What LinkedIn Doubters Need to Know
As I said in my previous post, it has been a busy week for me. The highlight was an interview with Reid Hoffman for TechTicker upon closing his venture deal valuing LinkedIn at a (Outrageous? Conservative?) $1 billion valuation. Of course, if you read this blog regularly you know I think it’s easily worth that. And really, Reid just confirmed it for me. In this piece below, he discusses why all this talk of a Facebook-LinkedIn rivalry just misses the mark. One of his claims is that work and play will not collide, which is funny because in my BusinessWeek column this week I talked about the growing realization that our worlds are doing just that and posed the question of whether people would change their real-world behavior or abandon such heavy use of sites like Twitter, Facebook, et all.
But if you watch this video, you see a lot of clues to why I think LinkedIn is the sleeper big, standalone public company that emerges from Web 2.0. There are so many moments where Hoffman – and I should add Dan Nye the current CEO—have resisted cheap growth, from both users and revenues, in favor of building a sustainable business. The business side of LinkedIn has always made it a little different from the rest of the Web 2.0 crop, which is fitting since it started in 2003—a beyond bleak time for Web companies when VCs were demanding some sort of business model. Although Reid decisively rejected that—and stepped in to fund a good many early Web entrepreneurs who did too—you can still see that thinking in how quickly the company got to profitability and how quickly it began building it’s own salesforce, rather than, say, off-loaded ad sales to a third party.
I could go on, but just watch the clip. Two other pieces below it with Reid: One on the $1 billion valuation and the prospect of a LinkedIn IPO and the other on Reid’s thoughts about Web 2.0 and it’s twin growing pains of monetization and persistent outages. I was lucky enough to spend hours at a time talking business and the Valley with Reid while I was writing my book, but haven’t seen him in a while. I forgot how much I enjoy his willingness to answer nearly every question you put to him in a direct and honest way. I’m trying to think now of a single time he’s said “no comment” to me and coming up blank! Anyway, enjoy:
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