LinkedIn is in danger, and they know it. Like an angry badger backed into a corner, the professional social network has lashed out with a revamped mobile push that has seen the platform grow from 277 million members in January to 300 million members last Friday. Good news for a company who many investors currently believe is overvalued. David Trainer, president of New Constructs, understands that LinkedIn is growing, but he does not see profit growth that matches their increase in users. He insists that buyers of the stock, “have been missing the forest through the trees. They are seeing top-line growth, and not recognizing that there’s little-to-no profit growth coming from that albeit pretty-awesome top-line growth.” Since January of 2013, LinkedIn has grown, on average, by 6.6 million new users per month over the past 15 months, and they need to continue doing so. LinkedIn mobile app has been the key factor behind their growth, as LinkedIn projects that 50% of user traffic will occur on some sort of mobile device by the conclusion of this year. With profit growth at 6% and a decline in unique visitors and page views, LinkedIn will have to grow rapidly (very rapidly) in order to justify its current valuation of $175/share. How they develop will depend on the quality of the LinkedIn mobile products. A company-wide training program called “Mobilize” has made it necessary for every LinkedIn engineer to take Android, HTML5, and iOS training courses. Each course takes about a week to complete. Officials at the social media firm, such as Kiran Prasad, hope that these training programs enable their engineers to become more proficient when it comes to programming for mobile. Creating a user experience that is fast, informative, and aesthetically pleasing represents a major challenge for LinkedIn, but one that they must respond to if they are to keep their heads above water. With the future of LinkedIn in jeopardy, only two things are certain: that the platform is growing and their financial future seems to be somewhat of a mystery (at least according to investors). Regardless of this uncertainty, LinkedIn is forging its way forward through fast, simple, and relevant mobile technology that could ultimately make or break their future.
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