Three Things I Learned At LinkedIn
Last Friday was my last day at LinkedIn. After almost four and a half years at the company, I decided to embark on a different type of experience, fraught with risk, uncertainty, and instability. Smart choice? We’ll see.
Working at LinkedIn was a truly important experience for me. As I wrote to coworkers on my last day:
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity that I have been given here - it is the best job I’ve ever had. I ate free food, moved desks many times, and was gifted the chance to help build a fresh product and business that truly matters. Along the way I made great friends, experienced some of the best moments of my life (even got married!), worked in a fantastic team, and learned every day. It has truly been a privilege to work with all of you at this great company.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that LinkedIn was the first time in my relatively short professional career that I led something that mattered in a meaningful way. For that, I am grateful.
There are tangible, tactical things that one learns in every role. My time at LinkedIn was no exception. I learned important and actionable skills at each role that are not diminished just because they can be found in a book.
But as a product person and product leader, most of the learning is intangible and tacit. I’ve heard friends called it an “apprenticeship.” The most important things that I learned while at LinkedIn? Three simple ones:
- Influence Wins: You can tell people what to do against their will or you can productively influence people to arrive at the same truth. The former is called ‘being a dick’ and doesn’t help over time. The latter is called David Hahn'ing someone.
- Sense of Urgency: Jeff once asked me in a meeting whether I felt I had demonstrated the proper sense of urgency in a particular effort. I had never been asked that before and it definitely made an impression on me, because I realized later that I had not. I now ask myself that question just about every day.
- Relationships Matter: One of the most productive Product people I know (link) also happens to be the most well-liked professional I’ve ever met. It took a few months for me to recognize those were not only related, but one caused the other.
Thank you to LinkedIn, for a great 4+ years.