromised accounts.  If you’re such a user, you will be prompted to change your password next time you attempt to log in to the site.

Still, if you’re a LinkedIn or eHarmony user you should still change your password.  Additionally, if you have used that password on other sites or services, you should change that password on those sites as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


LinkedIn Hacked: 6.4 Million Passwords Reportedly Stolen

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesUPDATE: LinkedIn said a number of its users' accounts were compromised in a security breach, posting on the site's blog Wednesday, "We can confirm that some of the passwords that were compromised correspond to LinkedIn accounts."


(NEW YORK) -- The social networking website LinkedIn is investigating claims that more than 6 million passwords were stolen and uploaded to a Russian-language web forum Wednesday.

Reports of the hacking first appeared on Russian language websites and were confirmed by security firms, who reported that a user in Russian-language forum posted the passwords Wednesday.

A Twitter account run by LinkedIn announced Wednesday morning that the company "continues to investigate" but was still unable to confirm whether any security breach occurred.

Graham Cluley, a security expert working at the British firm Sophos, said in a blog post that although the passwords are not correlated to user names, "it is reasonable to assume that such information may be in the hands of the criminals." Cluley said that the security firm had confirmed that the file uploaded to the Russian forum did contain the LinkedIn passwords, despite the company's hesitation to confirm it.

Users who fear that their passwords may have been stolen can change their passwords on the website by clicking on their names in the upper right corner of the website's homepage, and then clicking on Settings and choosing the "Change" link next to password.

Cluley also recommended changing passwords at other sites where users may have used the same password.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Workers Can't Seem to Get It Done at Work

Christopher Robbins/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- Much to supervisors' dismay the workplace isn’t all too conducive to getting things done, a survey by the professional social networking site LinkedIn reveals.

In fact, nearly nine of ten professionals in the worldwide survey say they can’t finish everything on their daily to-do list. One of the problems, according to 26 percent of the respondents, is that they’re too easily distracted, with those in the arts admitting they find it hardest to concentrate on their tasks at hand.  Folks in the agriculture industry claim they have the least difficulty focusing.

In fact, farmers are tops when it comes to completing their daily jobs, with consumer and service workers not far behind. Legal, education and medical employees say they struggle the most to finish their work.

As for making actual to-do lists, it’s probably no surprise that women are more organized than men, with 70 percent claiming to set up task sheets as opposed to 60 percent of males.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Workers' Biggest Pet Peeves Revealed

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- "People not taking ownership for their actions" tops the list of workplace pet peeves for Americans and the world. A new global survey by social networking site LinkedIn found that in the U.S., rounding out the top three office peeves are "constant complainers" and "dirty common areas," including community microwaves or refrigerators.

"People not taking ownership for their actions" was also the most common pet peeve globally, chosen by 78 percent of total respondents.

But not all pet-peeves are equal when it comes to gender, the survey found. In the U.S., women reported being more annoyed than men by "clothing that's too revealing for the workplace." That bothered only 29 percent of the men surveyed, but 62 percent of women.

LinkedIn conducted the research in 16 countries and collected data from 17,653 professionals. In the U.S., LinkedIn surveyed 1,953 people.

The office pet peeve that bothered hiring managers (65 percent) more than non-hiring managers (55 percent) in the U.S. was "showing up late for meetings."

American professionals are more peeved than professionals in other countries when it comes to taking food from the refrigerator that isn’t yours, and the U.S. was the eighth most peeved-out country in this regard.

The country with the most pet peeves is India -- on average, Indian professionals selected about 19 of the 38 pet peeves listed in the survey. Italy had the fewest aggravations. LinkedIn said Italian professionals, on average, selected about 15 of the 38 choices.

Some of the biggest pet-peeves in other countries were:

  • Brazil: most peeved by excessive gossiping
  • Germany: dirty common areas (such as a dirty community microwave or refrigerator)
  • India: loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones
  • Japan: office pranks

A total of 38 pet peeves were listed in the survey:

