The rise and fall on my newborn startup

As a freelance developer I use my résumé almost daily, it’s my main tool to get new jobs. I also have other websites, like:

  • a personal “commercial website”, which is more or less just my CV plus a few other things
  • a tech blog
  • some websites for some of my personal/open source/commercial projects

Obviously I have a LinkedIn profile, which is also a very important tool for my job.

Time is always too less so it really bothers me to keep my CVs (LinkedIn, personal website, PDF, other possible ones) updated and synced, that’s why a few years ago I started a free/open source project for a wordpress plugin to extract data from Linkedin profiles. The project had a good success, it was really simple in its design and that’s why it was working really well. Then LinkedIn started to add a lot of restrictions and that type of design quickly become useless (and started gathering bad reviews, but there’s not much I can to solve that).

A few weeks ago I was thinking about re-doing my personal website, how many times did I do that in 15years? too many. How bored am I of doing that? A lot. Do I really want to have a wordpress (to update every few weeks) just to print out my CV? No, I need it now but really I wouldn’t want to.

In that moment an idea came to my mind, how many people were in my same situation? With a complete LinkedIn profile but with the need of a personal website and with no satisfaction from the tools/services already available (I like none of them, I tried a lot but none fits my needs for simplicity, quickness and automatic sync)? For sure a lot.

Then VeloCV was born, after some struggle with the name (OMG domain names…).
The idea is: you login/subscript using your LinkedIn accout, VeloCV syncs everything (and keeps doing it every day, so you’ll never need to manually update anything EVER!), you choose a “design theme” and it’s finished, you get a nice looking personal home page.
I also had some business modes, custom domains, custom designs, CV download with Europass support and more ideas were coming (remember the project was just some weeks old).
I also wanted to create a designer community (which is available on github) to allow designer to create new themes, get backlinks from all people using the designs and also (once premium services would be available) money (coming from the subscriptions).

Everything seemed really good, it seems this time the project was really solid, the feedbacks were great! Obviously we still had just a few users (less than 200 at the moment) cause everything is just newborn.
But suddenly… I didn’t think about a possibility… that LinkedIn could actually drop the API support and kill my project (like it happened with my wordpress plugin). It didn’t even seem possible, why would LinkedIn deny 3rd party software maker to work with them, it’s a nonsense because integrations means building stronger relationships and every app using LinkedIn data it’s actually promoting Linkedin itself.

But that’s exactly what happened on 12th of May, most of the API support was completely dropped, the only ones available now are mostly useless (sorry but if i get just 1/10 of the user profile, then I can live even without it).

I opened a ticket to LinkedIn, and I was told to use the “apply with LinkedIn” (what should this name mean? I’ve no idea) to ask for the full API access. I did it, after days (the twitter LinkedIn help told me “as you can imagine we’ve a lot of request”, yeah I can imagine it, because the move you made is a complete nonsense and, in my opinion, managed it in the worst possible way? yes, I can imagine) I got a “no, we’ll not allow you the full API access”, try the “LinkedIn partnership” (what? can’t you directly forward the ticket to the correct team?) and then I wrote the partnership request, to be able to get the full API access again. The day after I was told “no, you’re not compliant to be a partner”. Finish, no explanation on why and what I should do to be a partner.

Story is not completely finish here, I’ll try to write to every top contact of LinkedIn to bring out this story, I don’t see any reason for them to close their API program having a benefit (hey, xing has a full API available…). I am in the meanwhile thinking about possible other ways not to close everything, should I migrate to xing? Should I create a LinkedIn competitor?

Please, if you want to help me, share this story and make it reach Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO) and Gyanda Sachdeva (LinkedIn product manager), please send them a tweet, or you can find their direct email address at ceoemail (just serach for linkedin in the search box, it’s one second).

Thank you everybody for reading up to here.
Fabrizio

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