Sunday, January 28, 2007

Connecting to people on LinkedIn

I wasn't such a big LinkedIn fan until a short time ago, when a post by Guy Kawasaki caught my attention. Then synchronicity kicked in and Tennessee Leeuwenburg sent a message to the python-advocacy mailing list, asking Python developers to connect to each other on LinkedIn; here's what Tennessee had to say:

"One way to help spread Python would be to have a strong presence of Python developers in various online networks. One that springs to mind is LinkedIn, a job related social networking site.

If we could encourage Python developers to start adding eachother to their LinkedIn network, then we shoud be able to create a well-connected developer network with business and industry contacts. This should benefit everyone -- both people looking for Python developers, and also people looking for work."

So in the past week or so I started to send LinkedIn invitations to people I know, either by having worked with them, or through the various forums, mailing lists and Open Source communities I have been part of. It's amazing how many people we all know, if we think about it.

LinkedIn has several nice features that can help when you're looking for people to hire, or when you're looking for a job. Perhaps the easiest way to find people is to click on 'Advanced search' (the small link next to the main search box) and type something in the Keywords field. Try it with 'python' for example -- you'll see that a lot of people whose blogs are aggregated on Planet Python have a LinkedIn profile. Your next step, if you are a Python developer yourself, is to send invitations to people you want to connect with. If enough of us Pythonistas do this, our networks will become more and more interconnected, to everybody's advantage. And you can replace 'Pythonistas' with 'agilistas', 'rubyistas' or whatever your interest is.

It's also interesting to see how LinkedIn displays the number of the degrees of separation between yourself and people you are searching for. Amazingly enough, that number is usually 2 or 3, if not 1. This makes me think of Malcolm Gladwell's theory about Connectors in 'The Tipping Point', namely that there is a small number of people that have a LOT of connections. If you are connected to one of these Connectors, then all of a sudden you have a huge number of people in your network, and you can potentially benefit by introducing yourself to them as someone only 2 or 3 degrees of separation apart from them. This is true in my own network, where I am only 2 degrees of separation away from Guy Kawasaki for example. Why? Because a long long time ago I accepted a LinkedIn invitation from one Paul Davis, who has 500+ LinkedIn connections.

If I made you curious about LinkedIn, I'd advise you one more time to read Guy Kawasaki's blog post on how to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Speaking of jobs and hiring, if you are a hardcore Python programmer looking for work, especially in the D.C. area, the Zope Corporation is hiring.


cowmix said...

Just an FYI.. There is a pretty big Python community on Orkut..

Chris Arndt said...

In Germany, we have a very popular site, that seems to be very similar to LinkedIn, called Xing (, formerly OpenBC, available in all major languages). It is especially popular for making "business" contacts.

So, you see, the problem is that all these sites are very nice, but since there are so many, it becomes too cumbersome to maintain your profile on all of them.

Grig Gheorghiu said...

strogon14 -- you're right, but from what I see, LinkedIn is starting to gain critical mass in terms of adoption. So it may become the google of business networking sites :-)

Thanks for your comment.


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