LinkedIn could do with some change..

Been thinking of updating my LinkedIn profile for long now! But then just when I collect all my thoughts do so – the sections start seeming misplaced to me :/

I think LinkedIn could do with some changes in the LinkedIn profile structure. Consider the following, if you may:

  • I’ve been active during my college days in fairly many extra-curricular activities, which includes holding posts such as the President for the Computer Science Society – which are currently added as my work experience. While I’ve no doubt learnt a lot, and it should be considered as my work experience, but it would’ve been so much better alongside the college entry! Something like “Posts Held” or “Leadership Positions Held” under each entry in the Education section could be a good option. Ultimately a good resume would highlight all these things – even a good recruiter would want to know these, so why not give it a good distinct space? Also, though it may not be too important for seasoned professionals – it REALLY is important for the students still studying & keeping an updated LinkedIn profile.
  •  And while we are at it, an Internships section in the Education section as well? While not many would’ve taken an internship, and definitely not necessarily during their degrees, but what’s the harm in adding one section? Would help structure the LinkedIn profile so well! (Seems like no one thought from the angle of a student creating a LinkedIn profile! One important user-profile feels neglected :| )
  •  Another thing that I usually think of having a feature added to – recommendations! Shouldn’t we have the option of shifting the recommendations from one entry to the other? I know this might sound absurd – but consider the above scenario. I’ll be shifting the ECA entry as a regular work experience entry to the college entry, so while I do that I lose my recommendation on that ECA entry. If only I would’ve been able to relocate the recommendation to the new position. This would remove the displeasure of asking the recommender to recommend again! Though while shifting the recommendations we would be seeking approvals from the recommender, but I think that’s just a click & done kind of routine – way more easy than typing down another recommendation (which would also change the date of the recommendation – too many new recommendations don’t look good!)
  •  And what happens to the seasoned professionals – they could also do with one important additional feature to the profile. The ability to add all promotions in one company under the same entry. How many times have you seen a profile with many entries of the same company, with just the designation change? Way too frequently, and of course a good sign of loyalty & long-term growth. So why not address it by giving people an option to add designations to a company entry, along with the dates (from & to) to account for all the promotions/work-profile change? And while the work might have changed over time, it would be great to see how people highlight the highs of their career in that company, while also making visible the great career growth the company provides through the series of posts held over that long period!
  •  Another feature that could be good, while in sync with LinkedIn’s Pro bono campaign “LinkedIn for Good”, would be to offer people the ability to list their Pro bono Work Experiences just as their regular work experiences. This instantly highlights a great deal of the goodness the person’s spreading around. Though we can add under the Organizations section the non-profits we are a part of, but a Pro bono Work Experience section just adds that spark of greatness to the profile. We all know why.
  • Maybe a fun feature to add too? You know the way we have links to our cloud storage files – the ones on DropBox, or Google Drive or any other, to give access to someone to view the document or download that folder of ours without actually adding them as a collaborator, just through a sharing link. If we could’ve a one-time link (could be changed, could be disabled – whatever be made mandatory for security) for our LinkedIn profiles, that would be great! Imagine not having to add someone to your LinkedIn as a connection just because you need to refer to your online resume! Also, what if I don’t want to make my profile public? This serves as the best option to share our LinkedIn profile, complete with the recommendations, as & when needed. Maybe you would want someone in the admissions office to see it – without all those security cover-ups. Or maybe your next recruiter? Or maybe someone advising you on how to make a great LinkedIn profile! We surely need not add everyone & anyone to our LinkedIn circle because of a one-time interaction. Agree? Think over it a bit more, I did my bit.

Probably just these many that I could think of right now. But will keep on adding more as I think of them. Till then, happy birthday! (Each day is a new day, eh? ) ^_^

Gmail Notes.

Starting the Tech Ideas Sub-Blog with something that I came across in the past week. Yes, pretty random, but do expect all posts under this category to be very random & at times very brief. I would like to use this forum more to convey these ideas to the people who are actually creating these platforms and/or to debate over whether it is a viable option to go forward with, or if something like this already exists.

