Reid Hoffman (@reidhoffman) is a cofounder of LinkedIn, investor at Greylock Partners, host of the podcast Masters of Scale, and coauthor of Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies and The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. This is part two of a two-part episode. Check out part one here!
- Why surviving a horrible childhood isn’t a prerequisite for developing grit — and what you can do to learn resilience.
- What it takes to gather the data points necessary for unpacking the secret subtext of indirect feedback.
- How we can steer into good crises to strengthen relationships and better our circumstances.
- What running Dungeons & Dragons and RuneQuest campaigns taught Reid about complex human motivations and the power of heroic collaboration.
- Aligning goals between employers and employees of any generation with Star Wars-inspired rotational, transformational, and foundational tours of duty.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
This isn’t your typical episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show, but then again, Reid Hoffman isn’t our typical guest. He’s a cofounder of LinkedIn, investor at Greylock Partners, and coauthor of Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies and The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. He’s also the host of the Masters of Scale podcast, which explores how the world’s most successful entrepreneurs take their companies from startup level to becoming household names.
On this episode we’ll examine how TaskRabbit’s Stacy Brown-Philpot grew grit selling newspapers as a kid on the mean streets of Detroit, what Eventbrite’s Julia Hartz learned during her time as a barista about unpacking the subtext of indirect feedback, why we should never waste a good crisis, what Reid picked up about complex human motivations and heroic teamwork from playing Dungeons & Dragons, insight about the millennial work ethic from Brit + Co’s Brit Morin, Reid’s notion of aligning goals between employers and employees of any generation with Star Wars-inspired rotational, transformational, and foundational tours of duty, the truth about work/life balance for most successful entrepreneurs, what really goes on at clandestine Bilderberg Meetings, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at hostgator.com/jordan!
The Hartford Insurance Group knows there’s nothing small in small business, and it’s been protecting customers for over 200 years. Learn what it can do for you and your business at thehartford.com/smallbusiness!
Have you ever thought about the fact that where you choose to live directly affects the “you” you become? Apartments.com has the most listings, which means you have the most apartments, townhomes, condos, and houses to choose from. Change your apartment, change the world at Apartments.com here!
More About This Show
Here on the show, we stress that knowing how to network will change your life — personally and professionally — for the better in every possible way. You’ll gain and maintain high-quality friendships. Promotions and higher income are more likely to come your way. Your kids will do better in school. Freezer-burned vanilla ice cream will taste like the finest Italian gelato — you name it! Which is why we offer the Six-Minute Networking course for free — you help us by listening to this show, and we want to return the favor. TLDR: Networking is crucial for success on any level.
As a cofounder of professional meet-and-greet platform LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman also knows a thing or two about the importance of networking — and the excuses people use to avoid it entirely.
“We live in a network age, so I think everyone needs a network,” says Reid. “And whether or not you’re a high school student or a massively successful CEO, the whole range, you need it. It affects what you learn because what should you be paying attention to? What should your considerations be about how the world’s changing? About what kind of opportunities and threats and possibilities all look like? The best place that comes from is your network. Yes, you can Google search and yes, you can read a lot and that’s nice to do, too, but the network helps you learn.”
And if you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t matter how good the products and services you have to offer are if you don’t have a network to spread the word about them.
“That’s the problem on the entrepreneurship side,” says Reid. “The same parallel is true for individuals. You may have done all this great work, but [what are] other people saying about it? What’s the way that you present it? What’s the way that people can understand it and get to know it — because, by the way, it’s a huge world. It’s eight billion people! How do you stand out against eight billion people?”
On his Masters of Scale podcast, Reid explores how the world’s most successful entrepreneurs take their companies from startup level to becoming household names — in a world of eight billion people. And if you listen to this episode in its entirety, you’ll learn how TaskRabbit’s Stacy Brown-Philpot grew grit selling newspapers as a kid on the mean streets of Detroit, what Eventbrite’s Julia Hartz learned during her time as a barista about unpacking the subtext of indirect feedback, why we should never waste a good crisis, what Reid picked up about complex human motivations and heroic teamwork from playing Dungeons & Dragons, insight about the millennial work ethic from Brit + Co’s Brit Morin, Reid’s notion of aligning goals between employers and employees of any generation with Star Wars-inspired rotational, transformational, and foundational tours of duty, the truth about work/life balance for most successful entrepreneurs, what really goes on at clandestine Bilderberg Meetings, and much more. This is part two of a two-part episode, so make sure to get caught up on part one here to experience the whole shebang!
THANKS, REID HOFFMAN!
