Reid Hoffman, the Benefits of LinkedIn & The Start-Up of You

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, recently published his first book, The Start-Up of YouAnd according to Wired, the book goes something like this:

“Cowritten with fellow entrepreneur Ben Casnocha, the book argues that “every individual is a small business.” It urges readers to “craft iterative, flexible plans,” to be in “permanent beta.” It cites as case studies the rise of Netflix and the fall of Detroit, the pivots of Flickr and PayPal, the arc of George Clooney’s acting career. But at its heart, The Start-Up of You is the gospel of LinkedIn, down to the familiar blue and white logo that graces the cover. “All of the attributes of a business now apply to an individual,” says Hoffman, who cofounded LinkedIn in 2003 and served as its CEO until 2007, when he stepped aside to serve as executive chair. “And if you want to get better at your job, you should be an active member of LinkedIn. Because we can connect you not just to new people but to new insights.‘”

From the sound if it, you might be inclined to guess that the book is a promo piece for LinkedIn wrapped in the cover of a Web 3.0 self-help rag. But judging from Hoffman’s humble beginnings, as well as his capacity to remain very humble; his initial desire to become a philosopher; and his well-known philosophy that life’s meaning is gleaned from the relationships you have with other human beings, we genuinely think Hoffman’s book may be well-worth a read, not for its LinkedIn promotion but for its insights into how you can leverage your relationships for the betterment your personal and individual business and brand. The way to do this just may be through LinkedIn, if only more people could figure out how to use it to its full potential.

Hoffman admits to this “problem.” LinkedIn is misunderstood and often misused. But in a bold statement about the site, he says this:

 “They think it’s a place they keep their CV online and maybe have some connections with people they know professionally. They don’t think of it as a place to get business intelligence, to research problems, to establish an online presence where other people in the network can find them. It’s as if we’re a screwdriver in a world where people don’t quite understand screws. If Americans really learned how to use LinkedIn, it would raise the country’s GDP.

Left with that, what’s a person to do? Are we to go into study mode and teach ourselves how to use LinkedIn to its full potential? Perhaps. We, here at Look-Solutions, do believe it’s up to you to learn whatever social platforms you want to use to your benefit, but we also believe it’s the job of solutions companies like ours to help educate individuals on best practices. If you need or simply want some help understanding how you can benefit from utilizing your LinkedIn profile, get in touch with us. Contact us at or send us a message on Facebook to find out how we can help!

If you want to read the original Wired article, go here.

Photo Thanks To: Joi

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