What I’m Reading: “Trust Agent” Mario Sundar

Inside Flipboard / January 7, 2015

As LinkedIn’s second PR hire, Mario Sundar’s official title was Senior Social Media Manager. But to Sundar, that didn’t accurately describe his main responsibility: to act as a trust agent for the go-to social network for professionals.

What that meant was finding a way to connect with over 250 million LinkedIn users while still behaving like an actual human being—a respectful, sincere and inquisitive one. And for six years he made good on that premise, winning acolytes for his grasp of social media and the natural charisma that helped endear the LinkedIn brand to some of the world’s most powerful business leaders.

Today, Sundar is helping other companies do the exact same thing in his role as a consultant for 500 Startups, a seed fund and startup accelerator. On Quora—a beloved question and answer site—Sundar’s natural curiosity shines as he poses questions, gives answers and follows thought-provoking topics. But where does he get a lot of his information? Yup, Flipboard. So we asked him, “What are you reading?”

I use Flipboard primarily on my iPhone; it’s a visual treat on my iPhone 6+ and is probably my go-to “magazine of record,” if you will. I had to delete other news apps once you guys released the latest version of your app with topic categories.

I fell in love with Flipboard the day you guys launched, but finding topics way back then was a little more challenging. I found a quick way to fix that by using my curated Twitter lists (tech and magazines) to use Flipboard’s impeccable magazine display skills. I still have those magazines, but your own curation has so vastly improved that it impresses me each time.

The signals I provide you guys with—my “likes” to the articles and the option to “show me less like this”—truly makes a huge difference to my daily morning news habits.

I’m very particular with keeping the signal as high as possible and only subscribe to very specific individuals who have a high-signal value. For example, Evan Doll and Mike McCue are both very careful about the must-read articles they share. Same with magazines: I follow the ones I subscribe to on my iPad (GQ, Esquire). This way I know when I open my Flipboard I’m always gonna find something interesting and tuned to my tastes.

In addition, I love curating my own magazines. I figured I’d focus on just three topics with high signal. My favorites include “The Daily Tech” and “Popcorn.” Given my role in technology (LinkedIn’s second PR person and living in the heart of Silicon Valley at a time of massive disruption), I find Flipboard gives me an opportunity to curate the latest breaking news in technology, which primarily originates around where I live [in Silicon Valley]. “Popcorn” is my attempt to share my interests in the art and film to a wider audience on Flipboard. Thanks to being featured, both magazines have had massive interest. Every “like” or view gives me the focus to continue sharing what I find fascinating.

~ShonaS is curating “Proof of Experience”