REID HOFFMAN: 20 FUN FACTS

1) When Hoffman was 14, tired of his local school, he took a stand for himself and decided to apply to a private high school called the Putney School to study epistemology. He did not tell his parents until he was accepted. “When I got in, I persuaded them to send me. I was directed. I remember sketching out when I was 12 a plan to change the world…” He collected maple syrup and herded oxen on the school’s dairy farm, which all students worked on before graduating.

2) Hoffman is the Chairman and President of LinkedIn, a business oriented social network. As of January 2013, the website has over 200 million users in over 200 countries. It is a very fast growing network, with an approximated new user rate of 2 members every second.

3) Reid Hoffman initiated the business dealings between Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder of Facebook, and Hoffman’s friend, Peter Thiel. The meeting led to a Facebook investment of US$ 500,000 by Thiel.

4) Since Hoffman was a young boy, he has always planned to find a way to change the world. Hoffman, with a group of others, organizes “The Weekend to be Named Later”. This is a group of intellectuals who get together solely to think about positive ways to bring change to the world.

5) Hoffman did not begin his studies thinking about entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs usually do not. He wanted to become a philosopher, and had won a scholarship to study philosophy at Oxford University. Once he started though, he realized that was not going to work. He decided to become a software entrepreneur.

6) Hoffman’s projects work towards a certain goal. He says that he wants people to “think about our lives as entrepreneurs… People sometimes think it’s morally wrong to talk about investing in themselves.” Which he finds absurd. “In a flatter world with more competition, how do you succeed?”

7) Hoffman co-wrote the 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 in February of 2012, and as of September 2012, it has sold more than 100,000 copies. Hoffman’s book also became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

8) Much of the work Hoffman is doing is philanthropic. The programs he creates and works on are part of his mission to make a “positive and lasting impact on the world.” He is part of Kiva.org, a micro financing organization, and Endeavor Global, a non-profit organization that seeks out budding entrepreneurs from all over the world and helps support them.

9) Everyone needs to relax once in a while. Hoffman loves board games; in particular, a game called Settlers of Catan is his favorite. He loves playing it because he says that the game involves techniques that are related to managing a business. “I think it’s a game that most approximates entrepreneurship.”

10) Hoffman has an odd, but effective technique he uses when he is interviewing executives. He has them write their obituary, what they want to be known for when they die. He says that he wants the executives working for his company to be focused on the bigger picture, what they want to accomplish over a lifetime, not just what they want to accomplish during their time with the company.

11) Hoffman uses very large monitors. He says that this helps him see his ideas more clearly all together and helps him get his work done more effectively. “I’ve always been a fan of using very big monitors, because I write an outline and then I write the thing next to it, and I write really quickly.”

12) With time spent travelling between two cities for work, Hoffman has little time to spend with his wife Michelle Yee. He schedules time at night and on weekends and makes a point to relax. He watches movies, reads books, or just spends the time with his wife. “Saturday night is our date night.”

13) Reid Hoffman cannot help but think of new ways to innovate companies. When he was asked how he would fix Yahoo, the billionaire was ready with answers. He said that he would focus Yahoo’s resources on creating something new. Hoffman believes the company has all that is needed for it to continue to succeed, (recognition, traffic, assets) but needs to begin focusing on creating new products.

14) Hoffman is quite the technologically savvy man, and has just as recently as 2011, become a billionaire. However, unlike many billionaires today, he does not have a yacht or a collection of expensive cars. He lives in a simple four-bedroom house in Silicon Valley, where many other intellectuals have also taken up residence.

15) Hoffman for some time drove the same Acura he bought more than ten years ago. He has been quite successful at making money, but he is indifferent to the monetary success. He more recently invested in an Audi S7, stating “The S7 would be the most extravagant purchase I’ve made for myself.”

16) Everyone has their weaknesses, even Reid Hoffman. But they aren’t what you would usually expect from a billionaire. He loves to eat out at exquisite places, and is known to collect the latest electronic devices and owns 5 cell phones.

17) Not so surprising is Hoffman’s friendship with Mark Zuckerberg, one of the co-founders of Facebook. “I know Zuck,” he says, “and I know he’s trustworthy and has no nefarious intent.” Their friendship began in 2004, when Hoffman became quite interested in Facebook.

18) Reid’s childhood was quite interesting. His parents were young when they had him, and he “thought of myself as someone who hangs with the adults.” When he was a baby, his parents attended tear gas demonstrations to which they brought him with them.

19) Hoffman and his wife Michelle have decided not to have children. Hoffman says that due to his heavy workload, he wouldn’t be able to commit to his children. “I couldn’t do this if I had children.” Michelle Yee works in health care and is part of several organizations.

20) Hoffman’s friend, Peter Thiel, is trying to help Hoffman lose weight. Thiel says that Hoffman spends too much time working, and has “definitely neglected himself.” Thiel, with a few other friends organized a personal trainer for Hoffman, which helped a little. Hoffman himself is now trying to opt for healthier options when it comes to diet. But, as he likes to say, “The point of life is sometimes to spoil yourself.”

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