incentive2innovate – Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

by Braden Kelley

Day two at the incentive2innovate conference at the United Nations featured a keynote by Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn.

Reid Hoffman took the stage and began by speaking about how individiduals are now small businesses, before moving on to discuss how the venture capital industry started in Boston but has been eclipsed by Silicon Valley. Proliferation of open networks in the valley are the reason. Collaboration has driven the success of Silicon Valley, not just physical proximity – other locales have been more controlling of information.

Reid talked about how often entrepreneurs don’t want to tell anyone about their idea. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a great idea, then identify the right people to talk with about your “secret” idea and spill the beans. You will get lots of useful feedback more often than competition. Fail fast!

On the topic of social networks, Reid Hoffman talked about how 2/3 of his network thought he was crazy when he pitched LinkedIn, but he persisted anyways. Reid doesn’t think that LinkedIn and Facebook compete today, and that Twitter and Facebook aren’t directly competitive either – Twitter does universal sharing and Facebook does limited sharing. One of the best quotes of the talk was:

“MySpace is the bar. Facebook is the backyard BBQ. LinkedIn is the office.”

Reid Hoffman’s final major point was that we still penalize people for failure when we need to let people say – “No I learned and now I’m ready to play again.”

What do you think?

Braden Kelley (@innovate on Twitter)

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