Category: Intellectual Life

Welcome to the ‘Network Generation’


This post is by Reid Hoffman from Reid Hoffman


ILLUSTRATION: LAURA LIEDO

Today’s young people haven’t been ruined by social media. They’ve been equipped to unleash the power of a new technological era.

The class of 2022 finds itself graduating into a surprisingly strong work environment, especially compared with its immediate predecessors. For the moment, employers are hiring again, and the labor market is relatively favorable even for job seekers without much experience. Yet, with the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and the threat of a recession on the horizon, the future is anything but certain.

In the Age of the Inconceivable, when huge and unanticipated events like the pandemic have become the norm, any outlook may change quickly. But what makes me bullish about the long-term prospects of the class of 2022—and about the impact these young people will likely have on the workforce—is how much of their lives they have spent enmeshed in digital networks like TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube.

Gen Z’s lifelong immersion in social media is often presented as a parade of horribles. The narrative has implied that social media is pressuring them to live up to impossible lifestyle ideals. And if they do manage to live up to those ideals, it is turning them into entitled narcissists, hopelessly distracted by superficial and trivial concerns. And while I don’t want to play down real concerns about the challenges emerging from social media that are facing this generation, I do have sincere faith that they are not too emotionally fragile to handle themselves with strength as they move (Read more...)

A Foreword for Disruptors


This post is by Reid Hoffman from Reid Hoffman


Knowing my background in philosophy, Brad Feld and Dave Jilk recently invited me to contribute a foreword for their new book, The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche: A Book for Disruptors. It’s now available andI highly recommend it; click here to get your copyHere’s the foreword I wrote for it.


Nietzsche is a troubling and troublesome philosopher. In different decades and contexts, even scholars have formed radically different interpretations of his work. Nietzsche lends himself to these conflicting interpretations because he philosophizes with an aphoristic hammer and an intense literary style. While the many subjects of his attacks are clear, the reasons and implications of his critique can lead to many different interpretations. Nietzsche deploys this approach in pursuit of bold originality and self-creation. This is what makes him such a good patron philosopher for entrepreneurs. 

Entrepreneurs frequently seek to disrupt an industry by creating new products and services based on changing technologies and markets. Nietzsche sought to disrupt the philosophy of his day through stylistic aphorisms that challenged staid, traditional academic methods. Entrepreneurs develop their companies with new company cultures and new business models. Nietzsche developed his philosophy through a shift of frame, a metamorphosed question, a poetical imperative. Entrepreneurs compete by speed, originality, and strategy—providing modern solutions to classic problems. Nietzsche competed by tearing down old systems of philosophy—replacing old idols (values, religions) with modern humanity. 

As Dave and Brad note in this book, Nietzsche himself dismissed commercial activity and those who engaged in it as crass and (Read more...)

Suneel Gupta’s “Backable”​ shows how to get others to invest in you and your life


This post is by Reid Hoffman from Reid Hoffman


Attracting investment is such a fundamental part of entrepreneurship that it’s easy to think about it with less nuance than one should. After all, the job of investors is to invest. And their incentive to do so is clear – they’re looking for a big financial return on their investment. So what’s to over-think? If you have a good idea, investors will invest in it. Right?

Not necessarily. In his invaluable new book Backable, tech entrepreneur Suneel Gupta notes that lots of people have good and even great ideas, but the ones who persuade investors to back them “aren’t just brilliant. They’re backable.”

As Suneel explains, being backable isn’t just about lighting up a boardroom with your confidence or charisma. Instead, it’s about conveying your idea with such conviction that others come to share your belief in it too – and also believe you are the person to make that idea a reality.

Suneel, whom I first met when he was making the shift from politics to Silicon Valley, speaks from experience. After product development roles at Mozilla and Groupon, Suneel successfully co-founded Rise Labs, which created the award-winning telehealth app Rise and was ultimately acquired by One Medical.

According to Suneel, though, he wasn’t instinctively backable. Instead, the skills and attributes that ultimately gave him this quality were things he only identified, practiced, and mastered over time. Now, he teaches a course on becoming backable at Harvard. With this new book, he’s created a practical and illuminating guide  (Read more...)

Suneel Gupta’s “Backable”​ shows how to get others to invest in you and your life


This post is by Reid Hoffman from Reid Hoffman


Attracting investment is such a fundamental part of entrepreneurship that it’s easy to think about it with less nuance than one should. After all, the job of investors is to invest. And their incentive to do so is clear – they’re looking for a big financial return on their investment. So what’s to over-think? If you have a good idea, investors will invest in it. Right?

Not necessarily. In his invaluable new book Backable, tech entrepreneur Suneel Gupta notes that lots of people have good and even great ideas, but the ones who persuade investors to back them “aren’t just brilliant. They’re backable.”

As Suneel explains, being backable isn’t just about lighting up a boardroom with your confidence or charisma. Instead, it’s about conveying your idea with such conviction that others come to share your belief in it too – and also believe you are the person to make that idea a reality.

Suneel, whom I first met when he was making the shift from politics to Silicon Valley, speaks from experience. After product development roles at Mozilla and Groupon, Suneel successfully co-founded Rise Labs, which created the award-winning telehealth app Rise and was ultimately acquired by One Medical.

According to Suneel, though, he wasn’t instinctively backable. Instead, the skills and attributes that ultimately gave him this quality were things he only identified, practiced, and mastered over time. Now, he teaches a course on becoming backable at Harvard. With this new book, he’s created a practical and illuminating guide  (Read more...)

Eric Lander’s great new podcast Brave New Planet


This post is by Reid Hoffman from Reid Hoffman


Utopia or dystopia? Between the promises of powerful new technologies like AI and the challenges of major problems like climate change, disinformation at scale, and wealth concentration, how we get to the future we want is a question I spend a lot of time thinking about these days.

It’s also the subject of Eric Lander’s great new podcast, “Brave New Planet,” which features conversations we all should be having to ensure that science broadly benefits society.

As a pioneer in the field of human genome sequencing and the president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Eric has made it his life’s work to pursue scientific breakthroughs that improve the world at scale. But as he writes in a recent op-ed for the Boston Globe, he also recognizes we’re in the midst of an era where “just when we need science most, the compact between science and society has become dangerously frayed.”

In a highly polarized and politicized world, we must do more to re-establish what Eric describes as the fundamentals of science: Namely, “that truth comes from evidence, not authority; from honesty, not advocacy.”

Part of that process means having candid, evidence-driven discourse about the positive and negative impacts new technologies may have on society. That’s the domain of Brave New Planet, and I was pleased to participate as a guest in two of the podcast’s upcoming episodes.

The first one is Episode 2 of Brave New Planet’s first season – “Deepfakes and (Read more...)