Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner Talks About Growth, Business Intelligence, IPO and More!

Last week, BoomTown paid a long overdue visit on Jeff Weiner, the former Yahoo exec who took over the helm of LinkedIn from founder Reid Hoffman just over a year ago.

Among the topics of discussion: The strong growth over the last year of the social networking site focused on business professionals; its latest goal to surface “business intelligence” for users; LinkedIn’s competitors; and, of course, the likely initial public offering in its future.

Running the show has turned out well so far for Weiner, who was a digital exec among many previous jobs.

Before coming to the Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn, Weiner ran the Network division of Yahoo (YHOO), putting him in charge of most of its consumer offerings.

He left the Internet giant in 2008 and did a brief stint as an executive-in-residence at two Silicon Valley venture firms–Accel Partners and Greylock Partners–before joining LinkedIn later that year as its president.

When he took over as CEO in June of 2009, Weiner listed a number of priorities moving forward, including scaling the network, increasing the user base and engagement, improving user experience and product ease, juicing up search, further expanding internationally and strengthening the platform and third-party developer relationships.

That’s a lot, although most simply focus on LinkedIn’s growth from 42 million members worldwide then to more than 70 million today.

While profitable–via three lines of revenue, including premium subscriptions, corporate solutions and advertising–LinkedIn will need that rocket growth to shoulder its $1 billion valuation and perhaps even more if it has its anticipated IPO.

There are challenges, of course, such as the daily appearance of other professional networking sites and apps, but none has yet gained as much traction or offered such rich streams of data yet as LinkedIn.

Here’s Weiner talking about all that and more in the video of this interview:

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald