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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work