3 ways to Stop being an Idiot on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the perfect place to professionally build your reputation, connections and trash your good name.

Here’s 3 great ways to trash your name or 3 ways to stop being an idiot on LinkedIn.

1. Ask for a referral or testimonial

If you ask a family member or someone you’ve never worked for/with for a testimonial – you’re being a fool on LinkedIn. No one takes a relative’s reference seriously. Rather, it’s counted against you. It’s like asking your mom to phone your future employer to tell him how nice you are and why he would be lucky to have you.

I’m getting these stupid inboxes these days from people that I  have never worked with for referrals. When I get these, I put those people in the box in my mind labeled “chump”. What those people are basically doing is asking me to lie about their skills and for me to attach my reputation to that lie. I say: piss off, possum. Go eat some ants… Or whatever it is that possums eat.

2. Ask for funding from people you do not know

I received an inbox mail this week from someone…not asking for advice or mentorship… Just this: “I have an awesome startup. We’re looking for funding. Are you interested?”

There was no into. I have never met this person or heard from them before. They’re a third degree connection. Shit. I don’t even know what the startup’s name is or what it does.

Getting funding is like wooing and courting a romantic partner. You don’t start by an introductory and cretinous “Hey, lets get busy.” In fact closing funding is probably harder than common dating.

Court your funder. Show them you’ve done your research and that actually you’re coming to say him/ her and ask for value beyond the cash.


3. Clicking on a company ad, requesting a lead to ask for a job/funding

Last week I got a lead generated via a user clicking on an ad.

How does it work?

In LinkedIn, I can run ads which, when clicked, open up a dialogue box to capture the user’s details for me to get back to them. When that ad gets clicked – it costs the me, the advertiser, cash.

The purpose of these ads are for me to spend hard-earned my advertising budget in securing leads to bring in new business.

So imagine my irritation when some shmo (defined as: an idiot or “Simple Huckel Molecular Orbital”. I refer to the former) clicks on the lead and asks he for funding. I don’t know this person. I have no connections with him in common. They have an “idea” – no project nor partners.

I didn’t even bother getting back to them. Delete. Don’t look back. My irritation may turn to a pillar of salt in my eye if I do.

Get real: wouldn’t you be pretty pissed off? If I was in their position I would have never clicked the ad and certainly I would never have filled out a lead gen form. I would have found out what Springleap is and what Eran is interested. I would have found a connection to intro me or I would have called/ dropped a mail.

All I saw was a super thoughtless and lazy person. No ways I would ever back such a person.

At the end of the day – I back people, not solutions. Yes – the solution matters in a big way, but the founders are the people I am backing to execute the solution. Why would I back such a terrible strategist who comes poorly prepared? That’s how they run their lives and business.

So that’s it, for now. Go forth, connect, build your network and kickass…

But before you do: what’s your 3 ways to stop being an idiot on LinkedIn?

Eran Eyal
Eran Eyal
Eran is the founder and CEO of Shopin and StartupHat, Springleap, Evly (acquired), iDea (acquired), eSquared (acquired).


  1. This could not have been better said. Something I would add is that people stop using the generic Linkedin copy in the message body when they want to connect to you. I am so tired of hearing that I am someone they trust.

    But your point about asking for referrals from people who never worked with or for you almost always elicits a WTF.. In my head of course.

    Now for the cliche, but I mean this. GREAT POST.

    • eraneyal says:

      Thanks! It’s really quite frustrating to be treated with generic messaging.

      The important thing to point out is that this is the result of bulk messaging on something that is intensely personal. #Fail – it shows lack of care and desperation.

  2. Marcus Steyn says:

    I think the skills endorsement function in LinkedIn is encouraged too much, within the structure of the program, to the extent that I have hidden talents endorsed by people I’ve never met. Unfortunately I’m not prepared to perpetuate this cycle!

  3. reliabuild says:

    Does people actually do this on a professional network?

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