Reid Hoffman: On Knowing What Your Product Isn't

By Whitney Phaneuf , written on August 9, 2012

From The News Desk

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman reflected at tonight’s PandoMonthly about the ways people recommended he make the site more sexy.

"From 2003 to 2008, there was a steady conversation I would have with people that went 'you really suck cause you’re not Friendster, you really suck cause you’re not Myspace, you really suck cause you’re not Facebook,'" says Hoffman.

Hoffman got used to explaining how LinkedIn serves users and how it would not. He said "no" to adding a photo sharing feature. He said "no" to board member Mark Pincus's request to put Zynga games on the site.

Another, unnamed board member asked during a board meeting, "How do you use LinkedIn to search for CFOs," and Hoffman kindly referred him to the search bar. For the next two years after that comment, every time hiring came up at a board meeting, Hoffman had LinkedIn open to search for candidates.

"It would have been easier if we had more, you know, sexiness appeal, and it is challenging. Lots of people tell you you’re fools," says Hoffman. "You have to know your value proposition."

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