June 13

Microsoft LinkedIn Deal: Why Microsoft is Acquiring LinkedIn for $26B

Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn for $26.2B in an all cash deal. Is the Microsoft LinkedIn deal good for Microsoft? Is it good for LinkedIn? Watch this lively discussion to see some pros and cons of the deal.

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Transcription:

Bob:
Good afternoon, everyone. I definitely was not expecting to be on Blab on a Monday but today was a day I expected to be spent keeping an eye on WWDC, the big Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and contemplating the purchase of a new MacBook Pro. What actually happened is I haven’t had a chance to read a thing from the conference since this merger acquisition talk happened and now I’m seriously considering a Windows based notebook. My name is Bob Woods.
Beth:
No.
Bob:
I know. Tell me about it, especially because I’m talking into a Mac right now. I’m a social business strategist at PeopleLinx and an executive vice president of coaching and training at Social Sales Link. Beth, why don’t you quickly introduce yourself.
Beth:
Sure. I have my own social sales and social media consulting business and I’m a partner in Social Sales GPS.
Bob:
Yes, as am I. Thank you very much for bringing that up. Michael, why don’t you go ahead, introduce yourself real quick.
Michael:
Hi, everybody. Sorry I was a bit late.
Bob:
Not a problem.
Michael:
I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it but I did. I’m Michael de Groot. I’m chief storyteller at Staying Alive UK, advising people how to use LinkedIn, social selling, whiteboard animation.
Bob:
Ted, over to you.
Ted:
I’m Ted Prodromou. I’m the author of Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business and Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business. I help companies with their social media strategy and online advertising.
Bob:
Excellent. Very good. I just want to quickly explain the format because this isn’t going to be a normal Social Selling Wednesday call which is what we are normally doing every Wednesday at 11:00 Eastern. Instead today, what I’m going to do is I’m going to put on my hat that I used to wear once upon a time as a financial reporter and just give just a quick data points about what exactly is happening today and then we‘re going to throw it open for discussion.

Just in case, you don’t know, Microsoft is buying Linked in for $26.2 billion. That equates to $196 per share which is just a bit below of LinkedIn’s current price around 192 bucks which that number is way off of LinkedIn’s 52 week high of about $255 a share. In all cash offer which is big because cash on the barrel is always better than cash plus stock or the dreaded stock only transaction.

That amounts to about $60 per LinkedIn profile. I’m going to be sending details to LinkedIn where they could send my 60 bucks for my profile. This is by far the largest merger or acquisition. I mean, the title for this blab is merger that’s because I was going about 100 miles an hour when I was trying to get all the stuff off. This is an acquisition. It’s not a merger This is by far the largest buy out in Microsoft’s history.

Now LinkedIn itself according to the press releases and everything we’ve heard today will be largely the same. There’s just going to be a few layoffs staffing wise. That’s mainly for those responsible in investment relations because LinkedIn is no longer going to be available as an investment. It will remain an independent brand.

Jeff Weiner stays on as LinkedIn’s CEO. He’s going to report directly to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella. The LinkedIn share price was up about almost 40%, 47% at mid day. Microsoft was essentially way off at the beginning of trading after it was halted for trading pending the news. It’s recovered some of its losses. It’s down to only being off by 2.5% in early afternoon trading.

Now, I’ve been perusing the investment community really quick. Just from everything that I’ve been reading. They’re of course all over the place about how they feel about the deal as is usually the case but I’m seeing more comments about the sale price being high than anything else and then everybody has their own opinions about what this means and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today. With that in mind, any quick first initial impressions from any of you all there?
Beth:
I’ll say that I can’t decide if it’s exciting or scary or a little bit of both. I have heard a lot of people saying making jokes like, “Yes, I’d like to connect with this person and also upgrade to Windows 10.”
Bob:
Pretty much. I definitely see that. That’s funny. That is funny. Michael, you’re just …
Michael:
My first impression. I was surprised but interestingly I’ve heard over the weekend, I was meeting up with some people and we’re talking about social media. I made a statement on Friday night that says, “LinkedIn is at risk.” They said, “Seriously?” I said, “Absolutely, they are at risk because they haven’t done what they should have done. Other people are ahead.” I actually pointed at Facebook because I felt Facebook out there are doing a better job than LinkedIn.

I never saw the Microsoft thing coming. I hadn’t anticipated it. I ditched Microsoft in 2010 and I moved wholesale to Apple. I’m an Apple Mac convert, all my devices. I’ve never enjoyed … Let’s put it this way. When they started messing around with their software years ago, every time it just didn’t work. Basically it didn’t work. When I moved to Mac, it was like everything works.

My computer stays on all day. It never crashes. I sleep at night and I can come back and it’s still working. It was like a no-brainer. I’ve been living for years in this pain with Microsoft so for me it is painful to think that I will have to move my experience into a Microsoft environment. Only last week I tried to help somebody who moves on to Office 365.