If you enjoyed this session with Reid Hoffman, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
- The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
- Masters of Scale
- Greylock Partners
- Reid Hoffman at LinkedIn
- Reid Hoffman at Twitter
- Keep Humans in the Equation with Stacy Brown-Philpot, Masters of Scale
- Decline of Detroit, Wikipedia
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Rick Hanson | The Science of Hardwiring Happiness and Resilience, TJHS 192
- Let Your Customers Be Your Scouts with Julia Hartz, Masters of Scale
- The Ugly Mug
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Reid Hoffman Story (Part 2) — Make Everyone a Hero, Masters of Scale
- The Millennial Episode with Brit Morin, Masters of Scale
- Brit + Co
- The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh
- What Great Founders Do At Night with Arianna Huffington et al., Masters of Scale
- Matthew Walker | Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, TJHS 126
- Scott Galloway | Solving the Algebra of Happiness, TJHS 204
- Bilderberg Meetings
- 9 Questions about the Illuminati You Were Too Afraid to Ask by Phil Edwards, Vox
- Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Transcript for Reid Hoffman | Mastering Your Scale for the Unexpected Part Two (Episode 208)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with producer Jason DeFillippo. Today, we're back with Part Two of my interview with Reid Hoffman. He's the founder of LinkedIn, investor at Greylock, and host of the podcast Masters of Scale. People refer to Reid as the oracle of Silicon Valley. He can spot unicorns, companies that are just going to explode in value, change the world, shape the way that we live. His advice is highly sought after and his companies and ideas have really just changed the shape of investing and the tech sphere in general.
[00:00:32] Now, this was originally supposed to be an interview with Reid on the Jordan harbinger show and has evolved into a collaboration between our podcasts. We developed a commencement episode of sorts for Reid's podcast, Masters of Scale and this special episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show brings together all the best life lessons from the last season on Masters of Scale that might be useful for a grad, entrepreneur, or anyone navigating big decisions.
[00:00:56] A quick backgrounder on Masters of Scale, in each episode, Reid sets out to prove that theory about how businesses grow from zero to a gazillion. Theories like why you should let fires burn or why imperfect is perfect, and he does this by talking to a famous founder about their lives. It's a business show, but it doesn't sound like a business show. So what you'll hear today is both my interview with Reid Hoffman and also segments from Masters of Scale where Reid interviews, some truly amazing founders. In Part One of this episode, you heard from Spotify’s Daniel Ek, Instagram's Kevin Systrom and Marissa Mayer of Google and Yahoo.
[00:01:31] Today, we're back at it and kicking things off with someone from my hometown of Detroit, Michigan. It's Stacy Brown-Philpot CEO of TaskRabbit. In this, Masters of Scale clip, Stacey talks about her first job and how it taught her grit pretty early in the game. Let's have a listen.
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:01:51] I grew up on the west side of Detroit. It wasn't the best neighborhood, it wasn't the worst neighborhood, but people looked out for each other. Of course, later on, things got worse for a lot of people very, very fast but it was home for me.
Reid Hoffman: [00:02:04] The Motor City was struggling as the auto industry’s engine faltered and died. Times were tough. Communities were devastated by unemployment and despair. Stacy got an unflinching look at this reality from her very first job, the paper route. Stacy shared hers with her older brother.
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:02:25] We would deliver the papers in the mornings and then on the weekends we had to go collect from people. Of course, there were always people who didn't want to pay, so I had to make sure we got paid.
Reid Hoffman: [00:02:36] How old were you then?
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:02:38] Oh, I was about 10 years old.
Reid Hoffman: [00:02:39] And so how did you get people to pay?
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:02:41] Well, you just knock on their door a lot, and often and then you kind of watch when people's cars would pull up, and see them going in the house, and you run out and catch them before they close the door. And then I'm 10, so of course, they're going to look at me and say, "I need to give Stacy her money." But sometimes they just wouldn't answer the door if they didn't have it, so you have to watch people when they go into their house.
Reid Hoffman: [00:03:04] Most people would agree that stiffing a 10-year-old girl out of her paper route money is a jerk move, but Stacy wasn't deterred.
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:03:12] Some people would see us and it's like four degrees outside, and they would just give us that extra dollar. That just meant so much because I know it came from people who didn't have a whole lot of money, but they were proud of us for doing real work, good work, legal work in a community where a lot of people did illegal work to make money. I think that helped inspire me probably later on, that if you do get work for good people, it'll pay off.
Reid Hoffman: [00:03:42] But there was a less sentimental reason that drove Stacy to lug heavy bags of paper through freezing Detroit streets.
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:03:50] I liked to buy candy.
Reid Hoffman: [00:03:53] I think that's universal amongst 10-year-olds. So there’s use for this money, it's called candy.
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:03:59] Exactly.
Reid Hoffman: [00:04:01] Cash equals candy. It's a fun equation you learn as a kid, but Stacy learned some tougher lessons too.
