Reid Garrett Hoffman is not only an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author but also a prominent player of the Silicon Valley. The tycoon had been engulated with an aspiration to do something big that will positively affect the world. Undoubtedly, there are only a handful of people in the Silicon Valley with knowledge and experience similar to that of Hoffman’s.
A man ahead of his time, Hoffman co-founded his first company, SocialNet.com in 1997, an internet dating website which was an initiative quite progressive for its time. During this period, he was also on the Board of Directors for PayPal, a digital payment platform, for which he left SocialNet in 2000 and began acting as a full-time COO and by 2002, he was the Vice-President of PayPal. The same year, Hoffman joined hands with two of his colleagues from SocialNet and developed LinkedIn, a website which turned out to be the most advantageous social networking tool for people seeking jobs and reaching out to business professionals. In 2012, Hoffman was named as the executive chairman of LinkedIn.
Hoffman advocated that it may be difficult to find a balance between chaos and orderly management for companies seeking to push the barriers of innovation but good leaders always mange the chaos and encourage unconstrained experimentation. He has been an advocate of pursuing wild ideas that may make one feel intrigued. He advises, “It is not for you to judge if the ideas are good or bad. It’s for your employees to prove it through freewheeling experimentation.”
The magnate also promulgates, it is essential to have a good network of people because ideas don’t just come from individuals, but from a network of people. He believes that some people are more innovative than others. But rather than being dependent on one or two people to generate ideas, it is always better to have several people working on ideas simultaneously. Hoffman accentuates, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” He deems that employees that are empowered can keep the momentum of ideas flowing with the business.
What makes Hoffman a spectacular leader is his ability to foresee the future and invest in it and thereby profiting from it. Unlike usual leaders, he doesn’t view people in a binary way, as in brilliant or an idiot, conniving or ethical; he appreciates the full spectrum of strength or weakness of a person. He emphasises, “The person passionate about what he or she is doing will outwork and outlast the guy motivated solely by making money.” Hoffman, through his leadership, tries to promote the concept of moving swiftly, keeping things simple and most importantly, trusting one’s employees.