The Rise of the Millionaire LinkedIn Influencer

Ali Balikci / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

To some, LinkedIn’s try-hard nature has become a perfect example of the worst of corporate culture. But the site’s influencers say the joke’s on everyone else, as they pull in big money with ease. “The only opinion that matters is the market,” one said.

When Justin Welsh set out to start a consulting business a few years back, he knew he would need to get potential clients’ attention. A former software executive, he knew he had the bona fides to help early-stage tech companies succeed; what he wasn’t sure of was how to let potential clients know that.

He’d been on Twitter for years, but it seemed too negative a place for what he was trying to do. By comparison, LinkedIn seemed safer, more positive. To boot, Welsh’s potential clients spent significant amounts of time on the site, and there weren’t as many people creating content. That meant less competition.

So in late 2018, he started to publish “practical and tactical” tips for growing startup businesses each morning on the platform, with a dash of an emotional element here and there. (Representative post: “People vastly underestimate the value of their knowledge. Publish yours and let the market pleasantly surprise you.” One thousand and seven hundred likes.)

By this year, he’d gained more than 300,000 followers. Along the way, he noticed a shift in the inquiries he received. No longer were people mostly asking for software advice. “They were asking me about how I was using LinkedIn,” he said. Today, Welsh is a full-blown LinkedIn influencer who teaches other people to use the platform as well as he does, and his one-man LinkedIn-focused business now brings in nearly $2 million annually, he said.

After years of being known as a place to share resumes and search for jobs, LinkedIn has quietly transformed into a center for a different sort of influencer—the ROI-obsessed go-getter. It is, in many ways, ground zero for hustle culture and what some have deemed “toxic positivity,” an aspirational place for people more concerned with self-care and cash flow than wisecracks and unattainable beauty.

“They feel like, ‘Hey that can be me,’” said LinkedIn influencer Tobi Oluwole, who has built a successful career coaching business through his LinkedIn following. Elsewhere, the site has become the butt of the joke and a focus of increased scorn—the perfect example of a try-hard corporate culture where people mistake banal, rote platitudes for authenticity, a puffy Patagonia vest in website form.

In August, when the CEO of a LinkedIn-focused marketing company was roundly mocked and chastised after he published a tearful video announcing layoffs, the derision was fueled as much as anything by how perfectly it represented what LinkedIn has become to bewildered outsiders.

The hatred of such self-absorbed posts on LinkedIn has become so intense that a subreddit dedicated to mocking the platform’s most “insufferable,” “cringeworthy” posts—like business leaders advocating for taking less vacation to prove your worth or rebranding lunch as “JUST EAT PowerHour”—has garnered 175,000 followers. But the disgust doesn’t reckon with why so many people have become unironically attracted to the platform.

Justin Welsh has built a seven-figure business based around teaching people to use LinkedIn like he does. “People are still kind of puzzled by it,” said the D.C.-based author and advisor Jeffrey Selingo, who has more than 600,000 followers on LinkedIn. The joke is perhaps on everyone else, as many of the same people getting ripped apart on Reddit have figured out a relatively easy way to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars by spouting inspirational, if often conventional, wisdom.

The influencers themselves say the platform has become a profit machine, the sort of business-friendly space where a strong presence can directly lead to speaking gigs, brand deals, sales leads, career coaching opportunities, and more—and without the second-by-second scrutiny that comes with Instagram.

“Opportunities just come flooding through your doors,” said Chantel Soumis, a LinkedIn influencer who said she received $1 million in revenue-generating opportunities in three months after she publicly launched her creative side business on LinkedIn. The shift is partially the result of a conscious, years-long push by LinkedIn to increase its standing as a social platform relative to the competition.

LinkedIn has developed new creator-focused tools and programs and hired full-time employees called creator managers who actively help influencers build their audiences. In recent years, the alterations have started to reap dividends as people started to view the platform as the closest thing the internet had to an online watercooler.

 “It’s changed people’s behavior,” said Sujan Patel, who has nearly 40,000 followers and is the co-founder of the software company Mailshake. Compared to the rest of the internet, LinkedIn has developed into a positive, almost benign place, slightly less prone to political infighting, which made it the perfect place to do business. The reason for the “toxic positivity,” as Oluwole put it, is that the stakes feel higher with a name, photo, and employer attached to each individual post.

(“People don’t want their jobs and careers threatened,” said Oluwole, who compared the platform to navigating workplace politics. “You’re smiling even though you don’t really care.” Soumis agreed: “There’s money on the line.”) Inoffensive hashtag campaigns like #LetsGetHonest gained traction on the platform as the most positive members of the business world started to see the platform as a respite from the rest of the increasingly ugly internet—a place where being polite still mattered and self-improvement was valued….Read more….

By Maxwell Strachan

Source: The Rise of the Millionaire LinkedIn Influencer

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Related contents:

3 Ways to Supercharge Your LinkedIn Marketing Today for Tomorrow’s Growth Entrepreneur Magazine

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The Pandemic Turned LinkedIn Into One of The Wildest Places on The Internet

COVID-19 is raging again, but you would barely know it scrolling through LinkedIn. Inside the social network for business professionals, everyone is constantly humbled, thrilled or honoured. Occasionally, they’re all three at the very same time.

