LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman on Innovating for an Uncertain Future

LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman on Innovating for an Uncertain Future

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Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and now partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, thinks uncertainty and turbulence are just the new normal, but they’re also opportunities for astute innovators to devise a better future. Individual companies can’t–and shouldn’t–try to solve every global problem. But by aligning their core business mission with social purpose, leaders can maximize their positive impact and contribute in concrete, meaningful ways. They must also recognize that, more than finances, more than product, and more than market position, talent is the most important differentiator.

Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and now partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, says innovators must ignore hype to identify new technologies with real traction. It starts by envisioning how they might shape the future.

HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius sat down with Hoffman in this episode of our video series “The New World of Work” to talk about:

  • Transforming today’s volatility into an opportunity for truly beneficial innovation
  • The role of talent as the true differentiator for companies
  • How leaders can amplify their social impact by aligning it with their business’s mission.

Leaders prove themselves not when things are easy, Hoffman says. “Saying, ‘We believe in excellence,’ or, ‘We believe in shareholder returns’” is OK, he says, but you don’t tend to get criticism for those. “It’s the places where you have to make a decision in some areas of difficulty, that’s when true leadership is actually shown and demonstrated.”

“The New World of Work” explores how top-tier executives see the future and how their companies are trying to set themselves up for success. Each week, Ignatius interviews a top leader on LinkedIn Live — previous interviews included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooryi. He also shares an inside look at these conversations —and solicits questions for future discussions — in a newsletter just for HBR subscribers. If you’re a subscriber, you can sign up here.

ADI IGNATIUS: Reid, welcome to the show.

REID HOFFMAN: Awesome to be here. Great to see you.

ADI IGNATIUS: So how does it feel appearing on the platform that you yourself created? I mean, this is probably the definition of a metaverse.

REID HOFFMAN: Well, it is a definition of a metaverse insofar as people are like, “Oh, this metaverse is a new thing.” But we’ve already experienced it. We’ve already been in it. The internet is a form of the metaverse. StreamYard and Teams and Zoom are part of the metaverse. So, we’re actually in the metaverse.

ADI IGNATIUS: Just for people who are wrestling with the definition of metaverse, this is actually not the metaverse. This is meta, but it’s not metaverse. But maybe we’ll talk more about the metaverse and possibilities, because I know we’ve already gotten some audience questions about that.

A lot of the questions that I have and that people who are watching have are about innovation. You’ve been involved in a number of companies that have been super creative, super innovative and have scaled. You’ve written the book about how to scale. Tell us something about innovation that we don’t know that might be of use to our audience.

REID HOFFMAN: Always a great question. It’s kind of, where is the unique thing? Let me start with something that probably a number of people know, but then move to maybe things that are a little bit more esoteric, or more subtle.

The first one is: There is no innovation without risk. Frequently what happens in these kind of things is I’ll take an innovation and it’ll just work. Obviously, there’s ways you try to be innovative in risk-intelligent ways. You try to maximize the chance that it will work. You try to minimize the cost of it not working. You try to have some things where if it didn’t work, it still works in some viable way.

But literally, if you’re trying to be innovative and you don’t see the risk in what you’re doing, either you’re not being innovative, you’re being blind to the risk, or maybe it’s just not that interesting. So that’s one.

Now, the more subtle ways of thinking about innovation are like, OK, so which innovations may have an interesting chance to work? This is actually one of the things where you have to intersect a number of different things.

So typically, of course, again, people will think, “Hey, what are the platform changes? Is it metaverse change? Is it an AI change? Is it a cloud change? Is it the ongoing mobile change? How does that lead to what the changes are and the thing that I’m working in? How does that play to our product or service? How does that play to our supply chain? Or how does that play to how do we work?” Then asking a whole set of questions around these things are generally how you can lead to innovations.

But then you want to begin to say, “OK, it’s this combination of, yes, I’ve got a good idea. I might be adjusting to a meme that people are talking about, but I’m also thinking in concrete terms about how does our product or service work? How does our company work?” Because you could say, well, like metaverse is a very common one, people being clear about what is that metaverse? So is it, oh, we’re all going to be in body suits with a head camera and that’s how everything’s going to work now and it’s going to be all like “Ready Player One”?

I think once you begin to really think about that, you realize that that future is not near-term to us, and that actually, in fact, the more interesting thing when you’re looking at patterns of innovation is what’s happening in the next three, five, 10 years. Thinking about timeframes is actually really important, timeframes for when is this platform change happening, timeframes in how can you execute on things, and what is that intersection?

