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技术

2011科技界5位最优秀人物

《财富》 2011年08月10日

在科技界,谁也不能躺在功劳簿上睡大觉。本文介绍的五位科技专家更是深知这一点,他们从来不肯停止向前的脚步,更重要的是,每一次尝试都让他们变得更聪明。

雷德•霍夫曼

社交媒体:雷德•霍夫曼

职业社交网站LinkedIn执行主席,格雷洛克公司合伙人

    雷德•霍夫曼的故事也许永远不会被拍成好莱坞大片,但毫无疑问,他是社交媒体领域一颗耀眼的明星。2002年,Facebook创始人扎克伯格刚刚被哈佛大学(Harvard)录取,而霍夫曼却已经建立了LinkedIn。目前,这一网站已经成为世界上最大的职业网络,共有1亿名会员,并且每周以100万的数量增长。

    LinkedIn成立于2003年,并由现年44岁的霍夫曼担任掌门人。利用之前供职在线支付网站PayPal获得的经验,他带领网站实现了早期的增长。2009年,霍夫曼把权利移交给目前的CEO杰夫•威纳,但依然担任公司的执行主席,并持有公司20%的股份。今年5月,LinkedIn成为美国第一家上市的社交媒体网站。最初,公司的股价为45美元,之后一度飙升至122美元,日前,股价在100美元区域徘徊。按照当前股价计算,LinkedIn的市值将达到96亿美元,霍夫曼也成了亿万富翁。

    去年,LinkedIn通过市场营销、招聘解决方案,以及高级内容订阅等实现的收入为2.43亿美元。网站的成功足以确立霍夫曼“社交网络之父”的地位。但他绝对不是昙花一现的人物。

    1997年,霍夫曼对社交媒体产生了强烈的兴趣。当时,他与人合作成立了最早的约会与社区网站Socialnet.com。2001年,该网站被出售给了约会网站Spark Networks公司。早期在富士通公司(Fujitsu)和苹果公司(Apple)从事产品开发与用户体验的工作经历使霍夫曼成功扮演了公司初创时期“产品强人”(霍夫曼自己的说法)的角色,也使他开始了解通过在线网络实现人与人互联的力量。

    之后,他加入Paypal公司,担任首任董事和高层管理人员。通过将这一支付平台出售给eBay,在当时看来,霍夫曼大赚了一笔。而且,他也因为是“PayPal黑手党”的一员而声名鹊起,之所以获得这个称号,是因为他的一些同事,包括联合创始人艾伦•马斯科、手机支付应用公司Square的基思•拉布伊斯和投资家皮特•泰尔,之后在技术领域都获得了成功。LinkedIn是霍夫曼的代表作,但他同时也是硅谷最多产的天使投资人之一,最著名的青年创业顾问,尤其是对社交网络感兴趣的年轻人。在内容分享网站掘客网(Digg)、图片分享网站Flickr,以及最大的分享网站Facebook的初期,他都投入了资金,并且收获颇丰。

    2009年,霍夫曼加入风险投资公司格雷洛克(Greylock),目前为该公司合伙人。他主要负责监督公司在定位共享网站Shopkick与房屋租赁网站Airbnb的投资等。此外,他还是团购网站Groupon的顾问和社交游戏网站Zynga的董事,这两家网站均以社交网络为依托,它们即将进行的首次公开招股甚至会抢去LinkedIn的风头。不过,霍夫曼在这两家公司都持有股份,所以,他肯定不会担心。

    美国网景公司(Netscape)创始人、风险投资家马克•安德森称:“在硅谷和行业内,大大小小的社交网络公司经常会向他求助。他既是优秀的公司创建者,又是知识渊博的思想者,这是一种非常罕见的组合。每当我感到困惑,第一个想到的人肯定就是他。”

Social: Reid Hoffman

Executive chairman, LinkedIn

Partner, Greylock

    He may never be portrayed in a Hollywood blockbuster, but there's no doubt that Reid Hoffman is one of the stars of the social network phenomenon. In 2002, around the time that a certain young prodigy was matriculating at Harvard, Hoffman was already building LinkedIn, today the world's largest professional network with 100 million members and one million new recruits every week.

    LinkedIn launched in May 2003 with Hoffman, now 44, at the helm. He took the site through its early-stage growth, drawing on his previous experience as an executive at PayPal. In 2009, Hoffman passed the reins to current CEO Jeff Weiner, but remained as executive chairman with a 20% stake in the venture. This past May, LinkedIn became the first U.S. social network to go public. Shares were initially priced at $45, shot as high as $122, and today hover around $100. The current price gives LinkedIn a market valuation of $9.6 billion, and makes Hoffman a billionaire.

    The success of LinkedIn, which delivered $243 million in revenue last year from marketing and hiring solutions, and premium subscriptions, would be enough to establish Hoffman as a founding father of social networking. But he's no one-hit wonder.

    Hoffman caught the social bug in 1997, when he co-founded Socialnet.com, an early dating and community site that was sold to Spark Networks in 2001. Earlier stints in product development and user experience at Fujitsu and Apple trained Hoffman for his role as the startup's "product guy" (his words), and he began to understand of the power of connecting people through online networks.

    Next came PayPal, where as a founding board member and executive, Hoffman made a then-fortune from the sale of the payments platform to eBay. He also became known as a member of the "PayPal Mafia," so-called because colleagues like co-founder Elon Musk, Square's Keith Rabois and investor Peter Thiel went on to further success in tech. LinkedIn is Hoffman's claim to fame, but he also became one of Silicon Valley's most prolific angel investors and advisors to young entrepreneurs, especially those with a social bent. He placed successful early-stage bets on Digg (content sharing), Flickr (photo sharing) and Facebook, the biggest sharing site of them all.

    Today Hoffman serves as a partner at venture capital firm Greylock, which he joined in 2009. He oversees the firm's investments in location sharing site Shopkick and home sharing site Airbnb, among others. He is also notably, an advisor to Groupon, and a director at Zynga, two companies that were built on the back of social networks, and whose upcoming IPOs could upstage LinkedIn's. But given that Hoffman has a stake in both, he's probably not too concerned.

    Says Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen: "Reid is one of the top go-to people in the Valley and in the industry for social Internet businesses of all sizes and shapes. He's both a great company builder and a profound thinker -- a very rare combination. He's my first call when I'm confused."

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