The Top 5 Stories You Shared on LinkedIn This Week (Aug. 19-25)

August 26, 2011

This series covers the top 5 stories that our members are sharing on LinkedIn Today. You can check out Daniel Roth's column here. – Ed

Unless you were living off the grid somewhere, you saw the news that Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple on Wednesday. It was the biggest business event of the week -- and the flood of articles and tweets was impossible to ignore. Yet the most shared story across LinkedIn centered on another tech personality, investor Marc Andreessen, who wrote an essay for the Wall Street Journal called “Why Software Is Eating The World.”

There’s one theme tying both topics together: the awesome power of a disruptive force.

Top 5 most shared articles on LinkedIn (Aug. 19, 2011 - Aug. 25, 2011)

  1. "Why Software Is Eating The World," Wall Street Journal
  2. Steve Jobs Resigns As CEO Of Apple,” TechCrunch
  3. Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple,” Mashable
  4. Twitter Enhances User Profiles With Image Galleries,” Mashable
  5. How Are People Using Twitter?” Mashable

In Andreessen's essay, he runs through a list of industries recently transformed by software-centric companies. In entertainment, the fastest growing players are all gaming firms. Google has cast a shadow over direct marketing. The telecoms have to match Skype on price and features. As the auto world goes electric and hybrid, software increasingly powers the product. (Full disclosure: he also plugs LinkedIn, in which he’s an investor.) In every case, traditional players have been left struggling to compete.

The power of software in business comes from two elements: companies that launch with code at their core can do so cheaply and they can scale at rates impossible in the physical world. A disruptive company using this model can drive costs (and profits) from an entire industry before entrenched players can react. Just ask Borders.

Andreessen writes:

In many industries, new software ideas will result in the rise of new Silicon Valley-style start-ups that invade existing industries with impunity. Over the next 10 years, the battles between incumbents and software-powered insurgents will be epic.

One person who has made a career of “invading with impunity” is Jobs. He disrupted the music industry with the introduction of iTunes, the mobile industry with iOS and the iPhone, and he’s doing the same to PC makers with the unstoppable spread of the iPad.  (Mashable runs through some of his best moments on video here:) Jobs harnessed the power of software, combined it with design prowess and marketing magic and ate a number of worlds — even as his critics kept insisting that Apple was too niche to matter.

The bottom of the Top 5 most-shared stories center on Twitter. One piece looks at the service’s new photo galleries. Another is an infographic about why and how people use Twitter. Short answers: 1) Because it’s addictive and 2) Nonstop. Of those surveyed, 42% say they Tweet more than one a day – though only 17% say they joined because they “have a lot to say.”

A few other popular stories caught my eye this week:

• “Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Fed’s Secret Loans,” Bloomberg. The piece uses data pulled through Freedom of Information Act requests, litigation and Congressional pressure to reveal just how much emergency funding the biggest banks received during the financial crisis. The story made waves in IT, financial services and management consulting.

• Fast Company’s “Leadership Lessons from Burning Man,” scored big among nonprofit professionals and people in marketing and advertising. Tera Wozniak Qualls with the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids, Mich. commented: “Our office could use some humorous signs and hula hoops.”

• Finally, returning to the theme of disruption: A photo essay that caught fire on LinkedIn: “DC Earthquake Devastation.” Heartbreaking!