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How to beat LinkedIn: The Game (theoutline.com)
502 points by davydog187 on July 21, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 170 comments

> Shortly after I connected with an eagle-eyed Pulitzer Prize and Emmy nominated journalist/producer (who perhaps was initially fooled by my impressive credentials to accept my request), I received an angry message from him. “Don’t know who you are,” he wrote, “but neither school you list offers the majors or degrees you claim to have so I’m deleting you from my contacts."

Dying. Nice work.

> In 2014, I founded the company LinkedIn Skill Endorsements, and after posting on Twitter that I was charging ten cents for endorsements (a limited time discount from the usual 50 cents), I snagged three customers. I sent them a welcome email. Note the highly inflated “change fee.” As soon as their payments were processed in PayPal, I endorsed them for things like “alcoholism,” “horse care,” “blood,” and “solid waste.” Since this is stuff most people wouldn’t want on their resume, they’d be forced to pay me a $10,000 fee to remove the terrible endorsements.

Lol, this guy is too much.

Whatever happened to the custom endorsements? It only seems to allow ones that 'match' your declared skills now.

Not sure, but i still have awesomeness!

A bunch of friends endorsed me for "Cooking". It's not untrue :)

That part felt petty & mean spirited to me. If anything the person was playing "the game" in the way it should be played, yet the author felt the urge to unnecessary ridicule them (even anonymously so).

It's all other who are ridiculed imho. It was the only person who do a basic check.

It should be pointed out that the degrees in question were as follows:

Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A)


* International Business

* A+

Degree: Bachelor of Arts


* Farm Sciences

* Straight A's

Perhaps the surprise and indignation of a person who discovered that "Straight A's" is not a real major in Yale does have some comic value.

could get the title of: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About LinkedIn * But Were Afraid to Ask"

> Work your way through the corporate food chain like an intestinal parasite at a gratis conference buffet.

lol, priceless!

I don't understand why LinkedIn get's so much hate. I got my two last jobs from recruiters reaching out to me on LinkedIn. My current job I got from an ex-coworker at a place that I found because of LinkedIn. Like all markets, LinkedIn is chaotic but you can get value out of it if you can avoid the bad parts like spam.

The idea of LinkedIn is good, but the execution is absolutely awful. It encourages spam and lies, has a shit app (on iOS) and the “social” aspect of it is completely stupid and useless (they now even support videos - WTF?).

I’d pay good money for a “premium” alternative without the above issues.

Why would you want an iOS app for linkedin? Unless you are a recruiter it's just not a daily use kind of thing.

I don't really understand why most people use apps for things that are essentially websites that don't have unusual latency requirements. I mean, sure, maps and some of the other daily use things, those extra microseconds matter. I want to do more of it locally. But things like linkedin and facebook? the ios browser works fine for that (well, I haven't figured out how to make facebook messages work through the mobile website... but there's no way I'm installing that app)

I use LinkedIn as a less creepy alternative to Facebook Messenger, to keep in touch with people who I don’t have their number or who don’t have iMessage. As a result I’d love to have a decent native app at least for the messaging part of it.

hold refresh button and click on "request desktop site".

then go to facebook.com/messages.

Thanks for the support. Your instructions work, and I can switch back to the mobile site by closing the window and navigating back.

Note; as someone who has done a lot of tech support, I think it's important to tell people "that worked" when they give you tech support and that support leads to the problem being solved. Paid or not.

or you can use mbasic.facebook.com

What do you get when you combine LinkedIn, spam, and videos?

Gary Vaynerchuk!

It took me a few weeks of unfollowing, unsubscribing, or clicking whatever buttons were available for “omfg stop showing me this stuff” to delouse my feed of all things Gary Vee.

This. GV is like a LinkedIn virus, really annoying. Also the guy is like the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, getting rich by selling advise on how they got rich, which is all pretty much useless for others (or at least very disingenuous)

Yeah, if I didn’t know better I would say that he’s a Sasha Baren Cohen charector. Literally a caricature of a bunch of stereotypes.

Did you do zero research on him? He still runs a marketing business with real customers. He also invested early in FB, Snapchat, and Uber.

He had a challenge this year on flipping items from free section of Craigslist, yard sales, thrift stores for profit.

What is this all pretty much useless? He gives away 99% of information for free (I've been watching his videos for 3 years). He comes out with a book once every two or three years that's a synthesis of mostly what he has already given away. Think of Tim Ferris' book Tools of Titans.

Do you think advise like work to make money so you can fund your own businesses if no one else wants to fund you is useless? How about figuring what you want and reverse engineering the path? Or to successful entrepreneur who doesn't find money rewarding anymore, that it's good thing, because most people never get past the phase of chasing money, that he can focus on what he wants and finds meaningful.

