Facebook is preparing a version of its site for the workplace designed, it’s suggested, to compete directly with LinkedIn. This is puzzling at first glance, since Facebook at Work seems geared toward letting people connect and collaborate with colleagues and peers at their current jobs, while LinkedIn is focused more on building professional connections with people outside the firm.
On the face of it, that seems to be two entirely different markets, with Facebook at Work playing in the workplace productivity market (competing with the likes of Microsoft Office, Webex, and project management software) while LinkedIn is part of the headhunting industry.
But look at the move in terms of the jobs customers are trying to get done (rather than the markets that these companies address) and the possible connections become much easier to see.
Every working professional knows that at least 50% of all available job openings are never advertised. Hence, all of them have a job to do – something along the lines of, “Do I have the right network so, in case something happens, I would know about these hidden offers?” LinkedIn addresses this job directly, by allowing you to create and build an exclusively professional network among its 300 million+ members.