From Tennis Lessons to Becoming a Smarter Professional – Inside Story with Ryan Roslansky

October 23, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing Q&A series called the Inside Story where we sit down to learn more from the people behind the products at LinkedIn.

Q: Why is LinkedIn focusing on content?

A: We have millions of members around the world who want to be amazing at their jobs – and that basically boils down to being in permanent learning mode. At LinkedIn, we think that access to rich, informative content helps drive ongoing professional development and discussion. But it has to be surfaced in a way that’s useful to you personally – tailored to your individual needs and interests.

We’re able to bring the right content to the right people at precisely the right time.  That’s because we’ve built our content on top of a strong social media platform – we’ve woven identity, network and distribution in as core components of your experience with us. We’re curating your LinkedIn feed just for you – from the industry news we’re pulling in through Pulse and the status updates from your network, to the posts you see from members and Influencers and the discussions in your Groups. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a college student in Omaha or an experienced executive in Manhattan; we will connect you with information that will support you professionally, day in and day out.

Now, we’re measuring the success of our content by how it helps you become more productive, accomplished and dialed in to economic opportunity. That’s a very meaningful goal.

Q: What’s the secret sauce for using LinkedIn’s content successfully?

A: Think about content at LinkedIn broadly. There are many ways to build your professional brand on LinkedIn - and even the smallest action you take supports that goal.  You can share an interesting article with your network, post a presentation on SlideShare, write a blog, comment on another member’s post, or even simply like and share something that interests you on LinkedIn – and you will reach more engaged people, in and out of your network. We have millions of professionals that are eager to share, discuss and exchange their knowledge with each other. The more thoughtful you are about tailoring what you write and share to your unique perspective and experiences, the more you will help educate and inform these professionals. That’s huge for building your brand.

Q: Share the best inspiration you’ve found on LinkedIn recently.

A: I love it when members share uncommon knowledge and memorable experiences that I can then use to be more effective. Charles Best, from, described how the organization drove a 135 percent increase in projects favorited on the site by simply modifying the design from a star to a heart. Kevin Chou had a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of his company’s partnership with Alibaba, one of the hottest companies out there right now. And CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin nailed it with a piece on how to ask sharp questions. These are great windows into insights I might never get otherwise – but that make me a smarter professional.

Q: What’s your favorite LinkedIn tip?

A: Post rich media! A photo, document, a PowerPoint that goes on both LinkedIn and SlideShare – these visual elements make your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed. Plus, a great visual adds a new and deeper dimension to the conversations you’re having on LinkedIn. For example, check out this Venn diagram from our CEO, Jeff Weiner, on the qualities of the people he most enjoys working with – he saw some really fantastic engagement.

Q: What’s not on your LinkedIn profile?

A: I spent most of my high school years at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida – along with Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova. Still have a solid serve but the best lesson I learned came from living with people from around the world. I realized quickly that we all approach situations, problems and solutions from many different angles. Understanding that people view things differently is a core tenet for building consumer Internet products – and I was lucky to get it at such a young age.