> He also invested early in FB, Snapchat, and Uber.

Sources? I suspect origin will be himself. What does it mean to invest early in Facebook? FB completed its last traditional round in 2006. Personally, I’m a fan of GV, but it’s weird when someone says they invested early to mean outside of an angel investment / funding round. I’d be surprised if he was part of a FB round. Instead like other social media entrepreneurs he likely picked up some on secondary market or directly from a shareholder 2007+ as much for the narrative as the financial investment.

I don't discount people that got it in secondary markets. It's not like they're only buying a few shares. I can't find outside sources. The most legit one is from WSJ[0], 200k investment in 2009. Hopefully they verified holdings and date of investment before printing.

Crunchbase does list him as Angel/Seed Round investor in Uber in 2010[1].

[0] https://outline.com/8HHZFF


Even if you don’t discount, do you agree that his FB investment is different from his angel investments?

Yes. It’s much earlier.

Anything pre ipo, they’re going to be the first 1% of shareholders if the company does well. And many times you can’t even buy into those rounds without the right connections. Early is subjective vs if he said he was an angel round investor.

I understand you're probably like most people on hacker news and don't care for people on the "sales end" of the spectrum, but he definitely didn't get rich selling advice.

He runs a really successful marketing company (https://vaynermedia.com/) a sports agency (http://vaynersports.com/), gives most of his content away for free on YouTube, wrote 4 books and is a NYT + Wall Street Journal Bestseller, and is pretty respected in the early stage Silicon Valley investment community (https://www.crunchbase.com/person/gary-vaynerchuk/investment...).

Like most things on hacker news, don't speak on something unless you know what you're talking about.

Hes totally fueling his company by being famous. Wouldnt exist otherwise. Elon Musk of digital advertising

considering how his company came before he was really famous, I highly doubt that. It's ok if you don't care for Gary V, he's not for everyone, but saying his success is contingent on the fact the he's "famous" is simply not true. Again, if you don't know what you're talking about, you probably shouldn't be speaking on it.

I know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm working in the same field, own a digital agency. He's a snake-oil salesman.

totally not how he got rich but OK.

not understanding the downvotes, he got rich via his dad's liquor/wine shop

Unfortunately no one is on those 'premium' alternatives cos most people know this is a possible route to an opportunity- not the only one or the best one.

It is very easy to understand. LinkedIn started as a service to help with business networking but ended up just being a recruiter place and scamming (yes, scamming) people making them think the service has many other uses.

For example, you go to a LinkedIn group about marketing with million of subscribers, post an average interesting non spammy article and nobody comments or click on the links. Nobody! And it has million users. Compare this to posting in an interesting subreddit like /r/sysadmin or /r/networking or /r/python where almost anonymous people give you an answer to a complex issue.

Then you decide to go premium, or pay for ads where you will find that the conversion is practically zero. Finally you apply to their API. Yes, you apply because they manually review your use case and will not approve your request even if you just want to retrieve all your connections with a simple HTTP GET.

Alternatively, it also works great for mapping out companies as part of OSINT. Save for intelligence services, you can find exactly whose credentials you need for keys to some company's kingdom. All of that with the free trial of a recruiter account. The search could be better, but isn't bad once you figured out how it works.

How? Linkedin doesnt let you connect with ppl outside of your network. How do you start getting in?

I don't want to connect with anyone, just see at which company/ies they work and their function(s). Paying recruiters have a nice search function for that on LinkedIn.

Isn’t that only true for free accounts? I think if you pay them like $15 (or use the free trial as grandparent comment suggests) they’ll let you message anyone.

You'd be awfully surprised by how far you can get with only a free account and Google: LinkedIn will limit search results and suchlike if you use the site itself but you can generally fall back to Google to get what you need.


Proceed to try common passwords?

Don't need to guess the email format anymore: https://hunter.io/

I agree. I’ve gotten my last four jobs via recruiters who contacted me on LinkedIn. I ignore any messages from recruiters who don’t work for local agencies.

LinkedIn represents every approach I abhor in a tidy package. 1. Idolisation of social norms 2. Inability to admit weakness or failure 3. Artificial elevation of meaningless interaction

I get that it's a reflection of current corporate/professional culture, but I'd like to minimize the amount of time I spend using that set of social norms.

"if you can avoid the bad parts like spam"

An engineer I once worked with used to joke that the best way to fix flash was to uninstall flash.

I wonder if this precedent holds for avoiding LinkedIn spam by just avoiding LinkedIn.

(Spoiler alert: it works marvels, YMMV)

What I've noticed is that the top developers that I know, the real elites, do not have LinkedIn accounts.

Is it weird I like the ego stroking linkedIn provides?