By what, exactly? Their latest promotion. Or their newest client. Sometimes their most-recent deal. They always want you to know they were “humbled by the opportunity” and “grateful for the experience.” Often they’ll attach a glamour shot so you can see for yourself. Won an internal award for overseeing a product launch? Better post a photo holding the plaque.

The humblebrags are just the start of it. On LinkedIn there’s now everything from pregnancy announcements to weight-loss achievements, and people you barely know will write mini-essays about getting fired. They’ll also pen public love letters explaining why they absolutely, positively adore their jobs.

I’ve spent the past few months scrolling through this jungle to decipher whether it was always like this, and I just hadn’t noticed, or if something truly had changed. The very non-academic verdict: There’s been a remarkable shift, and LinkedIn has morphed into one of the wildest places on the internet.

Much of it is thanks to the pandemic. Stuck working from home, white-collar workers have been desperate for stimulation. LinkedIn says user engagement nearly doubled in 2020, relative to the year prior, and in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 there was a 35-per-cent jump in public conversations – that is, posts, comments and reactions – relative to the same period in 2020.

Early in the pandemic, this was comforting. “When COVID hit and there was far less opportunity for social interaction – going out to conferences, meeting people, going to church – I was looking for a replacement,” says Richard Rémillard, a consultant and former executive director of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

“I’ve got a Facebook account, too, but it’s me going mushroom hunting north of Ottawa.”

Mr. Rémillard is a LinkedIn power user who pops up in my news feed daily. He says his goal has been sensible debate about business issues. It’s a lost dream. “The celebratory aspect of Linkedin has taken over entirely.”

It’s been quite the evolution. In its early days, LinkedIn was seen as a simple way to keep in contact with people from your personal network. Barely anything happened on it. You’d get a request to connect, accept, and then it was mostly radio silence.

If you cared to search around, you could get a few brief updates on former colleagues or classmates who had started new jobs, but the updates were all made with tact. The real value in LinkedIn was for recruiters and headhunters, because it was their dream database.

Around 2014, there was a noticeable shift and the service started to look more like a social-media platform, with LinkedIn pushing a steady stream of content on its news feed to give users something to keep coming back for. Staying true to its roots, LinkedIn invited business leaders to participate by developing relationships with corporate communications teams, and CEOs started posting quarterly updates and personal stories.

Most were boring, likely because human-resources departments and lawyers love to suck the fun out of everything. CEOs also rarely seemed to write the posts themselves – that’s what communications teams are for. But LinkedIn took pride in being a place for civil discourse.

“When people start talking about politics, you see this flood of comments beneath what they are writing, saying, ‘This isn’t Facebook. Please don’t put that here,’ ” LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief Daniel Roth said on the Recode podcast five years ago.

He also noted that ordinary users tended to self-censor. “When you write or share or comment on LinkedIn, your boss sees it, your employees see it, your future business partners see it,” he added, “so people tend to be much more careful about what they say.”

A lot has changed since then, including ownership. Microsoft Corp. bought LinkedIn for US$26-billion in 2016, and there’s also been the influencer revolution, in which individuals promote brands through their social-media accounts. It’s more common now to blur personal and professional worlds.

And then there’s the pandemic. So much of the content LinkedIn users post is the stuff they used to brag or vent about in person, to a small group. Food courts used to be lovely hotbeds of gossip. But that’s been taken away, so now people post for the world to see – with their job titles and company names attached.

I know my frustration about this is child’s play relative to what hospital staff are dealing with right now. But it also feels as if LinkedIn is on the precipice of devolving into something very dark. Scroll through the news feed for long enough and it becomes pretty rage inducing, and there have already been instances of bragging causing outrages, such as when law students bragged about the summer jobs they snagged – leaving their classmates feeling like crap.

What used to be a recruiting platform is far from it today, and that vice-president you barely know, who’s acting like one of your aunties on Facebook who just can’t help but post, is probably affecting you more than you think.

By: Tim Kiladz

Source: Opinion: The pandemic turned LinkedIn into one of the wildest places on the internet – The Globe and Mail

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Why I’m letting it all hang out on LinkedIn

LinkedIn to allow most employees to work remotely, reversing course

How To Create Attractive Hyper Personalized Landing Pages With SellitPics

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Source: SellitPics – Attract Attention With Hyper Personalized Images

LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman on ‘Blitzscaling’ and Unintended Consequences

“You can’t anticipate everything. You can’t prep for everything,” said LinkedIn co-founder and former CEO Reid Hoffman during an interview Thursday at the 2021 Inc. 5000 Vision Conference. Entrepreneurship, he adds, is like “running really fast through the fog,” so the best thing you can do is equip yourself with learned wisdom from others who have been down the path before you.

Hoffman, who today is a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock, has had a hand in many fast-growth companies that have achieved enormous scale. In addition to LinkedIn, he was a top executive at PayPal, along with Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and others who’ve gone on to become household names. And he’s been an investor in Facebook and Airbnb, among others.

