• Aug 5, 1967
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

An American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author, he, with a net worth of US$4.7 billion, is ranked as #341 on the list of the world's richest people. He is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network used primarily for professional networking. Currently living in San Francisco, California; he 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. His uncle Eric Hoffman is a writer. He attended high school at The Putney School, where he farmed maple syrup, drove oxen and studied epistemology. He graduated from Stanford University in 1990, where he won both a Marshall Scholarship and a Dinkelspiel Award, with a B.S. degree in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science. He went on to earn an M.A. degree in Philosophy from Wolfson College, Oxford University in 1993 as a Marshall Scholar. He has said that while in college, he formed a conviction to try to influence the state of the world on a large scale. He saw academia as an opportunity to make an "impact", but later realized that an entrepreneurial career would provide him with a larger platform. He is quoted as saying, "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." With that in mind, he 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. He later worked at Fujitsu before co-founding his first company - SocialNet.com in 1997. It focused “on online dating and matching up people with similar interests, such as golfers who were looking for partners in their neighborhood.” Peter Thiel has said SocialNet.com was, “literally an idea before its time. It was a social network 7 or 8 years before that became a trend.” While at SocialNet, he 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. Allen Blue, whom he hired at PayPal, said that, “PayPal had to scratch and claw for every advantage it had, and he became an expert at competing effectively in an extremely competitive environment." He was responsible for all external relationships for PayPal, including payments infrastructure (VISA, MasterCard, ACH, Wells Fargo), business development (eBay, Intuit, and others), government (regulatory, judicial), and legal. His boss at PayPal, Peter Thiel, has said that he, “was the firefighter-in-chief at PayPal; though that diminishes his role, because there were many, many fires.” At the time of PayPal's acquisition by eBay for $1.5B in 2002, he was Executive Vice President of PayPal. He 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. It launched on May 5, 2003, as one of the first business-oriented online social networks. Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, colleagues of his at PayPal, invested in LinkedIn. As of November 2014, LinkedIn has over 332 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. 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." He 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. With the IPO of LinkedIn on May 19, 2011, he 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. He 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, he 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 people are not very good at that”. After the PayPal sale to eBay, he became one of Silicon Valley's most prolific and successful angel investors. According to venture capitalist David Sze, he "is arguably the most successful angel investor in the past decade." Dave Goldberg, former CEO of SurveyMonkey, says that he, “is the person you want to talk to when you are starting a company.” In 2010 he joined Greylock Partners and runs their $20 million Discovery Fund. 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. According to David Kirkpatrick's book The Facebook Effect, he arranged the first meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, which led to Thiel's initial $500,000 angel investment in Facebook. He invested alongside Thiel in Facebook's very first financing round. His current investments include Airbnb, One Kings Lane, Swipely, Viki, Coupons.com, Edmodo, Wrapp, TrialPay, Xapo, and Talko. Past investments include Flickr, Digg, shopkick, SixApart, Wikia, Permuto, thesixtyone, Tagged, IronPort, Ping.fm, Nanosolar, Care.com, Knewton, Kongregate, Last.fm, Technetto, Vendio and VigLink. 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. He 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. He 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.” 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. In addition, he has written op-eds in the Washington Post, including one published in 2009 entitled, “Let Startups Bail Us Out” 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. He has written for Strategy+Business on professional networking and is an "Influencer" on LinkedIn where he posts original written content. He 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.” 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. 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.” The Economist said that, “Hoffman and Casnocha make a number of astute observations about shifts in the world of work.” As of September 2012 it had sold more than 100,000 copies. It became both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Business Insider republished visual summaries of The Start-Up of You, which have received over 13 million views. He is also co-author, with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, of the management book, “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.” 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. The book became a New York Times bestseller. Arianna Huffington named “The Alliance “ the “must-read book of the summer” in 2014. He is the recipient of several awards, the most recent of which are: the Academy of Achievement awarded him with the September 2014annual Golden Plate award, which honors accomplished individuals “for significant achievement in their fields.”; in April 2014, President Barack Obama named him as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship “to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs”; and the April 2014Distinguished Citizen Award from the Commonwealth Club. In 2012, he, 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 affected and will continue to affect social change through their private enterprise and social action. The awards in 2012 were dedicated to celebrating Technology for Social Impact. He 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. In 2011, he and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn shared the EY U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2010 he received an SD Forum Visionary Award and was named a Henry Crown Fellow by The Aspen Institute. In May 2012, he was ranked third on the Forbes Midas List of the top tech investors. Forbes described him as “Silicon Valley's uber-investor” and said “he has had a hand in creating nearly every lucrative social media startup.” 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 he was ranked No. 3 in the "Angels" category. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Babson in 2012. In 2010, he was named No. 17 on Fast Company 's list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn's CEO, has said, “Reid's true north is making a positive and lasting impact on the world, in a very profound way.” He serves on the boards of Kiva.org (peer-peer microlending pioneer that allows people to lend money via the internet to low-income/underserved entrepreneurs and students), Mozilla (creator of Firefox), Endeavor Global (an organization that finds and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets) and Do Something (an organization motivating young people to take action around social changes). Hoffman also serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab (an interdisciplinary research laboratory), and is a supporter and Chair of the Advisory Board for QuestBridge (a provider of talented low-income students to top colleges / universities).
  • Date of Birth:

    Aug 5, 1967
  • Noted For:

    Co-founder of LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network used primarily for professional networking
  • Category of Achievement:

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