If you’re not throwing out some of your good ideas, then you’re probably also not being discerning enough to say, “OK, yeah, I had this really good idea about how to use video, but it doesn’t really fit within the timeframes and so I’m going to do something else.” So, anyway, I’m happy to go in depth in any of these, but those are some Jackson Pollocking, throwing paint on a canvas on innovation.

The New World of Work

Candid conversations on talent, tech, and the future of business. A special email series for subscribers.

ADI IGNATIUS: Those are all great points. Actually, there’s an audience question that really builds on this. I’m going to go to that right away. This is from Alex in London: How do you scale innovation, where the profitability of your legacy products can get in the way of innovation and R&D?

REID HOFFMAN: It’s a classic problem. Obviously, the innovator’s dilemma is usually the way this is historically described, Clay Christensen. The short answer is, it takes some leadership and it takes some grit. Usually, what you want to be able to do is say, “Hey, if we’re going to be innovatively disruptive, we want to do it to ourselves.” So you start doing that process.

You’ll get organizational tension because your whole organization will be around your legacy product. You’ll still be in a place where you can say, “Businesses are about tuning efficiency.” So that’s part of the reason why you have HBR and you have business schools always like, how do you reliably put in a dollar and get out $2 or $5? It’s like the legacy business will clearly do that.

Whereas the new thing is like, well, wait a minute. Are we taking that away? Are we destroying ourselves? Would someone else do it if we didn’t do it? The answer is, you have to start trying to do it. It’s the reason that one practice of companies in Silicon Valley is, you always do some red teaming. You always say, “How would an innovator come after us? OK, can we experiment with that? Can we own that channel? Can we be doing whatever the disruption is, the platform, the lower cost of product or service?”

Because the innovator’s dilemma of Clay Christensen was classically studied very much on hard drives and cost of that, and we’d be doing that and making that happen. But without leadership, that can’t happen. The leadership ultimately comes from the CEO and the executives who say, “We need to be doing this.” A lot of times, unfortunately, this is when leaders are like, “Well, if I don’t have to do this innovation and I can hand it off to the next generation,” that’s frequently where companies can get into trouble, because they haven’t been taking the risks and making the efforts on the new products.

ADI IGNATIUS: So I’m going to do one more innovation question. You’re the innovation guy. This is from Steve in Brooklyn. It’s really about innovation opportunities that have maybe been created by the pandemic. As startups aim to solve problems for employers adapting to long-term distributed work, in what areas do you see promising opportunities in HR and tech?

REID HOFFMAN: So there’s a couple places where structurally you should look at the opportunities. One is the classic aphorism, “Never waste a good crisis.” In this kind of thing, it’s like look: everything’s volatile, it’s been shaken up some. Try to predict where it’s going in this volatility and skate to where the puck is going, not where it is. Some of that is to say, “Look, we’re accelerating our digital transformation.” It was one of the things that Satya Nadella said very early in the pandemic: each month we’re seeing a year of acceleration of the digital transformation.

I think that’s continuing to be case. So, OK, well, given that, how’s the market condition, customers, individuals to this digital transformation, where is that going to be heading? How do I get there in the timeframe and what am I doing? And some areas that are obvious are things where, well, we’re now all conditioned a lot more to doing work through Teams and Zoom. How do we make that work? What’s the iteration of that? When you think about HR and company building, team building, trust building, culture building, how does all that happen? Wherever it actually ends up, you have some more distributed, some video work and work force and some more distributed team and some more distributed work processes. How does that all work out?

We’ve seen, obviously, some great innovations and some great acceleration. But in this tech stuff people tend to call it to the new thing too early. They go, “OK. We’re still in the mobile revolution. We’re still in the cloud revolution. We’re still in the pandemic and shared collaboration because of the fact that we are in this collaborative environment from distributed locations.”

And so you say, “Well, Zoom’s obvious. But then what else might make a difference?” Products like Coda where you say, “Well, OK. You’re redesigning your workflow for how you would want to work, and it’s a platform for an internet collaborative workflow in terms of how you do it.” That would be an example. You start thinking, “OK. I’m looking out for how does this digital transformation accelerate in terms of what’s going?”

