Reid Hoffman strongly believes that knowledge sharing through professional networks is one of the best ways of learning. This belief resulted in starting of LinkedIn. Under the strong leadership and vision of Hoffman, the company spread its wings and is serving more than 100 million users (44 million from U.S and 56 million from outside U.S), with the help of 1,700 employees, across 200 countries around the world, with a market capitalization of about 7.9 billion dollars as of now. The revenue comes from diversified areas of operations such as subscriptions, advertising, and software licensing. The company went public 8 months ago and the stock price of the company nearly doubled.
This fastest growing revolutionary professional networking site allows its registered members to create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients. Your professional network is how you stay competitive as a professional: sharing tips on work practices, benchmarks and key tools. Your professional network is how you stay up to date on your industry: key trends, information and transformations. Your professional network is how you get the best opportunities: a job, a client, a consulting contract, or other business connections. LinkedIn helps you collaborate with your network on productivity, information and success. LinkedIn differs from other fun based social networking sites, as it takes control of your economic destiny and improves the way you operate as a professional and how you can develop a competitive advantage. These are fundamentals for achieving quality of life.
Individuals can create their own professional profile that can be viewed by others in their network, and view the profiles of their own contacts thus changing the lives of millions of people. This was all possible due to the envisioned dream of an entrepreneur to connect millions of people to share professional knowledge. Reid Hoffman stands exemplary and inspires many upcoming entrepreneurs. LinkedIn winning two Webby awards in 2007 for services and social networking is a milestone of Reid’s success as an entrepreneur.
On philanthropic front, Hoffman serves on the boards of social organizations, Kiva.org, micro-lending platform, hybrid infrastructure organizations such as Mozilla or Creative Commons and Endeavor Global, an international non-profit development organization that finds and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
Educational and Career Outlook
Before finding LinkedIn, Little Reid was a Californian kid who was fond of playing games. In spite of scoring B’s and C’s in middle school, Reid was a highly focused and bright kid. He attended his high school at “The Putney School”. Reid Hoffman graduated in symbolic systems, the study of relationship between computing and human intelligence, with distinction, in 1990, from Stanford University. Reid took his masters in Philosophy in the year 1993 from Oxford University and he was winner of Marshall Scholarship.
Reid Hoffman’s graduation from Stanford in 1990
After his Masters, Reid had a gut feeling that “Social Media” going to be monumental in future as many social networks including gaming companies had social media as their soul for operations. As a part of his checklist to start, he joined in Apple and kick started his career as a pure software developer. Later he went to Fujitsu for product management and the business side.
In the summer months of 1997, he forayed into social media by starting a company called “Social Net”, which mainly laid its focus on online dating and matching up people with similar interests, but ended up as a flop company.
By the flop of Social Net, Reid was a bit frustrated. However, soon he realized that a product or a service should have a potential to touch millions of people. With the lesson learnt, Reid left Social Net in 1999 and joined Mr.Thiel at PayPal. Thiel was also co-student and his friend at Stanford. At that point of time, PayPal was struggling through many challenges regarding Visa and Master Cards. Reid Hoffman took up the responsibility of Executive Vice President of PayPal and turned around the company. His key role was to manage external relations of the company. He was jam packed with meetings to manage all business relationships such as business development, corporate development, international, government relations, and banking/payments infrastructure etc. He managed to convince and persuade credit card companies and regulators. He evolved as a strong and higher order strategist and a great connector at PayPal. PayPal survived and went public in 2002, making Reid and many of his colleagues multimillionaires. During his stance at PayPal, Hoffman was instrumental in acquisition by eBay and was responsible partnerships with Intuit, Visa, MasterCard and Wells Fargo.
Reid Hoffman and his PayPal counterparts make millions selling to eBay in 2002
Reid started LinkedIn in 2003 and in spite of boom in social networking, at the beginning, it was not very clear that LinkedIn would survive. The response for the first year was dismal. At that time, Friendster was the most popular social network and LinkedIn was the first of the kind of site based on business and professional connections and looked faded. Reid steered the company towards profits with unwaivered determination after a long struggle of 5 years. Sequoia Capital, an early backer of Google, invested $4.7 million in LinkedIn in the year 2003 and one of its partners, Mark Kvamme, joined the board of LinkedIn.
Things took different turns, Kvamme and Reid had some debate of thoughts and relationships got disturbed. Reid was a person who was least bothered about corporate spending and margins and viewed the world in a broader perspective.
In 2008, as the economy of the world was badly affected, more people joined LinkedIn for its premium job and recruiting services. Mr. Hoffman led the company as the Executive Chairman and focused on his strengths like product and high-level strategy. It also helped him to accept a job at Greylock. Even today, Reid invests his time between Greylock’s offices on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California and LinkedIn’s headquarters at Mountain View.
He feels that a new Web is stirring and social media redefined the Internet and there is another paradigm shift. Hoffman believes that 21st century would be pivotal on data and works on manipulating data in various interesting ways and mostly invests in data-driven companies. LinkedIn, too, has been trying to leverage the data on its site by, for example, making it more searchable, data-intensive, straightforward and useful.
