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LinkedIn and Microsoft, That’s Right.

LinkedIn just accepted a hefty $26.2 Billion from Microsoft for their acquisition. This has left techies, bloggers and astounded and scrambling to understand what just happened.

How much?!??


What Is LinkedIn?

All you have to do is jump over to LinkedIn’s About page:

LinkedIn - About Page

Nutshell, Microsoft just acquired “the world’s largest professional network with more than 433 million members in 200 countries.”

Start from the data, connections and analytics available. Now think about your connections. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the value of this kind of big data set. Do the math, how much Microsoft paid against the number of users…

What will Microsoft do with LinkedIn? We can expect UX refinements in iterations but not a sudden drastic change. Will LinkedIn end up with New Windows UI? Probably down the line.

LinkedIn is all about connections, networking and building relationships within the network. It’s about professional development for workers and sourcing for the employer. LinkedIn lets us build better profiles, in some ways replacing the conventional resume and references but more than that, it allows discovery. Discovery of potential job prospects and potential recruitment candidates.

Many people have faulted LinkedIn for their UI / UX choice but there are a few other big issues: –

  1. Discovery and ranking: how does LinkedIn actually improve your chances of discovery? There are different things you need to do to ensure a complete profile. In addition, you cannot neglect your profile nor fail to interact.
  2. Job suggestions: the algorithm behind this doesn’t learn from choices and often offers many false positives.
  3. Interaction: LinkedIn sends a slew of emails, and the more groups etc you participate in, the more email you have to wade thru.
  4. Groups: LinkedIn groups should be incredible but the groups are the successor to online forums and have not solved the problem of recurring discussions instead of a continued thread.

The Warptest POV

Satya Nadella has a vision, a mission statement for Microsoft. To empower each person… to do more. Microsoft is about productivity and collaboration and they have gone full-bore into cross-platform and open source.

Microsoft BUILD 2016 was where we saw much of this vision come together and it is not hard to see how this will be applied to LinkedIn:

  1. Metro New Windows UI: LinkedIn will iterate to a flat UI like the rest of Microsoft. Not overnight.
  2. Office 365: this is a no-brainer. Business Insider shows Satya Nadella’s letter regarding the LinkedIn acquisition and he makes clear reference to tighter productivity integration. Will we see “build a Word resume from your LinkedIn profile and save to OneDrive”? This, in-app use of templates and more Office 365 goodness can be expected.
  3. Cortana: as Cortana continues to evolve, acquire an increased skillset and integrate with more apps, we can expect to see Cortana integrate with LinkedIn.
  4. Bots: Microsoft launched their Bot Framework and this may offer a better solution to job suggestions, discovery and excess emails.
  5. Bing: Microsoft has integrated Bing with several other external platforms including Siri & Facebook (in the past). Logical and somewhat obvious.
  6. Office Graph: Office Graph and Delve make intelligent discovery seamless within Office 365. This will amp up job and candidate discovery.

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This doesn’t even factor in Microsoft location or ad services.

So Microsoft has the biggest dataset of professional connections in the world, new companies, who is looking for work, who wants to source the best candidates and the trending discussions in groups of different high profile jobs. This is all actionable intelligence for the biggest company selling Enterprise and Consumer IT solutions.
Now bring AI, bots frameworks, analytics and search-discovery to bear along with the most powerful productivity suite in the world.
Get ready for a better LinkedIn. I know I am.

LinkedIn Gets It Right

LinkedIn doesn’t always stack up well against Facebook or Twitter for User Experience or usability.

Recently I experienced this myself when the LinkedIn API and site GUI were updated. I maintain a web copy of my resume on the LinkedIn Box.Net gadget and suddenly the update rendered it non-functional. This was apparent to me from a brief session using debug mode in the Developer’s Tools in IE.

I also took the trouble to check the functionality with a clean cache and in another browser.

Basically, my resume was offline to someone who expected to find it there. Luckily they contacted me and I emailed them a copy. Since I only have the basic version (unpaid) of LinkedIn go figure who else did or did not want a copy of my resume and didn’t contact me after finding the Box.Net gadget down.

I was a little miffed with the situation but the Box.Net support team came through when I reported the bug and had the Development team resolve the issue within the space of less than 48 hours.

This evening I was indulging myself answering questions in the LinkedIn Answers section and saw what was actually an invitation to try out a Beta version of a neat application that connected to your LinkedIn profile and displayed the linkages on a world map. To access the data LinkedIn went through a similar workflow to Facebook Connect or Twitter’s OAuth except LinkedIn asks the user how long to remain connected between your profile and the application. The user may choose from until revoked / a month / a week / a day or obviously to cancel: not at all.

LinkedIn - permission

This is the crucial difference between LinkedIn and Facebook / Twitter: –

  • LinkedIn asks the user to either commit to permanent connection or define a countdown providing the application with a “half-life” (after which I’m reasonably sure any App Developer worth his salt will be chasing you to reconnect.)