ADI IGNATIUS: Part of what you just said is that we don’t quite know where we are and where we’re going. On the other hand, we have to decide how we’re organizing ourselves for work. What’s your sense? Is the default to try to get as many people back into the office together to collaborate, to create and sustain culture, or do you think that is an outdated notion at this point?

REID HOFFMAN: I think all of the reasons why we have gathered in cities, in companies, in other kinds of collaborative work environments, those reasons still persist. And it isn’t 100%. There’s some percentage of people who are like, “Oh my god. I’m undistracted by meetings and I’m allowed to sit in my home office and do some stuff. And I’m so much more productive.” And there are some people who are much more productive that way. And by the way, part of it is recognizing who those people are and how you work with them. And now that we’ve got this exposure, how do we make this blended environment work? And so I think there will be persistence and learnings from this kind of distributed work.

On the other hand, I think there’s a higher percentage of people who get energy from being in the room with each other. I can tell my level of creative problem solving is better when I’m in the room with a whiteboard or something else and working on it and riffing than when I’m on Zoom or Teams.

I’m not terrible and I can make it work. And, obviously, the last two years, that’s what we’ve been doing. But now I’m vaccinated and tested, and I’ve already done some of this stuff where you’re in the room, and the pace and the on-target-ness and everything else is good. And I think all of that will, generally speaking, lead people back in the room.

Part of it is they say, “Well, wait a minute. It’s working well now.” And you’re like, “Well, it’s working well now when it’s been everyone distributed.” But then once you begin to re-aggregate, the Hamiltonian phrase of being in the room where it happens is in fact, a key discussion was had at the water cooler, or at the cafeteria where you were having a coffee together, or a key thing was walking out of that meeting, it was like, “I thought about this during the meeting.” And that’s part of the reason why people say, “Well, we need to aggregate.” That’s a natural way that we tend to operate. And I think that that will generally happen.

Now my advice to leaders is not to overly force it. Because, obviously, people want to see in their leaders that they care about my work style, my productivity, my happiness, my health. And so they don’t want to be like, “You’re saying you’re fine being at home. Get your ass back in the office.” No, no, no. Look, what we care about is how we work really well together. And that’s the thing we’re focusing on. And I think that will naturally end up with people broadly back in collaborative circumstances, even though you’ll see lots of innovations.

Maybe it’ll be like each group chooses its work at home day or the no-meeting day, kind of off the Tobi Lütke, kind of a Shopify. Somehow they operate, which you can hear on the “Masters of Scale” podcast.

ADI IGNATIUS: Excellent plug for the “Masters of Scale” podcast, by the way.

REID HOFFMAN: Thank you.

ADI IGNATIUS: A couple weeks ago we had Sandy Speicher, the CEO of IDEO, on the show. We were talking about some of the same stuff, and she was saying what they’re trying to figure out is how being physically present shouldn’t feel like a punishment or a mere requirement, that there has to be a pull factor. Everything you may say about collaboration, about the whiteboard, about the water cooler may be true, but not everyone’s going to buy it and it’s hard to actually prove it.

So they’re trying to think, what’s the pull factor, whether it’s food, whether it’s hackathons, whether it’s dance parties. Just something where you need to be physically there and there’s a pull, something fun and attractive or valuable to being in the same room.

REID HOFFMAN: I think the pull factor is a great idea and it’s important to do, and it’s part of showing that we care. We’re not mandating. It isn’t like, “You are a cog in our machine and your cog needs to be here.” It’s like, “No. We’re organic. We’re a team. We play together and we work together.” And I think food and coffee and other kinds of things are a really excellent way of doing that.

My general nudge for folks is to do things that align to the work and to the intersection. It isn’t just like, “Oh, the entertainment’s here,” or the exercise class or, “The gym is here.” I think it might be things like, “OK. So when we’re working together, we have all of these things that make our work and collaboration easier together.”

For example, if your meeting room has a bunch of things that make that meeting much easier and fun. Say, for example, you put espresso machines in every meeting room and then you had post-it whiteboards. We were asking about innovation. Like, “Here are some good meeting prompts and questions and things to do.” And, obviously, you can put those up in your collaborative working environments online, too. But things that align more to the intersection between the work and the projects you’re doing and the way that you’re being effective there and making it more fun and being more present with each other. Those are the kinds of places to hunt for the pull factors, and look for the ones that are also unique to your culture.

