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Reid Hoffman

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Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman
Hoffman in 2011
Born Reid Garrett Hoffman
(1967-08-05) August 5, 1967
Palo Alto, California, US
Residence Palo Alto, California, US
Alma mater Stanford University
Oxford University
Occupation Founder of LinkedIn
VC Partner at Greylock
Net worth $4.6 billion USD (March 2015)[1]
Website .org.reidhoffmanwww

Reid Garrett Hoffman[2] (born August 5, 1967) is an American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network used primarily for professional networking. Hoffman, with a net worth of US$4.7 billion, is ranked as #341 on the list of the world's richest people.[3]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
    • Early years 2.1
    • PayPal 2.2
    • LinkedIn 2.3
    • Investing 2.4
  • Public Intellectual Work 3
    • Speaking 3.1
    • Writing 3.2
    • The Start-Up of You 3.3
    • The Alliance 3.4
  • Honors and awards 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Philanthropy 6
  • Politics 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early life and education

Hoffman was born in Palo Alto, California, to Deanna Ruth (Rutter) and William Parker Hoffman, Jr., and grew up in Berkeley, California. His paternal great-great-great-grandfather was Theophilus Adam Wylie, a Christian Presbyterian minister and Indiana University president pro tempore.[4][5][6] Reid's uncle Eric Hoffman is a writer.[7][8] He attended high school at The Putney School,[9] where he farmed maple syrup, drove oxen and studied epistemology.[10] He graduated from Stanford University in 1990, where he won both a Marshall Scholarship and a Dinkelspiel Award, with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science.[11] He went on to earn an M.A. in Philosophy from Wolfson College, Oxford University in 1993 as a Marshall Scholar.


Early years

While in college, according to Hoffman, he formed a conviction that he wanted to try to influence the state of the world on a large scale.[10] He saw academia as an opportunity to make an "impact", but later realized that an entrepreneurial career would provide him with a larger 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 realised academics write books that 50 or 60 people read and I wanted more impact."[12]

With that in mind, Hoffman pursued a career in business and entrepreneurship. He joined Apple Computer in 1994, where he worked on eWorld, an early attempt at creating a social network. eWorld was acquired by AOL in 1996.[13] He later worked at Fujitsu before co-founding his first company - in 1997. It focused “on online dating and matching up people with similar interests, like golfers who were looking for partners in their neighborhood.”[14] Peter Thiel has said was “literally an idea before its time. It was a social network 7 or 8 years before that became a trend.”[13]


While at SocialNet, Hoffman was a member of the board of directors during the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service. In January 2000, he left SocialNet and joined PayPal full-time as the company's COO.[14] Allen Blue, whom Hoffman hired at PayPal, said that “PayPal had to scratch and claw for every advantage it had, and Reid became an expert at competing effectively in an extremely competitive environment."[13] Hoffman was responsible for all external relationships for PayPal, including payments infrastructure (VISA, MasterCard, ACH, WellsFargo), business development (eBay, Intuit, and others), government (regulatory, judicial), and legal. Peter Thiel, Hoffman's boss at PayPal, has said that Hoffman “ was the firefighter-in-chief at PayPal. Though that diminishes his role because there were many, many fires.”[14] At the time of PayPal's acquisition by eBay for $1.5B in 2002, he was executive vice president of PayPal.


Hoffman speaks at an event.

Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in December 2002 with two former colleagues from SocialNet (including Allen Blue), a former college classmate and a former colleague from his time at Fujitsu.[10] It launched on May 5, 2003, as one of the first business-oriented online social networks.[15] Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, colleagues of Hoffman's at PayPal, invested in LinkedIn.[10] As of November 2014, LinkedIn has over 332 million members in more than 200 countries and territories.[15] The site allows registered users to create professional profiles and connect with each other. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. According to Forbes, “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today."[16]

Hoffman was LinkedIn's founding CEO for the first four years before becoming chairman and President, Products in February 2007. He became Executive chairman in June 2009.[17] With the IPO of LinkedIn on May 19, 2011, Hoffman owns a stake worth an estimated $2.34 billion, not including any potential benefits from Greylock Partners, where he was named a Partner in 2009.[18] Hoffman believes that many people still do not know how to use its service and it is LinkedIn's job to help them out. In an interview, Hoffman said that “you have to think proactively about how to use a tool that enables your ability to move in ways that you weren’t able to move before, and most of people are not very good at that”.[19]


After the PayPal sale to eBay, Hoffman became one of Silicon Valley's most prolific and successful angel investors. According to venture capitalist David Sze, Hoffman "is arguably the most successful angel investor in the past decade."[20] Dave Goldberg, former CEO of SurveyMonkey, says that Hoffman “is the person you want to talk to when you are starting a company.”[13] In 2010 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners and runs their $20 million Discovery Fund.[21] His areas of focus at Greylock include consumer and services, enterprise software, consumer Internet, enterprise 2.0, mobile, social gaming, online marketplaces, payments, and social networks.[22]

According to David Kirkpatrick's book The Facebook Effect, Hoffman arranged the first meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, which led to Thiel's initial $500,000 angel investment in Facebook. Hoffman invested alongside Thiel in Facebook's very first financing round.[23][24]

Hoffman’s current investments include Airbnb, One Kings Lane, Swipely, Viki,, Edmodo, Wrapp, TrialPay, Xapo, and Talko.[25] Past investments include Flickr, Digg, shopkick, SixApart, Wikia, Permuto, thesixtyone, Tagged, IronPort,, Nanosolar,, Knewton, Kongregate,, Technetto, Vendio and VigLink.[25] He served on Zynga’s board of directors from March 2008 to June 2014, and on shopkick's board of directors from its foundation in July 2009 until its acquisition by SK Telecom in October 2014.

