LinkedIn: One of My Best Sources

Polaris Venture Partners today announced that it has hired MarketWatch founder Larry Kramer as a senior advisor. They sent me a press release, put it on the wires, etc. And it would have been pretty noteworthy, had peHUB and most other outlets not first reported it yesterday.

The leak didn’t come out of Polaris or from an industry headhunter. Instead, it came from Kramer himself. Unintentionally.

The longtime journalist decided to update the his LinkedIn profile — a move that subsequently pinged Kramer’s contacts with word of the change. I don’t happen to be in Kramer’s network, but one of his people passed it on. And, just like that, Polaris’ big news is yesterday’s news.

As a rough estimate, I’ve written three dozen “people” items based on LinkedIn since beginning to use it a few years back. In fact, I wonder if it’s a better tool for journalists than for businesspeople.

I have never sent an invite, but nonetheless have 850 contacts (I accept all comers, in admitted conflict with the site’s mission of selective recommendations). Some of these folks I already knew, but the vast majority are what I refer to as “blank sources” – people who know me and who I’ll get to know when the need arises. Among them are some of the thousands of PE Week Wire subscribers who use anonymous email accounts like Gmail or Yahoo.

So keep those invites coming. You never know when it might help me out on a slow day…