The Water Cooler: What Decision Makers in IT, Engineering, and Business Development Are Reading on LinkedIn

June 27, 2019

LinkedIn Water Cooler

LinkedIn has become the digital water cooler for businesses around the world. The more than 630 million members on LinkedIn are reading an increasing number of articles on the platform.

To give salespeople a clearer picture of what decision makers are reading on LinkedIn, we’ve introduced our monthly “Water Cooler” series. This series examines what specific groups of decision makers are reading on LinkedIn. Last month’s Water Cooler, for instance, looked at how what articles Millennials read on the platform differed from older members.

This month, we take a look at what decision makers in three different functions — information technology, engineering, and business development — are engaging with.

Information Technology

The late Intel executive Andy Grove said it best, “Only the paranoid survive.” That sentiment still appears to be true in information technology, at least judging by the top 10 articles that IT decision makers engaged with in May. Every single article in the top 10 covered security or hacking in some way, even the article in 10th place, “CISOs, Stop Focusing on Cybersecurity.”

Top 10 Posts Engaged With by Decision Makers in IT

  1. Prevent a Worm by Updating Remote Desktop Services —MSRC Team
  2. Credit Union Sues Fintech Giant Fiserv Over Security Claims — Krebs on Security
  3. Microsoft SharePoint Servers Are Under Attack — By Catlin Cimpanu, ZDNet
  4. Microsoft Office 365: Change These Settings or Risk Getting Hacked, Warns US Govt — By Liam Tung, ZDNet
  5. U.S. Govt Issues Microsoft Office 365 Security Best Practices —By Liam Tung, ZDNet
  6. Hacker Disclosed 3 Unpatched Microsoft Zero-Day Exploits In Less Than 24 Hours — By Mohit Kumar, The Hacker News
  7. Google Stored G Suite Users' Passwords in Plain-Text for 14 Years — By Swati Khandelwal, The Hacker News
  8. AWS Security Incident Response Guide
  9. PoC Exploit for Unpatched Windows 10 Zero-Day Flaw Published Online —By Mohit Kumar, The Hacker News
  10. CISOs, Stop Focusing on Cybersecurity — By Joseph Carson, Forbes


Decision Makers in engineering have a major focus on software and hardware news, according to the top 10 articles this cohort was engaging with in May. Six articles in the top 10 covered various updates from companies such as Microsoft and Micron. Other engaging articles in the top 10 for engineering decision makers covered personal stories of engineers, such as the story told by Rukmini Reddy in “I’m a VP of Engineering and a Woman of Color. These 5 Lessons Got Me Here.”

Top 10 Posts Engaged With by Decision Makers in Engineering

  1. Together at Last: #Microsoft Will Ship a #Linux Kernel with Windows —By Tom Krazit, GeekWire
  2. I'm a VP of Engineering and a Woman of Color. These 5 Lessons Got Me Here  — By Rukmini Reddy
  3. Reflections on My Microsoft Journey...  — By Ankur Sinha
  4. Is High Quality Software Worth the Cost? — By Martin Fowler
  5. A Mother’s Gift of Grit and Conviction Lasts a Lifetime — By Anand Oswal
  6. Google Veteran Vinod Marur Joins Rubrik as Senior Vice President of Engineering | Rubrik — Rubrik
  7. Taking Devices from Smart to Brilliant — Micron
  8. #Microsoft Rolls Out New Performance-Scaling Features for Azure Databases, Including Serverless Azure SQL — By Tom Krazit, GeekWire
  9. Actionable Messages in Outlook Mobile Help You Act Fast on the Go — By Eugenie Burrage
  10. Socrates: The New SQL Server in the Cloud — By Antonopolous, Budovski, Diaconu, et al

Business Development

Decision makers in business development tended to engage with articles that featured a successful executive (it helped if they were famous) and promised to deliver an insight about business strategy. Jeff Bezos, for instance, figured prominently in two articles in the top five, including the most engaging article examining why Amazon was offering employees $10,000 to quit. Other articles offered insight from Bill Gates; the CEO of; and Brigette Hyacinth, who had two articles in the top three.  

Top 10 Posts Engaged With by Decision Makers in Business Development

  1. Jeff Bezos & Amazon Just Offered Employees $10,000 to Quit. Here's Why It's Brilliant  — By Robert Blazer
  2. People Do Not Quit Companies, They Quit Toxic Work Cultures!  — By Brigette Hyacinth
  3. When Your Most Motivated Employees Become Quiet! — By Brigette Hyacinth
  4. If People Aren't Nice, It Doesn't Matter How Smart They Are  — By Helen Lao
  5.  Frustrated Amazon Customer Tried To Return Her Package Directly to Jeff Bezos. His Reaction Was Eye-Opening  — By Chris Matyszczyk
  6. Meet the Millionaire CEO of Who Bikes to Work and Is Breaking the Glass Ceiling, One Role at a Time — By Athira Nair
  7.  5 Reasons Why Jamie Oliver's Restaurant Business Failed So Spectacularly — By Steve Blakeman
  8. I Can’t Recommend These Books Highly Enough  — By Bill Gates
  9. Google Spent Years on a Secret Plan to Dominate This $830 Billion Industry, and Nobody Even Noticed — By Bill Murphy Jr
  10. Goldman Sachs makes biggest acquisition in nearly 20 years — by Matt Egan

Lessons for Salespeople

Ninety-three percent of decision makers say they are more likely to consider a brand if a sales professional provides personalized communications, according to LinkedIn’s State of Sales report. Personalizing messages has become crucial.

As the wide variety of articles appealing to these various business functions demonstrates, the kind of article you’re interested varies widely depending on role. The articles that IT decision makers read varied from those that engineers read which again differed from what attracted the interest of business development decision makers.  

The key lesson then for salespeople is to create and share content on LinkedIn that is remember your audience. And tailor your content to what interests them.

Dive deeper into what decision makers are reading on LinkedIn by taking a look at the previous Water Cooler posts. And to keep pace with the latest thinking in sales, subscribe today to the LinkedIn Sales Blog.