Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association


July 01 2013

3 Key Takeaways from the Co-Founder of LinkedIn

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

Eric Ly is a well-recognized name around the corners of Silicon Valley. As a co-founder of LinkedIn, Ly helped the company quickly reach profitability and get an early jump on expanding its user base to today’s total of approximately 225 million members in 200 countries. After leaving LinkedIn, Ly continued to help create connections in a more direct role with the meetings and events industry. He founded Presdo, an event app built to facilitate more powerful networking, increase attendance and increase engagement.

At the PCMA Education Conference in Denver, Ly gave meeting professionals an inside look at how big data and social data are shaping the future and how they will impact attendees connect with each other, build communities and achieve business success. Here’s a look at three key pieces of knowledge that Ly shared.

1)  This is only the beginning.

While social media and mobile applications have been all the rage over the past few years, Ly believes meeting professionals have only managed a small taste of the possibilities that these technologies deliver.

“The truth of the matter is that we’re all pioneers,” Ly said. “We’re all discovering the tools and techniques that are going to make events better.”

If your organization has been struggling to unveil an event app or engage attendees in online communities, there’s no reason to panic.

“Don’t feel like you’re falling behind,” Ly said. “There’s a lot of experimentation going on.”

SEE ALSO: Time for a Status Update: Your Meeting Marketing Strategy

2)  Technology is not about building walls.

While it may seem like the general population is addicted to smartphones and computer screens, that doesn’t mean that virtual communities are replacing real, live human interaction. Quite the opposite, actually, says Ly who relayed a quote from one of his Twitter followers to help meeting professionals understand the real objective behind online connections: the ultimate goal of social media is to drive people toward face-to-face interactions.

“Face-to-face isn’t going away,” Ly said. “It develops trust, nurtures relationships and drives business forward.”

Now, it’s easier to begin developing that trust before the face-to-face connection ever happens.

“Social media allows us to familiarize ourselves with people before we actually talk to them,” Ly said.

SEE ALSO: 6 Things Event Professionals Need to Know About Technology

3)  Learn from the past.

For anyone involved in meetings and events who remains reluctant to dive into technology headfirst, Ly highlighted some examples of industries that watched the digital bandwagon race forward without jumping onboard. From the massive $40 billion decline in advertising revenue that hit the newspaper industry in a short ten-year span to the rapid extinction of physical compact discs in the music industry, meeting professionals can learn valuable lessons from other industries that refused to join the digital playing field.

SEE ALSO: What Meetings Can Learn from the Music Business

Interested in learning more from the PCMA Education Conference? Click here to read what futurist Mike Walsh had to say about the next generation of meeting attendees.

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