Mireille Ryan, CEO of the Social Media Marketing Institute, chats with Matt Tindale, Managing Director of LinkedIn for Australia and New Zealand. Matt shares his career journey, how LinkedIn grew to over 10 million members in Australia and what advice he would give to someone getting started on LinkedIn
Transcript of the Interview:
Mireille Ryan: Hi Matt. Thank you so very much for seeing me today.
Matt Tindale: My pleasure.
Mireille Ryan: I wanted to ask you Matt, I'm really interested in your career journey, your path, and you've got all the way through to becoming the managing director of LinkedIn for Australia and New Zealand. So you could you please tell me a little bit about your career journey.
Matt Tindale: Sure. So I started my career relatively later than most people to be honest with you. So I did studies, studied economics at university, went to and did the obligatory Australian thing and went travelling for many years, about three and a half years after university. So I got into it a little bit later sort of in my mid to late 20s. And got into advertising and started in a full service agency in the media department of an advertising agency and loved it. Like fell in love with marketing, advertising from pretty much the moment I started.
So I started and progressed throughout the advertising media industry specifically over a number of years. About seven years I was in that industry, in lots of strategy roles, planning roles, and buying roles as well, and I truly loved it. Then switched careers sort of and went into sales, and again, media sub sales and advertising sales, unsure about how I would actually enjoy the sales side of an operation and quickly realised that it was an amazing career move. And for many reason, I think sales underpins so many different foundations of businesses, tenacity, resilience, emotional intelligence with different sort of people, with the art of persuasion, customer success, customer value, really understanding our customers and customer centricity. And I think a lot of skills that underpin many, many industries that you might wanna do. And really, really enjoyed that side of it.
So that was in sales and I've been in sales for a long time, in many sub sales leadership roles, and then got into digital in an organisation that I was working for. And again fell in love with that side of it, when it was not that new but still relatively new, and I've been in it ever since. And then I've been at LinkedIn for the last six years in various capacities, and the last sort of two years in the managing director role.
Mireille Ryan: Well LinkedIn wasn't around when you were young, so what did you want to be when you were in primary school?
Matt Tindale: So what did I wanna be in primary school? I had no idea. Zero idea of what I wanted to do in primary school. I'll be lying if I told you that I knew. I think in primary school I was worried about what I was doing on weekends, through summer holidays, I think I went through a phase where I was wearing all purple for about six months to the consternation of my parents. Literally had no idea.
One thing I do know, that very very early on my parents, especially my mother, really instilled this very very high work ethic in me. So I've worked for as long as I can remember, literally through primary school, through high school, and then outside of school. And my parents and my mother especially, really advocated hard work, work ethic, and independence from a financial perspective as well. So I worked from a very early age, in primary school at fruit and vegetable shops just on Saturday mornings and Thursday afternoons, paper rounds when I was really young, and have done that sort of ever since. And I still get asked today, "How did you know what you wanted to get into?" And the short answer, I still don't know what I wanna do. I just happen to be enjoying what I'm doing.
Mireille Ryan: LinkedIn recently reached 10 million members so congratulations on such a great achievement. So what do you think were the primary factors that led to such a great success?
Matt Tindale: Thank you very much. Yeah, really great achievement. Something we're very very proud of. And to put a little bit of context around it, so 10 million members out of 12 million working Australian adults, so 80% of all workers in Australia. So a great achievement for us. Especially since we really want to focus almost exclusively on that professional area within all markets.
So how did we do it? We did it via a real focus that we've globally, and that is on our members. One of our core values is being a members first organisation. Everything we do we do through that lens, "Are we adding value to our members?" And our overall mission is how we connect the worlds professionals to make them more productive and successful. So yeah, we do that through adding value to the members, and we do that through a number of different ways.
So first and foremost, it's you as a professional, your identity. And we very much have moved from a platform that was more about resume and now very much is about reputation. Reputation of the individual and reputation of the companies that are on LinkedIn. And I think people really really resonate with that. Even if you're very happy in a job, you're not looking for something new, it is incredibly important to have a good reputation in the professional sense. So that's our first and foremost.
Secondly, it's all about adding value through connections and your network is your most valuable thing within the professional world, and nurturing that network is incredibly important. We do advocate actually quality over quantity and really making sure that it is a high quality network that you are doing and we obviously facilitate that very much. Also add value in the learning area. We have LinkedIn Learning as well, over 10000 different courses that is very diverse. So from leadership executive engagement right down to [inaudible 00:06:08]. So however you wanna advance yourself and make yourself more productive and successful around learning is certainly there.