I didn’t use Gmail much before – only accessing the mails through desktop email clients, but since now my company email is hosted with Google, I’m using Gmail quite a lot for the past few weeks. While writing/sending/receiving mails is very easy I kind of miss not having a Notes section (Outlook has one). Though one could use the Google Drive to write down texts which one randomly comes up with – but the ease of adding a note just there is one feature which could be great for Gmail.

How many times have you thought that this email needs to be followed up & you type in your notes pertaining to your follow up in your diary or probably planner ? Many times I would say for people who have to screen through SO many mails in a day – which at times are a huge mix of important, urgent & personal ! And though there are options like the Evernote – where you can readily write notes and then arrange them by categories, but then that takes one to a different application ecosystem – transition to which might even cause the thought to vanish off – or probably one might want to skip the labour of opening yet another application for something that one should have essentially used the human memory for ! [ (1) Yes there are people SO lazy – me for example ! :P (2) Given the crazy lifestyle & information overload nowadays, it has become impossible to remember each & every thought that one might come up with – the reason many still carry a small pocket notebook with them.]

What I suggest is having a Notes section in Gmail, something ingrained in the same panel just like the Chat feature. So when you want to add a note, you just click on “Add Note” option on the sidebar and a pop up window or a modal/modeless box opens, enabling the user to write the note & save it. It can also be a tray element in the bottom (like the tasks box in Gmail) – so that when one thinks of referring back to it or editing it – it becomes easy to access it.

Further, it would be great if Google can give us an option of connecting a Note to an Email. In the sense, a brief note to remind anything pertaining to the mail. So when we are reading the mail, we can actually just click on the “Add Note” button (somewhere near the “Send” button of the mail) and add a quick note, something which mentions any prompt thought you had in regards to that mail. This note remains with you & is not visible to anybody else that the mail is marked to or the person it came from – so you can very easily write down anything – from mail observations to event planning – anything in the prompt Note ! Something which will also help you in remembering an important discussion even after months of receiving that mail. Now this feature is not there in Outlook also, or any other mail client I’ve used till now, so that’s a good marketing feature for Gmail ! (Do guide me if there’s one which I never came across ! :P )

All these notes can then also be visible from a Notes section – all notes including the ones connected to the emails. With the option of categories/tags it would also make it easy for us to sort the notes under various different labels – another for-reference technique for later connect.

So how do you find the idea ? Is there something like this already there ? Worth a try ? Do forward to a Gmail developer so that it’s use can be seen ! ;)

And till I come up with yet another post under this category – bon appetit – pertaining to an appetite for ideas ! :D

Starting a sub-blog for tech ideas ! Yayy ! :D

As a matter of fact, I’ve always been writing down something or the other in relation to the websites or softwares – better to say any IT – that I’ve used extensively or that has excited me so much that I’ve thought of other uses or feature additions for the same. To give out a personal habit of long, I’ve a huge notes section in my Outlook that has all these notes – ranging from small one line hints to a long 2-3 para idea verbal – all sectioned under what could possibly be yet another feature addition.

But these have often been just there – hidden under layers of protection. Apart from the spiked-energy-and-passion-level times when I’ve gone to the extent of posting these as feedback on the concerned sites, many still lay unheard of or unspoken of. Mostly due to the lazy me. Yeah, it takes a lot of time figuring out where the Feedback link is in most sites ! In fact even Facebook lacks a direct Feedback link on the homepage. Which though might have been intentionally not posted there to avoid spam – it surely makes people like me keep thoughts to themselves – internal dialogue on the feedback – period.

Thankfully internal dialogue only interests to a wee-bit time – not more. The reason I thought I should share some of that “treasure” (killed modesty ! :P ) so that probably somehow it comes into use – some day – or till the time I myself don’t make use of it in any of my own product designs ! :D

So starting this month (yes, I deliberately delayed this post to 2nd April ! ;) ) I would be posting about any idea that clicks me for the sites I visit or any application I use.  Also, do spare me if you see social networking sites mentioned or talked about more than needed – they essentially form a great deal of my job profile for long now !

And taking the liberty of the Monday morning blues transferring to Tuesday – I think I can delay the first post in this section till the weekend or till yet another energy-spike doesn’t occur – which forces me to type out the “idea” (I like this word – a thought seems grand this way ! :D ) even during office hours ! The wait won’t be long ! ;)

Till then, all be well in love & tech ! ;)

Mr. Zuckerberg – they say your era is over.. Strange isn’t it !?

