Friday, June 03, 2005

You can't take it with you

Charlie O'Donnell has a posting up today talking about networking sites like LinkedIn, and giving some great advice to the company:

Too Many ^$%#ing Profiles

As far as I'm concerned, LinkedIn, at least for all this professional stuff, is far and away the best answer. Their site is extremely professional. Their set of permissions based contacting prevents me or my network from being spammed. That's my favorite profile, but it doesn't solve half my profiling and networking issues. I can't take that profile anywhere and use it for anything, nor can anyone else use it to really solve their member database issues. Everything about LinkedIn has to be done on the site. So, people see it as Y.A.F.P. when they already have enough trouble managing all of their member database and profile data everywhere else.

I agree - LinkedIn is by far the best networking site out there - But I've found that I still have a couple of major issues with it.

1. I haven't figured out how to attach my own notes about people. I try to keep notes on where/when I met people, as well as something we talked about at that first meeting. Right now, I have that all in my Palm contact notes, but it would be a lot easier if I could have access to those at Linked In.

2. Synching. I use Palm's desktop software as my primary contact management. For me, the most valuable features are the pictures and the notes that you can keep on each contact. However, as I grow my networks on LinkedIn, its frustrating that I have to re-enter information manually. Any time I have to type the same info more than once, it means that some company is missing an opportunity to make my life easier. LinkedIn has provided a tool to import contacts from any contact tool, why can't they allow you to synch up? I know that a standard "export" is probably not coming anytime soon, since that would make it easier for people to switch networks if a competing service arose. But a Palm conduit to synch up new contacts shouldn't be too hard to come up with, should it?

Overall, this is a big problem I have with a lot of the PIM service sites. LinkedIn (contacts), Trumba (events), Gmail (email) - each of these is really good at what it does, but they all prevent me from being able to synch up this same information and take it with me. Because of that, I end up either a) using competing services that are not as feature rich, but allow me to use my data more efficiently (yahoo has an online calendar that can synch with my palm), or b) forgoing either web or palm access to the information.

BTW - I highly recommend Charlie's other blog, Success Blogging, for any aspiring bloggers. I read it before starting this one a few weeks ago, and it was a great resource for a lot of the initial questions I had. I especially recommend the post "Week One Thoughts and Assignments".