Back in October, LinkedIn launched a new initiative that allows users to subscribe to their favorite so-called “thought leaders”.
The Influencer Programme rolled out with around 150 of these prominent business figures, each sharing their thoughts via long-form posts with the 187 million+ users on the professional social network. The influencers include the likes of Caterina Fake, Andrew Chen, David Edelman, Steve Rubel, Nancy Lublin, Ryan Holmes, Emily Chang, Peter Guber, Jennifer Pahlka, Charlene Li, Clara Shih and Jeff Weiner…and The Next Web’s very own founder Boris.
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Now, almost two months on, serial entrepreneur Richard Branson has become the first thought leader to pass one million followers…double that of American President Barack Obama. For comparison, UK Prime Minister David Cameron hasn’t even hit the 75,000 mark yet.
The program has seen six million following relationships form since launch, with almost 1,400 articles posted in total, but it seems Branson is heads and shoulders above the rest in terms of people wanting to hear what he has to say.
Branson has posted about entrepreneurship, paths to success, and the keys to balancing good work and a good life. Indeed, his five tips for starting a successful business garnered around half-a-million pageviews alone, whereas his little ditty around happiness being the best measure of success inspired more than 3,000 comments.
A quick glance through the ‘Who to Follow‘ list reveals that Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington has 170,000 followers, Lean Startup author Eric Ries has 55,000 and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has 162,000 signed up to read their thoughts.
LinkedIn is running a Q&A session with the Virgin founder himself next Friday (December 7), and it’s inviting questions from the public. Personally, I’d like him to reveal a few more interesting investment pitches he’s received over the years – last year, it came to light that one cunning entrepreneur had pitched Richard Branson for money…by naming him in a will.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn has put together this little slideshow with some Branson-related numbers…and more.
Feature Image Credit – JANEK SKARZYNSKI/Getty Images