Why does LinkedIn have no serious competitors?

Richard Rumfelt could have made a case study of modern-day LinkedIn, whose “idea-combination” has made them unique

Why does LinkedIn seem not to have competitors? Because they have combined a series of business ideas (business networking, sales prospecting, hiring/recruiting, professional training, and – frankly – workplace infotainment) into one integrated solution.

It’s not that there’s anything unique or proprietary about what they are doing. It’s that this combination of ideas gives them an almost unassailable position of advantage, which is expressed in KPIs like monthly active users and total revenue.

Combined ideas (as opposed to proprietary ones) is fundamental to good strategy.[1], as established in Good Strategy Bad Strategy.

Referral networks like Alignable will always be at a disadvantage against LinkedIn as referral networks because they don’t solve as many problems as once.

For established SaaS products like LinkedIn, how do you achieve the same effect – without billions of dollars in investment capital? Through combining ideas, not pivoting.


[1] Definition of Digital Strategy – the 6 Elements of Effective Online Strategy