We have all heard of FaceBook, but have you ever heard of Socialnet.com?
I wouldn’t think so since the company started in the 90s before FaceBook even started in 2004. Reid Hoffman was one of the developers that helped create the first social network (kind of).
Hoffman was on NPR’s How I Built This in January. He had a story unlike anyone else. The 50-year-old is now a board member of some big companies including AirBnB and Microsoft. From going to being a developer for a dating site, he developed the professional social network of LinkedIn.
Hoffman wanted to create a site that would change and evolve human existence. He realized for working with Apple in the 90s, that he soon enough, everything would turn to the internet and digital platforms. So, with the knowledge from his dating website catastrophe, he followed his old business plan to start something that would be useful years to come.
Knowing he an idea in his head, first he needed enough money to support himself, so for a few years of working with PayPal with their start-up and making some cash after selling to eBay for a billion and half, he thought now would be the perfect time to try his business. At this point he was around 30-years-old and wasn’t feeling super comfortable financially. He raised enough money to create LinkedIn, making him the new CEO.
He followed his business plan for the socialnet, but with a completely different target group for professionals. After years, he noticed that everyone was going to start turning to real names and official profiles on the web. Friendster had the social aspect, but what about something professional? It was the perfect formula for long-term success.
Hoffman rolled with it, he was doubted by some of his “smartest” friends, and still worked as an angel investor and advisor for other companies on the side. Working both jobs, was a bit overwhelming, but Reid said he enjoyed the idea of always being behind.
He developed the a platform so professionals could recruit, find jobs, start companies, make sales, connect people through business. Success. After all the doubting, he created one of the professional social networks we use today. It might not be as glamorous as FaceBook, but it is enduring. It will live on for as long as we have open jobs, which, hopefully will live on forever.
Reid sold LinkedIn to Microsoft for 26.2 billion dollars. He know writes books, is a board member to multiple companies, and is only 50-years-old. Reminds me of another SpartansInnovate all-star, Peter Shankman.
Imagine if these guys sat down and had a coffee, man would that be a combo.