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How LinkedIn's Project Inversion Saved the Company 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-it-fixed dept.
pacopico writes "Shortly after its 2011 IPO, LinkedIn's infrastructure almost collapsed. The company had been running on decade's old technology and needed a major overhaul to keep up with other social sites. As Businessweek reports, LinkedIn initiated Project Inversion to fix its issues and has since evolved into one of the poster children for continuous development and creating open source infrastructure tools. But the story also notes that LinkedIn's technology revival has come with some costs, including constant changes that have bothered some users."
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How LinkedIn's Project Inversion Saved the Company

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:34PM (#43583987)

    I smell a Slashvertisment... Seriously, LinkedIn? Biggest spammer in my Inbox. Of dubious professional value. Facebook, *please* buy them?

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:41PM (#43584049) Homepage Journal

      Several points:

      1. LinkedIn is actually a sort-of competitor of slashdot's owner. That's a bit of a weird slashvertisement choice(not impossible, but weird).
      2. The FTC would come down on facebook like a ton of bricks if they tried to buy out one of the largest other social networks.
      3. Remember to report spam on those emails so that someday we might collectively not get them.

      • by Seumas (6865)

        I doubt the FTC would come down on them for buying LinkedIN. The two sites are completely different beasts. One is about your ego and broadcasting to an audience of other people who are all busy worrying about their ego and broadcasting to their audience -- all acting like a bunch of little twits. The other is about putting up your resume and keeping in touch with colleagues and maybe occasionally dropping in (every few weeks or months, I guess?) to update your contacts and resume.

        Granted, it would be prett

        • by tattood (855883) on Monday April 29, 2013 @06:00PM (#43585401)

          One is about your ego and broadcasting to an audience of other people who are all busy worrying about their ego and broadcasting to their audience

          I'd say that both sites fit that description. LinkedIn has turned into the "Facebook for professionals". It seems like most people's goal on LinkedIn is to connect with as many people as they can to get their "network" as large as they can. I have gotten LinkedIn requests from people that I met at a conference several years ago, and talked to for 5 minutes.

          LinkedIn used to be about creating a network of trusted colleagues, that you want to keep in touch with, so that you could get trusted introductions to people you didn't know. If I trust person A, and person A trusts person B, B trusts C; therefore if person C is looking for a job opportunity, then they have a good chance of being a reasonably good candidate. That whole concept seems to have gotten lost in the last few years, and now it is all about having as many connections as you can.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by ygtai (1330807)
            I have even gotten (plenty of) LinkedIn requests from people that I have never met and never talked to. Another thing that bothers me (a lot) is from people who know absolutely nothing about my professional capability endorsing my professional capability...
            • think how interesting things would be if others could mod your accomplishments (funny, etc)?
            • by pne (93383)

              Another thing that bothers me (a lot) is from people who know absolutely nothing about my professional capability endorsing my professional capability...

              I think that's because LinkedIn pushes suggested endorsements into your face when you visit the site, so lots of people probably just click on them "yes, yes, whatever" simply to make them go away.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          LInkedin is like facebook but without the funny pix and games, which is to say it is even more pointless.

          Anyone who spends time "networking" is in any case a loathsome human being, almost certainly a paedophile, and beyond a peradventure a crashing bore.

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "1. LinkedIn is actually a sort-of competitor of slashdot's owner. That's a bit of a weird slashvertisement choice(not impossible, but weird)."

        Wow, I've seen ignorance of marketing, but not on this scale.

        This is TYPICAL.

      • 1. LinkedIn is actually a sort-of competitor of slashdot's owner. That's a bit of a weird slashvertisement choice(not impossible, but weird).
        2. The FTC would come down on facebook like a ton of bricks if they tried to buy out one of the largest other social networks.

        Ah, yeah. LinkedIn may be - to some extent - a "networking" site, but I would challenge you to name a significant number of your "peeps" that use it as a "social network". As well, fewer and fewer people see any need at all to "network" through LinkedIn, its value being more and more seen as over rated.

      • FTC? You sir are an idiot.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Articles like this don't appear by magic. Businessweek wasn't crazy impressed with LinkedIn's infrastructure work. Don't be surprised to see a few more articles in the press/media and keep an eye out for who's gaining from them.

