Visualization Tool for LinkedIn Personal Networks

[UPDATE: LinkedIn Removed access to their networking tool on September 1, 2014. The notice indicating that they were working on new tools for users to map their personal networks on LinkedIn.]

Network mapping is a process of using graphics tools and algorithms to create visualizations of many varieties of, among many others, social, business, telecommunications, biological, and financial networks.

Given the wide availability of these capabilities, have you ever wondered what a visual map of your own network on LinkedIn might actually look like? If so, I highly recommend a click-through to LinkedIn Maps to quickly generate such a map. The site will ask your permission to access your LinkedIn account and then just take a few minutes to produce the map. After the image appears, you can use the “+” and “-” icons in the upper left to zoom in on the map. As you do this, you will see the names of your contacts begin to appear. When you click on a contact you will then see who that person is also connected to in your personal network and a brief summary of their work information in a sidebar on the right.

Besides giving form and shape to your network, this can be quite helpful in a job search or for business development as you start to see who is connected with whom in your network. What is really quite valuable and interesting in that you will likely find that there are members of you network who will be “hubs” connected to many others in your network, as well as those who are more like “spokes” with fewer connections.

Also, the color coding of different groupings of contacts is automatically done by some commonality of employment, education or other types of organizations. When you click on any specific contact within the graphic it will immediately highlight all of that person’s networking connections within your own network. There is a tool available in the interface to label these color concentrated sectors of your network.

Here is an example of what my LinkedIn network looks like (at a lower resolution so that the individual names do not appear):


A Google search of social and business network mapping tools will produce a lengthy roster of other apps similar to LinkedIn Maps with a great diversity in their graphical and analytical capabilities.


Recent Conferences Addressing Changes and Innovation in the Legal Marketplace

During the past few months, I have had the opportunities to attend, either in person or by webcast, four conferences addressing the dramatic technological, business and service changes affecting all sectors of the legal market. The speakers have covered such topics as legal entrepreneurs, big data and analytics, project management, adding design elements law practice, enhancing law schools’ offerings with business and tech skills, collaboration methodologies and platforms, pricing models, expert systems, legal apps, addressing under-served markets for legal services, and ethical considerations posed by many of these changes. The links below contain videos of many of these presentations and offer an incisive window into how various innovators and their innovations are leading the way towards meeting these challenges.

  • Reinvent Law NYC held on February 7, 2014 at Cooper Union in New York is part of the ongoing series of Reinvent Law presentations being organized by the Reinvent Law Laboratory at Michigan State Law School. This show was standing room only on what was a very bitter cold day in NYC. IMHO, everyone involved in the production and presentation of this did an outstanding job of directly defining and addressing the current and future technological and business issues. Videos of some of the presentations from this and other Reinvent Law events are available on the site’s Reinvent Law Channel.
  • Disruptive Innovation in the Market for Legal Services was a day-long conference at Harvard Law School held on March 6, 2014 covering many of the same concerns. I found the concluding Q&A session with the last panel of speakers to be particularly compelling.
  • LegalScience.TV was a graduate seminar presented at MIT’s Media Lab on March 13, 2014. Many of the speakers focused on the more scientific and technological influences and innovations in law practice.
  • From Bleak House to Geek House: Evolving Law for Entrepreneurial Lawyers was another all day conference held last week at Brooklyn Law School on April 4, 2014. The details are clickable here and the videos are gathered here on YouTube.  Among a great many other things expertly covered by the speakers, was the changing needs of today’s legal education.

The next conference on many of these issues, themes and advances will be Codex Presents the Future of Law 2014 conference to be held at Stanford Law School on May 2, 2014. Here is the agenda of what sounds like a top flight lineup of speakers and their topics.




Comprehensive Visualization of Future Paths of Technological Innovations

Data visualization tools and applications seem grow more intricate and original, and indeed more artistically bold and engaging, each day. Today, 4/8/14, is no exception as demonstrated in an new article posted on entitled Science More: Health Future Science These Beautiful Charts Show The Coming Technologies That Will Change The World by Gus Lubin. He reports about a group of several private and Canadian governmental groups who have jointly produced a rather astonishing grahpics presentation predicting the development timelines on six major areas of technology. All of these are zoomable online for more detailed viewing. There is a single graphic that combines all six areas. Each of these six sectors are also individualls downloadable in PDF. They include:

  • Agricultural and Natural Manufacturing Technologies
  • Data and Communications Technologies
  • Energy Technologies
  • Health Technologies
  • Nantotechnology and Materials Science
  • Neurotechnology and Cognitive Technologies

Each of these sectors is broken down into subsections for specific developments and then each is expressed in a predictive timeline spanning the next 15 years.

While no one can accurately predict the future development paths of these sectors and the arrival dates of their presently percolating deliverables, these graphics are nonetheless a highly ambitious and original representations of what might occur. I highly recommend a click through and examination of these visualizations to appreciate the magnitude of this undertaking. Moreover, viewers might also see a challenge and find the inspiration to perhaps start or add something new that may one day appear in an update of this chart in, well, the future.

After spending some time exploring these graphics, I was reminded of the well known quote from the renowned computer scientist, Alan Kay, who once very famously said “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”


Roundup of Some Recent Books on Big Data, Analytics and Intelligent Systems

I have recently read four books concerning big data, analytics and intelligent systems that I highly recommend to anyone interested in learning more about these rapidly growing fields.

1.  The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. An engaging and in depth analysis of the current and future implications of the convergence of everything becoming digital, all of this digital content increasing at an exponential rate, and how future job skills and business opportunities will be combinatorial in nature.

During the past three months, NYTimes columnists Thomas Friedman, David Brooks and Joe Nocera have all very insightful analyses about different points in this book here, here and here , respectively. As well, The Times ran a very interesting Op-Ed piece Monday’s  (4/7/14) cautioning about a series of concerns with big data and analytics in a piece entitled Eight (No, Nine!) Problems with Big Data by Gary Marcus and Ernest David. All are highly recommended.

2.  Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier. An clear and concise primer on the concepts, applications, limits and implications of big data. This book has received a great deal of attention in the press. I was particularly impressed with their expert distinctions between causation and correlation in big data analytics.

3.  Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel. The author presents a balanced approach to examining a series of industry specific cases using data analytics to predict everything from consumer behavior or political trends. I suggest reading this book and the Big Data book above together if possible because of their contrasting perspectives on this phenomenon. Also, both this book and Big Data above provide adequate treatments of data privacy and security issues.

4.  Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend. A deep analytical exploration of how big data and analytics are being devised and deployed in large urban areas by local governments and independent citizens. I found this to be a fascinating look at the nearly limitless possibilities described and forecast by the author.