Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, January 21, 2021

If you’re launching a Web startup, it would be prudent to toss a pitch in the direction of Reid Hoffman, co-founder and guiding light of LinkedIn. Because his current jackpot-waiting-to-happen is just the latest in a string of sure bets he’s made in the InterWeb business:

Three of his startup investments have been sold since 2005 for more than $1.1 billion combined, although Hoffman got only a sliver of that. They are the photo-sharing site Flickr, bought by Yahoo Inc.; music network Last.fm, bought by CBS Corp.; and computer security specialist IronPort Systems Inc., bought by Cisco Systems Inc.

Besides Facebook, the list of other promising prospects in Hoffman’s portfolio include blogging software maker Six Apart Ltd., blogging search engine Technorati Inc., online content-ranking site Digg Inc. and another online social networking service, Ning Inc. He also holds stakes in a variety of lesser-known startups, too.

Hoffman’s connections and investments frequently have ties to PayPal, where he accumulated stock as a director and then as a top executive. He first met PayPal’s co-founder and chief executive, Peter Thiel, while both were attending Stanford University in the 1980s.

And everyone’s waiting for a LinkedIn IPO to be like another Google — assuming someone doesn’t offer Hoffman a few trillion dollars or so to sell out first.

Hard to argue with someone who’s business acumen is proven in such giant dollars-and-cents terms. But I remain unswayed by LinkedIn’s prospects, at least in their current form. Personally, the site’s done next to nothing for me: I get no substantial contacts or leads, and every time I try to go more than one menu-level deep into the site, it asks me to cough up a subscription fee. I realize you get more out of this type of service the more you work it, but I haven’t felt compelled to work on it — and this is coming from someone who consults for a living, i.e. keeping and cultivating contacts is how I make money.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/21/2008 12:56:42 PM
Category: Internet, Business
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