ADI IGNATIUS: I want to shift gears and talk about the role of business in society. I know that you’re a fairly activist business person yourself. More and more people are asking businesses to weigh in and even help solve seemingly intractable social problems. Is that, in fact, the role of business? And if it is, how can businesses play that role effectively and not spread themselves too thinly or not really make a difference?

REID HOFFMAN: It’s a great question. I think the short answer is, employees, customers, even investors, care more and more about what your impact in society is. And it’s helpful to your business across a number of frames to be leaders in this. How do you not just say, “Well, OK. Everyone’s doing climate change so we’re doing climate change. We’re all going to be sustainable.” By the way, climate change, obviously a big one and saying something about what you’re doing to important current zeitgeists and massive, important, phenomenal things like climate change is really important. But what you do is you think, “Well, what’s the mission of my business? And what is the thing that my business is really trying to do? And how do I invest in that in order to make a very big difference?” And that’s where you put your real dollars.

Part of how to look at it is, to some degree, businesses are platforms. So if you took LinkedIn and you say, “What kinds of things can LinkedIn do with a dollar that is differentially applied to things that make a big difference in society?” If you said, “Well, what we should do is we should be investing in carbon capture in the oceans.” But it’s like, “Well, we don’t have the platform for that.” Similarly, if we were launching a business and we were saying, “Hey, LinkedIn should launch an apparel business,” well, we don’t have a platform for that. We will be terrible. We’ll be really inefficient.

On the other hand, what LinkedIn is really good at is, how do you help re-skilling? How do you elevate talent? How do you do things like that? And you say, “Well, OK. So what are the ways that LinkedIn should be philanthropic?” Well, you have this big thing where a part of the thing that’s really important to society is diversity, inclusion, with new skill sets. So we should have projects for that, for the skill platform we have. We should take things like (and LinkedIn’s been doing this for 15-plus years) veterans, applying their skill into the workforce and society. We should be working with cities. We have this LinkedIn Cities Project which asks, what are the industries and the skills of the future that are relevant to the city regions, and how do we help cities invest intelligently in that to help their citizens and industries navigate that? Because we have data and perspective that can help with that.

And so we say, these are the places where we spend a dollar and we get $10 output, and that aligns with what our mission is and why our employees are here and why our shareholders buy into us, and the things we can do and we can talk about. That’s the thing to look at. So you go, whatever your company is, you go, “Here’s what our mission is and because we have this platform with amplified value, here’s where we can put in some money and make a difference.” Then you say, “Well, how much money should we put in?” And so it goes, “Well, how scaled are you? How profitable are you? Is it important for your employees and for your shareholders and for your customers to be showing that you are leaders in this area in order to be doing it?” Then all these things are calls of leadership.

Something that was obviously pretty tense in 2019 and 2020 was, where should business leaders be playing a role in politics? Obviously, the typical answer is, “Well, but wait. We have both Republicans and Democrats and we have a wide variety of view, and we should be open for shareholders and for employees and for customers.” That’s, I think, broadly correct.

On the other hand, there are issues in politics that are fundamentally good business issues. For example, rule of law, stability in the society. Look, science leads to vaccination, leads to public health. It’s like coming out and saying that vaccination is not a political issue, not a partisan issue, but is actually, in fact, a way that we can be a healthy society together. And actually, you can look at it and say, “The science very clearly shows that it’s much safer to be vaccinated for yourself than not to be vaccinated, and it’s also part of being safe to other people.”

Because if you said, “Well, I can just go risk other people by saying I’m individually choosing not to be vaccinated because I’m potentially breathing on them and spreading a disease to other people that might kill older people or might kill people with weaker immune systems.” Well, that’s not a freedom question. That’s a public health question. Those are the kinds of things that business leaders can weigh in on. Even though there will be criticism from people saying, “That’s partisan.” You’re like, “No. That’s not partisan. That’s science. That’s rule of law.”

And you just say, “Part of when you know that you have to be a good leader is not when it’s easy.” Like, saying, “We believe in excellence,” or, “We believe in shareholder returns.” Well, OK, great, that’s important. But you don’t get criticism for that. It’s the places where you have to make a decision in some areas of difficulty, that’s when true leadership is actually shown and demonstrated. This is an important area that all growing business leaders need to do.

ADI IGNATIUS: You’ve been talking about leadership and I want to press on that a little bit. You’ve been a CEO. You’ve invested in a lot of CEOs, probably some successful, some not so successful. In terms of what you just talked about, but more broadly, what does good leadership look like in 2022?

