LinkedIn looks back at 10 years of growth

LinkedIn celebrates several major milestones this week: Its 10th birthday and 225 million users. Not bad for a site that started with 4500 members and has grown into the world’s largest professional social network.

The company Sunday posted a visual timeline of its growth, complete with early notes on the network’s direction, photos of its first offices (check out those sweet iMacs), and recaps of various milestones over the years.

LinkedIn’s growth has been slow and steady, flying under the radar while, in the same time frame, other social networks have reached stratospheric heights and toppled spectacularly.

LinkedIn's home page in 2003

MySpace also launched in 2003, quickly dominating the social space before flaming out in just a few years. Facebook started signing on college students the year after LinkedIn launched and is now a global advertising company. In 2003, LinkedIn’s only advertisements were on Friendster, which doesn’t exist anymore.

Rapid growth

In the last three years, LinkedIn’s growth has accelerated. Three years ago, when the company turned 7, its user base hit 90 million. In 2011, LinkedIn became a publicly traded company.

So how does a professional resume site become a full-fledged social network? By not resting on its laurels. Over the years, LinkedIn has continually added new features to help members make new connections, recruit talent, find jobs, and share best practices in a variety of industries.

LinkedIn's home page today

In the last few months alone, LinkedIn hasredesigned its iOS and Android apps, upgraded its search function for more refined results, acquired newsreader Pulse to emphasize content creation, and introduced a new feature that imports your contactsacross address books, calendars, and emails.

LinkedIn’s look has also improved over the years. Deep Nishar, the company’s senior vice president of products and user experience, posted a slideshow Monday of the site’s designs in the last 10 years—let’s just say LinkedIn has definitely gotten better looking with age.

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