about.me and a better LinkedIn concept

Here is my about.me page. I knew this existed for a while but never quite managed to create a page for myself. At last the cat got curious: Last week I went ahead and created one for myself anyhow.

Looks quite ok, right? Yeah, I need to invest a little more time to make it look better than that. But I liked how I am able to present a coherent story. A coherent and relevant story doing justice to a portion of my skillset that I am quite proud of. Great place to start, especially if you have a good story to back yourself. Or if you are just starting out – you know what it takes to create a good story now.

In some sense, LinkedIn is closely related to this. Of course, I am going to ignore the entire social paradigm for a while. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to manage your professional aspiration(s). But there is a catch. Just like about.me, I need to have planned a reasonably good path for myself: in other words, envisioned my career story. Then you try to realize the vision slowly and steadily. If you do a good job of this, your LinkedIn profile presents a brilliant, coherent and a very relevant story. In case you didn’t plan that very well, your LinkedIn profile can look very messy and misleading. Maybe there are ways to fix this within LinkedIn. I am not a power user and haven’t tweaked anything there except periodically update my career achievements/changes.

It has to be better than this. A good majority of us haven’t exactly planned our career to start. By the time we made a plan, we have accumulated way too much experience in some domain/area/technology that pivoting makes you look like a fool. For instance, I started with writing software, moved on to researching at IITM and then came back to prototyping hardware for the industry. My LinkedIn story is a little messy because it doesn’t signal my interests very well. And I usually explain my decisions during interviews. The truth is that until I entered the prototyping expertise, I hadn’t made up my mind about where I want to head eventually. Now I do, but I have accumulated 10+ years of experience in a direction not exactly where it should be. I don’t regret my choices so far, but I regret not being able to present a good story about where I am heading with how I came here.

This is where I conjured up a “better LinkedIn concept”. This is a fake paradigm that exists in my head. I wish I will give it life some day soon, but until then I’ll record it here for anyone who might agree with me. For what it is worth, the end user for such a paradigm could be me alone because the rest of the world has it all figured out better.

Let LinkedIn be the database. Now add a View on top of this database allowing the user to create multiple pages, one for each type of story they want to present. Now, none of this is about falsifying your career/experience. It is all about collating the stuff that really matters and highlighting them on top. One can always fall back on LinkedIn to get the full picture in all its gore.The user can choose the most relevant experiences from their career that supports their story, most relevant education/certification, most relevant recommendations and even highlight the most relevant contacts in their list. Add some good UI and present single page views (not infinite scroll, but A4 sized view that can be printed out).

Shouldn’t the user have a choice to decide their story?

If there are already others who solve this problem, please respond with two things:

  • who are these others?
  • what google keywords did you use to locate them?

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