Dear Microsoft….

Congratulations on your recent and stunning purchase of LinkedIn.  You merged with a highly educated and professional membership base of nearly 450 million and you got it cheap!  That is not to say that $26 billion is “chump change” but not long ago LinkedIn was valued at some $40 billion.  Sounds like a 33% discount to me.

Your buyout also ensures that LinkedIn will retain most of its talented staff scattered around the world.  It also means that it can focus on what it does best.  That being, innovation and creation of economic opportunities for billions worldwide.

Yes, I am a fan of the deal.  Both companies share similar visions and both will benefit from the significant resources of the other.

However, there is work to be done.  What follows is my “wish list” of a few items that might be enhanced on the LinkedIn platform.  I make these suggestions with the intent that the platform will be more user-friendly and realize greater success in the marketplace.  Other readers might chime in with their thoughts and “wish lists” as well.

1)   Fix Sales Navigator.   It has great promise, I believe, but for now it is an overpriced and under-delivering product.   The Salesforce involvement never came full circle and  was eventually shelved.  Since Microsoft and Salesforce have been working together for the past two years to improve Outlook  it seems likely that improvements will be seen in this subscription service.  (see PC World’s article on this topic:  http://www.pcworld.com/article/3089308/lightning-strikes-outlook-in-latest-salesforce-microsoft-integration.html)

Lead generation and customer management are near and dear to the hearts of many LinkedIn members (and members-to-be).   Improvement here could be a huge win-win for Microsoft and for the productivity of the platform’s membership.

2)   Member posts need greater visibility.  Many complain that their post contributions are seen by fewer and fewer of their connections.  This is occurring despite growth of members in their networks.  For myself, I have to post more frequently in order to gain the same level of profile views that I was getting just 6-12 months ago.

3)  More transparency about account violations and deletions is needed.  Recently, dozens of highly-connected members have disappeared from the site for no stated reason or explanation.  Obviously, this does not foster a sense of security and trust between the corporation and  its membership.  It also makes one question the sincerity of  LinkedIn’s User Agreement which states that:

“As between you and others, your account belongs to you.”

This certainly isn’t the case if one can post one day and be gone the next.

It is understood that this same User Agreement lists some 44 “Don’ts” for participation in its services.  Is it too much to ask that members be given some notice  to correct any issue of concern before their account’s random termination?

LinkedIn should acknowledge that many of its members rely heavily on their LinkedIn accounts and connections for their marketing and business needs.  After all, some members (like me) have spent years building their accounts in a legal and compliant fashion while helping others realize more opportunity through use of the platform.

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author