He’s an entrepreneur. He’s on his own, but he’s trying to get on to business 365 and move all of his stuff across there. First we had to change his domain because you got to make sure your domain links into 365. Then we had to change, let me think, 10 settings on its domain record. These are C name records [crosstalk 00:06:57] records. We spent half an hour changing every single thing. I still don’t know if it’s working for him. It took me 20 minutes to find the right instructions inside Microsoft how to get it to work.
Bob:
That’s amazing.
Michael:
I don’t have that problem with Mac. I’m fearful for us as users having to spend time in a Microsoft environment where I’m worried. I no LinkedIn haven’t done a good job but I’m worried that Microsoft still don’t do a very good job. I might be wrong.
Bob:
I’ve been seeing that a lot in just some of the postings just from the general public. A lot of people are saying if Microsoft is going to mess this up, it’s how Microsoft is going to mess this up. That’s something that I’ve been definitely seeing out there on the interwebs too. Ted, why don’t you go ahead and give us your initial impression.
Michael:
I’m going to come off so [Brie 00:08:00] can get on.
Bob:
All right. Sounds good.
Beth:
I’ll come off for a bit.
Bob:
All right. Sounds good. Bye.
Beth:
Bye.
Ted:
My first thought was really like apples and oranges. Why would Microsoft want them? By now that I thought about it, really, LinkedIn was developing their own little mini CRM within the system. It wasn’t really getting traction. I said, “Why is it Salesforce by LinkedIn and integrate. They have a great content management system and contact. I’m thinking the Microsoft dynamics, we used it in a company I used to work for and that’s very powerful. Integrating that was …
Speaker 5:
You think it’s a Salesforce killer?
Ted:
I don't know if it is.
Speaker 5:
They won’t take Salesforce down but Salesforce is really pretty upset right now. I mean they dragged their feet. LinkedIn and Salesforce have been talking for a really long time. Always been speculation that that’s where it was going. When I saw today that it was Microsoft, I was like, “Oh my gosh.” Now, what it does is it puts dynamics on the map. The problem with CRM is you buy them and they’re empty. All of them, you buy Dynamics, you buy Oracle, you buy Salesforce, they’re empty.

LinkedIn is the answer to that and I always thought that LinkedIn would actually purchase Salesforce. I believe LinkedIn is bigger than Salesforce. It’s way bigger. At the time, I always thought that would be a deal because now we could easily fill the box.
Bob:
That’s very good.
Beth:
I think that’s a great observation.
Speaker 5:
Most of the apps in the world, I don’t even know, I’m making up this, but I think probably 90% of the major companies on CRM are on Salesforce. I’m not saying that it’s amazing. I mean our app, PeopleLinx app is on Salesforce.
Bob:
Yes, we are.
Speaker 5:
Thank goodness, we just actually figured out Microsoft Dynamics like a month-and-a-half ago. I don't think we have any clients on it but we do integrate to it. It’s really scary. If you’re a Salesforce.com user, the fear is what is going to happen when Dynamics totally integrates? Are they going to cut the Salesforce.com off from that?
Bob:
How close does everything become, I think is going to be huge going forward. I’ve been hearing from some people. It’s something I wondered too. I am the farthest thing from an anti-trust lawyer but it does make me wonder a little bit if someone maybe won’t bring a suit against it necessarily but people are going to start talking that angle off about LinkedIn is going to become close. I don't know. I don’t have an answer to that but I have been seeing some of that and that’s something that I have thought about.
Beth:
What was that question on the investor call?
Speaker 5:
What was the question?
Beth:
I don't remember the exact wording but it was are they going to have problems and have to get permission to do this? Is it some kind of monopoly? What they’re talking about is their complementary products? It’s not like it’s 2 phone companies getting together and suddenly taking over the world. There’s what they said and what I fear will happen. They talk about that everyone will have permission and have to give permission for things to happen and be connected but I’m not sure.
Bob:
I’m getting feedback by the website.
Speaker 5:
I don’t have my headphones on.
Beth:
Is it from me?
Speaker 5:
Is it me?
Bob:
I think it’s you, Brie.
Speaker 5:
I’m going to hop off and let Michael back on because I don’t have headphones with me today at work. I’m going to hop off but the last thing I just want to say here is this was a move to make Microsoft stronger. This was not a move to make LinkedIn stronger. That’s something that we all have to be really aware of and I think at any time we have to start looking at XING and [inaudible 00:12:20] and some of these other platforms because LinkedIn no longer has the autonomy to the social business network.

