TextIn: Another day, Another Hackday Win!

April 12, 2011

Hi, everyone.  My name is Sudeep Yegnashankaran, and I'm a software engineer on the LinkedIn Mobile team.  I recently joined LinkedIn as part of the CardMunch acquisition, and with this being my first "real" job out of college, I had no idea what kind of work environment I would find. I am thrilled to find myself surrounded by people who are not only passionate about innovation but are obsessed with it and celebrate it frequently.

I created this project as part of LinkedIn's Hackday, a monthly competition that pits the entire company in a battle to produce some of the coolest, geekiest, and most compelling hacks. The winners are rewarded with fame, fortune, and (most importantly) the hope to launch their hack as a product for all of our users.

About My Hack: TextIn

Around 80% of mobile phones sold worldwide are feature phones. This means that not everyone can use our iPhone or Android applications. For LinkedIn's March Hackday, I decided to build a prototype that would bring LinkedIn features to users of feature phones through simple text messaging.

Try TextIn on LinkedIn Labs

Imagine that you're in an important business meeting. Adam, a Vice President at LinkedIn, is giving an amazing presentation, but you didn't catch his last name! During a break, you pull out your phone and send this simple SMS:

Now that you know Adam's full name and job title, you can view his profile in SMS form, and then invite him to connect on LinkedIn.

Simple, But Powerful Commands

TextIn features the following commands:

  • Invite: Invite someone to connect on LinkedIn
  • Search: Find anyone across LinkedIn's 100M+ members
  • Profile: Lookup a LinkedIn profile
  • Update: Post an update to your LinkedIn connections

Please note: As a prototype, TextIn is currently only available in the United States.

Register for TextIn on LinkedIn Labs

I'd like to thank LinkedIn management and my team for their help and support. We chose to use Twilio as our SMS provider for this prototype, and they’ve been a breeze to work with.

I can't wait until the next Hackday.  Until then, enjoy TextIn!