LinkedIn is a very famous employment oriented online service where various professional corporate workers and job seekers get connected with each other. It provides the best networking opportunity in this online era.
How the idea of creating this kind of site came up?
How Reid Hoffman built LinkedIn?
Reid Hoffman was born on 5th August, 1957 in California. When he was only 12, he wrote the suggestions for the gaming company and then the game developer asked him if he wanted to do something with the game, after that he started working there and received his first pay-check. After graduating from high school, Hoffman graduated from Stanford University. At Stanford, he met Peter Thiel who became his good friend from then. While being at Stanford, he pondered about influencing others at a large scale. He wanted to make a big impact in the world. Hence, he started to invest his time in making software which can be used by billions of people.
He tried to get funding from various company but got rejected each and every time. Hoffman joined Apple Computer in 1994 through the reference he got from his room-mate at Stanford. At Apple, he worked at eWorld which soon got stopped due to heavy losses.
He left Apple and join Fujitsu and overtook project management field. In July 1994, he resigned from Fujitsu and took a big step of opening his venture on his own. He named that venture socialnet.com!
SocialNet was focused mainly on online dating although you can connect with people for different purposes as well on it. It was a good venture from the beginning but it didn’t last in long run. It started to look scattered due to lack of a clear purpose. Online dating and making friends was a new idea back then which was not accepted by the people at that time.
He learnt a great lesson from this failure that the product distribution strategy is as important as the quality of the product itself.
After that he joined PayPal, where he was responsible for the external affairs department. In 2002, PayPal went public, Hoffman was a real contributor in the success of PayPal. After that he achieved the financial freedom by becoming a millionaire.
He though of taking a long break after a huge success but he got back to work only after the break of three weeks. He founded LinkedIn in December, 2002 with his teammates from PayPal and Socialnet.
He founded LinkedIn on his idea that the people would have two identities on the internet . One is their social identity which people want to show others to befriend them and the other one is the real identity which is for their achievements, educational background and works till that date.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site which connects professional people and job seekers from all over the world to help them in getting better opportunities and the better insights of real corporate world.
Initially, they invited the people they already knew about. From there, the things began to grew. In first month of operation, a total of 4500 users joined the platform. Some of them found jobs and new clients through LinkedIn which itself was fulfilling the purpose of the platform.
People started to recommend the platform and more people started to join in. By the time, LinkedIn was a year old, it already bagged about 5,00,000 users on its platform.
Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital invested in this venture. By the year 2004, the platform managed to have a million users already.
Hoffman pointed out two major problems with LinkedIn in 2006. One was its user base which was comparatively low and the other was the product itself.
He resigned from the post of CEO and appointed Dan Nye as the new CEO of LinkedIn.
He worked as CEO for two years and helped LinkedIn to grow more and more. During those two years, the site reached to 35 million users and sales jumped over 900%.
A mobile version of LinkedIn was introduced on February, 2008. In January 2011, LinkedIn filed for an Initial Public Offering.
Over the years, LinkedIn acquired many small start-ups to increase the quality of the product and make it more useful for their users.
On 13th June, 2016 , nearly 14 years after starting the company, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.
This was the largest acquisition made by the Microsoft till date. This deal made Hoffman and his teammate billionaires!
Today, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site with over 706 million users all around the world.