REID HOFFMAN: One of the things that people are illusioned, delusioned, and hopeful on is they say, “Wow. The 90s and the 2000s were so awesome. Hey, we just fixed this and this, we’ll get back to it.” I think those times are gone. I think we are in continued crisis and volatility, and I think that’s years into the future. It’s not just the pandemic. There’s obviously global tensions and competition. There’s political disorder. There’s a whole set of different things.

Then we’ve got climate change, which we’ve been ignoring effectively for too long. And my own personal view is really how we’ve been ignoring it is by not massively investing in technology, carbon capture, geo-engineering, energy. All governments should be investing in nuclear fission as a plan. Call it H, all the plans that make it work, because obviously technology has gotten a lot more involved. And so, I’ve been doing it personally as philanthropic because I’m not a professional investor in breakthrough energy.

The key thing is to say it’s going to be continued crisis, continued volatility. What do you do as a leader? Well, you have to, in that environment, get some stability, get some coherence in how you’re operating together, identify very clearly what future you’re trying to build towards, why it is you’re making some of these hard calls, calls that other people might make differently or might question you on, where your ethics and values are, and why you’re saying this is the ethical thing that we’re investing in. This is the thing that we’re doing.

Because there’s obviously tons and tons of things to do. And you can’t do all of them as a business. It isn’t what you should do as a team. It isn’t what you should do for your investors, but you can do some. It’s a little bit like always be doing something that’s really good in the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. And then, how much? Well, that’s a choice of what you can do and where you think your real ability contributes.

ADI IGNATIUS: As promised, I want to come back to the metaverse. You said both that in some ways it’s already here, and also that in the real sense, it’s still quite a ways away. So help those of us without great imaginations for how technology can change things. How might a metaverse world change or improve the world of work?

REID HOFFMAN: We’re already doing that. We already have much better ability to do hybrid. We have much better ability to bring people together. We now have this amazing talent that’s in Wyoming or in Florida or wherever, somewhere else and we can bring them together into a company and work together. And I think that’s part of what’s new. And we have not just these initial tools with video conferencing, but we have a whole suite of other network native, you might say even multiplayer foundational tools like Coda and others, coming in in order to make this work, Figma, other things. Part of what we’re seeing will be in effect continuing, and those are all part of the metaverse.

That being said, people like the “Ready Player One”, the “Snow Crash”, the wow, we can have a completely new kind of fancy environment? I do think that there will be visualization tools and there will be the way to jointly immerse yourself in simulations and to take things like you could see in the film “Minority Report”, where interface things were being worked on at the MIT Media Lab were brought in to show how you could be moving data and images around and so forth. I think we’ll see more of that and I think we’ll see them through these devices, and I think that will continue to amplify.

But I don’t think all of a sudden we’re going to be in haptic body suits and that’s the way we’re going to be working. Well, actually, of the four million inputs that we have into our brain, three million are for our eyes, and a lot of our eyes would be able to see people’s faces and to see when they’re bored or uncertain, or they’re looking really interested in how they’re responding. And that’s part of the collaboration.

In crystal terms, “Would you want to be given your performance review by an avatar? Or would you rather be seeing someone who’s doing it?” And so you’re like, “OK, what are the places where it really adds something magical and different and not just like, oh, that’s different?” That’s where I think the world of work as we head to metaverse will be going,

ADI IGNATIUS: Zoom is not that complicated a technology and we talk about Zoom fatigue, but it’s good because it is very intimate. It’s very up close and it’s exactly what you say. You really are getting a close-up look at people, a close-up look at faces, and the ability to read the emotion. I have this theory that you reach a certain age. At a young age, you’re developing the technologies or you’re helping find a use for them. But there’s a certain cutoff point where you think they’re stupid. For my father, that was email. But with the new generation, cryptocurrency, NFTs, the metaverse, these are all in a category of things that may or may not dramatically remake our future and that some people don’t get or don’t think are valid, hit that cutoff line, think they’re stupid. Are these things I’ve ticked off, are they the future? We just have to orient ourselves toward understanding that the world is going to change dramatically?

