LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman on starting a company

LinkedIn’s co-founder Reid Hoffman took a risk on the networking platform after being told it “would never work.”

“Starting a company is jumping off a cliff and assembling the airplane on the way down,” he told CNBC’s “The Brave Ones.”

“And what you’re realizing after you’ve jumped off this cliff, after you’ve said, ‘hey, we’re going to go start this new thing,’ is, ‘Oh, I don’t have a lot of the parts. I need new people to help me with this. And I don’t know what order to assemble this plane in.’”

LinkedIn, which is now owned by Microsoft, is a reflection of Hoffman’s ambition to “try to help humanity evolve,” which he goes about achieving by facilitating connections.

“(I) think in terms of networks, think in terms of how people are connected, how we find each other, how we navigate life together,” he said.

Hoffman’s resume includes some impressive experience, including stints at Apple and PayPal. The idea for his first company, SocialNet, came after his work on Apple’s eWorld, an early social platform.

“One of the things I learned from Apple was that I really wanted to build a new product from the ground up to see if I could do something that would really make a huge difference in people’s lives,” he said.

While he was determined to build something from scratch, Hoffman noted that launching a start-up was a huge learning curve.

“There’s a way of thinking about start-ups which is, ‘I’ve never learned so much, except for maybe between the ages of two and three,’” he told CNBC. “It’s because at the end of every week, there were things that I wish I knew at the beginning of the week.”

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