While thinking of a subject for this post, there are literally hundreds of subjects to choose from in the area of social media where it benefits Bloggers. However, I can only think of three that have a “killer app” kind of impact on the Blogger’s destiny. I would venture to guess that Twitter is one, with MySpace and Linkedin as the others. I have covered the founders of Twitter and Facebook; now meet Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn.
Hoffman was born in Stanford, California, and grew up in Berkeley, California. He attended high school at The Putney School. He graduated from Stanford University (where he won a Marshall Scholarship and a Dinkelspiel Award) with a bachelor’s degree in symbolic systems, and from Oxford University with a master’s degree in philosophy.
Hoffman says he saw academia as an opportunity to make an “impact”, but later realized that an entrepreneurial career would provide him with a bigger platform. “When I graduated from Stanford my plan was to become a professor and public intellectual. That is not about quoting Kant. It’s about holding up a lens to society and asking ‘who are we?’ and ‘who should we be, as individuals and a society?’ But I realized academics write books that 50 or 60 people read and I wanted more impact.”
His first job was a summer internship with Inglenook, a Napa Valley winery. After working at Apple Computer and Fujitsu, Hoffman co-founded his first company, SocialNet.com. While at Socialnet, Hoffman was a member of the board of directors at the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service, and later joined the firm as a full-time employee. At the time of PayPal’s acquisition by eBay in 2002, he was Executive Vice President of PayPal in charge of business and corporate development. His entire professional career can be found on his LinkedIn profile.
Reid was LinkedIn’s founding CEO for the first four years before moving to his role as Chairman and President of Products in February 2007. LinkedIn is a business-oriented Internet-based social network service. He has been called the “most connected man in all of Silicon Valley”. He has strong relationships with many of the central players in Web 2.0, especially entrepreneurs, executives, and investors. He invented the term for his people as the new “Second Generation Web Entrepreneurs”. He leads as a board director of a variety of Silicon Valley businesses, mostly in the social network domain, including Mozilla, Burger King, Vendio, Six Apart, Kiva.org, Tagged, and Zynga. He is an investor in Facebook, IronPort, Flickr, Digg, Grockit, Ping.fm, Nanosolar, Care.com, Knewton, Kongregate, Last.fm, Zynga and several other firms. Reid is currently executive chairman of Linkedin and partner at Greylock Partners.
He currently lives in Silicon Valley, California with his wife.