Roughly 8 million articles were published on LinkedIn this year.
In that sea of writing and thinking, plenty of pieces stood out, but which ones transcended industry audiences and sparked a real conversation? Which made readers cry—or scream? What were the topics that were most talked about out in the business world (and LinkedIn’s newsroom)?
Here’s a look at the platform’s most buzzworthy articles this year:
1. Retail chief executive took a public stance on guns.
Rather than ban guns entirely, Bergh asked customers to not bring firearms into Levi stores—even where the law permits it. The request came after a gun inadvertently went off in one of his stores and injured the customer who was carrying it.
The article sparked a heated discussion with more than 4,000 comments and 650,000 views.
2. Tech tiff between an employee and founder got heated.
It became abundantly clear in 2016 that tech companies need to be more inclusive to people of color and women. Dan Lyons, a former tech journalist and author, called out another form of discrimination rarely discussed in Silicon Valley: age discrimination.
At 52, Lyons took a job as a marketing fellow at startup HubSpot. The difference in age between Lyons and his new colleagues led toThe New York Times best-seller “Disrupted,” as well as one of the most viral posts on LinkedIn this year.
In his article, Lyons called out Silicon Valley for pushing out older tech workers and seeing age and experience as a burden, rather than a benefit, in the workplace. A few days after Lyons’ article hit LinkedIn, HubSpot’s chief executive, Dharmesh Shah, took to the platform to defend his company’s culture.
The spat between the two tech leaders garnered nearly 1.25 million views on the platform.
3. GE’s chief took on Bernie Sanders.
The chief executive of GE, Immelt responded to claims made by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that GE was “destroying the moral fabric of America.” A
fter being in business for 124 years and providing 125,000 jobs to Americans, Immelt said Sanders’ claims were unjustified.
“It’s easy to make hollow campaign promises and take cheap shots in speeches and during editorial board sessions, but U.S. companies have to deliver for their employees, customers and shareholders every day,” he wrote.
4. Venture capitalist made Silicon Valley stop and think about its race problem.
Speaking of Silicon Valley’s stagnant efforts to open their community to underrepresented minorities, the conversation expanded over the summer as the nation saw a slew of tragic shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.
Touching thousands of workers across the Bay Area and beyond, Schumacher-Hodge gave corporate America a playbook for how to have open, honest and constructive conversations about race in the workplace.
“You don’t have to have all the right words or all the perfect answers, but just saying something to the Black and White people you work with—acknowledging that this atrocity happened and that you’re hurt by it—that really is a start to making a difference,” she wrote.
5. Goldman Sachs’ executive places another call to action.
A few months after Schumacher-Hodge’s article hit LinkedIn, a financial executive in New York issued a similar call to action.
Edith Cooper, the global head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs, wrote on LinkedIn about why the investment bank is encouraging its employees to talk about race at work.
It’s been suggested to me that I’m not ‘black black’ because of the success I have had, or even where I live. I honestly believe that a mandatory first step in addressing the issues surrounding race is conversation—because honest dialogue reaps understanding and understanding reaps progress.
6. Two leadership and management experts publicly disagree about a fundamental principle.
As the largest professional network on the internet, LinkedIn is home to a plethora of articles about career advice and “thought leadership.”
Wharton professor Adam Grant, a New York Times contributor and LinkedIn Influencer, started a conversation around authenticity in The Times that found its way to LinkedIn.
In The Times’ column, Grant boldly stated that “be yourself” is terrible advice. Grant called out research professor Brené Brown‘s work on the topic as support for his point, but Brown felt that Grant missed the point of her research—and wrote about it on LinkedIn.
The heated debate about how much of yourself you can truly bring to work got so heated that Grant felt compelled to respond directly to Brown with another LinkedIn article. Who knew academia around workplace culture could get so heated?
7. Actress-turned-business-mogul speaks honestly about fame’s downsides.
It’s not often that an internationally acclaimed actress speaks candidly about what it’s really like to be famous.
In an interview with LinkedIn’s executive editor, Dan Roth, Gwyneth Paltrow shared that she chose to start her lifestyle publication, Goop, to walk “away from a career where people kissed my ass to being grilled by a VC or my board.”
Her authenticity resonated on the platform. Nearly 1.5 million viewers read her post and watched her interview.
8. Emergency room doctor breaks (and repairs) our hearts.
Something had been gnawing at Louis Profeta. An Indianapolis-based ER doctor, Profeta was struggling after watching so many elderly patients struggle as they stayed alive in hospitals because of advances in modern medicine.
We now are in a time of medicine where we will take that small child running through the yard, being chased by her brother with a grasshopper on his finger, and imprison her in a shell that does not come close to radiating the life of what she once had.
The post struck a chord, garnering more than 1.3 million page views and resulting in thousands of personal emails and comments from readers.
Profeta told LinkedIn, “Outside of being a father, [writing this article] may just be the most important thing I have and will ever do in my life.”
9. Peter Thiel rattles the tech community.
A story that many readers couldn’t get enough of this year was the saga of Peter Thiel.
Through the bizarre twists and turns of his financial backing of a lawsuit against Gawker to his aggressive support of Donald Trump for president, the tech community was transfixed by the contrarian stances the billionaire investor took.
Some of the best commentary on the platform came from investor Michael Lazerow, who outlined how Thiel violates core principles of Silicon Valley innovation; writer Rachel Sklar, who explained why we should be worried about Thiel’s vendetta against a prominent media property; and Elizabeth Spiers, Gawker’s founding editor, who predicted that Thiel’s legacy would now be defined by the suit.
10. Life after Trump.
Peter Thiel may have left the tech community rattled, but readers saw leaders across industries take to LinkedIn to discuss how their views on business will change in a Trump presidency.
Caroline Fairchild is the new economy editor at LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.