Reid joined Greylock Partners in 2009. His areas of focus include consumer Internet, enterprise 2.0, mobile, social gaming, online marketplaces, payments and social networks. Reid is passionate to work with products that can reach hundreds of millions of participants and businesses that have network effects. Reid also has held management roles in significant technology companies, including Fujitsu Software Corporation and Apple. In addition to LinkedIn, Reid serves on the Board of Directors for SixApart, Kiva.org, and Mozilla Corporation.
|More about Reid Hoffman|
August 5, 1967(age 44)
Stanford, California, U.S.
|Country of Citizenship||United States|
|Alma mater||Stanford University, B.S|
degree in Symbolic Systems
Oxford University, Masters
|Occupation||Entrepreneur and investor|
|Young Reid with his Father|
The great American entrepreneur and venture capitalist was born in Stanford, California, on August 5, 1967. He was brought up in Berkeley, California. Reid’s father, William Hoffman, recalls that he used to read a book for young Reid during bedtime, when he was five and whenever he picked the book, the bookmark moved further and further ahead faster.
Reid had a great obsession and indulgence for games; specifically he was fascinated with multiplayer game mechanics and the way that social systems come together. Young Reid at the age of 12, arrived unannounced one Friday at offices of Chaosium, the game maker behind RuneQuest, the fantasy role-playing game first published in 1978. He marked his suggestions in the game manual with red ink and put it in the hands of game developer. The man who went through the suggestions of young Reid was impressed and asked him if he wants to do anything else. Reid told he wanted to work and reported at work the immediate Monday and received his first paycheck of $127, a few weeks later.
Awards and Honors
Reid Hoffman deserves to be honored for bringing perfect blend of talents and vision to Silicon Valley and the world of the internet, creating off-the-charts success.
|Reid Hoffman has been named, the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year 2011.|
|Reid Hoffman receives VC Taskforce’s 2011 Innovation Catalyst Award.|
|The 2011 Endeavor Gala honored Reid Hoffman, Founder & Chairman, LinkedIn, for|
| ||his high-impact entrepreneurship.|
|In 2010, Reid was the recipient of an SD Forum Visionary Award.|
|In 2010, Reid was named, a Henry Crown Fellow by The Aspen Institute.|
|Tech America’s highest award, the David Packard Medal of Achievement, named|
| ||Reid Hoffman as Entrepreneur of the year for 2010.|
Reid Hoffman’s ten rules of Entrepreneurship
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman spells some golden words about how entrepreneurs can “invent the future”. He tells the 10 commandments of entrepreneurship, which may have a little change according to the change in time and technology, at present these rules hold good for entrepreneurs.
Try to create “disruptive change”
“It’s got to be something that changes an industry.” As one rule-of-thumb on how to judge whether your idea is disruptive enough, Hoffman said it should take $10 revenue and replace it with $1 of revenue, because that’s creating opportunities for new ecosystems.
Hoffman argued that it usually takes the same amount of work to run a small company as it does a big company (except that if you sell the small company early, the work ends sooner). With that in mind, he said entrepreneurs try to build big companies that revolutionize their industry rather than create a startup they “flip” after a couple of years.
Build a network to amplify your company
That network includes investors, advisors, employees, customers, and others.
“Plan for good luck”
Sometimes entrepreneurs are surprised when something good happens, and they must take advantage of it by changing their plans. For example, he noted that PayPal (where he worked) started as an encryption product on mobile phones and then pivoted to a number of other products before the founders noticed that it was being widely used at eBay. At first, the team wondered, “Why are these eBay people using us? This is terrible,” then they realized that PayPal could become a payment tool for online merchants.
“Maintain flexible persistence”
“The art is knowing when to be persistent and when to be flexible and how to blend them.”
“Launch early enough that you’re embarrassed by your 1.0 product release.”
Hoffman said that “unless you’re Steve Jobs,” entrepreneurs are probably at least partially wrong about their product, and they won’t find out what they’re wrong about until people are using it. He added that when he launched LinkedIn, his co-founders wanted to wait until they launched the “contact finder” feature, but it turns out that wasn’t necessary. LinkedIn still hasn’t added that feature eight years later.
“Always keep your aspirations and aim high, but don’t drink your own Kool Aid.”
“Having a great idea for a product is important, but having a great idea for product distribution is even more important.”
“Pay attention to your culture and your hires from the very beginning.”
“These rules of entrepreneurship are not laws of nature. You can break them.” -After all, the nature of entrepreneurship is that you’re doing something for the first time.
Inspiring quotes by Reid Hoffman
|“People will be discovering that the Internet helps their career. One of my theses is that every individual is now a small business; how you manage, your own personal career is the exact way you manage a small business. Your brand matters. That is how LinkedIn operate”|
|“Try to get as much intelligence as you can from your network on both the entrepreneurial process and the specifics of the business that you're thinking about. The network is not just the people you know -- it's whom your network knows. Iterate constantly”|
|“Entrepreneurship and innovation is how we change the world”|
|“A networker likes to meet people. I don't. I like accomplishing things in the world. You meet people when you want to accomplish something”|
|“Entrepreneurship is throwing yourself off a cliff and building a plane on the way down”|
|“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”|
|“Be persistent and hang on to your vision. And at the same time, be flexible”|
|“The value of being connected and transparent is so high that the road bumps of privacy issues are much lower in actual experience than people’s fears”|
Hope viewer’s caught up spark…