It’s really having a toll for Microsoft to manipulate. You just have to be aware of that, I mean, I don’t think it’s the death of LinkedIn but I definitely think that we’re going to see some changes or very few changes which could be just as bad. Every host I’m seeing, every press release, what LinkedIn brings to Microsoft and not seeing one thing about what Microsoft brings to LinkedIn.
Bob:
There could be one potential thing but I definitely think it’s down the road and we were talking about this a little bit in the preshow for a lack of better word. If Facebook starts going after LinkedIn’s audience, then I think that there’s potential that Microsoft will then step in try to build up LinkedIn even more somehow to try to ward off.
Speaker 5:
Facebook has not gotten it right though. They’ve had a lot of time and a lot of show. They branched out. They had a whole bunch of things and they keep just really … They don’t understand the B2B world.
Bob:
No, they don’t.
Speaker 5:
[inaudible 0:13:42]
Bob:
They do have a lot of money to throw at it.
Speaker 5:
They need to move them out to go start recruiting out of LinkedIn from all the people that are a little bit worried. On the other hand, LinkedIn really doesn’t know what they have. I mean, there are a lot of opportunities for Facebook but Facebook cannot try to do this on their own because they don’t know how to do it. Google can do it either. I mean, they try it at Google Plus and Google communities. It’s a colossal failure when all set and done but things like Xing which is the German LinkedIn and [inaudible 00:14:18]. I just joined it.
Beth:
[inaudible 00:14:23]
Speaker 5:
They’re European charge against … I guess not against LinkedIn but in the LinkedIn space that at least here in the US we’re not giving much notice to them. They think it’s probably time that we do that.
Ted:
One opportunity I see is the advertising because I do a lot of LinkedIn ads for clients and it’s like pulling teeth getting the ads approved but once they run, we get better quality leads overall. They cost a little more than Facebook and Google but they’re high quality leads. Maybe a Bing’s advertising [inaudible 00:14:57] get in there and help them approve the ads faster or change the process.
Beth:
Plus there are little thing that I’ve noticed that, again, that helped Microsoft but imagine Bing and Excel and having a question about how to do something and there’s a new button and they described this. There’s a new button that says learn and you go right into the dot com for that thing that you’re trying to do. Again, that’s really more for Microsoft although I would like that. That would be a nice feature.
Speaker 5:
The question is who does it link to? There are 5,000 people Lynda that have Excel classes. I don't know if this moves into the ProFinder or the Lynda space. The ProFinder space …
Bob:
They did.
Beth:
They talked about that.
Speaker 5:
ProFinder is still in its infancy. It’s so clunky and it doesn’t … Give me a bid. You’ve got 5 lines of what someone wants. I’ve had 3 people reach out for me to bid and how much per hour. How much is the project? I don’t even know the project is. They don’t understand sales. They don’t understand [inaudible 00:16:09]. They don’t understand any of that. Right now, it’s like this idea that it’s not even a proof of concept yet.
Beth:
It has potential though.
Speaker 5:
It does have potential but who’s going to build that out now. I’m curious if that maybe becomes a priority. I had 2 people totally decline what I offered and what I offered was let’s just talk because I’m not ready to give you what it’s going to cost. I don’t even know what you want. One person wanted a LinkedIn makeover and took it. That was awesome but there’s no way for them to say I hired her. They don’t even know it works. They have a long way to go. Obviously all of us have all these great ideas that they listen to a little bit but we’ll see if Microsoft is better at that. I mean, are they listening to their clients? I don't know.
Beth:
They say they are.
Speaker 5:
We’ll see. I have faith that we will figure it out.
Bob:
We do have time to figure it out at least. It’s not like [crosstalk 00:17:29] thankfully.
Speaker 5:
They have definitely purchased this for database reasons. They’re not going to screw with that. They’re not have people jump yet.
Bob:
They’re not. That part I agree with.
Speaker 5:
The interesting thing is if I or Microsoft, I’d start bringing back some more free features. They’ve taken so many free features away that a lot of people unless they’re looking for a job aren’t bothering logging in because they can’t do anything. They look at 5 people and then they want [inaudible 00:18:00].
Bob:
Go ahead, Beth.
Beth:
Go ahead. I was going to say, I already reached my search limit and it’s only June whatever. They don’t tell you what it is so that it’s shrinking.
Bob:
The one that makes me wonder about that a little bit though was there were a couple of comments during the investor call when they were talking about social selling and just LinkedIn in general but they never mentioned social selling of LinkedIn. They always used it in combination with a sales navigator. It was almost like an emphasis at that point. They kept saying social selling and sales navigator. It made me wonder. I don't know if I’m reading into something there or not but Beth noticed it too. That is something to potentially watch for I think going forward.
Speaker 5:
Can you elaborate what are watching for?
Bob:
To have more of the social selling features that are currently free or at least restricted based on your LinkedIn.com account to move over to a sales navigator essentially.
Beth:
Somebody wrote it well but I did like …
Bob:
Satya.
Beth:
Satya, the Microsoft guy said, he described it as tasteful integration and I like that so whoever wrote that, thank you. I don't know if the reality will be the same.
Speaker 5:
This is great. If I’m giving feedback, I’m going to hop off, let Michael back in the seat. I’ll hang around for a few more minutes and then I’ll hang off. If anyone is interested in talking to any of us, find us on LinkedIn and we’ll pop up.
Bob:
Definitely. Without a doubt. Can I get to the chat window.
Beth:
We love to chat.
Bob:
Speaking of chat, there’s just a couple of things that have come up in chat that I want to address here real quick. Stan asked was there a recording of the investor call? There’s always recordings of the investor calls. I’m sure that it’s out there and that anyone can … All right.
Beth:
I’m going to go find it right now and I’ll put a link.
Bob:
Beth is working for you, Stan. Hang on. We’ll get that for you. Let’s see. Confluent forms which has a product that I use, the [inaudible 00:20:32], the RFP database. Let’s see. He had said something before something about RFPs and databases and just database use. I think that just in general, Salesforce did it right to a certain extent when they acquire Data.com but with this acquisition by Microsoft, I mean, Data.com versus LinkedIn, I mean, it’s not quite night and day but it’s pretty close basically in terms of the dataset basically.

As I was writing in my notes here. Where did I put it? This is an equivalent of shooting a nuclear device across the bows of Salesforce.com basically and I firmly believe that. Let’s see. We are checking chat messages. If you want to go ahead and submit them, we will definitely try to get as many as possible for actually something. I’ll be back just a second. Somebody else please talk. I’m having allergy problems today.
Michael:
I agree with one of the things that Brie shared. I know just before I came off I was starting on about quite a few negatives. I think there are some positives. I think that. I don't know this new CEO at all. It’s the first time I’ve seen him on video speak and first time I heard him but I don’t following Microsoft at all. I’m not interested to what they’re up to but I’m certainly going to change now.

