The Top 5 Stories on Lin-kedIn: Business Goes Gaga for Jeremy Lin

February 17, 2012

A few weeks ago, you wouldn't have placed Jeremy Lin on any list of the top people to learn from in business. ("Jeremy who?") But now that he's gone from New York Knicks benchwarmer to NBA behemoth, people - even, or maybe especially, business people - want to learn from him. No surprise: His success seems to offer so many lessons for those who believe they are being overlooked or who want to believe they could have a secret star on their staff. Forbes' Eric Jackson finds 10 Lin-sights (sorry!)  in the No. 3 most-shared story by LinkedIn's 150 million members. Here's the full list:

Top 5 most-shared articles by LinkedIn members (Feb 10, 2012 - Feb. 16, 2012) Follow @LinkedInToday

  1. Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions (Forbes)
  2. The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company)
  3. Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning (Forbes)
  4. Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words (Mashable)
  5. The Age of Big Data (New York Times)

So what can managers and workers learn from Lin? There are three big take-aways: Never stop believing in what you can do (at the right place), try harder than anyone else, and learn to spot talent that might be hidden:

You probably manage people at your own company today. Are you sure you don't have a Jeremy Lin living among you now? [...] We put people around us in boxes. He's from Harvard. He's Asian-American. Not sure he can play. How many assumptions have you made about talent around you? Don't be like the General Managers in Golden State and Houston, and let talent slip through your fingers.

One way to identify that talent: spend time slavishly studying the numbers. That's what Ed Weiland, a FedEx driver and numbers hobbyist who writes for the website Hoops Analyst did. The Wall Street Journal profiles the man who in 2010 studied two overlooked stats that pointed to greatness for the then-unknown Lin: 2-point field-goal percentage and a blended metric of rebound, steals and blocks called RSB40. Writes the WSJ's Jason Gay:

Weiland concluded that Lin had to improve on his passing and leadership at the point, but argued that if he did, "Jeremy Lin is a good enough player to start in the NBA and possibly star."

The WSJ story didn't make our top-shared list, but it does highlight a trend that that the New York Times' Steve Lohr identifies in his No. 5 top-shared story: "The Age of Big Data." In the piece, Lohr explains that looking for patterns in massive stacks of data is going to mean revolutionary changes in how business works.

Research by [MIT] Professor Brynjolfsson and two other colleagues, published last year, suggests that data-guided management is spreading across corporate America and starting to pay off. They studied 179 large companies and found that those adopting "data-driven decision making" achieved productivity gains that were 5 percent to 6 percent higher than other factors could explain.

Some of that data will turn into new ways of selling, new products to build or new markets to tackle. That promises a future filled with Lin: known but unexploited people or data just waiting to become heroes.

Here are the most shared stories by professionals in the following industries: