Reid Hoffman Quotes

  1. The American people deserve to know what’s on Trump’s tax returns. And Trump must show that he truly embraces accountability and transparency and understands what it means to work on behalf of the public interest.
  2. As a child, I wondered often, ‘Why are we? What is the meaning of life?’ These questions made me realize that life is what has meaning – not just individual lives, but all of our lives.
  3. I do think there are some irreducible inefficiencies in government. But we still need to have government; we still need to make government effective if we can.
  4. It’s unprecedented in the post-World War II era to have the leader of Germany say, ‘Oh we can’t rely on America anymore.’
  5. What makes the meaning of life is people, so you try to be good to people immediately around you and in your broader community. So a lot of my projects are about how I can affect the world in the hundreds of millions.
  6. I’m a little unusual: I’m a six-person-or-less extrovert.
  7. Silicon Valley is a mindset, not a location.
  8. Our polling methodology has gotten outdated, and, in fact, it’s not really telling us what it needs to be telling us.
  9. The business of America is business, but it’s about high-integrity business. It’s about a business where you keep your word, where you make square deals.
  10. Some people mistake grit for sheer persistence – charging up the same hill again and again. But that’s not quite what I mean by the word ‘grit.’ You want to minimize friction and find the most effective, most efficient way forward. You might actually have more grit if you treat your energy as a precious commodity.
  11. I think I have a good track record, both in commercial investing and in philanthropic investing. I don’t have any interest in creating a named foundation; I have an interest in really good impact for capital. I think I’m pretty good at doing it, so I’m going to apply myself to doing it in my lifetime.
  12. Jeremy Stoppelman started Yelp. Max Levchin started Slide. I started LinkedIn. It was a mininova explosion of folks jumping out to doing other entrepreneurial activities.
  13. The best ideas make you want to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in the same breath.
  14. Observe, orient, decide, act. It’s fighter pilot terminology. If you have the faster OODA loop in a dogfight, you live. The other person dies. In Silicon Valley, the OODA loop of your decision-making is effectively what differentiates your ability to succeed.
  15. Zynga is about fun. Fun is important. Fun is good. And to have the ability to do something fun for 10 or 15 minutes that’s right at your fingertips and involves your friends, well, that’s better than television in terms of social connectivity.
  16. Entrepreneurs are like visionaries. One of the ways they run forward is by viewing the thing they’re doing as something that’s going to be the whole world.
  17. What happens during recessions, is you have less windfalls just helping you cover mistakes. You have to be more careful about not making mistakes.
  18. I usually allocate time each week to work on topics outside of the normal workflow. These topics can be multi-year strategies for work, theories of how the world is changing, or just something refreshingly different or new.
  19. For Trump, the reasons to release his tax returns have always been compelling. Doing so would show the American people he doesn’t just talk about accountability and transparency but also walks the walk.
  20. Everything in life has some risk, and what you have to actually learn to do is how to navigate it.
  21. You have to be constantly reinventing yourself and investing in the future.
  22. The reason the social-networking phenomenon is something that I invested in early and massively – I led the Series A financing for Friendster; I founded a company called Socialnet in 1997; I founded LinkedIn; and I was part of the first round of financing in Facebook – it sounds trivial, but people matter.
  23. Hard work isn’t enough. And more work is never the real answer. The sort of grit you need to scale a business is less reliant on brute force. It’s actually one part determination, one part ingenuity, and one part laziness.
  24. As a candidate, Trump could make outlandish statements with little regard for their Constitutional implications. As President, he is pledged to respect the Constitution’s authority, and the specific rights and protections it guarantees to every American citizen.
  25. Even by Silicon Valley standards, PayPal’s vision was massively ambitious.
  26. The key thing for me has always been how we realize the mission – enabling every professional in the world to change their own economic curve by the strength of their alliances and connections with other people.
  27. A startup, to a some degree, is a set of those challenges of, ‘If you don’t solve this, you’re dead.’
  28. Blitzscaling is always managerially inefficient – and it burns through a lot of capital quickly. But you have to be willing to take on these inefficiencies in order to scale up. That’s the opposite of what large organizations optimize for.
  29. Business is the systematic playing of games.
  30. When thinking about how to deploy kind of professional and social networking into your business, it’s really not a question of if – it’s a question of when.
  31. And people who take risk intelligently can usually actually make a lot more progress than people who don’t.
  32. To have your parents get divorced at a young age, there’s a lot of turbulence. We all grew up together, in some way. It was not idyllic. It was intense, vibrant, sometimes oppressive. I felt I was very much in a world of my own. I didn’t meld much in school. I was kind of a loner.
  33. One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it’s making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it’s the people who already have strong trust relationships with you, who know you’re dedicated, smart, a team player, who can help you.
  34. My belief and goal is that every professional in the world should be on a service liked LinkedIn.
  35. MySpace is like a bar, Facebook is like the BBQ you have in your back yard with friends and family, play games, share pictures. Facebook is much better for sharing than MySpace. LinkedIn is the office, how you stay up to date, solve professional problems.
  36. Your customers are always a bottomless well of surprises.
  37. I really like the ‘Silicon Valley’ show. It’s good to do a little rib-poking and not take yourself too seriously, so I think it’s awesome the show does that.
  38. If performance management were a movie, it will become less ‘Gladiator’ and more ‘Moneyball.’
  39. If Trump’s actions as President reflect his campaign rhetoric, the ACLU and other capable organizations like it will be critical for defending the Bill of Rights for all Americans.
  40. As an entrepreneur and investor, I prioritize construction and collaboration. Whether it’s a five-person start-up or a global giant, the companies that are most productive are the ones whose employees operate with a shared sense of purpose and a clear set of policies for responding to changing conditions and new opportunities.
  41. Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked on or invested in many companies that scaled to 100 million users or more. But here’s the thing: You don’t start with 100 million users. You start with a few. So, stop thinking big, and start thinking small.
  42. Our elected officials must understand that we, the American people, expect them to perform the duties of their office, even when that means working with other elected officials from different parties.
  43. Broadly, the meaning of life comes from how we interact with each other. The Internet can reconfigure space so that the right people are always next to each other.
  44. Each year, I ask, ‘Now that I have this knowledge, these resources, what can I do?’
  45. One of the things that happens that’s challenging within the democratic process is that people say, ‘Look at this failure, so we should totally change this whole thing.’ And then you add in tons of bureaucratic process and checks and balances, and all of a sudden, it doesn’t work that well.
  46. I’ve long believed that if you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released too late.
  47. Sometimes freedom from normal rules is what gives you competitive advantage.
  48. Leaders, whether in the public or the private sphere, must understand the responsibilities that come with their role. They are the most visible standard-bearers of their organizations. Holding them accountable to this responsibility protects the promise of our organizations and our communities.
  49. In the past, individuals and companies envisioned a lifetime mutual commitment. That’s not realistic anymore – nor is it in the interest of either party. So both parties need a more adaptable way to engage each other and co-invest over shorter periods of time for mutual benefit.
  50. Trump often says he needs to keep his tax returns private until the IRS finishes auditing him. But the IRS itself has said this isn’t necessary. And recently, Trump changed his tune, saying he’ll release his returns as soon as Hillary Clinton releases the 33,000 emails she deleted from her email server.
  51. I get energy from one-on-one conversations most often, and I lose energy from group conversations most often.
  52. Starting a company is like throwing yourself off the cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down.
  53. I actually think every individual is now an entrepreneur, whether they recognize it or not.
  54. PayPal was disruptive, it was democratizing, and it had universal appeal. It gave power to millions and millions of individuals and reduced monopolist control from nations, banks, and other huge corporations.
  55. Democracy tends to be a collaborative process, a committee, a consensus. Silicon Valley tends to believe in the individual who creates a small group and does something big.
  56. Most often I am only interested in an idea if it’s going to get hundreds of millions of users. That’s the scale that I am always trying to play to.
  57. One of the metaphors that I use for start-ups is, you throw yourself off a cliff and assemble your airplane on the way down. If you don’t solve the right problem at the right time, that’s the end. Mortality puts priorities into sharp focus.
  58. Death Row inmates are almost twice as expensive to house each year as other inmates. Death penalty trials are much costlier than trials where execution is not a potential punishment and consume more time from judges, public defenders, and other legal personnel.
  59. If you can get better at your job, you should be an active member of LinkedIn, because LinkedIn should be connecting you to the information, insights and people to be more effective.
  60. The opportunity to build an enduring product far outweighs the cost of alienating a few users along the way. And the sooner you internalize that trade-off, the faster you’ll move along the path to scale.
  61. If you contrast the productivity that comes from a networked or capitalist distribution of resources versus a centralized planning system, frequently referred to as communism or socialism, the network approach does much better when it’s applied accurately.
  62. We need to invest in technologies that amplify human capacity, not replace it.
  63. Any effort to make the death penalty speedier and less costly – more ‘efficient’ – will inevitably make it less just.
  64. So benevolent, enlightened, wise dictators are the most efficient form of government. The problem is what comes afterwards, right?
  65. We want to be inclusive. We want to have our shareholders, our employees, our customers, whether they are Democrat, Republican, Green or Libertarian, to feel comfortable with how we’re doing business. And so that tends to be apolitical. People say, ‘No, no, I just simply shouldn’t get involved in politics.’
  66. There’s a lot of people in the world that would love to trade places with American citizens, and we are very fortunate to be here.
  67. The key thing is to invest in the future, and what that means is – when you’re deploying technology or you’re a technology business – is to make sure that you’re keeping on the innovation cycle, where you’re both creating and adopting the new business practices and the new techniques in order to drive your business the right way.
  68. Many employer-employee relationships are built on a lie that starts from the first interaction: neither party automatically conceives of the relationship as something that will last a lifetime, but both interact as if it is. This lie of omission bases the relationship on distrust.
  69. The death penalty and the arguments it inspires don’t only involve ethics, morals, and justice. There are bureaucratic and economic aspects to it as well. All these different aspects commingle in ways that convince me we should take whatever steps we can to abolish the death penalty.
  70. For me, the ethical arguments that resonate strongest are the ones that oppose the death penalty.
  71. Relatively few people should start companies.
  72. I think ‘Settlers of Catan’ is such a well-designed board game – it’s the board game of entrepreneurship – that I made a knockoff called ‘Startups of Silicon Valley.’ It’s literally – it’s the same rules but just a different skin set to it.
  73. I would have volunteered to work at Netscape. It was the center node of this new technology and the commercial ecosystem of the Internet.
  74. The same instincts that make us good students can make us lousy entrepreneurs.
  75. Simply writing a Ph.D. or academic book was unlikely to play much of a role in helping shape people’s lives as I wanted.
  76. ‘Founder’ is a state of mind, not a job description, and if done right, even CEOs who join after day 1 can become founders.
  77. Your network is the people who want to help you, and you want to help them, and that’s really powerful.
  78. I won a Marshall scholarship to read philosophy at Oxford, and what I most wanted to do was strengthen public intellectual culture – I’d write books and essays to help us figure out who we wanted to be.
  79. LinkedIn allows professionals, including the middle class, to invest in themselves in order to find the right jobs. That essentially can help make them prosperous.
  80. If you could train an AI to be a Buddhist, it would probably be pretty good.
  81. The world’s better off the more Silicon Valleys there are and the more scaled companies there are.
  82. The way you deal with bullies is you change their economic equation. Make it more expensive for them to hassle you.
  83. In crisis times, it’s actually not more difficult to motivate your staff, because everyone gets much more focused on how they control their own economic destiny.
  84. Blitzscaling is what you do when you need to grow really, really quickly. It’s the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale. This is high-impact entrepreneurship.
  85. In democracies, we aren’t always governed by the people or the parties that we voted for. But when officials are elected, we must respect their authority, as long as they’re exercising that authority within the bounds of whatever regulatory frameworks are in place to guide them.
  86. Silicon Valley tends to be very myopic – to be focused on one or two things – which has some strengths as well as weaknesses.
  87. Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins. Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed.
  88. People are still very focused on the startup story: Risk-taking founders, with a bold idea, some capital and a network supportive environment, go out and take the shot on goal. But the problem is, this is no longer the truth about what makes Silicon Valley so special.

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