I’m not doing to be interested in what they’re saying but it’s interesting since the new CEO. That culture is very different. Now, these coordination background, I presume and I know that a lot of the culture that I’ll be following in LinkedIn is very much around whether it’s Buddhism or mindfulness or whatever you want to call it. It’s very much putting the person in the center. Positively, I believe that hopefully they won’t ignore customers, they won’t abuse us but I felt a bit uncomfortable so that was a bit of a positive stuff.

I felt a bit uncomfortable when that chief financial officer female was, I forget her name, Amy of somebody. Let me just take a which look so I don’t … Amy Hood. She very much talks about the fact that how it’s going to grow Microsoft, what return on investment they’re going to get as an organization which is what they’re driving towards. Also talking about the cost savings across the 2 organizations so 150 million or so or thereabout per year.

I think there’s a financial element too which if course we’re talking to investors so it needs to be there because they want their stock price to be nice. I do believe there is an element of culture. There seems to be a good fit between the new Microsoft and the new … Hopefully, the existing LinkedIn. There, I said it now. That’s it, Bob.
Bob:
I’m still recovering. I’m going to go through some of my notes here. Just getting back to what Brien said, I mean, this really is more of an immediate positive for Microsoft than it is for LinkedIn I guess but I think that … This is a social selling related. This is probably just more towards business in general but especially when it comes to the Lynda platform being able to integrate that type of learning into Office 365 and then having these lessons instantly available to click on, I definitely think that that’s good from using … here’s how you use the software type of thing as opposed to here’s social selling.

I mean, that’s much more conceptual so I don't know if that’s going to be much of a part of their curriculum especially that on demand portion of it. I don't know if you’re necessarily going to see something popup about social selling during whatever user experience they have with sales navigator for example or something like that. I don't know what you all think about that but there has been talk about the education aspect of the buyout. I don't know what you all think about that.
Beth:
Did you notice where they were talking about how they could integrate into your entire work process in 365 and it knows what projects you’re working on so your news feed would be related to that. That’s where if they do it well, it can be good but if they don’t, it can be scary and people are going to want to not have anything to do with it and get off LinkedIn because they don’t want their information, news like that.
Bob:
When they were talking about Cortana and about how Cortana can alert you to the people who are in a meeting as you’re walking into the meeting and then go across to LinkedIn profiles and things like that. I think that’s what you’re getting along the lines about. I go back and forth on those types of issues into my mind like constantly, basically. I still don’t know if that type of stuff is good or not What do you all think about that?
Ted:
There can be too much automation too. We just get over around all this down. I think if they integrate it too much with Office 365 and make you go through Office 365, that will be a huge mistake. You got to keep LinkedIn separate.
Michael:
And Bing.
Beth:
And Bing.
Ted:
I forgot.
Beth:
I know.
Michael:
I don’t like him.
Bob:
I know. I don't know if this where maybe a little bit of [inaudible 00:27:13] comes back in a little bit or maybe that’s an overreach. I don't know. I guess that goes to the whole open versus closed question more than anything else and that’s obviously a decision that they’re going to make. Let’s just hope that they keep things as open as possible. We’re talking about Microsoft so who knows.
Michael:
Let me share a little bit about social learning because I don't know I don't know what exposure you guys have had to social learning. I was involved in that marketplace, that space for a while. I don't know if you came across something called the 70:20:10 framework?
Bob:
No.
Michael:
With all learning, 70% of what we learned is through experiential experience. I’m just going to read from a statement. Learning and developing through day to day tasks challenges and practice. 20% will learn through social exposure, learning and developing with and through others from coaching, exploiting personal networks and other collaborative and corporate actions and then the 10% we do formal education through structured causes and program.

That 30% of social exposure and the form of it is where … They actually call it on their slide decks social learning. Going back to your point, I think, Beth, where you were talking about Lynda.com, Lynda is going to be so integrated and LinkedIn when somebody is in PowerPoint and they really don’t know where to go with it or they need a graphic creating, they can just search that on that side panel and so at PowerPoint and find the right person inside LinkedIn.

That potentially could be huge for freelancers, graphic designers, educators, trainers like us. Hopefully, they will be able to get hold of these people instantly with a request. Now, I know you’ve got the pro whatever recruiter, whatever it’s called, finder, happening as well.
Ted:
ProFinder.
Beth:
ProFinder.
Michael:
I think ProFinder won’t be necessary any longer. Now, I’m sure you need a premium account to be found on search in those programs than more than likely but nevertheless, they’re potentially for people out there that are on LinkedIn. They’re going to open it up so you can be found. Let’s hope so.
Ted:
We hope so.
Bob:
I mean, if they are looking for that true mass of data coming from users, they’re going to have to start reverting some of the stuff back free or whatever so that they could retain that data basically and even start getting new users in. I mean, because as you may remember earlier this year, LinkedIn forecasted slower growth this year. I can’t really remember why they said that but enticing people to come in can only help reverse the negative growth along with hopefully Microsoft just bringing in growth because people who are not using LinkedIn and who are on Microsoft which I don't know if there’s a lot of people who are really even like that. Let’s just say there are some people that will help LinkedIn grow a little bit too.
Ted:
They need to get people to come to LinkedIn more often because the average user is 8 minutes a month or something ridiculous overall. The power users but overall, it’s not used much at all.
Beth:
Now, that they got rid of so many notifications from group activity even less.
Bob:
I mean, there’s no question about it. I think LinkedIn have seen the writing on the wall and they’ve seen that … I mean, let’s remember Jeff Weiner’s vision is to have every single knowledge worker, 5 billion of them inside LinkedIn. Now, it was obvious, they were never going to get there at that scale, at the speed that they needed to move unless they did get more by somebody like Microsoft.

