Reid Hoffman is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. He is most famous as the co-founder of the professional networking website, LinkedIn. Hoffman earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a masters degree from Oxford University. While pursuing the masters programme, Hoffman realised he wanted to do something that would positively change the world, instead of becoming a professor, which was his initial interest.
His first step towards a career in business and entrepreneurship was, when he tried his hand at creating an online social network called ‘eWorld’, while working at Apple Computers. Soon, he left Apple to join Fujitsu for a while, before co-founding his first company, SocialNet.com. This was mainly an online dating site, an idea perceived and executed ahead of its time and much before it became a trend. This project didn’t take off as expected. He left SocialNet.com and later joined PayPal, an electronic money transmission service. While at PayPal, he was involved in various activities like public relations, payment innovations, customer service, etc. and contributed extraordinarily to the growth of the company.
Hoffman realised that the same technology which was used in his earlier project, SocialNet.com, could be used in creating and building other kinds of relationships, such as business connections. This led to the creation of LinkedIn. In December 2002, Hoffman, along with two of his former colleagues, co-founded LinkedIn.
One of its kind, this online social network allows its registered users to create professional profiles and connect professionally with other users. Today, LinkedIn is used by over 500 million users, in more than 200 countries, and was bought over by Microsoft for a whopping 26.2 billion dollars. Apart from authoring two bestsellers, Hoffman is also involved in a lot of philanthropic work.