In Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, humans leapt forward from cave-dwelling apes eating shrubs for survival to space dwellers exploring the moon and Jupiter for a living.
The impetus? The arrival of a mysterious new monolith.
Recently, the monolith known as Microsoft purchased LinkedIn.
The deal, which won’t be final until later this year, is predicted to position Microsoft as the force defining the future of work.
No doubt, Microsoft’s willingness to pay such an exorbitant price tag (US$26B) was mostly about the data.
As in, the professional data for LinkedIn’s 433 million users.
OF COURSE, YOU’RE A LINKEDIN USER
So, if Microsoft now knows everything about you—where you’ve worked, what your professionals aspirations are, what kind of work you enjoy and whom you network with—creating products you want just became infinitely easier.
Nice for the monolith, right? But what can you expect? Think enterprise software meets the cloud meets social networking.
The internal seamless connectivity of Office 365 combined with the external network and knowledge sharing of LinkedIn.
All powered by AI such as Cortana, which is poised to enhance every aspect of Office.
Now you’re beginning to get the picture. Maybe this really could change how we work.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said this of his purchase:
LinkedIn isn’t just a social network — it’s a way to track opportunities and find and develop the skills you need to stay competitive, economically speaking, in an age when change is the only constant.
Right now, the most dramatic shift is that your LinkedIn profile will sync up with all of Microsoft’s products and appear throughout their interfaces as the single source of truth about who you are.
Clearly, this isn’t just one of the most expensive tech deals in history.
IT’S A GAME CHANGER FOR PERSONAL BRANDING
Consider that there are over 1.2B users of Office alone. Gulp.
You’re at work. Creating a presentation in PowerPoint. Your personalised newsfeed comes in. It’s an intelligent blend of updates on your projects, your LinkedIn network and world news on topics that interest you most.
Or, even cooler, you’re working on a complex project. As you’re putting together the plan in Project, you realise you need someone with an obscure skill. Suddenly a list of LinkedIn profiles of suggested experts appears in your sidebar.
Next, you’re chatting on Skype with an executive recruiter about a position overseas. Without having to pull up his LinkedIn profile old school style on your laptop, or worse – needing to print it out, you’re seeing a summarised version of his profile right there in the interface.
Hmm…a professional could get used to this new monolith.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
Imagine writing an email to a colleague in Outlook. Part of the text says “I need to find a graphic designer.” And voila: A list of suggested profiles appear.
But perhaps the coolest example of the potential this new world represents was shared in the Microsoft/LinkedIn presentation deck:
Using Cortana, you can ask you phone about your next meeting. She knows everything about you – and your professional network.
Hi Jen, you are meeting with Sam next. You and Sam both went to the University of New South Wales and you both know Cindy Smith. Good news, the Kings won last night’s game. Do you want to look at Sam’s profile? Do you want to see your meeting history with Cindy and Sam? Also, ok if I share the presentation for today with Sam?
Truly, the future of work is close at hand. So think about it. How are you going to show up?
Have you done everything possible to prepare your personal brand for this brave new world? Does your LinkedIn profile do your career justice? After all, the point of the enhanced monolith is to help you achieve your utmost career potential.
Because, as HAL9000 said so infamously in Kubrick’s film, our goal is put your talents to the “fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.”