A New LinkedIn Discussion Forum for High Power Dealmakers

For those of you interested in international business transactions or the business networking organization, LinkedIn, a new Yahoo groups discussion forum has been created. Several Yahoo discussion groups already exist on the uses and preferences concerning LinkedIn, such as the Yahoo Group forum called MyLinkedin Power Forum (MLPF), but the messages on that forum were biased. The moderator of MLPF censored opposing points of view. He is the type of person who would criticize a group member's message, but not let that member respond to his criticism. In many respects, the MLPF and forums like it were just plain boring: a large cacophony of disjointed and disconnected messages on everything from trolling for people with the same last name to using LinkedIn to advertise products or services.

The MLPF forum has a minority core group of people who do not advocate open networking and who resist requests to expand their networks or make LinkedIn a more useful reference tool -- which the latest revision accomplished. Now users of the LinkedIn system can learn profile details about the 3.3 million members of LinkedIn outside their own small networks; however, contact names and e-mail addresses are omitted. One way to make the system more transparent is to include e-mail addresses in the "name" and "job information" fields on Linkedin. That way users outside a person's network can still locate contact details on that user.

As I scanned the messages on alternative LinkedIn forums for the past two weeks, I did not learn anything new about (1) taking care of my network, (2) profiting from my networking, or (3) communicating better and faster with less stress. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Instead of trying to reform one or more of the existing LinkedIn discussion forums, we created a new forum with a more investment banking, law, and tax flavor content.

Our new forum, which is called Linkedin_High_Power_Dealmakers, focuses on making deals, whether structured finance transactions, project finance, placing key personnel in companies, finding teaming partners, trends in the economic and financial marketplace, and the like. Members of this Yahoo forum believe that expanding business networks to reach out to strangers is a great idea. We reject the (old-fashioned, European) mentality that we will only exchange greetings and discuss business with someone to whom we have received a formal introduction. Unlike other Yahoo groups focused on Linkedin, our new forum will discourage two-bit opinions about special features of Linkedin or non-business uses, such as searching for old friends who attended high school with a given user. We have less discussion about Linkedin itself, and more discussion of deal making (using Linkedin or other tools). In fact, we provide honest comparisons of contacts made through openBC, Ryze.com, and Linkedin, and which one offers a better networking service for high-powered professionals.

This group is devoted to using the web-based Linkedin.com system to expand business and professional contacts for purposes of making deals: new business financing, finding new business partners, project finance, outsourcing staff needs, professional services, management consulting, recruiting key personnel, and the usual panoply of domestic and international business transactions. Some of our members joined because of the one-sided and biased nature of discussion forums such as MLPF. These forums seem riddled with double standards and hypocrisy, not to mention the bulk of the messages are just plain boring.

Examples of current message threads including an opportunity to invest in a movie deal; people interested in sponsoring business ties to Romania, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia; mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. energy industry; 50 jobs available in the energy industry; best business practices in obtaining small business financing, and much more.

On Fridays, we welcome parodies of comments made on other LinkedIn discussion forums, particularly MLPF. We have a little fun with these parodies as we get ready for weekend breaks.

Michael A. S. Guth is a trilingual (English, German, French) qualified transactional lawyer and financial manager with fifteen years experience and legal expertise in the areas of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; securities regulation and hedge fund creation; and deal structuring / business transactions. To further compliment his legal skill set Michael is an experienced investment banker having worked within the top tier investment banks, namely Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank, working with an international clientele. He played an instrumental role in developing an index-tracking fund and answered technical questions on fund management marketing calls. He advised clients on pre-IPO investments, stock repurchases, and using structured finance products to manage risk. Previously directed the risk management and financial control groups for two trading floors. Contact him through web page http://riskmgmt.biz/economist.htm

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