LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking site; "like Facebook, but for business". With almost 260 million users, the company aims to connect individuals with jobs and opportunities to further networking, careers and job growth. Originally launched in 2003, the site grew to 200 million users over a span of 10 years. This month, they may have acquired "the last piece of the puzzle" in becoming one of the most beneficial and profitable social networking sites in the world: on April 9, LinkedIn announced it's purchase of Lynda.com. Through this deal, LinkedIn will become an aggregate of professional opportunity as well as education.
Lynda.com is a privately held, subscription based online education resource. The site was founded by Lynda Weinman in 1995. Weinman, with self-taught computer skills, worked in the film industry as a special effects animator--which is really the perfect success story to support this deal, right? Backed by Weinman's high-selling instructional books on design and a long list of technical skills courses let by industry experts, Lynda.com is a doing pretty well for itself. Subscriptions start at the "Basic" level, priced at $25 a month and scale up to $375 annually for a premium membership featuring over 5,700 courses in 20 different languages.
There's no denying that Lynda and LinkedIn are a pretty outstanding match. Recruiters will now be able to search LinkedIn based on skill sets achieved from Lynda.com. Users will be able to identify required skills for a particular job and then strengthen their skill set through Lynda.com per necessity. Pairing jobs with the resources to train for those jobs sounds like the formula for employment. LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, claims that this acquisition is a big step in closing the "skills gap" and overturning the American education system. The data collected from LinkedIn and its new subsidiary will create an economic graph used to digitally map the global workforce.
A system that allows users to independently train and apply for the job they want seems like a pretty sweet deal. And while it is a humanitarian development with unprecedented benefits for users, it was also a very smart business deal for both companies. Instead of partnering with EdX or a similar free online learning resource, LinkedIn chose a site with a subscription fee. Lynda.com is already a profitable business, meaning LinkedIn will see an immediate improvement on their bottom line. Lynda benefits from LinkedIn's "Elevate" update for professional content curation, which allows for videos (Lynda's notable content) to be shared seamlessly within LinkedIn, as well as the inherent incentive to use Lynda.com while in the proximity to the need of a particular skill. The purchase cost LinkedIn $1.5 billion (a mere amount of their means); $780B in cash and the rest in LNKD stock. With competitors like Facebook looking to expand their networking reach into LinkedIn's territory, LinkedIn automatically gains the edge for organically evolving from a social networking site into a self-improvement resource, which should be the ultimate goal anyway.
by Anna Epps
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