Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
The pictures looked lovely.
Three proud, handsome men proclaiming a new era.
They were so confident that they even chose to announce their merger on the very morning that Apple announced, well, lots and lots of little things.
Real people, though, might not have been so enthusiastic.
What does all this mean for them?
Here are six reasons why you should hold your excitement over Microsoft's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn.
1. Remember Nokia?
This was touted as the next great synergy. Microsoft bought Nokia's phone business for at least $7.2 billion. What did it get for it? More sin that energy. A $1 billion write-off and no phone you can ever remember. Nokia phones were very good phones. You'd think Microsoft's marketing prowess would be able to launch them wonderfully. But then, oh.
2. Microsoft's Marketing Prowess.
I want you to think carefully about all the times Microsoft has brilliantly marketed something to you. Windows was forced upon you while you kicked so hard that your foot entered your mouth, thereby preventing you from screaming. True, the personnel at Microsoft has changed. The company has succeeded in presenting a far more human face in the last couple of years. But Microsoft will have to make you feel a little better about LinkedIn. And that's not easy.
3. Have You Looked At LinkedIn Lately?
LinkedIn is as messy as a suburban house after an especially drunken swingers party. There are bits here that seem to work. There are bits there that don't. Some days it's got more spam than Hawaii. Some, like me, even pay $50 for this joy. Earlier this year, the company lost $11 billion in value in just one day. That's even worse than losing a couple of LinkedIn connections and dipping below the magic 500 number. Perhaps Microsoft's input will make it all work smoothly. Or perhaps a competitor might think this the perfect moment to create a product that's what LinkedIn could have been -- and watch how everyone gravitates toward it. Here's something that might amuse you: Only around 25 percent of LinkedIn users actually check LinkedIn every month.
4. You're Going To Get A Lot More Annoying Marketing.
It's bad enough when people connect with you and then immediately invite you to an exciting networking event that will cost 100 of your precious dollars. But Microsoft is very keen to sell to businesses. Imagine, then, that LinkedIn will be a fresh and exciting arm for Microsoft to peddle its products. Of course you're going to enjoy this. Of course you are. There again, if you already buy things from Microsoft, you'll now likely have LinkedIn services bundled in. You friendly Microsoft salesperson will have one more thing to get you excited about. You know, like Excel.
5. Microsoft Isn't Sure What It's Actually Going To Do With LinkedIn.
As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admitted: "In essence, we can reinvent ways to make professionals more productive while at the same time reinventing selling, marketing and talent management business processes. I can't wait to see what our teams dream up when we can begin working together once the deal closes, which we expect will happen this calendar year." Some might translate this as: "It seemed like a good idea at the time. I'll leave it to all the clever people I pay a lot of money to. They'll work it out."
6. The Three Principals' Shirt Politics.
Look again at the happy picture. What do you see? I see the two LinkedIn bosses, Jeff Weiner and Reid Hoffman with their shirts tucked into their trousers. This is a painful style. I also see Nadella sporting the far more cool shirt-hanging-out-of-the-trousers look. I see emotional friction here. Where there is stylistic strife, there may be even greater pain. I worry.