Public Intellectual Work


Hoffman has spoken at the XPrize Foundation's conference and the TED conference in Long Beach in 2012. He is a frequent lecturer at Stanford University, Oxford University, Harvard University, MIT's Media Lab, and others. He has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, Fareed Zakaria's Global Public Square on CNN and other current affairs television programs.


Hoffman has published a variety of posts as a “LinkedIn Influencer” on LinkedIn. He published an essay proposing a new form of credentialing for university students and professionals entitled “Disrupting the Diploma.”[26] On his personal website, he published “LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs,” in which he analyzed LinkedIn’s 2004 Series B venture funding pitch deck and offered advice to prospective entrepreneurs on how to formulate a pitch deck.[27]

Hoffman has also written op-eds in the Washington Post, including one published in 2009 entitled “Let Startups Bail Us Out”[28] encouraging funding for grassroots innovation in the wake of the financial crisis and another in June 2013 entitled “Immigration promotes entrepreneurship and prosperity” advocating for immigration reform.[29] He has written for Strategy+Business on professional networking and is an "Influencer" on LinkedIn where he posts original written content.[30][31]

The Start-Up of You

Hoffman is co-author, with Ben Casnocha, of the career book The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform your Career.[10]

The book was released in the United States on February 14, 2012. It argues that individuals should think of themselves as businesses-of-one – the “CEO of their own career” – and draws many parallels between lessons learned from the stories of successful Silicon Valley technology companies and an individual’s career.[32]

Publishers Weekly reviewed the book positively, saying, “with plenty of valuable guidance relevant to any career stage, this book will help readers not only survive professionally in times of uncertainty but stand out from the pack and flourish.”[33] The Economist said that “Hoffman and Casnocha make a number of astute observations about shifts in the world of work.”[34]

As of September 2012 it had sold more than 100,000 copies.[35] It became both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.[36][37] Business Insider republished visual summaries of The Start-Up of You, which have received over 13 million views.[38]

The Alliance

Hoffman is co-author, with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, of the management book The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.[39]

The book was released in the United States on July 8, 2014. It argues that previous career models of lifetime employment and free agency no longer work in a business world defined by continuous change. Instead, it proposes that employers and employees should think of each other as “allies” and move from a transactional approach to employment to a “relational” one. It proposes a new framework for managers and employers to organize their work, described as “tours of duty.” Further, it argues why managers should encourage their employees to gather “network intelligence” and why companies and managers should maintain a lifelong relationship with former employees via a corporate alumni network.[40]

The book became a New York Times bestseller.[41] Arianna Huffington named The Alliance “the must-read book of the summer” in 2014.[42]

Honors and awards

  • In September 2014, the Academy of Achievement awarded Hoffman with the annual Golden Plate award, which honors accomplished individuals “for significant achievement in their fields.”[43]
  • In April 2014, President Barack Obama named Hoffman as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship “to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.”[44]
  • In April 2014, Hoffman received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Commonwealth Club.[45]
  • In May 2012, Hoffman was ranked third on the Forbes Midas List of the top tech investors.[46] Forbes described Hoffman as “Silicon Valley's uber-investor” and said Hoffman “has had a hand in creating nearly every lucrative social media startup.”[46]
  • In 2012, Newsweek and The Daily Beast released their first "Digital Power Index," a list of the 100 most significant people in the digital world that year (plus 10 additional "Lifetime Achievement" winners), and Hoffman was ranked No. 3 in the "Angels" category.[47]
  • In 2012, Hoffman, along with Salman Khan of Khan Academy, was honored by the World Affairs Council and Global Philanthropy Forum in 2012. The council recognizes and honors remarkable leaders who have effected and will continue to effect social change through their private enterprise and social action. The awards in 2012 were dedicated to celebrating Technology for Social Impact.[48]
  • Hoffman was awarded the 2012 David Packard Medal of Achievement Award by TechAmerica for his contributions and advances within the high-tech industry, his community, and humankind.[49]
  • Hoffman received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Babson in 2012.[50]
  • In 2011, Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn shared the EY U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year Award.[51]
  • In 2010, Hoffman was named No. 17 on Fast Company 's list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.[52]

Personal life

In 2001, Hoffman married Michelle Yee. The couple has resided in Palo Alto, CA for 10 years.


