Matching up people of similar professional stature and standing.
Enlarging the network beyond geographical boundaries.
Crowdsourcing that creates valuable content and demographics.
In and of itself, LinkedIn could be the greatest company on the planet, if all members contribute their wisdom and help second degree connection connect. The content from various discussion boards by itself invaluable since these were experience from the trenches.
Personally, due to the volatility nature of my post dot.com telecom career, LinkedIn helps me stay in touch with past colleagues who themselves moved around in or outside of telecom.
LinkedIn is poised to grow into one of the biggest online professional continuing education sites , if it wants to. A gold mine for HR and talent management.
Even in this 8% unemployment environment, it still commands decent IPO. Wait until the next convergence i.e. rise of the rest, then we will see the true value of “first to the field” advantage of LinkedIn.
Remember, when President Clinton was dancing at his inaugural ball (Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow),
there were only 50 web pages in the world. Now, LinkedIn itself has millions and counting (and each of us tends to our own as if it were our “FarmVille” garden). It’s our personal WikiMEdia, since each of us has a narrative worth telling, a horn worth tooting, a puzzle yet to emerge and a life worth connecting to.