When you turn 18 it is the official end of your childhood and the beginning of adulthood and that feels like an appropriate view for LinkedIn.

After officially starting on the 5th May 2003 it was on a mission to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” and it has certainly done so as it has grown and grown to over 756 Million users globally and become the de facto professional social platform.

From its initial roots in recruitment, it has expanded over the last 18 years to become the go-to professional networking tool for professionals but also the number one source for professional validation, research, marketing, due diligence even credit checks and more!

As well as its uses evolving, the underlying business has evolved from its original membership subscriptions to advertising and recruitment solutions under the leadership of successive CEOs.

In December 2016, Microsoft completed its acquisition of LinkedIn, bringing together a software powerhouse with the networking world and since then it has mostly left it alone to keep on its growth path.

When I first started blogging about LinkedIn (many moons ago) we made a big deal of LinkedIn creeping past 7 Million UK users back in July 2011 and here we are ten years later with 29.1 Million! Now that UK figure may not sound that impressive until you realize that we only have 31 Million working-age population in the UK.

The audience on LinkedIn has also changed dramatically over time and if you’re curious you can find our recent blog about the top industries here but you might be surprised to see recruitment is now the 61st largest industry on LinkedIn globally and a mere 30th in the UK, and over 4.3 Million CEOs there.

As LinkedIn has evolved we’ve seen underutilized functions go, some have come back and new ones have arrived as the users and uses of LinkedIn have evolved and we can expect more changes as time goes on.