  • LinkedIn management page including a brief biography of Hoffman
  • Hoffman's LinkedIn profile
  • Hoffman's LinkedIn Influencer posts
  • Podcast and videos of Reid Hoffman, speaking at Stanford University
  • The Start-Up of You book website
  • The Alliance book website
  • Hoffman’s Personal Web Site

External links

  1. ^ Forbes The World's billionaires: Reid Hoffman January 2015
  2. ^ Reid Garrett Hoffman. Quora. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  3. ^ Brian Solomon. "Reid Hoffman". Forbes. 
  4. ^ Louise Wylie Hoffman. (2013-10-15). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Wylie House Museum. (2010-11-16). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Los Altos Town Crier Staff. "LOUISE WYLIE HOFFMAN". 
  9. ^ Lacter, Mark (May 2009). "Reid Hoffman LinkedIn".  
  10. ^ a b c d e The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform your Career. New York:  
  11. ^ Reid G. Hoffman: Chairman and Co-Founder, LinkedIn Corporation. Bloomberg Business.
  12. ^ Cree, Richard (July 2009). "Well connected". Director magazine. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "Reid Hoffman Revealed: Bloomberg Gamechangers". Bloomberg Television. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c Rusli, Evelyn (November 5, 2011). "A King of Connections Is Tech's Go–To Guy". The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "LinkedIn: About". LinkedIn. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Your LinkedIn Intervention: 5 Changes You Must Make". Forbes. July 6, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  17. ^ "LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman". Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  18. ^ Levy, Ari (May 19, 2011). "LinkedIn's Biggest Backers Will Own $2.5 Billion Stake After Initial Sale". Bloomberg. 
  19. ^ "Fireside Chat With Reid Hoffman". August 2012. 
  20. ^ TechCrunch - The latest technology news and information on startups. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  21. ^ Greylock Gives Super Angel-Turned-VC Reid Hoffman A $20 Million Seed Fund. TechCrunch (2010-09-27). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  22. ^ "Endeavor's Board of Directors: Reid Hoffman". Endeavor Global. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  23. ^ The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World: David Kirkpatrick: 9781439102114: Books. Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  24. ^ Meet Facebook's (Soon-To-Be) Billionaires. Business Insider (2010-05-13). Retrieved on 2013-10-23.
  25. ^ a b "Reid Hoffman: Partner". Greylock Partners. Greylock Partners. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  26. ^ Hoffman, Reid. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  27. ^ Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  28. ^ Hoffman, Reid (March 3, 2009). "Let Start-Ups Bail Us Out". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  29. ^ Hoffman, Reid (June 28, 2013). "Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  30. ^ Hoffman, Reid. "Connections with integrity". Strategy + Business. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  31. ^ Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  32. ^ """LinkedIn co-founder on "The Start-Up of You. CBS News. 
  33. ^ "Nonfiction Review: The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Becoming a social worker: What finding jobs and founding businesses have in common". The Economist. April 7, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  35. ^ Takahashi, Dean. "'"Crunchfund founder quizzes Reid Hoffman about what it's like to be 'ridiculously wealthy. VentureBeat. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  36. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Best Sellers – The New York Times". New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended February 19". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Business Insider: Reid Hoffman". Business Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  39. ^ Hoffman, Reid (2014). The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.  
  40. ^ "The Alliance". The Alliance. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  41. ^ "New York Times: Best Sellers August 3, 2014". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  42. ^ Huffington, Arianna. "The Alliance: The Must-Read Book of the Summer That Could Change the Way We Work". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  43. ^ "2009-2014 Golden Plate Recipients". Academy of Achievement. Academy of Achievement. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  44. ^ "U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Inaugural Members of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship Initiative". United States Department of Commerce. United States Department of Commerce. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  45. ^ "111th Anniversary & 26th Annual Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner". Commonwealth Club. Commonwealth Club. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  46. ^ a b "Reid Hoffman – Forbes". Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  47. ^ "The Newsweek Daily Beast Digital Power Index". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  48. ^ "2012 Awards Dinner Technology for Social Impact". World Affairs Council. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  49. ^ Foremski, Tom (October 10, 2012). "LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman Awarded David Packard Lifetime Achievement Medal". Silicon Valley Watcher. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  50. ^ "Honorary Degree Candidates and Speakers". Babson. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  51. ^ "Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year". Ernst & Young. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  52. ^ "The 100 Most Creative People in Business 2010". Fast Company. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  53. ^ "About the Mozilla Corporation". Retrieved 204-03-28. 
  54. ^ "Reid Hoffman: Biography". MIT Media Lab. MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  55. ^ "Our supporters". Retrieved April 17, 2013. 
  56. ^ "MAYDAY.US - Our Top Sponsors". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  57. ^


In 2014 Hoffman contributed $500,000 toward David Chiu's State Assembly campaign by funding an independent expenditure committee devoted to negative campaigning against his opponent: San Franciscans to Hold Campos Accountable — Vote No for Campos for State Assembly 2014. [57]

In 2014, Hoffman donated $150,000 to the Mayday PAC[56]

In April 2013, a lobbying group called was launched, with Reid Hoffman listed as one of the founders.[55]



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