I’m sure that Reid Hoffman, he wants his money back at some stage and he’s made a nice return. Of course, he’s like, “I’m selling all my shares. No problem.”
Bob:
I hope so. I would definitely hope so. I just want to remind everyone, we do have the chat room open. We are monitoring for questions. If you have one, please go ahead and list your question there and we’ll get to it as we see it basically. Let’s talk real quick about social selling when it comes to this deal because one of things that I notice especially during the investors call is that social selling got quite a bit of play during the call.

To me it’s basically confirmation that social selling is in fact real and because Microsoft is now formally investing in it through LinkedIn that it’s here to stay. I mean, I think that any of the naysayers out there who are just social selling is bad, I basically think all those arguments are now essentially washed. What do you all think about that?
Ted:
I agree, totally. This is so many opportunities here for both Microsoft and LinkedIn. You just got to stay focused because LinkedIn just went in so many directions last year. I totally lost focus. Microsoft can focus them in a couple areas. It’s going to be huge especially for social selling.
Beth:
Like Brien said earlier, if they can make it that if you use dynamics that all your data is already in there. The way we all like to use tagging, imagine that having a more full-fledged CRM at your disposal it’s going to be very powerful.
Bob:
Same here.
Beth:
I would never would have looked at Dynamics but now I would.
Michael:
Very true. Did you see in the deck, they’ve got a sales navigator app on the iPad and they marked one up and actually it looks very different to what it is today. They’ve got things like my updates. They’ve got a load of carts, my day or your meetings and my activities. It has the circles like the Apple watch if you’re doing exercise and things like number of meetings, number of calls, number of emails. You’ve got your own monitor on how you’re doing.

Save company, save people email sent, team link invitations, your SSI rank. I mean, it just looks totally different and if they’re already working on that, that’s pretty awesome. They’re going to be releasing some new stuff hopefully over the next 6 months in line with the new sale.
Bob:
Then being able to integrate all that just even into just outlook basically would be huge. You can see all that directly while you’re accessing your email and your calendar through outlook rather than being in this separate app. Although that doesn’t matter as much on like an iPad or whatever than on desktop but I definitely get and agree with what you’re saying there too, Michael.
Michael:
I hate it.
Beth:
Outlook is the application of theirs I don’t use.
Bob:
I have to admit, I am on Mac and yet I use Outlook. I can’t use it for my calendar because of PeopleLinx. There’s something about a specific calendar application that doesn’t play well with it so I’ve got to use Google Calendar blah, blah, blah. Anyhow, hopefully that will get figured out. Ted, there was a quick question in chat and you’ve answered this already but why don’t you go ahead and delve into a little more. Any thoughts in how this will help LinkedIn’s advertising platform, Stan Robinson is asking.
Ted:
I hope Microsoft teaches LinkedIn how to make money where they’re at. They work really well, and there’s no support, very little support. They’re very, very effective once you get them going but it takes some fine tuning.
Bob:
Why don’t you tell that horror story that you had, real quick, that you told on social selling Wednesday last week about your unfortunate experience?
Ted:
It’s for a client that’s a contest. The end of June we had 2 months to promote it, the winner is $5 million for a startup company of funding and we’re trying to get the ads going. We’re trying to spend 2500 a day. It took 6 days to get the first round of ads approved. Then I would duplicate campaigns and trains to targeting so it’s the same ads, different targeting. It took 4 to 5 days but now I’m getting down to 6 hours. I got their attention.
Michael:
I love that.
Bob:
Wow.
Ted:
I had to go on Twitter and harass them and now I got their attention.
Bob:
Here’s a pro tip. LinkedIn, does not like being harassed on Twitter. You will definitely get a better response on them on Twitter than if you use their internal help application. Hassle them on Twitter and you’ll get as faster response.
Michael:
Excellent
Bob:
Exactly.
Beth:
It’s public.
Bob:
Definitely.
Beth:
Most companies it’s like that.
Bob:
I do know companies that just ignore their Twitter feeds too. I mean, at least LinkedIn is not that bad although they’re still the cable companies and Direct TVs [inaudible 00:37:32]. There’s so many customer service in general.
Ted:
I like to hear what some of the people on the call think too [crosstalk 00:37:42].
Bob:
Please do. I’ll tell you what. Let’s hear from anyone in chat before you go if they want to take one of the seats. If they do, Ted can pop off and you can pop in and take that seat. If you want to pop in just let us know on chat really fast and please we would love to hear more from you. This gets boring after a while just seeing our 4 faces and listen to our voice. Absolutely feel free. We want to hear from you.
Michael:
I’ll tell you what. Laurie Beth is on that, I think, if she’s still watching. She’s a good one to jump on. I’ve heard her speak.
Bob:
Are you there Laurie Beth? I’ll tell you what, let’s just have you pop out for now and see what happens so whoever is going to pop up.
Michael:
I have to do the same.
Bob:
No. Don’t everyone leave. Oh my god. I’m going to be alone. Yes, I have done a blab by my side. It is embarrassing.
Beth:
Have you ever done a blab by yourself?
Bob:
Thank you. It’s frightening. We now have the seat open and if you like to pop in, please feel free. You can do video plus audio or you can do audio all alone if you don’t want to share your face That’s more than fine. We can treat those just like a conference call but much more interesting than a typical conference call. In the meantime, let’s see.
Beth:
One of the things that I thought was interesting from the call was the timing of things so they were talking about by the end of the year that it would be official. I wonder how much is going to happen between now and then.
Bob:
Probably not a lot. I don't know. Just from my basic understanding of how just tech things work blah, blah, blah. I don’t think it’s going to be like where they just integrated Lynda at first as just a clickable item within LinkedIn and then everything was single [inaudible 00:39:55]. It sounds like they’re probably going to have some work to really integrate things well in to Office 365 and into some of their applications too.

