The following is a guest blog that I wrote for the Harvard Business Review.
I joined LinkedIn in 2007. I can’t remember why. After connecting to a few dozen people, I still couldn’t fathom what the purpose of LinkedIn was, especially for an already-established professional. Yes, I knew these people, but to what end were we connecting on this site? But for some reason I stayed on for the ride, more as an experiment than in any effort to gain value. I was fascinated with the platform this company was building and wondered what its business model might be. Even after I gave up wondering, I kept adding links.
Fast forward four years and LinkedIn is a public company with a market cap of more than $9 billion and revenues of about $400 million. I’m shaking my head at how lucky its founder Reid Hoffman turned out to be. At the same time, I’m beginning to appreciate how he and his colleagues were smart.