  • Loud typing
  • Loud talkers / people who take calls on speakerphone
  • Loud or irritating mobile phone ringtones
  • Listening to music or videos without headphones
  • People chatting by your workspace
  • Humming/whistling/tapping
  • Chewing gum
  • A pungent-smelling lunch
  • Taking food from the refrigerator that isn't yours
  • Dirty common areas (such as a dirty community microwave or refrigerator)
  • Not putting things in the office kitchen/pantry back where they belong
  • People throwing things in your garbage
  • Messy desk
  • People borrowing and not returning items from your desk
  • Too much perfume
  • Grooming (filing/clipping/polishing nails, tweezing, etc.)
  • Clothing that's too revealing for the workplace
  • Constant complainers
  • Eavesdropping and then chiming in
  • Excessive gossiping
  • Too much talk about health issues, spouses, children
  • Colleagues who make too many personal phone calls
  • Office pranks
  • Too many meetings
  • Starting meetings late or going long
  • Showing up late for meetings
  • Using phone or laptop during meetings
  • Hitting "reply all" on mass employee emails
  • Being CC'd on a long email string that doesn't pertain to you
  • People that don’t respond to emails
  • People who send too many unimportant e-mails
  • Not filling an empty printer with paper
  • Overachievers that pander to the boss
  • Overuse of workplace/industry jargon
  • Trivial interruptions
  • People who are first in and last out "just because"
  • Coming to the office when sick
  • People not taking ownership for their actions
  • Other

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: Americans Spend More Time on Facebook than Other Websites

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nielsen Media Research, the company that measures TV viewership and provides ratings, recently examined social media in the U.S. and discovered Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other website.  Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report” reveals that during May 2011, Americans spent more than 53 billion total minutes on Facebook.

Blogger was ranked a distant second with 723.8 million total minutes, followed by Tumblr with 623.5 million minutes.  Americans spent 565.2 million total minutes on Twitter in May 2011 and 325.7 million minutes on LinkedIn.

Additional findings from Nielsen’s "State of the Media: The Social Media Report":

-- Social networks and blogs dominate Americans’ time online and now account for 22.5 percent of total time spent on the Internet, followed by 9.8 percent for online games and 7.6 percent for email.
-- Nearly 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their cellphones.
-- Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet.
-- Seventy percent of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12 percent more likely than the average adult Internet user.
-- In a sample of ten global markets, social networks and blogs are the top online destination in each country, accounting for the majority of time spent online.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Groupon IPO: Good Deal for Investors?

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Maybe they can make it up on volume? Ooops! Turns out that volume is to blame for the $413 million operating loss racked up by online coupon-seller Groupon last year.

That's according to the company's filing for its $750 million IPO. It's one of several problems dogging the fastest-growing company in history, whose value has been put by optimists as high as $25 billion. Other problems include shrinking margins, proliferating competitors, restive merchants, and subscribers frustrated by the experience of trying to redeem their coupons.

And how about the deals themselves: Are they as juicy as they used to be?

Bloomberg News quotes Groupon Chairman Eric Lefkofsky as saying he expects the company to be "wildly profitable" some day. But in the meantime, it's got a ways to go.

Co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason writes in the registration document that Groupon has made "significant investments to acquire subscribers" -- significant to the tune of $262.3 million in 2010, up from $4.5 million in 2009.

The company has grown its subscriber base to more than 83 million customers, up from just 115,000 two years ago. Revenue has surged 2,241 percent last year. But growth of spending (5,732 percent) outstrips it. Largely to keep adding new subscribers, Groupon's IPO aims to raise $750 million.

While some analysts expect the offering to be a blockbuster, others aren't so sure.

Pat Becker, Jr., of Becker Capital Management in Portland, Ore., which manages $2.5 billion, doesn't think Groupon is worth anywhere near $25 billion. Reason: Barriers to entry in Groupon's industry are low. As a result, some 482 competitors are nipping at its heels. The largest, LivingSocial, has 28 million members.

Becker especially worries what will happen when "competitors like Yahoo or Google, who already have their own touch-point with consumers, start to utilize this type of service." Facebook already has started its own version of Groupon, called Deals, and Amazon has started AmazonLocal. Though Groupon has the lead, Becker says it's not inevitable it will keep it.

"We just don't think it takes competitors very long to get up to speed," he says Becker. "Somebody could have a competing product in less than a year."

Groupon's participating merchants, meantime, know they can go elsewhere. Some have started demanding deals better than the company's standard 50/50 split of what the consumer pays. That cuts into Groupon's margins.

Retail consultant Bob Phibbs, author of the new book Groupon: You Can't Afford It, runs a blog containing hundreds of reviews and comments from business owners critical of Groupon and of other online coupon providers, who he sees as being bad for retailing.

