Eleven-Part Q&A with Reid Hoffman

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman introduces his new book, The Start-Up Of You

Transcript: “Hi, I am Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn and partner at Greylock. I recently co-authored a book, The Start-up of You. It’s a playbook for professionals like you who want to adapt to the future, invest in themselves and thrive in their careers, regardless of economic conditions. We titled it ‘The Start-up of You’ because as an entrepreneur and an investor of new companies, I see remarkable similarities between how entrepreneurs grow their new businesses and how successful professionals develop their own careers. Great startups are nimble and adapt well to change. They invest in themselves and take intelligent risks. They leverage their networks for competitive advantage and over time, they grow their assets. The Start-up of You is a natural extension of these important things. Inside, you’ll find professional case studies, personal lessons learned and practical daily steps to help you learn to adapt to the future, invest in yourself and build The Start-up of You. I hope you will find it useful and look forward to hearing how you transform your own career.”


At what point in your life did you begin to view yourself as an entrepreneur?

Transcript: “You know, it’s kind of strange because I had already started one company, SocialNet, participated in the co-founding of another company, PayPal, and had started LinkedIn, all before I had started actually thinking of myself as an entrepreneur, and you know, maybe that’s just I don’t understand what the word entrepreneur means, but actually in fact, I was driven by what I was trying to accomplish and it was just how I got there. And it was only along that path that I began to realize that there was a skill-set, a mindset, to how to approach the world and thinking about creating things, adapting the things, thinking about yourself as a business to invest in, that began making me realize that entrepreneur was the word that described what I was doing and that there was an entire set of learning and understanding and ability to kind of, you know, play the sport of life that was really key.”


What were your first insights into the parallels between start-ups and careers?

Transcript: “One of the things that I realized was that the nature of work is changing and part of the way it is changing is that all of us is essentially a business for ourselves. All the things that apply to business, apply to us, and I started having that thought because I was realizing how do you become better as a professional, like I was thinking it through myself saying how do I learn new skills, how do I know what the right skills are, how do I make progress in my career? And I realized that this was all things that I needed to do and no one had actually really told me how to do that effectively. It was kind of like, you know, the best idea that people kind of give me was like, maybe you could, you know, go to business school, or check-out of your career for two years, spend a bunch of money. It was like, well, but if I want to start companies and start-ups and else, is that really the right thing to do? And how do I invest in myself every day? And once I started thinking about that, I realized that all of the concepts that apply to businesses, apply to individuals. So, it’s not just the Tom Peters brand of you but how do you invest in yourself, how do you have business intelligence, how do you grow your economic capabilities? And asking this question of ourselves, not just, you know, every year, but, every month, every week, perhaps every day, is critical for how we grow our own success.”


Did you consider yourself an entrepreneur when you were employed by other companies?


Do you view your employees and job candidates as entrepreneurs?


From where and whom have you learned the practices in this book?


Have you learned more lessons from other start-ups or from your own experience?


Given ideal circumstances, do you prefer building start-ups or investing in start-ups?


How does the “start-up of you” concept relate to personal branding?


What are the most important tools for building and maintaining a career?



What’s the most important thing people can do daily for their careers?


Live Chat

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha hosted a live, hour-long webcast on Thursday, March 29, in which they discussed the book and answered reader questions related to careers and the future of work.


Press Videos

CNN: Erin Burnett talks to Reid about The Start-Up of You


CNBC: Andrew Ross Sorkin calls The Start-Up of You “a great new book which I have proudly read”


Charlie Rose interviews Reid and Ben about The Start-Up of You


CBS: Charlie Rose and Erica Hill talk to Reid about The Start-Up of You


Time: Sam Gustin discusses The Start-Up of You with Reid


Book Trailer