To view/ revoke authorized application settings you need to select the Settings option from the top menu-bar

LinkedIn - applications

  • The user is presented with all the approved applications and may simply revoke authorization by selecting the relevant checkbox and hitting the remove button at the bottom of the page.

LinkedIn has made a huge effort with this to supply the user with flexibility of permission for 3rd party applications and seems to have got it right; they have shown a degree of respect to their users and at the same time understood that users don’t always remember which applications they have approved and in allowing the user to set a countdown on application access to their profile they have done something very cool: allowed the user to get on with using the webapp and not spend all their time acting as IT/ Sys Admin / Data Security for themselves.

In this specific case, there is an object lesson in User Experience and Usability here for Facebook and Twitter.

If you are on LinkedIn then joining groups and participating in discussions is a good way to raise your profile on the site.

linkedin One of the groups I belong to Project, Product & Program manager In Israel is a constant source of interesting discussion and debate for me (whether I am reading / listening from the sidelines or actively participating).

A discussion is usually prompted by a question either to trigger discussion or an actual request for information. Recently one of my contacts Itay, who has impressed me as a serious Project Manager asked the following:

linked_groupMy first thought was, “Great question!”

I was a little busy, newborn in the house and all but I got around to answering and I let myself give a quite detailed answer. For those of you who aren’t members of the group here it is:


The first stage of any triage process is to get all the parties involved on board with common standards of Severity and Priority. I recommend having no more than four severities keeping in mind that most organizations tend to marginalize any bug found below medium severity.
Severity is normally a QA function to define (I have a brief ppt on this I can share if you would like) but this too should be a standard that all involved parties agree on prior to testing beginning.
Priority is normally defined by at what stage (now, iteration, version or arbitrary date) either by the Product Owner/ Manager or in a Bug Review Meeting: both combining knowledge of Client requirements and commitments to actual targets.
Then you define the process for reporting, testing, reproducing, assigning and workaround/ resolution of the bug. Again if all parties are in agreement about the standards for this then there are no false expectations.
Bug reporting should be in real time and is the responsibility of whoever finds the bug or is POC with the external user providing information on a prospective bug. This should only be done via the Lifecycle Management or Defect Tracking Tool implemented by QA and not via email, over the phone, SMS, in an Excel file etc. "Bugs not reported in the system do not exist".
QA should not be tasked with data entry of all bugs anyone finds as they will never progress beyond this. Furthermore, the person with firsthand knowledge will be able to provide the necessary detail for QA to proceed with reproducing the bug / connecting it to an existing issue or upscaling / downscaling severity where required.
This all deals with new bugs however this must also be balanced with continued testing of major changes/ fixes to existing bugs.
All bugs in the system are subject to status being changed in bug tracking after Dev fixes, QA tests etc. allowing all interested parties to track changes to the overall health of the testable at any given time.
There should always be an emergency procedure in place for handling the showstoppers from discovery to resolution.
Finally, Bug Review meetings should be scheduled based on the cumulative impact of the total number of bugs found for a given set of tests i.e. if a high number of high severity bugs are found in one day then an impromptu meeting might be in order.


Now I should probably take the time to reformat and bullet this, there is a lot to digest. But ultimately feel free to read, comment and if you like use what is written here. As I have written in the past I am a strong believer in the philosophy,

Shared Information is Power / Empowering.

Now obviously this is just an outline but I think it gives you an idea of the way I like to work. If you would like to hear more or think I can help you in an area related to this then don’t hesitate to contact me, easiest is probably via Twitter @jonathanross

Let’s take a look at some of the big movers and shakers in Social Media: –

blogger facebook linkedin


  • Each of them is interested in your content.
  • Each of them has your content in the Cloud.
  • Each of them has to some degree a store of your personal information.

Most if not all of us have antivirus, firewalls, anti-malware solutions on our personal and work computers. Many of us have suffered to some extent from unwanted and often inappropriate emails, spyware and even viruses (I know, not you Linux folks… right.) however, our usage of Web 2.0 and Social Platforms seems to suffer a little more from these delightful occurrences certainly at the Spam level.

Blog comments:

As a blogger you basically have limited options regardless of which platform you use: –

  • You can disable comments altogether, something Engadget felt forced to do this week due to the nature of some of the comments they were receiving (apparently even threats).
  • You can leave comments open and unmoderated for any and all to post which can result in large amounts of Spam. If you configure the Comments to go to your email then this can further overload your inbox with the same Spam.
    • Case in point, this blog receives Spam comments in Kanji, Mandarin, Portugese and Italian.
    • Below is a comment from @dvirreznik regarding his month old blog


  • You can configure your comments for moderation which requires you to approve each and every comment made. This is both time consuming / labor intensive for the blogger and sort of takes the Social out of it all.

