Reid Hoffman’s career path has taken him from making video games to operating one of, if not the most well-known, online money transfer services to creating a social network that Microsoft paid an absurd amount of money for.
With over 900 million users worldwide as of 2023, the social network for business people, created in 2006, continues to break records, while its executive chairman and co-founder, computer geek and public speaker Reid Garret Hoffman, continues to string together corporate triumphs.
In 2022, LinkedIn reported $14.5 billion in revenue annually. The 55-year-old Palo Alto, California, businessman has spent nearly his entire life pursuing his job, and today he is worth little over $2.4 billion.
LinkedIn, its most notable accomplishment, has 900 million users and is adding 3 more every minute.
Hoffman today holds a highly prestigious position at Microsoft and serves on its board of directors owing to LinkedIn, but as a partner at Greylock Partners, he spends the most of his time working in the venture capital industry.
But, his career actually started much earlier.
Hoffman prefers to identify as a serious tRPG game enthusiast.
His first position was with the nearby parent’s house-based manufacturer of board and tabletop games, Chaosium.
He was an editor at Chaosium, where he helped create the 1982 Borderlands expansion for the immensely famous RuneQuest game.
Hoffman claims that for his work on the game, along with developers Greg Stafford, Sandy Petersen, and Steve Perrin, he received the same compensation.
“I was ten years old when my nanny introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons and it carries me to this day. I still play when I find time,” Hoffman revealed on his Succes – How I Did It? podcast.
He claimed that he would spend days and days designing characters, story, strategies, and everything that makes D&D so addictive.
“Later, all that helped me a lot because I knew how to think in certain situations and it would be easier for me to find my way in the business world. Because, in order to be as good as possible in Dungeons & Dragons, I had to study all the complex rules of the game, which helped me find the best possible way to progress in the game,” explained the founder of LinkedIn.
He went so far in his research and analysis that even at the age of 12, he was able to establish himself as an authority on D&D.
He was so knowledgeable that he identified flaws and weaknesses in the game that needed to be fixed. He did the same with other games he worked on, and anytime he found problems, he wrote to the game’s designers to let them know.
He would receive responses, and some would seek him out to advise. Following that, things proceeded logically, Hoffman was able to capitalize on his skills, and the field he found himself in was concerned with business tactics, hiring workers, and finding jobs.
He got the Dinkelspiel Prize and the Marshall Scholarship before graduating from Stanford in 1990.
He earned degrees in symbolic systems and cognitive science before attending Wolfson College in Oxford and earning a master’s in philosophy there in 1993.
The majority of Reid Hoffman’s career may be found in his biography and on his official website, ReidHoffman.org, although the entrepreneur views changing the world as well as making money to be his life’s work.
He apparently planned to spend all of his time on intellectual pursuits at first, but he recognized that few people would read dense books and that he would reach many more people if he pursued business, which is exactly what he did.
During an internship at Inglenook Vineyards, he worked on Apple Computer’s early iteration of the social network named eWorld, which was bought by AOL in 1996.
He then joined the company in 1994. He started his first business, SocialNet.com, in 1997. He described it as a dating service “for folks like golfers who were seeking for partners in the area.”
His first significant endeavor was PayPal, a business that still exists today and will make a significant impact on the digital economy.
Hoffman joined the board of directors of PayPal while it was being founded while working at SocialNet, and he departed the company in 2000.
His coworkers said that after it, he rose to become PayPal’s primary manager and “had to battle for every potential advantage, becoming an expert in functioning in an extremely competitive atmosphere.”
According to his then-boss Peter Thiel, “there were a lot of fires to put out” when he was in control of PayPal’s negotiating team, development, government communications, and legal departments as a result.
Hoffman served as PayPal’s vice president at the time eBay acquired PayPal for an astounding $1.5 billion in 2002.
With the aid of two SocialNet coworkers, including Allan Blue, a former classmate from college and coworker at Fujitsu, Hoffman developed LinkedIn in December 2002.
One of the earliest social networks focused on entrepreneurs, the business launched on May 5, 2003.
Colleagues from PayPal Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois made the decision to invest in LinkedIn, and under Hoffman’s direction, the network acquired more than 322 million users from more than 200 countries by 2014.
The new social platform made the decision to disprove them rather than succumb to the pressure of faithless masses.
Very fast, the idea that creating a LinkedIn profile is standard procedure and that anyone who participates in the job market without one is almost odd took hold.
The platform’s usefulness and success, particularly during and after the epidemic, are undeniable, despite the fact that it was unable to escape the current turmoil in the technology sector and that it also announced layoffs.
Every day, 4,500 job listings are published on it, and eight new positions are posted every minute. He served as LinkedIn’s CEO for four years before taking on the roles of president and president of products in 2007.
He was appointed CEO in 2009, and as of 2011, he had a $2.34 billion interest in the business, exclusive of any compensation from Greylock Partners, with whom he has been associated since 2009.
Hoffman claims that despite the social network’s popularity, many people still don’t know how to use it and that LinkedIn can help them.
Hoffman stated in an interview that “everyone has to think proactively about how to use a tool that allows a new way of moving, which for many people is quite difficult.”
Regardless of what customers felt, Hoffman was named Microsoft’s president a year after the firm was acquired by the software giant for $26.2 billion in 2016.
Hoffman was the company’s innovative leader and had immediately gained Microsoft’s attention.
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Last year, it brought in more than $14 billion, more than four times what it did in 2016, the year Microsoft acquired the platform.
This year, LinkedIn becomes twenty years old, and nobody is placing bets against it right now.
Hoffman continued to invest in Greylock Partners and today oversees their Discovery Fund because he felt that a position in a well-known and aggressive technological business was insufficient for him.
Hoffman, therefore, discovered himself in excellent company and was able to continue accumulating wealth unhindered with the aid of current and former colleagues.
For this reason, the former PayPal executives who now significantly influence the growth of the global technology industry are frequently referred to as the PayPal mafia.
Hoffman made time to share his personal philosophy of living with others despite all the celebrity and wealth he acquired over his career.
He had the notion when he was still in school to try to change the world, and he finally did.
As is common with millionaires today, many are curious to learn the secret of his success, which has allowed him to earn additional money and gain fame through a number of books that have been published as well as numerous speeches he has given at symposiums like the XPrize Foundation conference, Fast Forward’s Accelerate Good Global, and many others.
He is also a prolific writer and has published various posts on LinkedIn as a “LinkedIn Influencer”.
He also wrote several articles in the Washington Post. In 2012, he published the career book ‘Powered by You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself and Transform Your Career’, with co-author Ben Casnocha.
It received positive reviews from critics, and became a “New York Times” and “Wall Street Journal” bestseller. He has written another book “Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age” with Ben Casnoch and Chris Yeh published in 2014.
In the book, the authors discuss how companies and employees can work together toward common goals, even when their interests differ, and build long-term relationships in today’s volatile economy.
And this became a bestseller. Moreover, Hoffman is a professor at Stanford, Harvard, MIT’s Media Lab, and other colleges.
He also occasionally makes TV appearances to share business advice with the general public.
The narrative of an entrepreneurial professor who founded a social network for business networking may be ended by his placement with some of the most successful representatives of the contemporary technology period with such wealth and a number of successful firms behind him.
In the end, it would appear that even in the technological age, a good friend is more valuable than money.
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