Economic Times: June 08, 2016
On Wednesday, LinkedIn launched an office in Bengaluru, as part of its broader ambitions in India -- the company's second-largest market in the world. In an interview to ET , Allen Blue , who cofounded the company in 2002 with Reid Hoffman, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly and Jean-Luc Vaillant, spoke about new products that LinkedIn is launching, its near-term plans for India and how the company's premium services are growing. Edited excerpts:
How big is India for you now?
We have about 35 million users in India, which is our second largest consumer after the United States. So, it's obviously a gigantic market for us. It also represents a huge opportunity for growth because India is growing and thriving, the economy is expanding quickly. It's typically been a development centre for us and India is also the centre for our global customer operations - this has recently become a development centre for India-specific product development - something new to us.
What are your near-term ambitions for LinkedIn? What new products are you currently working on at present?
Right now, we concentrate mostly on recruiting, marketing, allowing companies to not only find the talent they need but also to advertise their products and services to other people. We are concentrating on sales solutions, which allows businesses to identify sales leads and then successfully engage them to help them grow. And we also have several new products we're just beginning to roll out, including Elevate, which is a mechanism for engaging your employees.. we have Referrals, a mechanism for companies to hire more effectively by taking advantage of the networks of their employees.. we also have LookUp, a mechanism essentially for allowing professionals to use LinkedIn as a sort of superior corporate directory. Also, last year we entered the world of learning, with our acquisition of Lynda.com. And that gives us an opportunity to do a couple of things - provide training services to all our corporate customers to provide access to Lynda's library of content and to help companies train their workforce more effectively. Also, it's a mechanism to help job seekers and individuals acquire the skills they need when they're looking for work.
Are you being more aggressive when it comes to recruiting CXOs and senior-level executives?
Global recruitment firms, for certain, use LinkedIn as a primary resource, identifying potential candidates and then evaluating whether they are good fits. Also, there are smaller companies that use LinkedIn solely to identify such candidates. We're happy to not only be the resource for some companies, but also to assist executive placement firms and be a great tool for them to be able to do their work more effectively.
Are you working on taking over the extensive screening processes associated with senior-level hires?
In general, we're not attempting to fully replace the vetting process that anybody would usually do before making any level of hire... We definitely hope LinkedIn is a tool that anyone who is part of the executive hiring or any level of hiring process is using to make a really good choice.
What kind of traction are you seeing with paid services such as LinkedIn Premium?
The premium service represents about 17% of our revenue right now. So, it's doing well. We have a brand new feature associated with it called ProFinder. We did a pilot in the US as a way of helping people provide professional services, find potential clients — the most recent extension to our subscriptions business.
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