So far I have initiated two contacts via LinkedIn. One was to contact someone at a company where I had had a hard time getting a response to inquiries sent to their public e-mail address. Another was to find an expert on an issue I am currently researching for work.
The first request got me directly to the person I wanted to talk to and was what I would consider a successful contact. The second request eventually referred me to someone outside the LinkedIn network who is probably one of the top people in the world on the topic I am looking into. Pretty damn amazing.
In both cases, I think that the personal referral to the ultimate contact by someone they know and trust made the difference in getting an immediate response rather than sitting in a pile of unsolicited correspondence.
Based on those two experiences, I would definitely allocate some of my budget to pay an annual fee in the low hundreds for this service. I hope they don’t go higher than that for the fee. Even though I work at a large non-profit, I would find it difficult to justify an expense much higher than that for a networking tool.
Here are some features I would like to see added to the LinkedIn interface:
- Browse network by job title, company name.
- Show a bullseye diagram of my connections and their connections, etc. that doesn’t show who links to who but does indicate how far out in the chain the members of my network are.
There is also a wiki for comments on the LinkedIn service that is frequented by the founders of the company.