The 32-year-old Ukrainian-American is the most-connected and recommended on the professional network, boasting more than 50,000 direct connections and 3,000+ recommendations.
Although the exact benefits of his network are nebulous, Burda sees great potential.
The short summary at the top of his long profile boasts: "I'm Steven Burda & I move mountains. The Most Connected Person on Linkedin. One day I'll take over the world. Nothing's impossible for me."With a background in finance, IT, and accounting, Burda has worked for temporary contracts companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, though he is currently self-employed as a social media consultant.
Some of his work is paid, though most of it is free, Burda told Business Insider, adding that prospective clients would "not be able to afford me."
"I haven’t got going with my business yet. I have enough money to keep me going day to day," Burda said. "I’m not struggling, financially speaking, because I have wealthy relatives ... but eventually, I would envision myself starting a big consulting company, hire some of the most connected people that I know, and pretty much run with it."
For now, his greatest accomplishment is getting those connections.Burda reached number one despite facing restrictions on his ability to connect with people. Per LinkedIn's guidelines, users are allotted 3,000 lifetime connection requests, but as soon as you begin to request connections with people who say they don't know you, your profile abilities become constrained.
Lately he says he has been prevented from inviting or accepting new people.
“LinkedIn pretends that they’re the playground, but if they’re taking away the swing, if they’re taking away the slide, and if they’re taking away the sandbox, they’re not really the playground," Burda says. "They might see me as a potential threat in their revenue model. I’m a huge monster they’ve unleashed ... not in a threatening way."
Known as LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs, users like Burda accept almost all connection requests and freely introduce strangers — going against the ordered network that LinkedIn was designed to be.
Burda recommends everyone get on LinkedIn — and feel free to ask him for help.
"If you’re a barber or car technician or painter, you can [increase] the visibility of your business or service, the credibility of your business or service, and finally, that leads to profitability," Burda says. "A lot of talented people out there are good at what they do, but they don’t know where to start. That’s where I come in as a social media consultant; I help out people."