Using LinkedIn for Research

LinkedIn is a useful way to keep track of your network, but I tend to use it more often for research purposes.  The information available tends to be hit or miss, so I’d recommend going in with the mindset of quickly filtering through the site rather than spending a lot of time on it.  I’ll walk you through my experience using the site and what I’ve found useful.

Profiles

People and company profiles are where the action is.  Here are my thoughts on what to look for:

  • I tend to use LinkedIn to find fairly senior people in the company (VP and above), and I then add them to my general background searches.  You can often find much more specific search engine results by including the names of senior management, and LinkedIn can be a good way to go beyond the leadership teams named on most companies’ sites.
  • Another useful piece of information is the titles and connections between people.  You can get pretty far constructing an org chart based on LinkedIn. Continue reading Using LinkedIn for Research

Competitive Analysis is Dead, Long Live Competitive Analysis

A number of people have written recently and persuasively on the problems of competitive analysis.  It’s easy to be led astray by looking at competitors.  Feature checklists capture the details of products but not why customers value them, and additional features may only add cost without satisfying the most important customer needs.  A naïve competitive comparison can lead you to copy competitive offerings, pricing changes, or promotions without understanding the impact, potentially hurting the profitability of your industry over the long term.  I agree with all of these points, but I also think there are some nuances to the benefits of competitive analysis that are worth mentioning. Continue reading Competitive Analysis is Dead, Long Live Competitive Analysis