The recruiting press was abuzz last week with the news that LinkedIn had purchased Lynda.com, a career-focused online learning company. It was the kind of deal that makes stockholders swoon – LinkedIn is ‘broadening’ its revenue streams, is going ‘cradle to grave‘, and so on. Some of this is actually true.
But you know me – I’m interested in how this plays in the job board world. After all, we know that first and foremost, LinkedIn is a job board and career site. It generates most of its money from candidates trying to get jobs, and employers or recruiters trying to get candidates. It also supports a robust ad market – but everything rests on candidates and employers using LinkedIn. Thus the news feeds, slide sharing, ‘thought leaders’, and so on. LinkedIn wants you to live there. Some people do.
Yet I think LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda.com signals its not-so-hidden strategy to be bigger than a transactional marketplace for candidates and employers. It wants to the WalMart for your professional life. Need some classes? Go to LinkedIn. How about a new job? Go to LinkedIn. Booking a flight to the next conference? Go to LinkedIn (ok, this is coming next.). In other words, a true ‘cradle-to-grave’ experience.
Don’t believe me? Check out LinkedIn for Higher Education, LinkedIn for high school students (yep, 13 and up), and LinkedIn for retirees. I fully expect to see LinkedIn partnering with the NEA so grade schoolers can learn how to create and leverage their very own LinkedInJr. profile! (Think about how the fast food industry will jump on this source of future new hires.).
I’m not saying this is bad or good – it’s just logical for LinkedIn. They have shareholders who want them to grow, fast, often, and forever. They have their base as a job board to build from – and they have lots of cash and technical talent.
But it does signal a move out of the job board world. Yes, the LinkedIn job board will drive all of this activity – but over time it may become much less important, if these current and future acquisitions pull their own weight. Of course, like Facebook’s fall from favor with its original teenage users, LinkedIn may lose its original audience along the way. Or it may not. Only time will tell.
It may be premature to bid LinkedIn ‘adieu’ from the job board industry.
But I don’t think so.[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.]