LinkedIn is without a doubt the number one social network for semiconductor professionals. Based on my experience, the big LinkedIn boom came with the massive unemployment during the Great Recession of 2009. In my estimate, unemployment was 12%+ at the high point in Silicon Valley and resumes clogged the internet with LinkedIn crowned the best job search tool.
This was the start of the blogging boom within the fabless semiconductor industry and it’s also when I started blogging. At that time there were more than 200 bloggers covering our industry but as employment slowly returned bloggers began to disappear, resumes were harder to find, and now the press is suggesting LinkedIn has jumped the shark.
Jumping the Shark is a TV term used when a particular show starts to decline in popularity. It was coined when the series Happy Days aired an episode of Fonzi jumping a shark on water skiis wearing a leather jacket, and yes, I watched Happy Days growing up.
According to the charts, LinkedIn revenue beat expectations, new subscribers beat expectations, but the all important unique visitors and page views declined. LinkedIn stock took a huge hit as a result. If you chart the decreasing unemployment rate you will absolutely see a correlation as people are spending their time working versus looking for work on LinkedIn.
That brings us to a new challenge for the fabless semiconductor ecosystem, finding qualified people for our expanding industry. The solution of course is to change the rules of engagement as SemiWiki did with blogging. Why blogging you ask?
A friend of mine and I debated over dinner on Fisherman’s Warf whether the famed Escape from Alcatraz convicts made the swim to San Francisco. I argued they did make it but my argument was not convincing since I had not attempted the swim myself. Not long after that debate I jumped off a boat on the East side of Alcatraz at the break of dawn and swam for my life towards the Bay Bridge. 45 minutes later I landed at the marina just inside the Golden Gate Bridge. The outgoing tide was very strong, the water was freezing cold, and even though I was wearing a wetsuit I was hypothermic. In fact, my legs froze up so the last few yards was all arms.
Now when I argue that the convicts did NOT make the swim to San Francisco I can do so convincingly by sharing my experience, my observation, my opinion, and that is what blogging is all about. The bloggers on SemiWiki are semiconductor professionals who enjoy writing, and that is why our unique visitor and page view numbers continue to grow.
As you may have read, we published our first book “Fabless: The Transformation of the Semiconductor Industry” and there will be more to come. This year we created a jobs forum and will blog about job openings to help our subscribing companies grow. SemiWiki bloggers will also go deep this year on technologies from the top fabless semiconductor companies. SemiWiki will not be jumping the shark anytime soon, believe it.