Reid Hoffman believes that LinkedIn will determine everyone’s economic future. Is he right? Nicholas Lemann investigates.
Early on a Monday evening in June, Reid Hoffman, the founder and executive chairman of the business-oriented networking site LinkedIn, met Mark Pincus, the founder and chief executive of the gaming site Zynga, for dinner at a casual restaurant in Portola Valley, California, a wealthy residential town at the western edge of Silicon Valley. Breakfasts and dinners are a big part of Hoffman’s life. He recently published two books on how to be successful in business, and is finishing a third, whose working title is “Blitzscaling.” His business is based on the idea of managing your career through relentless networking, which is something he enjoys.
If someone told you that Hoffman was the equipment manager for a Pearl Jam tour, it wouldn’t seem like a casting error. He is a big, broad-faced man with tousled brown hair, who typically dresses for work in black shorts, a black T-shirt, running shoes, and white socks. He befriended Pincus about twenty years ago, when the two met in the Bay Area to discuss business ideas, and discovered that they both believed that social media would be the next big thing in Silicon Valley. At dinner, Hoffman was wearing two watches, one on each wrist—an Apple Watch and a competing product—so he could see which one he liked better. He bustled in a few minutes late, sat down, and pulled out a small notebook filled with an indecipherable scrawl.
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Via Marc Kneepkens