By Drake Baer and Nicholas Carlson
It took 15 years after finishing college for Reid Hoffman to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“When I graduated from Stanford my plan was to become a professor and public intellectual,” he once said.” That is not about quoting Kant. It’s about holding up a lens to society and asking ‘who are we?’ and ‘who should we be, as individuals and a society?’ But I realized academics write books that 50 or 60 people read, and I wanted more impact.”
He sought out that impact by founding companies — including SocialNet, arguably the first social network — and joining PayPal early on. In December 2002, he cofounded LinkedIn, now a $20 billion-plus company. The rest is Silicon Valley history…….