The Water Cooler: What Decision Makers Across the Globe Are Reading on LinkedIn (and What Sales Pros Can Learn From It)

February 21, 2019

LinkedIn Water Cooler

Welcome to the second edition of the LinkedIn Sales Blog’s “The Water Cooler,” an exploration of what business decision makers are reading on LinkedIn, which has become the digital water cooler of the business world. The first installment of “The Water Cooler” ran last month.

In this month’s edition, we look at the articles decision makers — the people who make buying decisions at companies across the globe — were engaging with on the LinkedIn platform in January. We also examine how those articles differed in North America (NAMER); in Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EMEA); and in Asia-Pacific (APAC).


On a global level, the top 10 articles that decision makers were engaging with in January share a few common threads. Six of the top 10 articles feature insight from prominent business people or athletes, such as Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, Tom Brady, and Bill Gates. Three of the top 10 also examine Facebook and Amazon, which shows a desire among members to keep an eye on the trajectory of some of the world’s most successful companies.

  1. Elon Musk Sent an Email to Employees at 1:20 in the Morning, and It Just May Signal the End of Tesla  By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  2. A woman who studied 600 millionaires discovered where you choose to live has 2 effects on your ability to build wealth By Hillary Hoffower
  3. Mark Cuban Says the Best Employees Are Smart, Driven, and Curious. But 1 Skill Matters Much More (and Makes Them Invaluable) By Jeff Haden, Inc.
  4. A former Facebook HR exec says many bosses are too uncomfortable to ask people a hugely important question By Shana Lebowitz, Business Insider
  5. Steve Jobs Said 1 Thing Separates Successful People From Everyone Else (and Will Make All the Difference In Your Life) By Jeff Haden, Inc.
  6. Tom Brady Says the Same 4 Words to Every New Player on the New England Patriots, and It's Pure Genius By Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.
  7. Chaos has reportedly erupted inside Facebook as employees find themselves unable to open the company's apps on their iPhones By Paige Leskin, Business Insider
  8. How "Just Checking in"​ Kills Your Deal By Joel Gaona
  9. Bill Gates Says You Should Ask 4 Crucial Questions to Assess the Quality of Your Life (1 Is From Warren Buffett) By Marcel Schwantes, Inc.
  10. Amazon will soon lose the biggest reason to pay for Prime By Dennis Green, Business Insider

North America (NAMER)

The top articles in North America also favored advice from prominent people, with posts displaying insight from Tom Brady and Melinda Gates landing in the top 10. The top 10 also featured articles detailing changes at Target, Whole Foods, and WeWork. There were also three articles examining workplace culture, such as a post exploring the “Death of the Sick Day” and another post titled “Ladies, All My Ladies,” which encourages women to support each other in the workplace.    

  1. It Took Tom Brady Exactly 5 Words to Teach a Major Lesson in Emotional Intelligence By Justin Bariso, Inc.
  2. Barbara Corcoran Listens for 3 Red Flag Words. If You Use Them, She Already Knows You Won't Be Successful By Betsey Mikal, Inc.
  3. Palantir CEO rips Silicon Valley for refusing to work with the government to keep Americans safe By Berkeley Lovelace Jr., CNBC
  4. Ladies, All My Ladies By Becky Klatt
  5. Target announces flurry of executive changes - Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal By Alex Van Abbema, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  6. Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? - The New York Times By Erin Griffith, The New York Times
  7. Amazon's Whole Foods Just Made a Massive Strategic Decision. No One Saw It Coming By Chris Matyszczyk, Inc.
  8. Why I choose a word of the year By Melinda Gates
  9. WeWork Responds to Report on CEO Making Millions Leasing Property to the Company by Erik Sherman, Fortune
  10. The Death of the Sick Day - The New York Times By Steven Kurutz, The New York Times

Asia-Pacific (APAC)

The top 10 articles in Asia-Pacific prominently featured posts that celebrated businesses in the region with big plans. One post, for example, told the story of a housewife becoming a top seller on Flipkart, highlighting the theme of women empowerment we are seeing globally. The top article in the region had the unlikely title of “I’m Lonely, and I’m a Middle-Aged Male.” Written by the Matthew Tukaki, the Executive Chairman of NewsNow, the article made the case that men should strive to be more emotionally healthy by having closer friendships. This story, as well as the post “In Memory of Phil Hanna,” shows the region’s instincts for strong community and support.

  1. I'm Lonely and I'm a Middle-Aged Male By Matthew Tukaki
  2. RIL chief Mukesh Ambani outlines plan to take on Amazon, Flipkart - Times of India From Bloomberg
  3. 3 Years After Firing Ourselves & Shutting Down The Office, This Is How Holidify Bounced Back To Hit 5 Million Users By Rohit Shroff
  4. What Gillette just did to bring all the trolls to the yard By Christie Poulos
  5. Is it too early to talk to Sequoia? By Shalendra J. Singh
  6. How a housewife from Haryana became a top Flipkart seller earning Rs 8 lakhs a month By Tenzin Pema & Sameer Ranjan,
  7. In memory of Phil Hanna By Matthew Sweeney
  8. Andrew Hagger new CEO of Forrest family's Minderoo charity and investments arm By Tony Boyd, The Australian Financial Review
  9. Volley shoes brand has last laugh on Kmart 10 years after being booted out By Sue Mitchell, The Australian Financial Review
  10. Mukesh Ambani Outlines E-Commerce Plan To Take on Amazon, Walmart By Saritha Rai, NDTV

Europe-Middle East-North Africa (EMEA)

Unlike the Global, North American, and Asia-Pacific lists, the top 10 articles attracting decision makers in Europe-Middle East-Africa featured five articles that were not in English. At the top of the list was a German post, and articles in Dutch and French also appeared in the top 10, which highlights the multilingual nature of doing business in EMEA. What the top 10 had in common with the other lists was that articles covering the strategies of major businesses featured prominently. For instance, one article delved into Google’s GDPR fine, and another speculated on the future of WhatsApp.

  1. Mark Rutte, snap jij het zelf nog..?? By Jan-Willem Woudenberg
  2. 9 lessons from a ski-trip Amsterdam - Austria with an electric car By Roland Steinmetz
  3. Lettre ouverte à Martin, qui a presque fêté ses 30 ans chez nous hier soir By Jean Valfort
  4. Dit Amsterdamse marketingbureau werkt een paar maanden per jaar vanuit Bali – en behaalt in die periode de hoogste omzet Business Insider Nederland
  5. UK's 'highest taxpayers' revealed BBC News
  6. Dyson to move HQ to Singapore, Vodafone staff 'told to relocate or face redundancy'​, and more top news LinkedIn Daily Rundown (UK)
  7. In Memoriam: onze Paulien
  8. Google hit with £44m GDPR fine over ads By Chris Fox, BBC News
  9. Could This Really Be The Beginning Of The End For WhatsApp? By Zak Doffman, Forbes
  10. "Demain, les profils atypiques seront la norme" By Gaelle Fillion, ExclusiveRH

Lessons for Salespeople

Here’s a key lesson for sales professionals: Your target audience is engaging with articles on LinkedIn. In fact, there has been a 60% year-over-year increase in updates viewed in the LinkedIn feed. This increase in engagement is happening throughout the world — but what LinkedIn members are engaging with can vary widely from region to region. Sales professionals must always be aware of the viewpoint of their prospects and customers and know that these viewpoints can differ based on location.  

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