If ringing the bell at the NASDAQ or NYSE is a momentary victory dance for a Silicon Valley CEO (or, you know, a has-been cartoon character from my youth that may or may not represent a veiled argument for communism), the first earnings announcement can be the cold splash of reality: You are now Wall Street’s bitch. And Wall Street was not in a happy mood yesterday.
Thankfully for LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, the company made its debut on the quarterly conference call with surprisingly good earnings— particularly profits no one was expecting and significant jumps in user growth. (Wall Street, only impressed for a few hours, has been trading the stock down this morning; still LinkedIn has held up decently compared to others.)
We spent some time with Weiner at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View yesterday to talk about a lot of things: The quarter, that valuation, whether LinkedIn has opened the market or proven you have to be a $5 billion-$10 billion whopper of a company to get out and sustain a good price, and the debate over whether people still want everything relating to their professional life siloed on one social network, or mixed in to Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be posting chunks of the interview throughout the day.
Up first: What happened this quarter that Wall Street wasn’t counting on, the surprising strength of its hiring services business given the brutal national unemployment, whether LinkedIn is too reliant on that business and how its international expansion strategy is 180 degrees different than Groupon’s.