Hoffman also is a three-time bestselling author whose newest book, Masters of Scale: Surprising Truths From the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs, which he co-wrote with June Cohen and Deron Triff, builds on the success of their podcast by the same name. Both the podcast and the book feature stories and lessons drawn from deep interviews with dozens of famous founders, along with tales from Hoffman’s own career. In short: Few people understand the art of scaling a business better than Hoffman.

In his conference appearance, Hoffman highlighted a few of the top takeaways from the new book and discussed the ethics of Silicon Valley-style blitzscaling at a moment when the type of tech giants he has helped create have come under increasing scrutiny.

Beware unintended consequences

One of the most memorable moments of Hoffman’s presentation came when he addressed the ethical complications that can come when scaling as quickly as possible brings unintended consequences. Especially as a growing organization moves “from single-threaded to multi-threaded,” Hoffman says, it can be hard as a leader to both maintain the speed to scale and keep on top of all the new threads–let alone anticipate all potential scenarios.

He recommends hiring “somebody whose responsibility is to say, ‘What could possibly go wrong? What would have the wrong impact with our customers or with society, and what are the things we could do now to prep against it?'” Nothing is fail-safe, he cautions, but the more you think ahead, the more nimbly you can respond when necessary–“because if things start going wrong at scale, that can be even more challenging.”

Let some fires burn

As Hoffman knows well, running a fast-growth company can feel like an exercise in constant crisis management. Rather than trying to put out every fire immediately, he advises, establish a triage system that allows you to, in his words, “let some fires burn.” An entrepreneur should ask herself a series of questions: “Which thing is most likely to kill us first, or limit our scale? Which thing, if we don’t start now, won’t be controllable later?”

The answers aren’t always obvious, he points out–some fires, though harder to control later, will be manageable because you’ll have more resources as you grow. “Generally speaking, you have a limited amount of resources to focus on some fires,” he says. “If you try to do them all at the same time, maybe you won’t get any of them sufficiently.”

It all comes back to mission

It’s not enough, Hoffman says, for your company to provide jobs or for people to love your product. “Those are important things, true, but sometimes your product might be questionable–like cigarettes.” So you should also ask, “Why is society better with your product in it?”–and invest in growing that direction.

That isn’t anti-business, he adds, it’s long-term brand building. It builds cohesion and clarifies decision-making in the company. It’s great for attracting talent. “It can be great capitalism. I think it’s really fundamental to great entrepreneurship and helps through the entire company,” he says.

By Tom Foster, Editor-at-large, Inc.@tomfoster2

Source: LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman on ‘Blitzscaling’ and Unintended Consequences | Inc.com

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iPhone 13 Pro Hacked, Tianfu Cup, China Hackers, iOS 15 jailbreak

Ever since the Chinese government invoked regulations to prevent security researchers from taking part in international hacking competitions such as Pwn2Own, the annual Tianfu Cup, held in Chengdu, has been the place for the best hackers in China to demonstrate their collective prowess.

This past weekend saw the latest competition take place and the newest iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro running the latest and fully patched version of iOS 15.0.2 to be precise, was hacked in record time. Twice.

The Kunlun Lab team, whose CEO is a former CTO of Qihoo 360, was able to hack the iPhone 13 Pro live on stage using a remote code execution exploit of the mobile Safari web browser. And do so in just 15 seconds flat.

Of course, months of preparation were likely involved in getting to this point, but the result was devastating and devastatingly fast. However, full details of the vulnerability or vulnerabilities exploited have yet to be revealed.

Kunlun Lab wasn’t the only team to hack the iPhone 13 Pro, though. Team Pangu, which has a history of Apple device jailbreaking, cemented its reputation in this regard by claiming the top $300,000 cash reward for remotely jailbreaking a fully patched iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 15.

While, again, the full detail of how this was achieved has not been made public, reports suggest it involved a one-click link triggering a remote code exploit that bypassed Safari security mechanisms.

The good news is that hacking is not a crime, as I have repeated time and time again.

Indeed, these hacking teams will turn the details of their exploits over to Apple so that it can release patches for these vulnerabilities. I would expect to see these in either iOS 15.1 or a forthcoming iOS 15.0 security update.

The not so good news is that there have been reports in the past of Chinese state actors using some of these exploits for espionage or surveillance purposes before patches can be released.

It should also be said that Apple products weren’t the only target at the Tianfu Cup 2021 event. Security researchers also successfully launched exploits against Windows 10, Microsoft Exchange and Google Chrome, among others. I’ll bring you more news of those as detail emerges.

I have reached out to Apple for comment and will update this article in due course.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Davey is a three-decade veteran technology journalist and has been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A co-founder of the Forbes Straight Talking Cyber video project, which has been named ‘Most Educational Content’ at the 2021 European Cybersecurity Blogger Awards, Davey also won the 2020 Security Serious ‘Cyber Writer of the Year’ title. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

Source: iPhone 13 Pro Hacked, Tianfu Cup, China Hackers, iOS 15 jailbreak..

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