Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Reid Hoffman on How to Handle User Data (Video)

In an on-stage interview with me at the Web 2.0 Expo this week, Reid Hoffman expounded on some ideas he’s been noodling with about how the next era of the Web is about understanding and mashing up massive data sets.

Hoffman veered away from talk about business at LinkedIn, where he is co-founder and executive chairman, because it has filed to go public.

While his Web-3.0-is-about-data pronouncement is not terribly risky, Hoffman offered some solid principles for companies looking to collect and utilize user data.

One of the reasons why we don’t just publish the aggregate set of LinkedIn data is we don’t produce organization charts. Our individual members would feel ambushed if we published organization charts….Good Internet companies never ambush their users.

You should only ask users for data when you’re giving them something specific and valuable for that. So for example, we don’t ask gender at LinkedIn because we don’t have a specific value proposition for that data even though it would be useful for us to know it.

Here’s the video:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik