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What LinkedIn Really Needs to Grow Into Its Valuation: Time-Wasting Games!

Workers of the world, unite!
LinkedIn (LNKD) has a lot of work to do before it can possibly grow into even a fraction of its current valuation. Probably the most important thing would be to get people to actually spend time on their site. That requires figuring out a way for people to be less productive at work. In other words, games.

At this point, less than a day into the PLI (Post-LinkedIn-IPO) era, the market seems to think the company is worth more than China. As Bloomberg's Cris Valerio tweeted: "This is almost hilarious. P/E Ratio for $LNKD right now: 1,221 - SERIOUSLY?!" That means for a while the poorly visited social networking site had a P/E 1,000 times greater than Exxon (XOM).

Let's pretend for a moment that the owners of LinkedIn actually do care about shareholder value. That means they must be aghast at these valuations and are already racking their brains to fix a problem noted in the IPO: "-- a substantial majority of our members do not visit our website on a monthly basis, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members." Changing that can only mean one thing: Farmville.

So, even though they didn't let me buy in to the pre-IPO activities that only looked like insider trading, I'll happily help them out with a few game suggestions:

  • RealEstateVille -- Imagine a world where the value of property only goes up. In this game you try to generate as many loans as possible. Sell them to your friends and get coins to buy Porsches and 80-foot flat screen TVs for your avatar!
  • Partisan Wars -- You are the head of a ruthless pundit family. You must recruit the best shouters while fending off the vicious rhetorical attacks of your opponents. Improve your stats by convincing Congress that school teachers are ruining the economy or that Pakistan is our ally! Can you become the one to overthrow The Great And Powerful Beck?
  • HomeBoy -- Can you successfully defend yourself from getting off the couch or even worse: Leaving the house? How will you protect yourself from angry parents, scornful friends, and dwindling bandwidth? Can you cope when the other World Of Warcraft players suspect you of being on a dial-up?
  • 6 Degrees Of Everyone -- Players race to be the first to friend every person on LinkedIn. Winner gets to put the phrase "Certified 10 Million LinkedIn Connections" on his or her resume.
  • Vested Interest -- Do you know how much each member of the LinkedIn management team is worth? Working with nothing but publicly available documents each player must determine the wealth of LinkedIn's CEO, VPs and SVPs and then calculate how soon they will leave the company.
  • The Boss Is Looking -- In this RPG you are a luckless worker desperately trying to find a new job on company time! Challenges include the ever-wandering boss, that guy who never liked you, and the person you really shouldn't have had that office romance with.
Good luck and good gaming!

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