It definitely works. After deleting my LinkedIn account 5 or 6 years ago, my recruiter spam dropped to nearly zero. It was a great decision.

As a former recruiter, I found the LinkedIn user experience to be completely abysmal for any non-trivial search.

Yes, same here. The problem though it got more spammy lately, with all the videos and recruiters so LinkedIn may burnout as a useful tool. Although not clear what could replace it...

Getting job through LinkedIn, does that ever happen? For the past many many months, LinkedIn has been consistently sending me one job posting - "Data Center Operations Intern at Amazon, Boardman, OR".

My last job was through LinkedIn, though not through a recruiter. The hiring manager reached out to me in a DM and I ended up being exactly what they were looking for. Switched jobs, but still working with that same person. Ended up breaking into a whole new career because of it.

Got my job through a recruiter on linkedIn seemingly cold messaging me. I initially only interview because I thought it would be good practice, but the more I learned about the company and eventually got an offer, was blown away by the opportunity. YMMV

I just landed a job as a Golang developer via LinkedIn, so it does happen occasionally.

I've connected to literally $200,000+ worth of client work through LinkedIn, and the clients are very happy too, so I'm not on board with calling it useless.

edit: And before I became a consultant, I got a life changing job offer from someone who discovered me on LinkedIn.

Funny writeup - the recruiter and the Goldman/Quantcast callout was particularly enjoyable :)

An alternate LinkedIn game that I've done many times with colleagues (and which works better on the web/desktop UI) is:

* Ensure you have at least 50 connections

* Go to the 'My Network' then 'People You May Know'

* Scroll down and enjoy some of the ridiculous profile photos eg people at the horse races, photos with partners cropped out, weird off-camera poses, 1980s hair, etc

* Try not to laugh

Admittedly with the recent rise of 'personal brands', this game is more difficult than it used to be - yet still juvenile!

Also, what the heck is a 'thought leader' anyway? Isn't it better to be an 'action leader', a decision-maker, a publisher of some description; someone who does something or produces something meaningful?

Not all thoughts were created equal, of course, and there are not many 'thought leaders' on LinkedIn who were not self-appointed!

edit: fixed 2 spelling errors, formatting changes, added Quantcast reference for clarity

>what the heck is a 'thought leader' anyway?

As far as I can tell:

Someone who very successfully spreads ideas they only partially understand with the inevitable oversimplification here and there.

Similar to an "O2O consultant to executives" which is a term used here in China, aka Online to Offline. Pretty much meaningless drivel by those who have never had real corporate P&L responsibilities.

Simon Sinek wins the gold medal for thought leader in my book.

Fair point, but at least he has published some works and spun a few TED talks.

Maybe we need a separate HN thread: who is the lamest ‘thought leader’ you’ve come across recently? ;)

since most TED talks are either wealthy people patting themselves on the back or product placements... does having a TED talk really count as a valid credential?

The (almost) best thing about this article is the discovery of http://realbusinessmen.com/

I think a thought leader might be one of those dudes/ladies you see giving a keynote at any given convention...full of hot air and self confidence...no substance.

It is great that LinkedIn just reports 500+ connections. It truly is an unimpressive stat. It's been a valuable platform for me, so I keep it around. The only things to remember: don't install the mobile app and get used to ignoring requests from unfamiliar people and irrelevant recruiters. Never connect it to Outlook or any other app.

I was looking for a way to send one single invite. The FAQ gives the direction, but it turns out you have to let LinkedIn access to your email account. Also, when I first started using LinkedIn about 7-8 years ago, I gave LinkedIn access to my Gmail account and I clicked "invite everyone" by accident. LinkedIn spammed everyone, including mailing lists, which was very embarrassing.

There was a class action lawsuit about something similar to this. I vaguely remember getting a 20$ check for it.

When i see someone with less than 500 connections I am more likely to interact with them. Its a signal that they don’t blindly accept all connections.

Or that they are not old enough to have built up a larger legitimate network.

Imagine the LinkedIn’s-dream-case of someone starting to use LI as soon as they are old enough to type (or hell, to say ‘hey cortana’) and sticking with it nearly from cradle to grave. How many years until even connecting with only legit other people gets them over 500?

I have over 500, am pretty selective about connecting and I’m also over 40. Really what is needed is some kind of better metric than the number of connections anyway. Though one might ask better for who; it seems likely that it’s to LinkedIn’s advantage to hold the true graph connectivity closely so only they can profit thereby.

I’ve also been thinking for awhile lately that I’m just part of the problem here and that it’d be not a bad idea to rather be part of the solution by getting off LinkedIn, to try and recapture some of the value that they’ve been deriving from the data I and my connections have been feeding them. Again, another example of the old “if you’re not paying for the service you’re probably the product being sold” corollary to the more familiar proverb concerning the price of lunches.

