Quora has seen unprecedented traction in last few months on 2010 and bound to be an one of the most talked about startup for 2011. Here are few reasons what makes Quora an perfect candidate for acquisition by LinkedIn.
1. LinkedIn is a network of professionals – however much activity is centered around initiating business contacts and building your professional resume/network.
2. LinkedIn tried getting into having its users into groups and eventually discuss, debate on topics within the community – if you are an expert a mere “recommendation” by colleague is emphasis of your performance at a particular role or organization. Recommendations always centered around – great team player, leadership role, knowledgeable, etc – but users were not able to demonstrate their expertise, opinions on to a common forum with industry leaders/ participants.
3. LinkedIn community features (like status updates) are mostly feed-into by Twitter or applications like Foursquare. Professionals will not share expertise without being asked for – Quora has questions, and hence ability for professionals to demonstrate their knowledge.
4. LinkedIn Groups have repeat questions – the perfect answer may be in some different group which is not discovered by the person asking the question. Quora has solved the discovery puzzle for users. I manage an 8000+ group on LinkedIn, the quality of answers on Quora are unmatched to those on LinkedIn. The issue is not quality of people, they same are on LinkedIn, issue is how to get those quality Questions & Answers discovered or re-used.
5. Other players – Twitter, Facebook, etc are more social and so is the content shared – status messages, pictures, links, etc. The level and quality of questions that are asked and answered on Quora will not fit within the Social Norms established by Twitter or Facebook.
Nevertheless Quora also has challenges like going beyond the web-startup community, dealing with self-glorifying users that at times add irrelevant answers to grab attention, highly prolific users with right expertise flooding user stream that overshadows other users, questions with multiple answers but few getting maximum votes causing difficult in discovering other relevant answers, and so on. These are good challenges to have and will only test ability of this product.
If LinkedIn has to acquire Quora, rather than integrating the same within LinkedIn as an component it should –
– Allow Quora to grow independently on its own
– Allow LinkedIn profiles to be linked with respective Quora profiles
– Build an rating/ranking system that allows determination of user’s expertise on subjects/topics based on crowdsourced feedback on user’s questions / answers / comments
– For LinkedIn users, show an Quora expertise quotient in subject/topic user has participated.
The great thing about Quora is its well maintained quality of questions and answers. The next great knowledge resource is Wikipedia (but in encyclopedia format). If Quora has to be independent it will grow in a Q&A’pedia; if not LinkedIn is best fit for professionals to demonstrate their expertise
This opinion was posted originally as an answer on Quora at: http://www.quora.com/Who-is-most-likely-to-acquire-Quora