And lastly, and I think the way that we've expanded specifically, our last couple of years, it's around knowledge and content. We have become the largest distributor of professional content on the planet. We've done that through being obsessed with the feed and making sure that a whole lot of content is being distributed, adds value to our members. Whether it's from the members themselves, whether it's from traditional publishers, whether it's from companies, whether it's from influencers, whether it's video, whether it's long form or short form, and this really gets people coming back every single day. We've seen a fantastica growth, not just in our overall numbers but also in our engagement throughout.
Mireille Ryan: So with this growth that you had, I'm sure you had many hurdles to keep that growth moving. What were some of the hurdles and how did you overcome them?
Matt Tindale: So hurdles, that's funny, I was thinking about that and there's no sort real overt hurdles. Clearly, you've gotta work hard as an organisation, you've gotta be very focused on your overall vision and mission, you've gotta be very very ... Using that as your true North and making sure you're sticking with it. But I think with LinkedIn, the real strength of us as a platform is our focus on the members and the value that we provide, and as long as you do that success can come. And as long as people are getting value from it and we are obsessed with delivering that value to our members, I think the hurdles are definitely minimised.
Mireille Ryan: How important are role models and mentors in your career success?
Matt Tindale: So mentors and role models, extremely important in a formal and an informal way. I've probably had role models and mentors more in the informal way. I haven't specifically sat down and said, "I want you to be my mentor, let's meet once every six weeks, let's talk about these sort of things and have sort of a formalised mentor relationship, which many people do and works for them, but I think it's still nonetheless very important for me. So from a role model perspective I think you never stop learning, you should never stop learning.
So continual learning is very important, especially with the way our industry, business, economy continually changes, especially in this digital world. So looking at how people do things, well, emulating those, taking the best part of your role models and adopting those into your own work ethic is incredibly important. And then mentors, having someone that can be very honest with you, someone that you can talk about things externally from the day to day, get good advice on the big picture, and also encourage you at times when you may need encouraging. I think it's very important for everyone to have that sort of relationship with at least one or two people in their career.
Mireille Ryan: Well you touched on the important point of continuing education.
Matt Tindale: Yes
Mireille Ryan: So how do you ... The world's constantly evolving, how do you keep on top of your learning?
Matt Tindale: Okay. So look, this may come as no surprise but LinkedIn is a big part of that and is very much so. So how do I do that from a LinkedIn perspective? So LinkedIn, knowledge is a massive part of the value that we deliver. Staying on top of influence, staying on top of opinion leaders, staying on top of the trends, whether it's macro or micro, whether it's industry or economic is so important. So constantly on the platform reading, reading about my industry, reading about the economy, reading about trends and what's happening. So very much staying on top of it from that level from a day to day.
A more formalised way, online learning such as LinkedIn learning, critical, absolutely critical. So let's take marketing for instance, over the last couple of years, explosion in ad-tech mar-tech. So what we were doing three, four years ago just didn't exist and doesn't exist now. So being able to continually keep on top of that is so important. Skills now, have got a life expectancy of about three years, so making sure that you're on top of that is so important.
And then there's obviously formalised learning that we do generally within LinkedIn across all global business lines to make sure that we are very much informed about what is happening so we can make better decisions for our businesses. And then outside of that, meeting and talking to people, I think industry leaders, business line leaders, subject matter experts, if there's something you wanna know about, talking to people and asking questions, being curious is incredibly important.
Mireille Ryan: And knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to somebody who's getting started on LinkedIn.
Matt Tindale: Okay. So knowing what I know now, it's pretty straightforward actually. So first and foremost is having a complete profile. It's incredibly important having a professional photo, having a great summary, title, work experience, very important. Well that is the number one things and the number one step. So having that complete profile, it's incredibly important.
Two is, really organising and following people, companies, and interests that are going to make you more productive and successful. So connecting with people that are relevant to your network. And we do advocate quality over quantity. That's not to say that you only need to have a small amount of connections, certainly LinkedIn offers the ability to really widen your network, but making them relevant to what you do, your industry, making it relevant to your career, your interests, very important. Because that very much effects your feed.
The other part is, really following people, influencers, groups, hashtags, to make sure that you are getting a very robust feed around a lot of the things that you're interested in. And then lastly it's, contributing and being engaged. So it's coming back to the platform, it's liking, sharing, commenting on certain things so you can contribute. It's offering your opinions, whether it be through sharing content, curating, whether it is posting long form content or video, and really having an opinion as you, as either a leader or an industry expert or just someone that likes to have a say on the platform as well.
Mireille Ryan: Thank you very much for your time today, Matt.
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