Merchants who do business with an online coupon seller, he says, are at first delighted to have a sea of new customers show up. But they soon discover it's impossible for them to make money unless those same customers come back again and pay full price. Says Phibbs, "Hard numbers are what's missing here--the dots you'd need to make a connection between the number of coupons sold and the number of coupon-customers who come back later. That data doesn't exist yet. What's being reported is strictly anecdotal."

How about the deals themselves? Are Groupon's as juicy they were a year ago? Yes, says Phibbs, assuming you can fight your way through the door. "They're still as good. You still get $50 of Thai food for $25."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tech Bubble? LinkedIn IPO Has Watchers Wondering

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot(NEW YORK) -- Ever since LinkedIn's IPO rocketed skyward, raining money on the company's founders and on early holders of the social networking stock, market watchers have been wondering: are tech stocks poised for another leap to the moon? Are we seeing the re-birth of a '90s-style bubble?

LinkedIn's stock, issued at $45, went as high as $122.70 its first day, closing at $94.25. Day two saw another 14 percent rise before profit let out a little steam, and the stock declined by 1.2 percent. Based on Friday's closing price, the company's market value stands $8.8 billion--about 23 times revenue.

"By any normal valuation, that's awfully high," says Norm Conely, CEO of JA Glynn Investments in St. Louis.

The stock's performance, says Josh Bernoff, senior vice president at Forrester Research, is "not in line with any flavor of reality I know."

The Wall Street Journal on Monday reckoned that based on LinkedIn's 2010 profits and market value, if Exxon Mobil had the same valuation it would have a stock value of $19.8 trillion -- well north of the U.S. annual gross domestic product.

The business prospects for LinkedIn, Bernoff admits, are excellent. "There's a lot of potential for growth, both in terms of revenue and membership. When you need to connect with other professionals, LinkedIn is perfect. They dominate that space." But that space is limited. "It's not your whole life."

Kathy Smith, principal with Renaissance Capital, an IPO advisory firm, says the IPO's spectacular success was fueled by more than fundamentals.

"Some people are saying," Smith says, "that the underwriters mis-priced it. But I don't agree. They thought they were pricing it with the fundamentals in mind. The social networking community priced it differently." The people in that community, she calls enthusiasts -- "not your typical investors." Some of them are too young to remember the tech bubble of the '90s or how badly buyers ultimately got singed.

In that spectacular run-up, Internet-based companies by the dozens went public with no profits, little revenue, and lots of dreams about getting in the space first and attracting site visitors. The dotcom bubble of 1995-2000 saw the tech-heavy Nasdaq soar to 5,000 points then crash to less than 1,500 -- losing trillions of dollars for investors.

What we're witnessing now, Bernoff says, is not the birth of another bubble. "If Facebook went public tomorrow, you'd see the same frenzy. Its potential is much greater than LinkedIn's. But I'm concerned than in the next few quarters LinkedIn's true potential will become clearer and cause some people to become disillusioned. They'll see it doesn't actually have a patent on fairy dust."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Big First Day for LinkedIn; 7.84 Million Shares Sold

LinkedIn(NEW YORK) -- On Thursday, the social networking company LinkedIn went public to much fanfare.
Insiders got shares for $45 a piece last night. By the end of their first trading day those shares were selling for more than $94 (after touching more than $120 at mid-day). The closing price for shares was $94.25 (+$49.25 or 109.44%).
The company sold 7.84 million shares in the IPO Thursday; every one of those shares traded hands almost four times as investors scrambled to get in on the action (trading volume of 30.1 million shares).

With the IPO offering a flashback to the go-go days of the dot-com boom, people are now talking about what could be much bigger IPOs for other companies that play in the Internet’s social sphere -- like Facebook and Groupon.
LinkedIn currently claims more than 100 million members who use the site for career networking and recruitment. Facebook has a much more engaged community of 600 million people who share billions of photos and status updates on the site.
While there is a lot of excitement around these social networking companies, many investors are harkening back to the bust which followed the previous boom.
Should LinkedIn, a company which made just $15 million in profits last year and says it will lose money in 2011 as it invests in future growth, command a market value of more than $8 billion? That’s for the market to decide.
But don’t be surprised to see Friday’s headlines to be pointing to both the dot-com era’s successes as well as the massive failures. had the biggest IPO pop in history (and still does), its shares jumping more than 600 percent on the first day of trading. But folks who weren’t surfing back in 1998 (and even some who were) probably couldn’t tell you what was.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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