Stacy Brown-Philpot: [00:04:08] I would say that my upbringing in Detroit taught me grit. It taught me about not just the cold weather, but there's a community that needs to thrive and you need to figure out a way.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:21] I've noticed that many successful people -- not just CEOs and entrepreneurs -- they have a lot of resilience. They do have a lot of grit and there are books about this. It's almost -- I don't want to say buzzwordy because it cheapens it -- but it's very, it's trending right now, especially around here, but if we didn't grow up selling newspapers in below freezing Michigan winters and getting stiffed by our elderly customers running into the house to avoid paying, how do we go about developing some grit as adults? I think a lot of people write into my inbox and they'll go, "Hey, I'm 25 and I'm now realizing I've never had it hard at all. Can I actually accomplish great things because my parents did a great job raising me? I have good values. I'm kind of a hard worker. But the second someone's like, 'Nah, I don't want to hire you.' I go into my shell or I feel defeated completely." How do we develop this? Where do we start?
Reid Hoffman: [00:05:14] So I think grit, some of us have a more natural predisposition for it. Some of us don't. That's nature, but it's always nature plus nurture. So I think grit can be learned. The principal way is anytime that you run into a difficult circumstance, realize it's a learning opportunity. Realize that it's like, "This is where I can learn grit. This is where I can go, 'Okay, I pick myself up, I dust myself off, and I do it again.'"
[00:05:41] And we've all encountered it at least in minor ways. Like you play sports when you're in high school, you try your hand at art and you're a terrible painter, but you know, we actually lean back and you go, "Okay, I picked myself up. I keep going." And what you do is you say, "It's something to learn. It's something to get better at." It's the same way as -- can I express myself in language? Can I pick out a good outfit? Like it's the same thing, everyone can learn it and it doesn't mean that everyone can learn it to be an Olympic level. That's a whole spectrum on this, but you can learn it to be better. And it's super important because basically where things really get tragic is where you take yourself out of the game. You don't stop playing and that's you. You decide to do that. There are these people in these war-torn regions, Syria, et cetera, who like literally take life-threatening risks to cross an ocean to try to make a life for themselves and their families. You can take some risks can, you can actually have the grit to do it. You just need to say, "It's a learning thing. Okay, I fell, I fell down. I failed at this." Great try again.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:52] How do we know if we're learning grit and resilience or we're just punishing ourselves because, "Okay, I'm in pain. If I lean into this, Reid said grit is going to come out the other side. Resilience is going to come out the other side."
Reid Hoffman: [00:07:05] Simply putting your finger continually in a light socket. It's not necessarily a particularly good learning experience. So what you want to be doing is you want to be saying, "Okay, how am I measuring what I'm learning?" And so one of the ways that I do it is I come up with principles. So it isn't just, I go, "Okay, I'll take more pain." I'll go, "Okay, here's a place where I took the pain. How do I play again where at least if I'm failing again, I'm learning new lessons, like I learned some lessons from that time?". So you go, it isn't just like, "Ah, that was painful. Now I'm going to try again." It's like, what did you learn from it? What did you say now I'm going to play differently? Like I am now going to say, "Okay, next time I take on that challenge, I'm going to get two or three friends to do it with me." Or, "Next time I'm going to take on that challenge, I'm going to make sure that I've built up some momentum before I get into it." That kind of thing is you say, "Okay, that's what I've learned." And by the way, sometimes you have to relearn because you go, "Well, that was actually the wrong learning. I now need to adjust that." Fine. But if you have that, then you have confidence that you're making progress and it isn't just that, "Well, there's a 20-foot concrete wall and I'm trying to pound my head against it to go through it," and that's never going to work. Your head's going to break before the concrete wall does. But you go, "Okay, well I studied the wall a little bit better." And I said, "Well, not the concrete wall, the wood wall. I'm going to go after the wood wall." Fine. That's the kind of thing.
[00:08:28] And if you know that you are learning, you're asking other people, you're trying to figure out, "What's the way that I do at better?" Then you're making progress. And grit is one of the things that come out of it because part of how you learn grit is you go, "Well that was painful and difficult, but then I played again and I did better. Oh, grit’s useful." And that's how you need to do it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:48] This next clip is right up my alley given that what I teach so much on the show and to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and companies are soft skills. So networking, relationship development and especially reading between the lines to decipher, communication and figure out why people are saying what they're saying here.
[00:09:02] So in this clip from Masters of Scale, you'll hear the co-founder and CEO of Eventbrite, Julia Hartz talking about her, not so favorite customer feedback from her first job as a barista. I think we all have one of those memorable a-holes -- if we can use that term from our past or depending on where you are in your career -- you might even be dealing with one right now. Let's hear it.