Returning to the prospect of things like the ideal scenario for LI, I feel like the minimum age for joining any of these “free” services should be something like 30, so one has enough life experience to figure out that it may not actually be a bargain they are willing to make.

Hmm, I just realized that the shorthand I’ve been using for LinkedIn could be pronounced like “lie”. I think I’ll start using that when talking about LI verbally.

One of our CIOs literally accepts any connection request and then quickly deletes anyone he doesn't know or care to stay connected with. Then again my employer has twigged on to the fact it's both a good recruitment tool and a good way for bad actors to find targets so everyone is mandated to put boilerplate language on their profile instead of any detail with regard to their job.

Or a signal that they actually have many connections...

True, but there can still exist a presumption that a large proportion of those connections aren't meaningful.

I have no qualms connecting with a vendor or recruiter I just worked with, even if briefly on a single project, but after 6 years of no contact and 2-3 employers later, that connection isn't going to be useful for something like an introduction, if we even remember each other.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

What's wrong with responding to unfamiliar people? When a friendly person approaches me on the street, I will usually say hi and hear what they have to say. Even if they're trying to sell me something, I feel it's better to be polite and waste a minute of my time than not to.

Responding maybe not, but accepting them as connections is. Sometimes recruiters will try to call someone in your network and you are stepping stone. Just like guy in article mentioned when you will have some degree of connection people will accept your connection.

Bad part is when person attacked by recruiter/business hunter gets mad at you because you were supposed to be connected with this guy.

It's not one person. People with sought after skills get inundated with requests, often completely irrelevant. I get so many help desk job offers that I'm significantly overqualified for and dramatically over salary for. I usually just start any conversation there to end it quickly. People who are looking for my level of skills pay well.

> People with sought after skills get inundated with requests, often completely irrelevant.

Indeed, I know it's a very old cliche but I'm still not convinced there's such a thing as a recruiter who knows the difference between Java and JavaScript...

Why no mobile app?

Another comment spelled it out: LinkedIn's mobile app has several dark patterns, but the worst is the one that spams everyone in your Gmail. This is particularly a problem for Gmail because it makes a contact for everyone you ever emailed, so this includes personal relationships and it is a mortifying professional embarrassment. Over a dozen people I know have been fooled by it over the years. Then there is the data collection, but my phone is used for work and personal. All of the data they collect and analysis of that data is up for sale. No thank you.

Wouldn’t it have to ask permission to access that data on installation though?

It does ask permission to access your contacts, but it doesn't say, "then, at some point in the future we will pop an unfamiliar screen in our mobile app that is deliberately designed to confuse you into agreeing to send an invitation to all of your email contacts, multiple times."


A better question is what value (to you, not to LinkedIn!) does the linked mobile apps has that the browser interface doesn't have?

For those who find LinkedIn pointless are you making crazy bank already and find no need to raise your salary by using recruiters who offer you better jobs weekly on LInkedin? When they do it's time for you to say I make 100k more then you really do and boom you raised your salary a ton.

I don't get the hate though and again those that hate it I guess don't need to play the game? They already have maxed out their salary and or aren't in tech to make as much money as possible?

Or maybe they are the programmers who hate facebook and social networks in general; have no clue how to use Linkedin to their advantage?

I just don't like the idea of a business social network to be honest. If I get along with coworkers then I'll exchange numbers, email address etc and talk to them that way.

For job hunting, I prefer to do it on my own terms: linkedin has job postings I can view from a dummy account, then there's glassdoor, indeed etc. I don't do consulting/contract work so I tend to stick around companies for at least a year, the weekly job offers are just annoying to me. As is having to deal with connection requests from people I don't know or don't care about.

Salary wise I'm comfortable enough and not in tech to make as much money as possible, I just enjoy it: there's better fields for salary in the UK. I've doubled my salary in two years without linkedin anyway, it's not essential to have.

Then there's the whole security side of things. I want linkedin to die solely because it's such an easy source of OSINT information. I also do hate social networks in general, at least the implementation of them, for quite a few reasons.

What exactly does Linkedin offer me other than ego stroking which I can't do myself?

> For those who find LinkedIn pointless are you making crazy bank already and find no need to raise your salary by using recruiters who offer you better jobs weekly on LInkedin?

LinkedIn is useless even for me, and I'm not making crazy bank yet. I have given up on it completely. I just wanted to use it as a tool to keep in contact with some old mates of mine. However, I keep getting spammed by recruiters, despite me having explicitly stated I'm not currently looking for another job.