The one thing that I’m not sure of is if that work starts like as of today or do they have to wait until the merger is finally through the SEC and all the other channels before they do that. My guess is probably latter so you’re probably not going to see any products until Q1, Q2, calendar year. Next year would be my guess.
Beth:
Plus I’m curious say like you have Office 365 and you have free LinkedIn. Is it going to be like the apps where it has features you can purchase within the app. You’ll see the option for something but if you want to access it you’ll have to then pay an additional fee.
Bob:
That’s an excellent question.
Beth:
I’m curious about the fee structure.
Bob:
That could be a whole another can of worms that we’re talking about. Maybe even at this time next year or something like that depending on how quickly the stuff gets rolled out. I mean, there are just a bunch if questions more than anything else and if you have questions please feel free to join us. Alex Daily TV says, “I don’t see the point in paying for it.” I mean I guess it just depends on … A lot of the times a person’s company will just pick up this type of things too.

A lot of the stuff may not be targeted towards that single individual seller or like a really small team working on a really small company but I know larger companies that just throw money at this stuff because they can’t sell. It just depends on which markets they’re going to be targeting going forward which I didn’t get any sense of that at all during the call. I don't know if you knew that.
Michael:
In terms what market they’re going after?
Beth:
They really didn’t go that way.
Bob:
Large enterprise, medium large enterprise.
Michael:
I mean, they just keep mentioning the fact they’ve got a billion 365 customers. Some of those people would already be LinkedIn members presumably. They’re not all going to be extra people. I would imagine you’re probably talking about I don't know at least half a million potentially new people that they haven’t got inside LinkedIn. Who knows? For sure, they are going to be focusing on enterprise. That’s what they’ve done with a lot of their products. Do you remember a name called Yammer?
Bob:
Yeah.
Michael:
Yammer was a great little product that was the first kind of close network kind of social network. A bit like [inaudible 00:43:03] today. Yammer got sucked up on Microsoft and none of us saw it anymore, but it went into enterprise. Skype is perhaps the only product they kept still separate for us all to use because I think they probably learned the mistakes from Yammer.
Bob:
Hopefully it is.
Michael:
Skype, you got Skype for Business which is a totally different product. It’s the old I forgot what it’s called now, the Microsoft webinar stuff. It’s now called Skype for Business
Bob:
Skype for Business, yeah.
Michael:
It’s a totally different product. It doesn’t even look the same. It’s a totally different environment. You’re doing webinars using that product but it’s not publicly available that much. It’s really for enterprise. I could well see, there is going to be, which I have done over the years as you had to purchase premium products. It’s more than likely going to be a LinkedIn for business which is going to be a much more expensive bolt on product that they can put in their Microsoft 365 and then the rest of us may end up with a damn dumb product that we still pay for premium or whatever.

