Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Attention Startups: President Obama Wants to Know What You Think About Health Care Reform

July 25, 2009

Facing growing resistance to his efforts to reform the health care industry, President Obama on Saturday July 25 asked the small business community what the most important issues are when it comes to health care.

In a nifty use of social media tools, the White House is using LinkedIn to gather feedback from entrepreneurs. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman sent out an email today to a number of his “social media friends” announcing the effort (including me).

“Sending a note to my social media friends, ” wrote Hoffman “…. up to you if you want to participate. Good cause. (Have to sort out the small business and health stuff; get good direction to Washington.)”

A new report from the Council of Economic Advisors, also released July 25, analyzing the impact of health insurance reform on small businesses is prompting the request for feedback. The Council is asking entrepreneurs to read the report and offer the White House your comments, questions and objections.

I’ve been one of many folks calling for the White House to pay more attention to the needs of small businesses–in addition to the giants of the economy. I am glad to see they are doing more on this front. So startups–now is the time weigh in!

To spur even more interest, CEA Chair Christina Romer will be answering some questions, chosen by LinkedIn, in a live video online discussion at WhiteHouse.gov on Wednesday, July 29th, at 3:00 PM EDT.

I just checked out the site. Interestingly, the survey is being done through LinkedIn’s new Answers service, in which members post a question on their network. There are already 29 thoughtful responses.

Congrats on a clever and important experiment Reid!

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New June ComScore Numbers Shows Facebook Still Has the Mojo

July 15, 2008

I just got a first look at the June ComScore numbers for the top social networking Web sites in the U.S.

The big story is that Facebook saw a nice jump in unique visitors and it continues to grow faster than MySpace and the overall market.

In June, Facebook claimed 37.4 million unique visitors, up from 35.6 million in May. Year over year, Facebook saw its uniques rise 34%, up from 27.9 million last June. By contrast, the total number of Americans visiting social networking sites grew 6% over the previous June to 189.9 million. Meanwhile, MySpace only saw 3% annual growth in its visitors, rising to 72.8 million from 70.5 million.

Clearly, MySpace is still the leader in terms of the U.S. social networking audience. Even if Facebook continues to outpace MySpace at these growth rates, Rupert Murdoch’s prize acquisition is in no danger of losing its billing as the largest U.S. social network any time in the near future. Even so, Facebook clearly has the mojo, and continues to nip at it heels.

The engagement numbers are sort of a mixed bag. MySpace, Facebook, and Orkut are clearly grabbing the lion’s share of attention in the U.S. social networking space. In the second quarter, MySpace saw a nice jump of 15% to 677 minutes spent on the site compared to the year-ago quarter. However, engagement dropped 2% compared to the first three months. As for Facebook, the average minutes per visitor fell 8% in the second quarter to 527 minutes, compared to the year-ago quarter. However, engagement increased 5% over the first quarter of 2008. Bottom line: people continue to spend a lot of their time on these sites.

I asked ComScore senior manager Andrew Lipsman what he made of Facebook’s gains. He said it’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but it’s probably a seasonal bump enjoyed by leisure-type Web sites. “Leisure–oriented sites (gaming, social networking) sometimes have a tendency to see seasonal gains in the summer when people have more leisure time,” wrote the 28-year-old Lipsman. “Anecdotally, it does seem as though my contemporaries have very recently been flooding onto the site. I wonder if there is any increased word-of-mouth effect due to people being out more during the summer? Just a guess, but I suppose it’s possible.”

I have to agree with him on the second point. Since joining Facebook more than a year ago, I have seen a steady increase in my friends. But over the last few months, my friend requests have seemed to spike. I’m getting a lot of friend requests from old high school friends I haven’t spoken to or seen in many years.

This seems to show that Facebook is following the traditional adoption curve. The innovators and early adopter crowd have already joined the party. Now, Facebook seems to be attracting the early majority crowd—the folks who are not the first on the block with the slick new gadget but over time they tend to come around and adopt whatever the early adopters deem cool or useful.

Final notes: Among the other top social networking sites, LinkedIn and Orkut are seeing the highest growth rates. LinkedIn more than doubled its U.S. audience, hitting 4.1 million users in June, up from 1.7 million the previous June. And Orkut, Google’s social networking play, also doubled in size, reaching 1.2 million users, up from 588 million the previous June.

Big Loss: Matt Cohler Leaves Facebook

June 19, 2008

Today, Facebook announced Matt Cohler was leaving the company to become a general partner at Benchmark Capital. A long-time Facebook exec who was part of Mark Zuckerberg’s brain trust, Cohler was vice president of product management, and his presence will be sorely missed.

Jim Breyer, an investor and director at Facebook, has told me several times that he thinks the world of Cohler. “Cohler is a rock star,” Breyer told me several months ago. “He is one to watch.”

Kara Swisher reports that Cohler was not pushed out, and I have to believe that is true. That Cohler will remain a “special advisor” to Zuckerberg and the company’s management after he leaves is pretty good proof that this is an amicable separation. Cohler, a really smart, cool and nice guy, was very popular at Facebook, and always seemed to know his role as Mark’s consigliere and didn’t step over those bounds (unlike some other execs). When I asked him a few months ago what advice he gives Zuck, Cohler wisely replied: “I ask him questions and that elicits things.” A guy with a golden touch, Cohler will be a great asset at Benchmark, helping them suss out Internet investments.

Cohler joined Facebook in the summer of 2005 at Peter Thiel’s request. Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did with Matt from June 2007 when he spoke about how he joined Facebook. It shows you the tightness of the Silicon Valley network. He was an exec at LinkedIn at the time but felt that Facebook was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” that could not be passed up.

“In August 2004, Mark came in to meet with Peter Thiel, Reid’s old boss, to raise some angel money to keep the company expanding quickly,” Matt told me. “Reid and I were in Peter’s office an hour before. Peter said sit in and listen to this Mark Zuckerberg guy. I sat in on the conversation. Right away I was floored by what I was hearing. The quantitative data that Mark was getting, about the user uptake. I started tracking the company. Peter invested in September of 2004 and became a director. A few months later, Peter asked me to join Facebook. I felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I officially joined in spring of 2005. There were 5/6 employees.”

One key question now is this: Who will take over product management when Matt leaves in the fall? Product management is still arguably the most important job at Facebook. It will be interesting to see if Mark Zuckerberg takes it over, or if he appoints someone else from inside the company. It’s hard to see Facebook bringing in an outsider to take over product development at this point, given its importance and the uniqueness of the company’s culture.