Furthermore: when I'm going to go and look for a new job, I'll avoid all recruiters like the plague. They're a bunch of parasites who'll be the first to go down when the bubble bursts. I've worked with quite a few of them, and nearly all of them were completely useless. Worse than useless, actually, with all the lies they told both me and potential employers.

> Or maybe they are the programmers who hate facebook and social networks in general; have no clue how to use Linkedin to their advantage?

Jesus christ. If you start projecting anymore, you should point yourself at a wall and start a Drive-In theatre.

So it sounds you are not a job hopper and are happy working for a company for many years. Cool and pardon for projecting/thinking that it should all about trying to make the most money one can in their field. It's not always about that especially if those you work with are great friends. Also and of course there is a downside to job hopping especially if you didn't line up your next job as I have been out of work for a few or more painful/concerning months.

> So it sounds you are not a job hopper and are happy working for a company for many years.

I tend work for a company until I can either learn no more there, the projects become too tedious or I get the feeling the company no longer cares for me properly. I feel I'm a bit too young and unexperienced (I was really lucky to land programming gigs given that I'm a biologist by education) to really start job hopping, given that you need to be fairly good at what you do in order to pull that off in the long term.

> Cool and pardon for projecting/thinking that it should all about trying to make the most money one can in their field. It's not always about that especially if those you work with are great friends.

Fair enough. I can understand why you would do so. I reacted a bit too aggressively, since I've too often seen good IT people being labelled clueless geeks for not playing the economic game.

I'm an employer. It even says "Managing Director" right there in my job title. Yet because I'm from a development background and have certain keywords on my profile I still get endless "offers" of contract work from recruiters who didn't even bother to read my info. I'm sorry but no amount of money is going to convince me to fold my business and go back into contracting.

Also this whole attitude strikes me as a little odd... If you managed to somehow blag your way into a job earning 100k more you're either a fool for accepting such an underpaid job in the first place or you're not going to last very long in your new position.

Personally I get lots of invites to interview due to my experience but few job offers, since I'm not great at unrealistic coding tests under the gun.

What can L.I. do for me?

Well, we didn't have the walkthrough until now. I've never been contacted by a recruiter in LinkedIn, but now I see how it's done.

recruiters who offer you better jobs

But they aren't offering you a job. They're not even offering you an interview. All they are offering is to add your CV to a pile they already have.

That is true, but I would assume if you match up to what they are looking for they will respond to you. Especially if you know and are skilled in the latest tech like Vue.js or React.

At a previous job, we got so annoyed with recruiters that we decided to create a honeypot account - fake LinkedIn, fake Github, fake Twitter, everything. We took the first picture off of Google for "bro" as the profile picture.

For his Github, we just forked popular projects like jQuery and then ctrl+f replaced the name with his first name, like "bradQuery".

Surprisingly, we had many recruiters contact us about the popular "bradQuery" library. And we uh, had to play the part of a douchey brogrammer. It's amazing how far those conversations went.

It was really fun at the time, but also maybe a little mean to recruiters. They do have a tough gig and they're usually under the gun. Ah well...

Very amusing.

I'm almost tempted to delete my LinkedIn. I turned off all email notifications months ago so largely forgot about it, but a friend of mine recently said he saw my profile pop up in his feed about a work anniversary or some other 'engagement' thing they spam people with.

The photo on my profile is from 9 years ago, and my job title has since changed, in fact most of it is probably out of date.

I suspect my inbox is full of recruiters shouting into the void.

Update: temptation got the better of me and I closed my account.

Now if only deleting your account meant never getting any more emails from them... I still get ‘so and so wants to connect’ after I deleted mine.

Anyone have any idea how to stop this? (Besides an email filter?) is this practice even legal?

Am I the only one who never received spam from LinkedIn ever?

Nothing before I had an account, and when I signed up I turned off all the spam in the notification settings and don’t get any either.

Nope. I've never had any emails come through except the ones I've set to come through. Now, on the off chance I do go to their website, there's always a load of new notifications with that spam included in it.

They should have an unsubscribe link, if you live in the EU you should be able to ask them to delete all your data under GDPR rules

Is there any EU law which prevents them from resuming the spam as soon as another one of your acquaintances gives LinkedIn access to his/her contacts? Because otherwise that's what's going to happen...

GDPR still applies. This is personal information about you, so you can make them delete it. The fact that they got the information from someone else is irrelevant.

(Imho. Not a lawyer.)

Sure, but deleting it doesn't do much good if they're going to get a new copy of the same information from someone else a week later.

LinkedIn has applied GDPR rules worldwide. You can do that from anywhere.

Same thing happened to me. When i contacted them about it, they claimed the emails were spam and not from them (despite the emails clearly mentioning contacts I had connected with!).

After numerous emails back and forth they eventually added to their "Do Not Contact" list. No emails since!