I would imagine that’s the most likely course of action for the next couple of years so that they don’t lose a lot of members because they don’t want to lose any of us. They need or data. They’ve sold us.
Bob:
They sold us. I want my $60.
Michael:
We are all worth 26 billion. I prefer the bigger than the $60. All 3 of us are worth 26 billion.
Bob:
I would agree with that personally but the green counters evidently didn’t.
Michael:
We’ve been sold.
Bob:
We’ve been sold. It’s like that old sale or that old quote. If you’re not being sold to, you’re being sold basically. I mean with LinkedIn, it both happens basically. Definitely. I’m going to go through my notes here. If anybody else has observations, please chime in. We are always looking at chat. If you have a question or an observation, send it through chat and we do have a seat open for anyone who wants it. You can come in video or audio all the way. Please feel more than free to take that seat.
Michael:
If no one comes on within the next 30 seconds, I think Ted should come back on.
Bob:
That’s fine.
Michael:
So we can fill the nice 4 blocks on.
Bob:
What is the percentage away? I am too. It really is a game changer.
Beth:
I’m just looking at my notes.
Bob:
I have got in bold at the very, very top. This really is a game changer I think for a wide variety of just industries in general too. Not only sales in marketing but especially recruitment too. Would you agree with that Beth? Especially because that’s part of your business too is recruitment.
Beth:
I work with recruiters. I work with everybody.
Bob:
Did we lose, Beth?
Beth:
For me, I think there’s so many possibilities. If they do it well, they can be incredibly powerful and make their investors a lot of money. It’s just a question of Microsoft.
Bob:
That’s the one thing everyone come backs to. It’s surprising, that’s the one thing everyone comes back to.
Beth:
They do it well.
Bob:
Then they talk about that more than even LinkedIn which I mean we’ve all had our huge eye rolling moments about LinkedIn. Now, you’ve got Microsoft coming in and sometimes they do well with stuff, sometimes they do it. Most f the times, they don’t do so well with Yammer probably being one of the best examples of that. Like I said, a lot of people aren’t asking will Microsoft screw this up. They’re asking how Microsoft will screw this off.
Ted:
I think Microsoft is a much better company that was couple of years ago. Steve Ballmer was just so stuck in the old age. He bought Nokia. Why would you buy Nokia for a billion dollars?
Bob:
Exactly.
Beth:
They’re heading in the right direction with this new management. They won’t be perfect.
Bob:
No. It’s not going to be perfect but if they’re able to do really well with this acquisition, I think that further acquisitions, you’re probably going to be finding a lot of people talking about what we’ve been talking about for the past couple minutes, just in terms of how are they going to screw this one up. I mean, if they do this well, Microsoft could really be a force going forward which I mean, it’s already really strengthened itself with this deal too I mean, because Apple for all of its coolness and everything else, they don’t really do social that well. Michael, are you saying something?
Michael:
You’re right. If you looked at the slide in the deck, we just got the Microsoft graph and the LinkedIn graph. It’s obviously a really … I would say graph, you guys say graph.
Bob:
Oh my god. I had no idea what you’re talking about for a second.
Beth:
Thank you for translating for us/
Michael:
I wrote to a blog post last year where I said where are you LinkedIn with messaging? We got messaging but it’s not really that great. Where are you with web conferencing because you haven’t got it with video and video conferencing and stuff like that. They haven’t got it, but now they’ve got it.
Bob:
Actually they do with Skype. They now got video conferencing.
Michael:
Skype for Business [crosstalk 00:49:15].
Bob:
Skype for Business is what I meant.
Michael:
There’s Microsoft messaging which is a totally different product. I don't know how they’re going to do that. I see that there are going to be potentially some of the products that LinkedIn haven’t yet develop or actually have got. They’re going to be dropped in place of the products that Microsoft have got.
Bob:
I can see that.
Michael:
Somehow it’s going to be integrated into one platform where you have all of these different products because it is definitely true. There’s some technology companies out there including LinkedIn and everybody else where everything is in silos. Nothing is in one place which actually we’ve all wanted to have. I would imagine an enterprise wants that. From an enterprise point of view, I’m not sure about the solopreneur whether it’s the best place to be but for the enterprise individual, I think to have everything in one place is going to be amazing.
Bob:
I think so too.
Beth:
if it’s done well. You look at these behemoth companies that have bought … You look at Salesforce buying Pardot, however you say it and how it is or isn’t integrated well and we’ve all seen it with other companies. If they really do it thoughtfully and well, it can be a force to be reckoned with.
Ted:
Time will tell.
Bob:
This is the very beginning of what’s probably going to be a very, very long ride. If this doesn’t close until end of the year, then like I said before, then they start looking how to integrate all these products. I mean, I don't know how their recruiter platform works on LinkedIn but I know that the sales navigator platform was actually different as on a different platform as opposed to Linkedin.com. They’ve already got that deal going on there. I don't know if the Recruiter … Oh, it is the same with Recruiter?
Beth:
Same with Recruiter. In fact, I’ve had clients that have gone to Recruiter and then giving it up because they can’t get used to the fact that it’s separate and it’s completely separate. They have their personal profile and the behaviors they’re used to doing and they go to this other thing and they’re not connected. It’s too separate for them.
Bob:
They’re going to have all those hurdles to overcome too. Nothing will likely happen fast I guess is what I’m saying. You’ll probably see some changes to LinkedIn’s own platforms before you start seeing integration with Office 365 and some of the other products. It’s like when Microsoft bought Sunrise, my all-time favorite, favorite, favorite calendaring program or app or whatever you want to call it.

I have no idea why they bought it because they’re now shutting down Sunrise. I cried into my beer when that happens. I love that product. That’s another case where Microsoft buys something and then they pull something like that. It’s like why did you even buy this in the first place? I don’t get why they did it.
Michael:
[crosstalk 00:52:45]
Bob:
Exactly. It’s not like Sunrise was a big competitor or anything like that. I mean, I understand buying competitors to shut them down. That I get but things like that, I don’t understand besides the whole they made a mistake.
Beth:
What do you guys think about does this give another B2B networking sales platform a chance to come in and steal all the people between now and the end of the year? In other words, there were all these … A lot of the people who have tried haven’t done a good job of it where they spam your entire email list and things like that like opportunity and I can’t remember the names of the other ones even.
Michael:
I don’t think so.
Beth:
Do you think that there’s someone waiting in the wings to …
Michael:
I think if LinkedIn haven’t done anything this year, I definitely believe they were at risk at the moment. I believe that for some considerable time because they were having problems at that platform unless top price had dropped. That’s why I said, they are at risk. Obviously they were and they’ve just been bought. Now, it’ great to say, “Oh, we’ve got the same ideas and everything else but at the end of the day, they had somebody that came and took them over.

