Reid Hoffman believes that managing your career is the same as managing a small business – perhaps with a lower overhead? He believes that every individual is a business and at the very least a brand – and brand matters. And who is this Reid Hoffman of which we speak? He is the guy who launched LinkedIn from his home, inviting 350 of his close personal friends to put their profiles on his network. Regardless of what else is going on in the world, Hoffman is convinced that good old-fashioned networking is the way to get things done whether it’s getting a job or getting money for a new venture or getting ahead in any number of ways. In the digital age, your digital network matters.
In the face of the banking industry collapse last year, data analysts at LinkedIn noticed an increase in networking activity among financial sector employees. While others were prognosticating that financial employees had thrown their collective hands up in the air and departed the industry, LinkedIn data suggested talented folk went to other banks. So behind the scenes, LinkedIn is not resting on its existing networks, it’s busy – networking, building partnerships and processes for more connectivity.
There’s LinkedIn for, what else, the iPhone. Entrepreneurs and other business professionals can also connect to Open Forum, an American Express business community. Using the LinkedIn API, Ribbit transcribes your voice mail to text message or e-mail – and so much more. Meanwhile, Reid Hoffman is proposing that the best time to found a company is not during good times but during an economic downturn. There is less competition and more opportunities for partnerships. There is also more and better talent for hire. And of course, he wants you to mine your digital connections and their connections to help you manage your personal brand.
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