I’m just about there too, but I need to decide: straight up leave and don’t look back, or spend a bit more time to poison the well (with a new dummy account, of course)? I’m leaning towards the former just to be able to maintain the moral high ground.

Probably I’m overthinking this..

I have to admit I only ever look at LinkedIn when I see an article or news story on it and it reminds me that it exists. I'm not sure how but I somehow managed to disable the emails completely. Maybe LI are actually still sending them but they're all just getting eaten by some spam filter somewhere.

I deleted mine in 2012, when they were hacked and it was revealed that they were storing passwords as unsalted MD5 hashes.

Gosh. I deleted all my social media except LinkedIn and this has been bugging me. Its tempting me as well. lol

I changed my privacy settings set on LinkedIn so that no one could see my connections after I started noticing that many recruiters sending invitations were already connected to other people I know or have as a contact otherwise. I strongly suspect some of these recruiters just want to add you for the sake of having access to your contacts lists in order to have more people to connect with.

I don't usually accept requests from recruiters, either. In fact I had this for a while as my first sentence in my profile page and that didn't stop them from sending requests. That signals me they don't bother checking your profile first, either.

Apart of maintaining my vanity URL, I don't even know why do I still have a LinkedIn account; I just don't find it very useful.

I want to read the version of this where you win Githib

Just run a script to commit every day, or better yet backdate commits

In 2015 I "painted" my Github profile this way: https://github.com/qznc/rockstar/graphs/code-frequency

It was just a one off script. The next step would have been to run it daily or fill it with commits from the future.

I remember there was an HN article where someone made the Github contribution diagram on the profile page into some picture.

GitHub Gardener

I'd like a version of LinkedIn that uses computer vision to shadow ban anyone who wears a suit and a shit-eating grin.

LinkedIn may not be the site for you

I endorsed them for things like “alcoholism,” “horse care,” “blood,” and “solid waste.”

Can't stop laughing at this!

My favorite trio of endorsements is "flexibility", "lubrication" and "potatoes".

So are there any banned LinkedIn endorsements? I imagine it would still be pretty doable to string together several normal endorsements to make something hilarious.


I’ve started a couple of lucrative contracts via LinkedIn and receive many offers there.

I make lots of money because of LinkedIn.

Thanks for playing, sorry to hear you suck at the game. Maybe try some cheat codes?

Wait, you're proud of being recruited on LinkedIn?

Well, if you use it correctly LinkedIn isn’t too bad.

As a contractor who has to jump ship every 6 months or so, I find it quite convenient to let the recruiters do the heavy lifting.

I literally have to do nothing - I just get offers in my inbox and just have to say “interested” to secure an interview and usually get the gig the next week.

Maybe past a certain level of experience you can easily secure gigs without it, but I’ve never really been interested at “networking” and if I can let LinkedIn do the job for me then all the better.

Granted, the platform itself is shit (and the iOS app is an absolute crime) but the idea isn’t that bad.

Between networking with former coworkers and networking with good local recruiters, you get a better bang for your buck working with recruiters. They know where the jobs are and they are incentivized to get you a job.

I’m the same.. as a UI/UX Designer & Developer LinkedIn via recruiters has brought me great opportunities & a better overall life.

Some recruiters are slimey, but most I’ve dealt with in my ten year career are not.

I’ve also had lucrative offers and contracts come by way of LinkedIn.

This is where the classic phrase “the only way to win is not to play” comes in.

I like LinkedIn because it gives me a sense of how the market is doing. As a Dutch developer, I get messages just about every single weekday. Especially last year it's been crazy: I've had 3 recruiters in 20 minutes. Unfortunately employers are more willing to pay (multiple) recruiters than to just increase salary to snatch developers from lower paying employers. The free market is not working that well for us developers if we keep giving recruiters the chance to act as intermediaries. Out of principle I only deal with employers directly or in-house recruiters. I'm not saying they're all bad, but I've seen a lot of them who approach Javascript devs for Java positions and visa versa... they add no value in the next step of your career.

Unrelated to the (enjoyable) article - How do you feel about the advertisements on this site? More intrusive, less intrusive?

Edit - I ask because instead of the usual advertising model they have 12 partners a year that get custom ads, and there is no other advertising.

They want me to place 89 cookies. No way to opt-out, only 'accept all'. Abort :(

Edit: actually I did return to the article just now. Curiosity. No longer a cookie alert, though I accepted nothing yet. Either silently placed or not working properly.

Actually they were very unintrusive. I thought they were part of the article

Coolest read of the day. Never imagined Linkedin as a game :-)

That went gloriously off the rails.

Enjoyed the article, but I often wonder about the metrics of ads that appear mid stream on a satirical article such as this.