    • by alostpacket (1972110) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:58PM (#43584265) Homepage

      Well, there are a few "interesting" gems there. Though it's mostly business fluff. From TFA:

      Such companies as Facebook (FB) and Google also have special teams that review the lines of code written by developers. It’s these people who get to decide when a new feature is ready to make its way to their websites. Not LinkedIn. It has one, huge stash of code that everyone works on, and algorithms do the code reviewing. “Humans have largely been removed from the process,” Scott says. “Humans slow you down.”

      Uh, Okay. Automated code review? Um, where to begin? I think there an obvious misunderstanding on the part of the author of the article. Surely Google, FB, et. al., do CI and all sorts of automated testing. They just *also* use humans.

      Incidentally, Google clearly has more products, thus more specialties and codebases. FB also, to a lesser extent. I dont think the Google Search team is the same as the Google Maps team or the Android team.

      LinkedIn is a website, they have an API, messaging, maybe some mobile apps? It's not trivial, but it's probably not very close to the technical complexity of FB, and no where near the technical complexity of Google.

      LinkedIn initiated Project Inversion to fix its issues and has since evolved into one of the poster children for continuous development

      ...by stopping all continuous dev so they could rebuild from scratch...

      I think TFA misses the point in a very "PHB way" sadly. They took the time to make the devs happy and give ownership of features to devs. The result was the devs created an environment that was productive and could be continuously updated with less fuss.

      To me, this is the poster child for creating a dev focused culture, and taking the time to do things the right way. Which, sadly, is the exact opposite of the conclusion of TFA and the LinkedIn PHB.

    • by elloGov (1217998) on Monday April 29, 2013 @05:25PM (#43585043)
      I drank from the fire-hose and voted this story up.

      I work for a dot com older than LinkedIn which is crippled by a similar (worse) monolith legacy webapp. Innovation, efficiency, development cycles, new features and site/product-wide roll-outs are a pain or in some cases impossible. This story gives one perspective/solution to the problem.

      Software is a fast moving space, you snooze you lose. As the web matures, I see many more once-prolific trendsetting companies slip into bureaucratic process-driven monoliths milking every bit of value the antiquated software still holds. The wise companies invest in technology and reap the benefits of the initially intangible results of a flexible, maintainable, truly agile technological stack, however, most companies eventually fall into the cycle of:
      1. Start-up and innovate
      2. Grow and profit
      3. Implement n-layers of bureaucratic oversight and process to protect the value
      4. stop their ongoing evaluation
      5. Loose market-share to newcomers and mavericks in your segment
      6. paralyzed with more market-share loss, copy the competition wherever you can and desperately hold onto your scraps
      7. keep losing market-share
      8. disappear into the abyss
    • by jcr (53032)

      I interviewed with them a couple of years ago, decided that they were idiots who couldn't be trusted with my information, and tried to delete my account. They gave me a runaround for a solid week. Spammers, definitely.

      -jcr

    • Linkedin landed me a consulting gig with a company. I spend 6 - 10 hours a month getting paid $250 an hour talking with hedge funds due to a company I built and sold a couple years ago. The reason they found me was my linked in profile.

    • Linkedin is dead. I updated my Linkedin brilliantly last week and got nothing. Updated my dice.com profile and have been freakin deluged by a flood of calls and emails from recruiters. Not saying there is any value in all of these calls, but it does deliver a lot of job descriptions from which you can identify what you want to do next and tune your resume.

  • What bothers me about LinkedIn is the constant goddamn spam...uh, I mean emails telling me my "limited time offer" for premium membership so I can unlock all the nifty features is almost up.
    • by game kid (805301)

      It's free and always will be.~

  • decade's, eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:36PM (#43584015)
    First of all, it's decades without an apostrophe you doof. Secondly how can a company that's only a decade old run on "decades" old hardware? They bought ten year old computers in 2003?
    • by sribe (304414) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:42PM (#43584065)

      First of all, it's decades without an apostrophe you doof.

      Apparently you are unaware that in modern usage an apostrophe no longer indicates possession or a contraction. It now indicates OMG WATCH OUT THERE IS AN "S" COMING UP NEXT!!!"

    • Quite simple: in 2011 the company was running on the 2000-2009 decade's old hardware! Now don't you feel silly for questioning our infallible editors?
    • by halivar (535827)

      Don't be a punctuation nazi if you can't properly use a comma. Secondly, properly use hyphens so I know you mean ten-year-old computers and not ten year-old computers.

    • by jrumney (197329)

      You are clearly wrong on both count's. It is plainly obvious that the apostrophe is there to indicate usage of the "singular plural" form.

