Finding the core problem
A quick summary of the feedback we’ve gathered from the community on Knot so far
Originally published on Aug 3, 2018


We started this project (Knot) with a hypothesis/educated guess: “Smart startup professionals are looking for a better Linkedin that served their unique needs.”

Our goal was to learn as much as we could on this hypothesis and use the power of community’s voice to architect the core problem statement. 

Without wasting too much time dwelling, we just “shipped” a landing page (h/t to Product Hunt’s amazing Ship platform) to test the waters.

19 days and 178 early subscribers later, we wanted to publish all the research we’ve collected so far and move to the next stage of customer discovery. 

Groups approached to do this research:

Product Hunt (links here)
Indie Hacker (links here and here)
Quora (link here)
Twitter (here)

What the research unveiled:

VIEWS IN FAVOR OF THE HYPOTHESIS: (each bullet point is a unique person)

  • I feel like the best part of their product is the “professional directory” side, and the worst part is the “social network” side. Honestly if they stripped the whole thing down to just being a directory I think it would be much cleaner. They can’t do this though because with nothing for their end users to do, they’ll eventually churn off the platform and they’ll lose the “directory” side. LinkedIn does everything they can so that you remain engaged with the platform and available when the recruiters/marketers/companies find your profile.
  • LinkedIn in terms of community is absolutely awful, I refer to the groups. Sharing is caring needs to be dropped cos it’s just a deluge. I think a limit on number of shared items per week would help in this regards, yeah may be some collateral, so be it.
  • I think there’s an opportunity to use this to make double opt in intros a better experience.
  • Not intuitive how to expand your network and meet like minded and interesting people
  • LinkedIn doesn’t offer an easy to connect with people that you don’t know IRL.
  • I’d like to see networking made easier for people who aren’t necessarily all-star networkers or the most skilled of communicators. Maybe platforms like LI would be more enjoyable (and less about vanity metrics) if we got prompts to offer help/expertise or use some (non-spammy) canned replies geared to keeping a conversation going with new connections…(Bot driven network with authentic messages/reminders?)
  • LinkedIn as a directory, network expansion, invaluable, however this value is curtailed with the stance they have on this. Their stance shouldn’t be a wall, but a filtration system.
  • Get connections/recommendations to people I don’t know. Not much socializing on there. Too many people who are already done the starting process of the business. Connections should be based on the opposite skills of what you have so you can team up.There are more news article statuses then people statuses.
  • The job listings is incredibly infuriating. In spite of adding filters, jobs are presented in various lists and NOT IN THE CHRONOLOGICAL order the were posted. You can then delete some job offers you are not interested in on some lists, but they can reappear in the same list or on another list. It is a ridiculous exercise in searching and filtering.
  • Definitely need a new linkedin. The current one is scummy, dark pattern, scammy and likes to trick users to add unknown people. Also needs hides data or misleading to those who did not sign up. Also lacks privacy options. Current linkedin uses very dark patterns and royally pisses me off. I deleted my linkedin account long ago. They’re counting on our network/career dependence on them that’s why they do many scummy things. I am a very tolerant person to the point I could tolerate scummy actions by Facebook but LI takes thing way too far. It makes my blood boil just putting up with their intrusive and rude dark patterns.
  • LinkedIn needs to be proactive in terms of recommending potential connections with some context as to why. 
  • From a community perspective, it’s pretty terrible for fostering real, actual conversation and learning from other founders without it feeling extremely sale-sy or just cumbersome. Commenting and InMails are my least favorite functions. I personally hate receiving InMails, and commenting on anything and reading what others have said is not the best experience. LinkedIn Groups is possibly one of the most under-developed and under-utilized functions of the platform. The entire experience is pretty terrible and it’s so overly bloated without being valuable. But it COULD be GREAT. It has so much potential, but it’s bloated. I actually don’t notice or mind the B2B vibe vs B2C, but I could see why that’s a challenge. I have a hunch most startup people shy away because it’s so unlikely that you’ll get or see relevant content or ideas. You end up getting a lot of fluffy things that can sometimes motivate, but mostly are distracting. Plus, we’re in this to build better products and deliver 🔥 experiences. While LinkedIn has made some big improvements, they also aren’t exactly cutting edge either. 

VIEWS NOT IN FAVOR OF THE HYPOTHESIS: (each bullet point is a unique person)

  • LinkedIn does what their data tells them to do, given the same user base it’s predictable that the platform will turn into the same thing.
  • Linkedin does need improving, but it works thanks to network effects, and you would have a gargantuan task ahead of you to compete with that, considering they have first mover advantage
  • No, I don’t see a need. Just like any social media platform there are always improvements that can be made, and it will never be all things to everyone 100% of the time.
  • The biggest reason why many people struggle with LinkedIn or question its value is because they have never been fully trained on how to use it, its tricks and little-known features.
  • I feel that Linkedin has a great social platform for business and they are clearly the leading social network for professional networking and relationship building so I don’t need a new one.

NEUTRAL VIEWS: (each bullet point is a unique person)