I noticed a few ads for Hewlett-Packard within the article, but the cartoon-y graphics used and their placement within the article body just made me think they were faux ads that fit the comedy nature of the article.

It was only when I scrolled through to another (serious) article and saw the same ads that I realised they were actual legitimate ads.

Linkedin is terrible (the ui, the bugs, the social crap, the missing functions), but I'm okay with that. When I want to find another job I start accepting the random recruiters and tell them to write me an email, otherwise I avoid it like the plague.

I remember one recruiter who was really pissed off when I accepted her request after half a year or so, but most of them couldn't care less. I usually apologize first and then tell them politely how I'm "not good with linkedin".

Same for facebook. Unless I want to reach someone who prefers the platform (fortunately only a handful of people for me), otherwise no login at all. Unfollow everyone (no exceptions), like their pages if they send a like request (and unfollow in the same second) and just get out.

The internet is like a bottle. You can put the cork back in and noone will care. Of course this is a strategy that works for me, ymmv.

Xing, the German Linkedin throttles you after you send ~50 invites to strangers (first some have to be accepted before you can send more), Facebook even stops you from sending friend-requests after you sent 20 invites or so.

Not sure why Linkedin allows people to send 3000 contact-requests without throttling them. Any ideas?

Growth hacking. Some of those users won't have active LinkedIn accounts, but will (re)register on the basis that VP of Very Important Company must be trying to get hold of them for a reason...

I'm so glad I'm in a field (academia) that doesn't really use linkedin.

Academia: The Game is even more ridiculous, though.

We've got field-specific Academia.edu as our LinkedIn alternative.

Ok this was riotously funny, but in defense of LinkedIn, it's a great place to hire and a great place to get a job if you take the time to write a quality, genuine profile — which is certainly a rarity and makes good people stand out.

I just ended a hiring campaign on LinkedIn. The stats were that it lasted 35 days, cost $704, our job ad was shown to 1001 people, and 233 applied through the platform.

I didn't keep exact stats of qualified / non-qualified people, but there were at least 5 people I thought were wow good, and another dozen or two that I wasn't sure immediately about but who were possibly really good. We hired two people.

These numbers outperformed their algorithm — they estimated that we'd get 40-60 applications for $600 across 30 days, and we got considerably more. I think our ad was pretty good and unusual, it was a condensed version of our team hiring page —


As for whether "fake social networker" cred helps... I don't think so. I make a quick checklist of things I'd skim rapidly for when looking at profiles to do first pass analysis. Basically, I'd look for any sense of ownership, service, or self-direction.

Things like genuine volunteer activities, excellent academics, leadership roles in student clubs are all obvious examples.

But actually, there were a bunch of things that are doable for everyone that I looked for, and which surprisingly few people do.

For instance, the vast majority of candidates wrote their profile in first person tense. "I'm a skilled marketer with X years of..." or "I'm looking for a job doing..."

Very few people wrote in any second person tense at all. EG: "If you're looking to hire a marketer and you have a great company, I'd love to help you develop your..."

I also saw only 2-3 profiles out of 300 that mentioned being happy, smiling, or service oriented. One guy didn't have any fancy brand name education or work experience, but he wrote something like, "I did this job with a smile every day and looked to make everyone I worked with happy." Okay cool, yes, I'd be delighted to talk to you.

Your culture will vary of course, but I was also impressed with people that had a mix of any kind of art/aesthetics alongside any math/engineering/analytical pursuits, and noted anyone who mentioned a disciplined history of sports, martial arts, or athletics.

What didn't factor much at all for me were the self-descriptions of jobs (I skimmed briefly to make sure they weren't a total non-fit, but otherwise don't really trust it) and in the Hiring Portal, you can't even see how many connections someone has easily. Or maybe you can, but I must have just parsed over it if so — I didn't notice it once.

I was skeptical of Linkedin for a long time. The "LinkedIn: The Game" thing. But it's a legitimately great way to put good opportunities in front of people looking for a new job, and a good way to seek companies doing what you're interested in if you're jobseeking. I'm legitimately very impressed with Linkedin excited to work with the two people that joined the team. In my book, a very good use of $700 and 15 hours.

I would rather work with a bunch of people that were similary grounded/jaded about work, but whatever floats your boat.

My team is a pile of nice people with no illusion of only showing up on Monday for the money. The work environment is great because we treat the whole game as a bad joke. Corporate makes some nonsensical decision? Let's all play along, might as well make the game fun.

I like coding but there's countless other things I would work on besides boring CRUD apps if I wasn't getting paid. I don't understand the people that insist you should like work. My opinion, these people should get out more because if work is fun then you probably haven't done much else

We found the best way to beat LinkedIn was to create a better version of it https://peertal.com/#/profile/9

We've developed an algorithm for ranking users similar to how Google ranks pages. This does away with spam & depends on reciprocal endorsements rather than friend requests.

