Education: MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Business; BS in Computer Science from the University of Texas, Austin
Career: McKinsey, Ariba Inc, Epicentre Technologies
Q. Has LinkedIn been a tad subdued in India? Why did we not see any activity during the general elections when other social networks made a splash?
For us, context matters most. We want to cater to a professional context. We want to consciously stay away from the personal side of things because our job is to make you more productive as a professional. The general elections fitted more in the personal category. Of course, there were many discussions happening professionally from the candidates’ standpoint. But their aspiration was to reach out to the masses. LinkedIn by design doesn’t aim to be a mass media platform. We are not chasing numbers.
Q. How has your member base and traffic grown in India?
We began business in early 2010, and today, there are 28 million users. India has the second-largest member base (after the US) for LinkedIn [313 million members] globally. We’ve seen almost 500 percent member growth in the last couple of years. Our base has broadened outside the industries—IT, finance— that you would classically associate with early adoption of technology. It has broadened outside of metros to tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. There’s an increase in not only the number of sign-ups and new users but also in people’s use of our product portfolio. There’s huge traffic from mobile. Forty-five percent of our page views are from the mobile app.
Q. Are Indian consumers LinkedIn-literate?
India is a bit of a ‘do-it-for-me’ market. Consumers need more handholding to understand the platform. And we are evaluating how best we can do that. There are over 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn's fastest-growing demographic. In India, we have a strategic partnership with AIESEC that goes out to universities to explain the various functionalities of LinkedIn. IIM-A has also partnered with us where they use our Alumni tool for high-level insights about the alumni of a particular school as well as gain access to the more detailed professional profiles they've shared. We tell them what a good profile is and what is not. We are adding features and functionalities that help them as professionals. At the same time, it is important for us to do concept tests before releasing new tools in the market.
Q. Have brand marketers utilised the full potential of your platform?
Some of the savvy marketers have. But their mindset is still volume-driven. And it is not just true for LinkedIn, but digital as a whole. Our focus is to make them move from a quantity- to a quality-based transaction. We are helping them arrive at new metrics and processes. There’s a large Indian IT player that is doing custom research with us to understand how they can tweak their content for different stakeholders.
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(This story appears in the 17 October, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)