Monday, April 07, 2008

Using LinkedIn for business research

Secrets LinkedIn can tell you about your customers
One of the frustrating things about an open-source business is you don't generally know who is using your software. The paid customers you know, of course, but generally this represents a small fraction of the total user base. ...

... Today I found a new way. LinkedIn. What do I mean? And is this only something for open-source vendors?

I was searching for potential sales engineers, and initially did the standard searches: People in Chicago or Austin with Documentum, FileNet, Sharepoint, Java, etc. in their profiles.

Dense though I am, it eventually dawned on me to search for the word "Alfresco" in the LinkedIn database. What I found surprised me.

First, I discovered a wide range of people with Alfresco experience. Some are existing Alfresco customers and partners, some are employees. But a significant percentage include potential customers and partners.

Think about that. Wouldn't you rather hire someone that already knows your code? Wouldn't you rather engage a partner that has already done implementations of your software? Of course you would. LinkedIn can help.

I would never have thought of that. I am sure LinkedIn is being used for all manner of interesting research. I would like to thank the two individuals who sent me an invitation to join LinkedIn. At first I did not understand the value of it; but I think a LinkedIn profile is almost expected, the same way a website is expected.

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