Born August 5, 1967, Reid Hoffman is an American public speaker, entrepreneur, podcaster, author, and venture capitalist. Most know Hoffman as the co-founder of LinkedIn, but the billionaire was also involved at PayPal in the early days and is a current partner at VC firm Greylock Partners.
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Hoffman attended Stanford University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science in 1990.
He later earned a Master of Studies in Philosophy from Wolfson College, Oxford, in 1993.
Hoffman initially wanted to impact the world on an appreciable scale and planned to become a public intellectual and professor once he graduated.
However, he soon realized that he could make a greater impact as a businessman than he could as an academic.
Determined to pursue a career in business, Hoffman joined Apple in 1994 and worked on an early service called eWorld which offered email, news, software, and a bulletin board system.
After a brief stint at Fujitsu, he then founded the online dating turned social and professional networking platform SocialNet.com in 1997.
Hoffman also sat on the board of directors of PayPal in the late 1990s and joined the company in a full-time capacity as COO in 2000 after leaving SocialNet.com.
Two years later, Hoffman became PayPal’s vice president and was praised for his ability to compete successfully in what was an extremely crowded market.
Thiel also noted that Hoffman “was the firefighter-in-chief at PayPal. Though that diminishes his role because there were many, many fires.” This role encompassed responsibility for payments infrastructure, business development, government, and legal.
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Importantly, Hoffman had learned from his past failure with SocialNet.com where the platform had tried to do too much:
“One of the things I learned from the whole experience, was that you should focus on one domain that really matters to people and just do that really well.”
More or less after the sale of PayPal to eBay, Hoffman started on a journey that would see him become one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific and successful angel investors.
He joined VC firm Greylock Partners in 2010 and made an early investment in Airbnb.
Since that time, Hoffman has also invested in Flickr, Edmodo, Helion Energy, Aurora, Blockstream, and Coda, among many others.
Speaking and writing
Hoffman has not completely abandoned his interest in being a public intellectual.
He has spoken at TED conferences and Accelerate Good Global – an event uniting tech non-profit entrepreneurs.
He also works as a lecturer at Stanford University, Oxford University, MIT Media Lab, and Harvard University.
In terms of writing, Hoffman has written various posts as a “LinkedIn influencer” with one example an essay advocating for a new way to credential university students.
- Born August 5, 1967, Reid Hoffman is an American public speaker, entrepreneur, podcaster, author, and venture capitalist.
- Hoffman initially wanted to make a sizeable impact on the world and planned to become a public intellectual and professor once he graduated from Stanford University. However, he soon realized that he could make a greater impact as a businessman.
- Hoffman learned from his failures at SocialNet.com when he founded LinkedIn in 2002 with some of his former employees from that platform and also from PayPal. Since then, he has become a prolific angel investor and has not abandoned his passion for speaking and writing on meaningful topics.
Reid Hoffman: Co-founder of LinkedIn and Serial Entrepreneur
- Introduction: Reid Hoffman, born on August 5, 1967, is an American entrepreneur, author, venture capitalist, and public speaker.
- Education: Hoffman graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science in 1990. He later earned a Master of Studies in Philosophy from Oxford University and an MBA from Stanford.
- Early Career: After working at Apple on the eWorld project, he co-founded the online dating and networking platform SocialNet.com. Despite its failure, Hoffman’s experiences shaped his future successes.
- PayPal: Hoffman joined PayPal as COO and played a significant role in managing various aspects of the company’s growth, including payments infrastructure and legal matters.
- LinkedIn: Co-founded LinkedIn in 2002, focusing on building a platform that excelled in a specific domain. The platform’s growth was steady, and it reached millions of users within a few years.
- Angel Investing: After PayPal’s acquisition by eBay, Hoffman became a prolific angel investor, making early investments in companies like Airbnb, Flickr, and more.
- Venture Capital: He joined VC firm Greylock Partners and continued his successful investment career, leveraging his insights and network.
- Speaking and Writing: Hoffman remained involved in public intellectual endeavors. He delivered talks at events like TED and Accelerate Good Global and lectured at prestigious universities. He also co-authored books like “The Alliance,” “Masters of Scale,” and “Blitzscaling.”
- Blitzscaling: “Blitzscaling,” co-authored by Hoffman, presents a concept focused on rapid growth to outpace competitors, emphasizing speed over efficiency.
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