Now, what I believe is that it’s all about the numbers. It’s big data. That’s what it’s about. You got 400, I don't know, 50 million members inside LinkedIn and no one really wants to give up that profile at the moment because if they want to be found or they want to find the right connections or they want to do business, they’re going to stay on that because 450 people there is not insignificant. I mean, even with my small amount of connections and I haven’t got any massive amount but my second level connections are 5 million.

I mean, I don’t want to give that up because those are potentials. I could have potential clients in those 5 million connections. I don’t want to give that up. No way do I want to give that up. Unless they really, really mess it up in a big way, sure, I’m going to go somewhere else but to build all that up again and the amount of connections.
Bob:
The amount of work it goes into it.
Beth:
They have to let you export it. They have to do it for you. They let you click on a button and pull your information over.
Michael:
[crosstalk 00:55:21] connections too.
Bob:
That’s a good point.
Beth:
Good point.
Michael:
I’m not want going to lose those, not today. There’s just no way. I put too much work into it over all these years. Unless they take them away from me and say, “You got to pay $100 a day to get those contacts.” Yeah, sure. Then I’ll go.”
Bob:
I know.
Beth:
Don’t give many ideas.
Bob:
We never want you right now I’m sure. Very good. It’s 256. This hour has blown by absolutely. We do want to keep it to an hour though. We just have a couple more questions for a couple more minutes for anyone who wants to pop in a question or a comment into chat, otherwise let me go over, let’s see.
Michael:
Stan’s got a question about Cortana.
Bob:
Good. All right. How significant do you think … The question is just for when we translate this to audio only later. Stan is asking how significant do you think Cortana will be in this mix, voice recognition and automated personal assisted functionality should become more widely used overtime. I agree. Ted, you had actually linked to an article that I haven’t had a chance to read yet but I don't know if you had a chance to read or not but it had to do with Cortana and the premise of the article was that’s one of the biggest reason why this merger is going to work or something like that.
Ted:
I didn’t read the article in great detail but just everything is going voice recognition now. Our phones, our tablets, we don’t want to type anymore. They listen to everything you do in your house.
Beth:
That Amazon [crosstalk 00:57:05].
Michael:
I just jumped off the Apple key notes and serious coming to Mac in the fall. IT looks amazing. They did a quick demo over and searched on the Mac and it’s really, really amazing. We’re all going to be using voice a lot more and the only thing is I don’t think Cortana on my iPhone competing with Siri.
Bob:
I didn’t think about that.
Michael:
Unless they open it up to Siri as well then which I would have thought they need to, they’re going to lose a lot of people not wanting to use Cortana. Then it’s just enterprise. It’s not going to be the kind of small business, it’s just going to big enterprise that they got Office 365.
Ted:
Imagine going to LinkedIn and say find me all the financial advisers in San Francisco in this zip code. Just say that and it comes up. That would be awesome.
Michael:
It’s going to happen.
Beth:
If it’s anything …
Michael:
Say again, Beth?
Bob:
We lost you for a second there, Beth.
Michael:
She can’t hear us.
Ted:
We lost audio for a second.
Beth:
My sound was doing something really weird. I was saying that if it’s anything like Siri, it wouldn’t understand my request.
Bob:
Pretty much so or if it’s like Siri, it will fire up during the phone call or during a webinar that I’m having and start talking to me because it thinks I was talking to Ed or something like that. That happens quite to me. I thought I did too.
Beth:
I turned that up.
Bob:
I thought I did too and it still buzzes.
Beth:
I turned that feature off.
Bob:
Maybe it reactivated on its own or the NSA activated it or something like that. I don't know.
Ted:
We can continue this on Wednesday on social selling Wednesday.
Bob:
That’s true.
Ted:
More information will come out.
Bob:
That’s true. Just so everyone knows, every Wednesday at 11:00 Eastern we hold social selling Wednesday which is a bal just like this except we got for LinkedIn and social selling and Twitter and some of the other sales and social selling issues that are out there. I’m sure that this is going to become a big issue during these calls, on and off, depending on how things go with the merger going forward.

Please join is every Wednesday at 11 am Eastern. The URL is socialsellingwednesday.com. That will roll you over to the latest social selling Wednesday session here on Blab. You could preregister that and then when the time comes you can join us and do just what we do here basically. William Sefton, how do I do get on these calls?

Basically, when there is a window open, you can just work on it and then we approve it and then you come on in and you start talking to us. Like I said, the next opportunity to do that with this group at least is on Wednesday 11:00. Like I said, every Wednesday 11:00.
Beth:
If what he meant was how does he find out about them or know that they’re happening, if you follow the people, they set up one, you’ll be notified.
Ted:
Always promoting it.
Bob:
I probably promoted a little too much but that’s okay because you got to promote it, otherwise nobody is going to show up.
Ted:
Exactly.
Bob:
I guess it’s time to say goodbye everybody. It’s 3:00. This has been fun. An hour has really flown by, I think. I just want to thank everyone for participating and listening and everything and we’ll see you back here Wednesday at 11 am Eastern. Until then, thanks everybody. Goodbye.
Ted:
Bye, everybody.
Michael:
Bye, Bob. Cheers.
Bob:
Thanks.
Beth:
Bye, everyone.

 


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