This is at least as great satire! Google rank not having spam — good one! My favorite though is your one two punch:

> Why is the company setup in the USA?



> Peertal is developed by a global team... https://peertal.com/#/about

So good! I won’t spoil it for others. They’ll have to visit the sight for the full experience. I’m a beleiver!

Thanks lloydde You raise some valid points that I'm sure we can overcome. By no means are we pretending that our platform is perfect but as we get user feedback we will improve these points.

1- I will personally update site FAQs & about section shortly. I wrote those points when we first launched the app back in 2015 but we're now up to version 47 of the app & a lot has changed.

2- The app is developed by Global team, we all work remotely from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam & Canada. You can find us all on the map view https://peertal.com/#/map-view

3- As for your point about our code being vulnerable to spam, you might find it more entertaining to read our business principles that we're working on https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jPV7sXWfMRle03U0E6RPdCDY...

If you haven't read this book already I suggest you read it https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13530973-antifragile

Feedback & criticism will only make us better & I can only thank you for that :)

Since you mention feedback:

1. You should take a look at your typos.

2. Collecting data like that about users without their consent and claiming that you can only "suggest" its deletion is going to get you in trouble once your project gets traction. Be prepared.

Oh, wow, I thought it was excellent, dark humor. As well as the other advice to use an office app like Microsoft Word to get basic English spelling and grammar, consider first serving a smaller audience well in one of your team’s native languages.

If an English speaking market is what you are first targeting that is cool too. I would recommend adopting Lean Startup and refocus on what is your MVP and product/customer fit, conversations and experiments.

I like the fact that yours app allows negative endorsements as well. There's a lot of people I know reviewed on linkedIn that would have more negative reviews in the real world.

not to be mean or anything but I went on there and all I see are meme posts on there...

I actually don't know if this is satire or not

I saw you guys at the Rise conference pitching. Thanks for giving me payments & reviews as part of your product demo :)

It's amazing how majority of HN community hates products/companies that real market users actually find useful and are successful.

"Once your profile is in decent shape, you can start connecting with strangers. Unfortunately, LinkedIn limits users to only 30,000 connections, and 3,000 connection requests, so use some discretion." l o l

Is it weird I was thinking of making a mastering linkedIn course yesterday? I think people would be interested.

While I appreciate the creativity involved, my colleagues in the soft skills world and I running a professional services firm in Shanghai, generate some terrific leads and partnership connections through the service. The article was good for a laugh.

This was great. If you enjoyed this, you should also watch this short parody of LinkedIn from SuperNews: https://youtu.be/_7DiOm-edMs

Not ready to outright delete Linkedin, but it was the noisiest mobile app on my phone. Luckily the mobile site works decently, so it has been assigned to a firefox tab for the foreseeable future.

ROFL that reply to the recruiter. 'You know what they say: In business, you're either the earthquake or the losers falling into the cracks and landing in the hot magma'

> "Greebo" was banned the next day. I consider this my greatest failure, learn from my mistake.


I’m looking for a professional agency that could create my LinkedIn profile. Has anyone know one?

Please reach out through my email. I do them multiple times a week along with English resumes and interview coaching in the Shanghai based professional services firm I own and run. I am fully booked until August 1st however. TIA!

The best way to beat LinkedIn is to delete your account. LinkedIn is pointless.

Page down and down arrow keys don't work. Is this a new UX normal?

LinkedIn is like one giant business motivational poster.

I loved this!

You'll want to disable JS on this site, or else you'll get shot to another article when you reach the end, replacing the linked article in your history (lord knows who thought that was a good idea).

Techcrunch does this too. It's to encourage binge reading. The news equivalent of Youtube autoplay next video.

The metrics likely suggest it's good for the site, but I'm also not a fan. It's very confusing for the reader.

At least Outline doesn't have comments, a lot of sites have comments at the bottom of the article at the click of the button which you can't hit at times because it eagerly kicks you into another article.

The worst is Bloomberg.com, which has a ten-article paywall and counts articles you scroll into. It does this so eagerly that you lose an article even if you were only scrolling down to click the link for the comments.

Their UX is super interesting. On mobile you can swipe to the right at any time to get a new article.

"Strange game. The only way to win is not to play."

- WOPR/Joshua

I am a skilled sr sw dev, I have 600-700 connection on linkedin and I know 4 people, have been there for years and never got a job out of it. The idea of linkedin is great but in practice it is absolutely pointless website.

What an obnoxious layout, especially on mobile

What makes it obnoxious? I kinda liked it on desktop (the website with the news article).

Cyberpunk at its best. high5.

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