How will LinkedIn ensure quality post in Influencers section?

Now that LinkedIn has decided to open up its publishing platform, everyone on LinkedIn can be an “influencer”.

But the question is, how will LinkedIn separate quality posts from thought leaders, like say, Richard Branson from those of Joe Simple (LinkedIn member)?

This article answers the question to a certain extent.

One thing that LinkedIn could do is to have a ratings system (just as we have hub points here!) Another way to whet the quality is to see the number of likes, number of shares and of course, the number of connections.

Professional titles and experience in a particular field are also parameters to consider for the ratings system.

Another question that comes to mind: Who really ‘owns’ the article that I post on the LinkedIn Influencer page? What if I am re-posting an article from my own site or blog? And what rights does LinkedIn have to syndicate my article (for a fee) to other publishers?

To really get to the bottom of it, you’d need to understand the intricate differences between PAID, EARNED and OWNED media.

Let’s wait and watch.

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Are you self-learning like Satya Nadella?

Satya“I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. I’m a life-long learner”

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

I was thrilled to read the news about the appointment of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. And I read this news  late at night, on my mobile phone, and again next morning in the newspaper. 

The thing about Nadella is that he is in a process of continual learning, always driving himself to learn new things. And that’s what keeps the mind sharp. So you should be a learner for life.

Today’s generation is lucky to have a plethora of learning resources at its disposal. And these are not limited to the confines of a library or classroom. There are plenty of free and paid online courses. Let me talk about my own experiences.

While  studying Digital Marketing at NIIT last year, I was often referred to certain videos on YouTube. In fact, I learned a great deal about Google Analytics on YouTube! I have to say that YouTube is one of the best online learning resources, that offers the shortest learning curve. On YouTube there are videos that teach you how to fix or build things. There are videos that show how to design websites, repair PCs, debug software, learn programming techniques, and there are numerous other topics ranging from photography & gardening to leadership & management.

Watch a 10 minute video on YouTube — or read a 200 page Dummies book to learn the same thing. What would you prefer?

While YouTube is a free resource, you shouldn’t dismiss paid resources, which have really good tutorials on a variety of subjects. A good one that I recently discovered is Lynda.com. For a flat monthly fee of $25 (approximately Rs 1,500), you get access to unlimited courses — all you can eat for a flat price. And the fee is settled through your credit card; you can cancel the charge from the next billing cycle. And Lynda.com has an app too, so you can log in using any device, from anywhere and pick up where you last stopped. I’m currently using Lynda.com to hone my WordPress skills. But I’ve also bookmarked courses on digital photography, photo & video editing — which I’ll complete sooner or later.

If you want industry recognized certification, try Skillsoft.com. They offer Cisco, Microsoft and other certifications. Read my interview with Skillsoft VP John Ambrose here.

Another good (free) resource for courses is Coursera.org. But I must forewarn you that they offer more academically-oriented courses from various universities. So if you want to brush up your statistics, calculus, engineering, language, history, chemistry etc, Coursera’s the place to learn online. However, they also offer courses for other topics such as songwriting, music production, Equine nutrition, gamification, decision-making, and courses in other diverse categories. The great thing about Coursera is that these courses come from reputed universities and are backed by certifications.

Also try out Khan Academy.

If you don’t have time for an online course and just want reference material that quickly explains a concept, then look up sites like About.com, Wikihow.com, eHow.com,  Howstuffworks.com and of course, the mother of them all — Wikipedia.org. And then, there are specialized sites like Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com and Grammarly.com.

I haven’t talked about books so far, but these days you have plenty of resources for e-books online. Apart from Amazon.com (and the Kindles) you could also look up Project Gutenberg.

In these times when jobs are hard to come by, the best thing you could do for yourself, is to learn something new each day. Why wait for instructor-led training (offered by your company) when you can learn by yourself, at your own pace?

Go online and sign up now!

Have you seen Microsoft’s Super Bowl ad?

I live in India and have not been to the Super Bowl yet. But I know it is one of America’s biggest sporting events, viewed by millions of Americans. Naturally, this event also offers the highest brand visibility, on par with being on the national networks.

Techies might recall the Apple Macintosh “1984” Super Bowl ad, aimed at taking on IBM in the PC war.

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UZV7PDt8Lw

That ad created a lot of interest for the Macintosh computer, in an era where IBM PCs were the gold standard.

Well, Microsoft (surprise! surprise!) might have managed to create a similar impact in its Super Bowl ad last Sunday. But this time they were not talking only about cutting edge technology — it was about technology that impacts lives. The ad is getting a lot of raves and a few rants) on Twitter.

Gleason1Getting to the point, the latest Microsoft ad features a man in a wheelchair, who uses a tablet to talk to his infant son. That man is Steve Gleason, who was once a National Football League player. And if you Google him, you’ll see that his ‘blocking the punt’ technique eventually led to a touchdown for his team, the New Orleans Saints, in a September 2006 game. This was a much needed touchdown for the ‘Saints’ in New Orleans, after almost two years.

Gleason suffers from a disorder called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal chord. And this severely affects his speech.

Gleason2The Microsoft ad shows Gleason using a Microsoft Surface tablet with an eye tracking app that helps him talk to his family.

The app tracks Gleason’s eye movements as he focuses on certain letters on the tablet’s keypad. And as words are formed, the app vocalizes the words using text to speech conversion. Gleason can also tweet and surf the web with this solution.

You can watch the Microsoft ad here: Steve Gleason: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JObFlEvc-Eg

Noted scientist Stephen Hawkings suffers from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). I reckon the technology that Microsoft is offering is the similar to what Hawkings uses in his computerized communication system. The notable difference is that Microsoft is bringing the technology to the masses through a tablet and app. Unlike Hawking’s customized computer, the Microsoft Surface tablet and app will be affordable, and hence available to more people who suffer from ALS or speech disorders.

Now that’s a new focus area for Microsoft — it needs to make technology solutions that impact lives.

Hope the incoming CEO and Chairman will take note.

Want to get into Google?

InternshipGoogle is the best place to work. Its employees are pampered with free food, massages, sleep pods, free laundry services, play areas, on campus mobility, and access to the best resources. Naturally, everyone in the tech world dreams of working there. But you have to be very, very smart to work at Google. Can you do complex math in your head? Do you have a PhD?  So Google wants only propeller heads, right?

WRONG!

At least that’s what I saw in the movie titled “The Internship” last weekend.

internship-3The film stars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn — my favorite funnymen from Hollywood.

Apparently, Google is also looking for other qualities such as social and interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, teamwork and collaboration.

I quote a review from IMDb:

{Begin Quote}

Two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment.

{End Quote}

Now go watch the film, and see what it’s like to work at Google. 

Do you make the cut?