A post by Business Insider said that “The Mark Zuckerberg Era is Over”. So while I AM an ardent fan of social networks – and Facebook’s marvellous contribution to this field always amazes me – I find it surprising that they said so, even as a news follower !

For starters – or as the dessert also – take the Graph Search into perspective. One gem of a product ! I can actually see Facebook becoming the to-go-to platform for searches in the near future because of this. For anyone who’s gone through the product launch videos or through the one where the Engineering team (along with Mark Zuckerberg) explains about the future of Graph Search and the vision with which it is made, that itself is proof enough about the innovation that the company’s coming up with !

Just imagine – you are making your graduation video & want all those photos that your friends have put up, all those which were taken in college. So while there would be 2 ways to do it – search on your own or ask your friends to give you (like I did ! :P ), you might want it to remain as a surprise to them also. So 2nd way ruled out. And this is how it would be if the task is just upon you :

  • The “Era Before Mark Zuckerberg”
    Take out all your scrap books, photo albums, or just by chance you’ve all your friends’ photos, put them all together. Might take you days to collect them all – since you also don’t want them to know about it ! And might also take you a lot stalking around (in the worst case scenario that is ! :D :P ). Huge exercise – it might even force you to think whether you even WANT to make that video in the first place ! :/
  • The “Era Of Mark Zuckerberg”
    I would call it the time since Facebook was opened to the world – till last year. Now since we have our friends on Facebook, we’ve jotted down our lives in the form of timelines, pretty much a lot of our task has been done. Facebook has given us our very own personal-diary-made-public + scrapbook + slam book +photo album ! So this is actually a very personalised collection of everybody’s story of their lives – individual struggles & achievements – along with the story of their lives spent with their friends & family. So you want to make a graduation video – see your photo stream. Not enough photos ?! Go to your friends’ photo streams – figure out the albums wherein you might find the college photos, pick up the ones you feel might look good. Now iterate the process for all your college friends. So if you’re one of those social bees in college – bless your souls ! You’ve a LOT of  stalking & searching to do ! (And you better not forget ANY of the ones you ever even talked to in college – because you might as well offend them ! )
  • The “Era of Mark Zuckerberg” + Graph Search
    Yes the times to come still. But really exciting times ! Imagine that you just write one search string “Photos of my college friends taken in college” – and voila ! A whole stream of photos gets displayed. How much had you had to work for it !? I don’t think any more than picking up a Choco-Pie ! (Whoa ! That’s a lot of work but – given the amount of self-assurance of weight loss you need to give yourself :P)
    So save as save as – frame video & you’re done ! A really good surprise for your friends, isn’t it ?!

So while this was just a small example on how Graph Search could make your life a lot easier, it is just the tip of the iceberg – to say the least ! Connecting all people, connecting their events, connecting the moments in their lives which affected them, connecting all the visuals, connecting the amazing places unexplored, giving a platform for the unfound to be found – this is a boon !

And you say the era’s over ?! Blah ! I don’t think so. Also because given the way Facebook’s been constantly updating and coming up with new features on it’s site, and given the fact that innovation can never be ceased, I’m double sure that their era is not ending now – atleast not till there is another shift in the Web, say Web 4.0 !?

P.S.: If someone from Facebook does happen to read this – guys you need to make your feedback button more prominent and accessible ! I know that would be calling a LOT of daily spam – but I think you would also be inviting a lot appreciation & good ideas to improve the site. Social Network to work as your Product Development Team – yeah you get my point ! ;)

Whoever thought of cashing in on public actions is sure a genius – wait isn’t that Zuckerberg ?!