When I commented in Twitter about this myself @testingqa responded with a great deal of insight:

my comment was …

Thought 4the Day: should blog platforms provide security against spammers beyond moderate comments? #geofilter #learningfilter #antispam 2:54 PM Jan 29th from Seesmic

My tweets: @Testingqa replies:



The problem seems to be growing not just on blogs but in Facebook, Twitter itself and other Social Media.


Facebook has security settings which are for each functional aspect of a user’s Facebook identity or page they may define the extent that their information is exposed. Furthermore, the user may choose to limit whether their posts to Facebook are indexed by search engines. Facebook chooses to set the defaults as more open rather than more secure as they are in the business of information accessibility. The onus is on the user who they choose to connect to and the levels of sharing they decide to configure.


LinkedIn the most business / professional oriented of the platforms I’m writing about here and other than some ads I didn’t really want to see (but weren’t inappropriate just irrelevant) I have not experienced any phishing, spam or mal-occurrences.

The real question is why do platforms like Blogger which is Google’s blogging platform or Facebook or even Twitter (which experienced phishing attacks just yesterday for user passwords) not have better solutions to these security issues which frankly are worrying precursors to actual malware and virus attacks on users and their information on these platforms?

Is it indifference on the part of the platform owners, a lack of a solution or simply that Social Media platforms have not reached the level of product maturity to provide solutions?

Google for example has excellent anti-spam technology in Gmail, why not port this to Blogger’s comments?

I know that simply filtering comments by language/ commenter geo-location allowed by the blog owner would reduce the Spam on my blog drastically.

Or should comments only be from someone who wants to follow you either via Twitter / Facebook / OpenID / Google Connect?

Are we only going to see a more structured response to this black hat behaviour after the fact? Time will tell but if your information is valuable to you don’t rely on others to protect it ensure you have your own backup / disaster plan in place.

Over the last few months I have heard several stories from friends where their blog/ site as hacked, content deleted and they subsequently discovered the host had failed to perform any expected backup.

At the end of the day we have to balance our desire for strong security with how that will limit the exposure of our content; after all it’s not Social Media if we lock it in a box. Now that I mention it I think it is time for a backup after I post this.

Good luck and stay secure.

It is a definite sign of intelligence when you find other smart people who have the same idea as you but it’s also a sign that you need a stronger coffee blend in the morning if you have the idea five minutes after them.

My resume has been a challenge to me on several levels; as my job hunt progressed in the past I have had positive responses to the design and layout even though I broke one of the cardinal rules that all the people in the know, blogs and books tell you: it was a two page document.

I didn’t see how to pare down the level of detail to one page and still maintain confidence that I was showing my full skill set to prospective employees. In my moments of doubt I wondered if maybe I was simply overwhelming them with detail and not presenting a polished personal brand.

I have been the one recruiting in the past so I tried to get my head around being the recruiter who needs to understand the terminology and can grasp my brand in a short glance yet have a resume that still stands out from the pack.

I have a rule of thumb for productive brainstorming to solve any problem: –

Use a pencil and pad and do the brainstorm away from the computer.

I decided to sketch a “map” of how the resume should look. I used to be a cartographer at one time so maps of any kind always appeal.

Whilst doing this I wondered what was missing from my resume and how the resume fitted into all the information on the Internet about me. I wanted it all to jell into a cohesive picture that did represent my personal brand. My attempt at creating a business card for networking events helped me realize I wanted my LinkedIn, Blog and Twitter addresses in there; (I also wanted my Facebook link but since I feel that I use Facebook for my Social Networking more than Business I have left it out until I can revamp my profile there sufficiently) I also added a head-shot photograph to the personal information section.

I was (surprise, surprise) having a cup of coffee when it occurred to me that this was evolving into a Web 2.0 Resume; something was missing and still trying to reduce the document down to one page my Management and Technical Skills sections leaped out as important but in need of reducing in size drastically.

Today I took a metaphorical meat-cleaver to some of the details having realized that the ultimate Web 2.0 component needed adding: a Tag Cloud based on my technical and management skills and experience. 

The act of ensuring the tags I felt were the most important and thus prominent in the cloud made me look long and hard at my skill set which in turn helped me refine how I describe myself.

What is left for me to do?

    1. Translate to Hebrew: this I am going to post online and add a link to the English version for the more and more infrequent occurrence that someone in hi-tech requires the resume in Hebrew.
    2. Revamp my Facebook profile and add the link.
    3. Create a ready to go PDF copy of English and Hebrew resumes.

The resume is down to one page and I am hammering out the formatting so that I can insert the tag cloud as a vertical sidebar in both the Word doc and PDF alike.

In away the process of doing this has been more about self-awareness and interview preparation than just redefining my resume. Now I just need to get some good hits and sit down in the interview calmly and confidently knowing that I am the best person for the job. Wish me luck.