REID HOFFMAN: I guess the wise path is to always say a new technology that has enough actual traction, not just the heat of people talking about it, there is an element there that will be part of the future. And part of when you’re thinking about predicting the future, innovating, understanding which parts of it, is you go, “OK, which pieces of this will be persistent?” So, for example, you take TikTok, you say, “Ah, just a bunch of entertainment, a bunch of people wasting time, etc.” Well, but look at the raw usage and the raw demand of it, and the fact that it has so much engagement for it, and yes, it’s playing an AI recommendation engine to try to get things that are most interesting to you, which can be addictive, but also by the way, are revealing your real preferences. So if you go into TikTok and you just resolutely only look at instructional educational things, all of a sudden you could be shown a whole bunch of that.

So it is a Rorschach test, but you look at it and you go, “OK, some of this is going to be the future.” And one of the things that’s interesting is it evolves and changes. OK, what are the things, the pieces that are most fundamental to it, and how do I do those pieces in a way that I’m skating to where the puck is going? Not necessarily where the puck is, because they’re elements of where it is. And so I think that’s true of Web 3 and crypto, I think that’s true of AR and VR. I think it’s true of metaverse even. I just think that you have to look at the actual patterns that are happening.

And that was the reason on the metaverse I was gesturing at, Zoom and Teams and so forth, there’s ways of doing this, but it was like, “OK, what do you see?” And then you say, “Well, OK, what’s really going on in crypto.” It’s like, “Well, actually in fact, there’s a whole bunch of innovation going on, there’s smart contracts, there’s distributed assets.” There’s a question of a new banking infrastructure layer. That’s partly the reason we call it Web 3, that you have a distributed ledger where ledgers are platforms.

And so NFTs look a little strange initially, but I can nearly guarantee you, there will be something interesting about NFTs that will be mass market within two years. It isn’t just like I’m buying a Bored Ape or a CryptoKitty or something else, but it’s something like, “Oh, that actually in fact really matters and that uniqueness thing matters.” And so you look at it and you don’t go, “Oh, the whole thing’s dumb.” If there’s heat, what’s the thing that’s persistent and will innovate and come off of it? And that’s the interesting place to continually be part of the future.

ADI IGNATIUS: I want to talk to you about talent. You’ve written books about talent and the relationship between employers and employees. There are a couple questions that have come in, and one from Donna from Massachusetts is the question of recruiting, which feeds into a number of issues, like the desire to have a diverse workforce, the ability to have a distributed workforce. Her question’s really about geography, that Silicon Valley is too expensive for a lot of people and that sort of hurts your recruiting. And then there’s a question from Sarah from Phoenix about the anti-work trend, people who feel really disenfranchised by what they perceive as the uncaring nature of their employer and maybe the whole system. How do we think about recruiting the teams that we need as everything is getting sort of blown up?

REID HOFFMAN: It’s one of the things that is most key when you’re thinking about innovation. Obviously I published “The Alliance” with HBR because one of the things I love about HBR is it’s so focused on these key areas that may not be quite as obvious, like talent for how you create and innovate in the future. And “The Alliance” was how to recruit and manage innovative talent. And innovative talent wants to play into the future. And so I think that the question about caring is doing things where you show that you care about the world and you care about where the talent’s going. And part of, of course, “The Alliance” is you care about where their careers are going, not just as a function of what’s good for you, like maybe they’re going to evolve and become leaders in your own company, which would be awesome. But one of the things that some of the leaders at LinkedIn, like Kevin Scott, who’s now the CTO of Microsoft, would ask people in interviews is, “What’s the next job you want after LinkedIn, because our commitment to you, and our commitment to you as part of our team, is that we will transform your career. We’d love it if you worked at LinkedIn your entire life, but we also want to make sure that whatever happens next, you do amazing work for us and you have an amazing career, including possibly in other places.” And that’s part of where you can show that people are caring about it. And then when you have volatility like this, it’s what I think Ryan Roslansky [CEO of LinkedIn] and other folks have referred to as “The Great Reshuffle”, which I think is right. “The Great Resignation” is a great media PR line, but it’s really a reshuffle.

And how do get that reshuffle? This pandemic asteroid has hit the economy. What happens in terms of people saying, “Well, now I can try this, or now I could take the risk of this, or now this, I’ve rethought it. My priority is X.” And how do you turn that crisis and change and volatility and opportunity, and always be thinking about how your company’s capabilities are entirely the organization and composition of the talent that you have. Yes, you might have a great financial business. You might have a great position, a great product. But the future is being driven by talent. And so focusing on talent strategy is a key differentiator for your company.

ADI IGNATIUS: Reid Hoffman, I want to thank you for being on “The New World Of Work”. That was a great conversation.


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