Well, it’s February now – and though people might have expected a post saying something on the “love month” or probably something related to – even minutely – the Valentine’s Day – they should know my love for Facebook (Social Networks in general ;) ) is way more than any person beyond my family ! :P

Na – this isn’t a trap for the Facebook people to be enchanted into giving me a job amongst them (though that would be great ! :D ) but more to appreciate the fact – no the uncanny reality – of how intellectually great that person is who thought of cashing in on the whole scenario of “friends talking” ! And since it’s Mark Zuckerberg, Founder/CEO – Facebook (ya ya I know introductions or citations aren’t needed – but still designations with names sound fancy – even now ! :P ) – this surely gives rest to the reasons behind my apparent “love” for dear Facebook ! ;)

And this post is well timed (well, I made it to be so ! :D ) with the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Facebook – the company which in it’s SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filing is “seeking” to raise $5 billion – though it might as well be valued at over $100 billion as per the industry talks ! Whoa ! All this based on just the 845 million monthly active user-base which generates around 2.7 billion likes & comments per day, uploads 250 million photos daily & which has formed around 100 billion friendships ! OHKAY ! That isn’t less ! :O

But imagine the thinking behind creating the whole platform which holds all this ! The start itself was very mature – that of Zuckerberg’s approach towards building Facebook – to make the world more social and connected. And it has – for the better part of it’s existence – been successful in achieving it’s this mission. According to reports (part of the study by Facebook’s own data team & University of Milan) the traditional “six degrees of separation” (that researchers have historically observed between all people in the world) has been dropping since 2008 on the site, from 5.28 then to 4.74 now. So there is a public directory finally in place – to look at it that way – which will obviously have loads of benefits to many in the domain – any domain for that matter.

Though this sure is overwhelming, more appreciable is the entrepreneurial approach to it – or to call it the business money-making approach to it. So while you go on using the platform for interacting with your friends & family, sharing your achievements or thoughts for the day, there are people who are benefiting from these actions of yours. Given the IPO filing, each user has been evaluated at $5.92 worth. Obviously Facebook saw the major picture of it all + I’m worth a large Dominos Cheese Burst Pizza ! Yay ! :D :P

It sure is the era of change, while there was a time when people used to keep interactions with far away friends and family limited to emails or hand-written letters or rather phone calls, the rise of the social networks has surely given them a richer platform to engage on. There’s LinkedIn to keep your professional network under activity, Twitter to voice yourself to the public in general, Facebook to engage with friends & family, and now Google+ too, though I think commercial establishments would benefit from it better – given the leverage they would get in the search results by being on Google+ – again “I think” – don’t quote my words anywhere – NO; never ! :/

That said, everything free sure comes with some benefit to the platform organiser – and this is what Facebook (or any other social network for that matter) cashes on – your information & the data you generate while on these sites – due to your activity. So, your each click is of value to the company, your each comment has value – as that is what it is basing it’s algorithm on – what you talk about, what you do ! So, as Facebook suggests in it’s IPO filing, if you’re talking about flowers for the Valentine’s Day (blah ! It did occur in my post ! :P ) – there will be ads about florists in your area (again an information that you’ve already provided in your profile) which you’re pretty likely to click (especially if you’re an online buyer, obviously having access to the internet). Benefit to the florist – benefit to Facebook, as it generates its income from its “pay-per-click” ad pricing system. Man ! A superior commercialisation method for a simple (though not now) PHP/MySQL website ! But that is what entrepreneurship is all about – earning from your own passions – geeky passions here. And no, I won’t blame Facebook for being commercial, for at its best it has provided us with a massive platform to be along with our friends & people of concern – I myself have found many old friends over Facebook & strengthened many more friendships over time – just because of Facebook, because frankly speaking, I surely would have forgotten wishing my friends on their birthdays had it not been for the calendar ! O.o

So, all in all, while it was and will remain a challenge to figure out what to do with the huge amount of information generated in this “Information Age” – we do have a potential winner – Facebook, or probably Mark Zuckerberg. A Harvard-dropout. Wish India takes in the trend of dropouts more liberally – see Apple (Steve Jobs), Microsoft (Bill Gates), Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Virgin Group (Richard Branson), Dell (Michael Dell), and I could go on an on about it – ya the list is that long ! :|

Well, riding on the belief that “an idea can change your life” saying almost always wins hands down – rather billions down – hope we see more of the Facebook story developing over time – it’s a pretty good blockbuster type script story ! :D
Disclaimer: I’m not much of a Sooraj Barjatya/Karan Johar movie fan – so my interests need not be much spicy – the masala kind if you say ! ;)