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Reid G. Hoffman, the LinkedIn Guy

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They come for his money, they come for his advices and yeah, they come for his connections. Meet The co-founder of LinkedIn Mr. Hoffman.

There is a fury of advise seekers which includes startups, decision makers to Hoffman for his advices and he does it all. He is the man that many internet entrepreneurs think of while dreaming what they want to be.

He has a full time job in GreyLock a venture capital firm and also some more work as he is donning the board of 8 other firms.

So what is it with Hoffman?

Like many successful internet entrepreneurs, Hoffman was a whiz kid in his early days. He had a distinct flair for video games.  He was never better than B’s or C’s in his school days, but his father has elaborated that he was exemplary in focus and determination as a 12 year old boy. Chaosium, a company behind the successful game RuneQuest had an unannounced visitor in 1978, a 12 year old boy in Hoffman. The boy handed over certain changes and issues to game makers which could improve the game. They asked him if he would love to do some work for them. In a month he received his first pay check of $127 which strengthen the belief in his father’s mind who was a real estate lawyer that  his son is something special. He then indulged his obsession for online games and did develop many a games and also played some part in development for few games.

1985, and he rolled into Stanford where he majored in symbolic systems. Unlike many successful entrepreneurs who were college dropped out, Hoffman completed his course with flair. In another interesting friendship story, he was befriend with Peter Theil (Does the name sound a bell?), The man who went onto form PayPal, one of the most prolific and extensively used money transfer techniques all over the world.

In 1990, Hoffman went to Oxford as a Marshall Scholar to pursue masters in Philosophy. He realized that a life as a professor will restrain his skills and it in many ways might just be the end of his pursue of ‘New Things’. Hoffman has said “When you write a scholarly work, it is understood by very few, but when you create something, it touches the lives of millions.”

In 1995, Netscape revolution changed the internet and Hoffman perceived that internet is going to be huge in coming days and so will be social network. In his huch to be the first in social networks, He launched his first venture in 1997 called the SocialNet. It was more like a match making site which brought closer the people with similar interests. For example golfers could find fellow golfers, Singles could find other singles. But that never went off the hook and  was a failed venture in all rights.

It was in 2002 that PayPal went public and he became millionaire, as the connector and high level strategist in PayPal.  He invested most of the sum to form a Solar panel company, and one of the firsts  in silicon velly named NanoSolar. It went onto become a Multibillion dollar enterprise.

Today LinkedIn has more than 1700 employees and more than 1.7 Million registered users. But it was a tough battle from the first day itself. It took nearly 5 years to get the first profit from the company. Sequoia Capital, who invested in early days of Google had invested $4.7Million to LinkedIn. But because it was very formal, not many people had voted for the longevity of the company or the website.

It was in 2008, when Jobs started getting drained up and economy was taking a dip, that linkedIn started seeing the surge due to it’s recruitment services.

He has now a new fascination. Its called ‘Data’. He believes that data services will be the most important stuff of the future. This is because the world will have so much data that it would need some extraordinary services to maintain that. He is investing smartly in various new companies who are data driven or are offering smart solutions in data services.

We wish Hoffman a great future with LinkedIn and with his new ventures.

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