When you aren’t working most of your time is spent thinking about looking for work, looking for work and doing the odd job around the house that your spouse or you have put off doing because of lack of time.

However, there are a number of things I had wanted to do over the last 6 months to a year that I never got to while I was working because of job pressures and scheduling issues. I stumbled on Jeff Pulver’s blog during the last year and became an avid follower. His networking breakfasts seemed like a great idea but I just never got off the dime I guess.

I decided to use my time to do more than just email resumes I was going to implement a more proactive plan to find a new job based on some of the articles of Penelope Trunk; her blog and book have been a guiding light to me in my recent job search and I recommend what she has to say to anyone even thinking of seeking new employment.

When I saw that there was going to be another networking breakfast this week I signed up and arranged with my wife how we were going to deal with our morning schedule.

Then I thought to myself, “I’m going to need business cards at least, this is not the sort of shindig to hand out printed resumes..” I looked at several ways of getting my resume into people’s hands there but all seemed to complex:

  • Printed – besides the sheer volume of paper to carry it felt inappropriate.
  • Wireless transfer from my phone – I saved as Word and PDF on my phone and thought great I can use Bluetooth or IR to send the files; but what if the recipient doesn’t have a Smart Phone?
  • Email/ MMS from my Smart Phone – “Ummm excuse me can I have all 200+ email addresses of everyone attending to send them my resume?” Okay, Right.

So one visit to Office Depot later I downloaded, modified and edited a Word Template and remembered to add my Linked In, Blog Address and Email to the card but managed to forget my Twitter name.

The cards are basic white, double sided and adhesive backed so you print the card, peel it from the backing and fold the sticky backing onto itself to make the card. It worked better than expected and produced nice results.

It all got me thinking, why not use magnetic ink to encode any data onto a Business Card and then have the ink create a basic circuit-board so that on receiving the card the recipient can connect it to the computer and download the embedded data; in my case my resume.

Well I have no idea if this is even feasible but perhaps it is and can be done at a reasonable price.

I did it I dumped the ClanRoss header. Not that I grew tired of it or what it meant to me but instead because of what I call page rank pervesity.

I live in Modiin in Israel and even there I cannot escape my dopplegangers and namesakes. I got a phone-call asking if I was Jonathan Ross the patent expert and when I replied I was Jonathan Ross but I was the QA expert the caller was extremely put out and said, “How can there be more than one Jonathan Ross in Modiin?”

Luckilly, I knew of this namesake and how to find him and my skin was feeling not too thin so I cheerfully directed this fellow on his way.

Why page rank perversity you ask? Simple, for anyone who has ever lived in England I was haunted by making phone calls and starting with “Hello, this is Jonathan Ross ..” and having the person on the other end ask if I was the fellow from the TV. It gets old quick.

Now, along comes Google and go search for me. This TV guy gets about the first 11 pages in any search unless you search for “Jonathan Ross, QA” – I am below some US Senator or “Jonathan Ross, Israel” – then my LinkedIn profile comes up first.

Making my personal brand aside I decided that I can compete against the other Jonathan Ross’s out there and that #1 Page Rank will be mine.

Not for no reason either, as my search for gainful employment continues I want prospective employers to find me on the Web with ease.

In the words of the Highlander, “There can be only one.” But don’t worry I’m not going to lose my head over it 🙂
Social Networking is hot stuff these days especially with the ongoing Microsoft vs Google competition and Microsoft buying a hefty chunk of Facebook.

I used LinkedIn early in my job hunt but found many other Social Networks to be well … either useless or frivilous. There I said it and no lightning bolt or villagers with pitchforks and burning torches, wow!

The truth is that these are far from frivilous, it is how you decide to leverage them and remembering what you are trying to get out of them. My initial foray into Facebook led me to add all sorts of cute and fun applications but these distracted me from the point of being there …. I was trying to find a new job in my field as Quality Assurance Manager.

The realization that Facebook had been made into this frivilous timewaster by structuring it or creating this environment of Surveys, Zombies, Pokes and Jokes led me to dump these applications (or at least most of them) and look at what I had left.

The truth is though that one of Facebook’s most annoying features led me to really use it to Network my job hunt; Facebook has a status feature that egocentrically describes yourself in the 3rd person. This just irks me.

I was on Facebook responding to an invitation from an old friend who did the IDF Medics course with me when I read another friend’s status … he wrote about how his company was hiring and the jobs could be found in the Marketplace application. This took a few seconds to sink in and then with a slap on my forehead I entered the Marketplace app, searched for QA under jobs and sent several messages to relevant prospective employees.

This morning I had several requests to forward my resume to those I contacted and as I sip my coffee I know I should thank the irksome Facebook status and my friend for reminding me to keep the mission clearly defined and see every avenue as a chance to sell my personal brand.