  • Cool, no details (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stewsters (1406737) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:38PM (#43584027)
    So, an article with no technical details? Cool. What are they doing thats so new?

    A while ago I noticed their name on the bottom of this : http://www.playframework.com/ [playframework.com]
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday April 29, 2013 @03:42PM (#43584069) Journal

    That would be about the time that LinkedIn started making the search features LESS effective. For example, in the past, I could review lists of new LinkedIn members that worked for the same companies as I did, at the times that I was there, When I had determined that I did not know them, it would not show me those names again.

    The classmates search is completely useless to me. I can no loger add search terms to the search to narrow down the results (I used to be able to do this). All I can do is get the same list of classmates that I have seen before. Since I left university decades ago, I don't have many existing connections to classmates, so a graph search for related classmates is little use to me. I want to search by looking for common courses or interests at the time I was there. Probably, for people only a few years out of college (the Facebook generation), this isn't a problem, since the connections were established while at college.

    So, perhaps the infrastructure is better, but from this user's perspective, the site has got worse.

    • ... from this user's perspective, the site has got worse.

      And now they're asking every single time you log in to troll your other social media sites and email for contacts. I made the mistake of letting it look at my gmail contact list. After that, every single time I logged in it showed me a checkmarked list of every single contact in my gmail contacts not already connected to me in Linked In and asked me if I wanted to add them (there didn't seem an obvious way to stop it doing this once I gave them permi

  • That bothers me. In the beginning sure, I knew those people. Now, the emails have been for the last several years that I might know people that I have absolutely no idea of how I would even know. It looks desperate, LinkedIn.

  • Does this company do anything other than generate SPAM?

    I wish these spammers and all their ilk would go die in a gutter.

  • LinkedIn used to be a job board for consultants. I'm not sure what it is now. I haven't logged in for months.

    Is changing the features of a web site three times a day actually useful?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't matter if it's useful if it effectively snows the BoD and stockholders.

  • Unless you look at it as not being able spam out emails fast enough. It's all the Facebook-like "features" LinkedIn has been adding that I hear people complain about.

  • I know how to cook a ribeye to clog my arteries but I don't know exactly what they did in any detail other that "concentrate on infrastructure."

    Not sure what I was expecting from BusinessWeek though.

  • Details Please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ghjnut (1843450) on Monday April 29, 2013 @04:17PM (#43584461)
    Where is all the tech stuff? I want to know what systems were swapped out, what was used in place or what was swapped, what the steps were (did they set up unit tests first followed by architecture changes and scalability testing), what new coding practices they employed etcetera. I'll sum up this horn-tootin session: "LinkedIn had to change to grow, and they did".
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's hard to believe that former colleagues I haven't seen in over 2-3 years care this much about me. :|

    It also makes me feel bad that I don't go through and fill out endorsements for them. :(

    Who the hell wants to be social on an online resume? Sharing photos and crap, that's just a termination or lawsuit waiting to happen.

  • by iplayfast (166447) on Monday April 29, 2013 @04:46PM (#43584739)

    After they spammed my gmail address book with invites. The request page to do this, looks just like the log in page, so thinking that they need your password to log in you end up spamming mailing lists and people you haven't talked to in years.

    I'm not the only one, http://community.linkedin.com/questions/19949/why-did-you-send-invitation-emails-to-my-entire-gm.html#comment-31842 [linkedin.com]

  • by sinij (911942) on Monday April 29, 2013 @04:46PM (#43584743) Journal

    I am no affiliated in any way with LinkedIn.

    I am surprised by all LinkedIn hate. As an active user I configured it to never email me under any circumstances and only had this rule broken twice (not sure how/why) in all this time I have been using it.
     
    Yes, spam is annoying but there is a clear opt-out.

    • by admdrew (782761)

      It's less the automatic LinkedIn spam as it is the users who abuse it, while LinkedIn turns a blind eye. Their TOS specifically mentions that users cannot contact other users unsolicited, and yet I'm constantly barraged by recruiters who (using the built-in requests) indicate we've "worked together" (despite never having met, or having had any mutual contacts), attempting to just add me to their huge list of LinkedIn contacts.

      Unfortunately, those are the sort of users that LinkedIn wants, and that behavior

  • Technical content is nearly zero. Puff piece for techno bystanders.

  • by Toad-san (64810) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @03:47PM (#43593957)

    Screw LinkedIn and the horse they rode in on. If I get one more unsolicited LinkedIn message from some total stranger, I swear to the godz I'm calling in that airstrike the Air Force still owes me.

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