Posts Tagged India

Driving member growth: Sometimes it pays to be direct

When I was leading international corporate communications at LinkedIn in 2009-2010, we knew interaction between members was critical to driving growth in the overall member base. Critical to that was a singular act on the platform: Completing and updating your profile. The problem was most people only updated their profiles when they were about to look for a job. I was more than a little obsessed with driving that objective (See number 8 on this post), particularly in international markets where our member base was fast-growing, but relatively small compared to the U.S.

In India we had garnered national press coverage simply by announcing our presence in Mumbai — which helped further accelerate membership growth in that country. That gave us fodder for making more and more milestone announcement: “LinkedIn India surpasses 3 million members” then 4 million members, then 5 million. Like any news cycle, it gets salty quick and you have to be more inventive and sometimes what George Constanza did — the opposite.

Given our top priority was to get people to update their profile, I figured why not just ask them to do that directly? After all, we messaged members directly all the time. (Sometimes, the greatest clarity comes from being awake for 30 straight hours and staring at a hotel room ceiling 10,000 miles away from home.)

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 1.36.33 PMUntil then we’d been using press coverage and the buzz it created to drive member growth. To announce our 6 millionth member in India, we decided to announce the news directly to the membership base and let them carry it to the mainstream media — along with a tip to complete your profile.


  • Day 1 – 15,000 updated profiles
  • Day 2 – 30,000 updated profiles
  • Press coverage hit more than 5 million impressions
  • Cost of distribution: Zero Rupees
  • Prep and writing time: 2 hours (one hour was spent just explaining it and 15 minutes spent on discussing the button)
  • Authenticity to the company mission and product purpose: Like a glove

In the weeks after this tactic, my PR colleagues started looking at LinkedIn the platform for what is today — the world’s most powerful business medium for professionals.

– Jose Mallabo 


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Positivity. Here’s proof.

Positivity is a strength. Here’s proof.

Last week, we did a StrengthsFinder exercise at work. Most of the strengths I found out I had were consistent and completely expected. Context and Command are top two strengths. I guess that means I can bark out orders with some conviction because I’ve read a lot about how Atila the Hun did it centuries ago.

But, Positivity was the lone wolf strength that threw me a bit. All you have to do is read this blog to know that I find folly in what many might call negative situations. I don’t care what anyone says, an adult falling down is always funny and an adult sprinting down the street (think of Tom Cruise’s character in The Firm) in a suit is even funnier (both because it’s a sight unto itself and also promises a high probably of said adult sprinter tripping and eating pavement).

Next time you see that 42 year old metro sexual tearing up 3rd avenue, just stop and ask yourself where the fuck is he going that he has to pull a Renaldo Nehemiah in a $1,000 outfit? You know it’s because of something trivial like he was walking his dog earlier that morning and stepped in a pile of poo causing him to have to go home and change shoes. Only when he changed shoes he realize that the tasseled mahogany loafers he has on now didn’t go with the dark navy suit he had on. So he had to change suits or pick up an English accent on the way to his first meeting. It’s always something as mundane and vain as that that causes people to be late. Otherwise, wake the fuck up on time and you’ll never have to sprint unless you’re being chased.

This flight to India is easily the longest trip I’ve taken in at least 20 years. I’m in coach. Middle seat. Every seat on the first leg of the flight has a bum in it. Yet, I must say that there was more to be glad about than to bitch about. Positivity:

  • Flight attendants were seemingly from every culture in the world and had some pretty hip yet traditional Arab uniforms – extra credit points for having historical context and a command for the now to be current. Plus all of them were far more polite than the most polite US Airways attendant – I think those folks aren’t so much working as they are seeking prey.

  • The audio visual ensemble on the seat back staring at my mug is better than any coach class entertainment system I’ve seen. A quantum leap better than JetBlue. A notch above Virgin America. United Airlines just plain sucks by comparison.

  • Every meal had rice in it.

  • As the lone Filipino on a flight of about 400 people – I enjoyed being unique even if it was for a mere 15 leg cramped hours. Having lived in the Bay Area for the past few years being a Filipino male is about as differentiated as that 3 millionth penny in a park fountain.

I get off the plane for a layover in Dubai and am thinking about all this positivity – hashing out a blog post in my head. It only took about 15 minutes for some of the shine to wear off. As I’m trying to orient myself and figure out where to go I hear a language that immediately nixes that last bullet. It’s not English. It’s not even Spanish. It’s Tagalog. Apparently my Filipino brethren haven’t just taken every US airport job, we’ve expanded the franchise to the beautiful airport in the UAE. I give the guy at duty free the universal Pinoy “you know that I know that you know that I’m a Pinoy” look. Next time I see you, I’ll show you what that look is and also teach you how to point with your lips.

Then I break into a light run for my gate and he’s probably thinking “I hope he falls.”

Jose Mallabo

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