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LinkedIn CEO: Site will become 'economic graph' over next decade

Jeff Weiner says LinkedIn will evolve to help companies do things like determine skill gaps and create just-in-time curriculum to "train workers for the jobs of tomorrow."

Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget (left) interviews LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
Dan Farber/CNET
NEW YORK -- LinkedIn will evolve quite a bit over the next five to 10 years and become even more of an "economic graphic" for professionals, according to the social networking company's CEO, Jeff Weiner.

Weiner, speaking here in a conversation with Business Insider's CEO and editor in chief, Henry Blodget, said LinkedIn will continue to focus on its current strategy over the next three years, transforming the way companies hire, market, and sell.

"As we move out five to 10 years, the vision begins to expand quite a bit," he said.

Weiner said LinkedIn will continue to evolve into something similar to a social graph -- a term used by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg -- that maps professional relationships and knowledge across the globe.

"The idea would be to remove as much friction as possible from that graph," he said.

He said that the so-called economic graph could be something that could move the needle on the global economy.

For example, Weiner envisions companies using LinkedIn to evaluate a workforce in an area to see if it's equipped with the skills to get the jobs that will be emerging. If not, they can evolve the curriculum, or develop "just-in-time curriculum to train the workforce for the jobs of tomorrow."

He also expects LinkedIn to be used for more original content and as a way for publishers and individuals to show their expertise.

"We want to get the right information in front of the right member at the right time," Weiner said.

Meanwhile, he dismissed worries about Facebook expanding in the professional arena and hurting LinkedIn's business, noting that most users want to keep their personal and professional lives separate.

Weiner also noted that there are over 50 million endorsements made each week, with the success of the new option well exceeding LinkedIn's expectations. Endorsements are sort of miniature recommendations, with members able to note a connection is skilled at a certain ability.

Unlike the far larger Facebook, LinkedIn is a social network that investors have embraced. It has been a standout among most of the Internet companies that have gone public in the last year and a half, with shares more than doubling since launching its IPO in May 2011. Newcomers such as Zynga, Groupon and Pandora have all have been beaten up in the public markets, and Facebook also has taken its share of hits.

Earlier this month, LinkedIn posted third-quarter earnings that easily beat analysts' estimates and raised its revenue forecast for the full year. At that time, it said it had 187 million members, up from 175 million at the end of the second quarter.

Updated at 7:02 a.m. PT with additional comments.