As a former student of philosophy at Oxford University, it is perhaps no surprise that LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman has some big ideas about the future of the Internet. His first book, The Start-Up of You, argues that the lines dividing individuals and businesses are quickly being erased. ‘Every individual is a small business,’ he writes, urging readers to ‘craft iterative, flexible plans,’ to be in ‘permanent beta.’ The genius of online social networks is not just connecting people to new people, he argues, but connecting people to new insights.
What’s the Big Idea?
Reid has a storied history with a host of Silicon Valley start-ups, which resulted in the development of personal relationships with other venture capitalists like Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Of his own LinkedIn, Reid says that the nation’s GDP would increase if everyone learned to use it properly. When it comes to data privacy, Reid supports a co-ownership model, allowing users to download their data into a CSV file. ‘We try to give you an authentic individual choice,’ he says. Reid remains unconvinced that ownership of private data is necessary for the success of social networks.