I was reading this article on LinkedIn the other day. They have a new section called LinkedIn Today where “influencers” post thought provoking articles for business professionals to discuss and debate. Before I rant about how retarded these “influencers” are, and how Linked In is the worlds biggest online circle jerk of business professionals, let’s talk about this article. It was recommended for me by LI, and the title caught my eye - ”3 Vital Leadership Lessons I Learned Flying a Fighter Jet” by Bernard Marr, a best selling author and enterprise performance expert (his words, not mine). Now you might think what I initially did. Oh the author must have been in the air force, and probably has all sorts of awesome and relevant skills and information that is applicable to business and life in general. The title certainly leads you to believe that this is the case. So, I read the article. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that Mr. Marr had no previous experience flying a fighter jet, but was given a ride as favor for doing some contract work for what looks like the British military (judging by the markings on the plane in the picture). He states in his title that he learned the skills he writes about from flying a jet, which we come to find out that he didn’t actually fly it, but just a passenger on a ride along. Anyway, as jealous as I am that he got to ride in a fighter jet, this is not my issue with the author or the article. The issue is the content of his article, and the comments that it received. Reading through both is what cemented the opinion that I was already harboring about Linked In after using for years (since college). Granted, it has uses as what is basically an online resume, professional social network, and job board, but the people who make up a large percentage of it are the reason that I work from home. I can’t stand business buzz words, pointless meetings, and “professionals” spewing common sense like it’s groundbreaking business strategy. His article consisted of 3 different topics, which he related a specific experience in his ride-along to general business principle that just about anyone can grasp after working at Pacific Sunwear for a summer during college (check). I didn’t need to get my MBA and go $50,000 in debt to learn these management strategy gems…I think I learned most of them through trial and error when building my first lemonade stand with Evan and Alicia when we were 10. Here are the topics, and an explanation from the article about them:
- Visualize Success - In business we often jump straight to the action because we are excited and want to get on with things. Many companies fail to plan and communicate their mission and objectives well and then wonder why they are failing to deliver.
- Monitor Progress – Without navigation tools pilots would be lost. The same is true for companies. In order to succeed on their mission they have to develop the right indicators to monitor progress.
- Improve the Future - The culture I see in many companies is one where people only focus on the past with little discussion of the future. Or where people only focus on the good and brush the bad under the carpet.
I’m not as annoyed by the author who wrote it as I am by the discussion about it, because maybe he makes a living by being a ridiculously highly paid business consultant, and probably makes 4x what I do hourly giving common sense advice to bloated executives with more money than common sense. The truly annoying part is the circle jerk that took place in the comments! Why do people encourage this behavior?! Now that I was overly annoyed that Linked In “influencers” are followed by 50,000 plus people for touting common sense as business advice, I got seriously frustrated with the idiotic discussion in the comments section of the page. I was literally thinking to myself after I finished reading it that “I can’t be the only person who see’s straight through this and is annoyed that crap like this being popularized as sound business advice. I bet people are shredding this dude in the comments”.
You can imagine my disappointment when the I found tons of comments similar to this:
I couldn’t believe that I was the only person who was thinking that this article basically adds nothing to the generic business knowledge that one has after selling candy bars and slim jims for a little league fundraiser. Then it really hit me:
Linked In is just a huge circle jerk of pseudo “business” people.
There. I said it. It’s just a ton of business dudes sitting around and stroking each other’s ego dropping business buzzwords like “synergy” and “low hanging fruit” to make each other feel important via a public forum. I can’t stand stuff like this, it’s why I work from home! I started scanning the 100+ comments beneath the article, looking for anyone that might break the mold of hollow praise heaped upon the drivel churned out in the article. Thats when I found this. The small, dimly shining beacon of hope in a sea of dudes jerking business terms all over each other. Granted, the grammar isn’t perfect, and there’s a hint of white trash flavor to it, but at least someone took a stand!
Thank you Kylie Brown and VASILIS KARAMALEGOS, you crusaders of Linked In circle jerkery! Thank you for summing up my feelings and saving me from having to put my own name behind the dissent and allowing me to simply mention this in a blog post!
It gives me at least some hope that real people are on Linked In and thinking for themselves. Well, at least 2 real people out of 150 who just empowered this guy to continue cranking out this irrelevant crap.