Reid Hoffman: [00:09:31] Julia was learning to hear what people said and react to it in real-time. It's a skill she developed not only in the dance studio but in all the jobs that would follow. She learned to listen to what people say and then cut to the core of what they actually mean. And she learned fast. Like the time she was working at a local coffee shop.
Julia Hartz: [00:09:53] I was 14, at The Ugly Mug in Santa Cruz, where I grew up. I learned how to make a great latte, but the biggest lesson was this woman would show up at the door at 5:55 AM and walk-in and yell at me for like a good 15, 20 about how bad the coffee was that I was making her. And I would get like a pit in my stomach for the first few weeks. And then I just realized one day, she didn't have anyone to talk to. It wasn't about me. It’s not about the latte. It's like that lesson was one of the most important lessons I've ever learned in my life. I learned it at 14.
Reid Hoffman: [00:10:35] "It's not about the latte." It's a deceptively simple statement. One that can save you a lot of time and effort if you learn the lesson well. Because what sounds like direct feedback -- the kind of feedback that calls for clear action -- is often something quite different. If Julia has taken that customer's feedback at face value, she would have tied herself into knots trying to satisfy impossible demands. And she'd never have mastered making a great latte.
Julia Hartz: [00:11:02] I remember thinking it's not about the latte. You know, you with those people, you're like, wait, they need someone to talk to and they're not upset about you or it or it's about something else. You got to kind of like put it into context
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:18] All right, Reid. So what sounds like direct feedback -- the kind of feedback that calls for clear action -- is often something quite different. Great. How do we know what feedback is direct feedback and how do we know which is the crazy old lady going ballistic about a perfectly good latte?
Reid Hoffman: [00:11:35] There are two things. So one is integrated data from multiple, multiple data points. So, for example, you have one person's saying, "That's a terrible latte." And a bunch of other people are like, "Oh great." And they are regulars and they're coming in while you've got multiple data points. So the likelihood that that's a terrible latte is much lower. So multiple data are super helpful. And sometimes it's tricky to get multiple data points or compare apples to apples versus apples to oranges and then make that happen. But multiple data points are very useful. And then also, this gets to the second point, which is asking your network. Ask people, you know, say, "Hey, I'm having this experience, how should I interpret it?" And those folks should be able to say, well, like for example, if I had been friends with a young Julia, I’ll say, "Well, come in, I'll try your latte, I'll tell you what I think," and I'll tell you what I actually think. Like, I'm not going to go, "Oh, it's great." It'll be like, "No, I'm trying to help my friend." "Oh, it was pretty good. I don't know what the problem is." And by the way, that's how you get a second data point.
[00:12:32] And so the really key thing is to realize that the learnings, very rarely, I mean occasionally come from one data point and then you have your network to help you understand it and analyze it and understand what the key learnings are. But frequently, it's multiple data points and then you integrate across them. And that's how you understand.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:50] When we come across this in a work or corporate situation, how should we sort of ask clarifying questions? Because if our data point is our boss, we might not want to be like, "Eh, it's one data point," or if it's the market especially, but let's, let's assume it's a person and maybe it's our direct supervisor, we probably should investigate this directly with them, don't you think?
Reid Hoffman: [00:13:13] Well, so on a boss, yes, but basically if you don't have a good relationship with a boss, you should be thinking about your next job and you should be working on it. And this is kind of the pivot early. You're like, "Ah, this doesn't work." Pivot early. So it is the kind of thing that you shouldn't let rest. You have a bad relationship with your boss. It's not the kind of thing that improves accidentally over time, et cetera. It has to be something to work on. So working on the relationship with the boss, fundamentally good idea. The second thing is so you're having a problem with the boss, you're trying to figure out is it the boss or is it me or what combination. That's again, why a network is useful and a network of people who are not going like, "Oh yeah, your boss is terrible. I'm your friend. Your boss is terrible." That doesn't help you because you also want to learn because you go to the next boss and you have the same problem. You're not making progress in your career. You want the people to go, "Look, I care about you, I care about you making progress, but I'm going to help you short out how much of it's you. How much is your boss? What's the issue? Is it a chemistry problem? Is it that your boss's terrible problem? Is that you're a terrible problem?" Because getting back to the first point, your relationship with your boss here will really matter. And if your relationship with your boss isn’t good and you can't fix it, move on.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:28] Got you! How do you handle this in your marriage? Don't worry. I don't think Michelle is going to listen. Because pivoting early, it can get messy.
Reid Hoffman: [00:14:34] Well, hopefully, you've dated for a while. Hopefully, you've got a bunch of data from that. Look, I think, you know, part of the thing and in marriage again is address problems early. Think about getting marriage counseling for example. So going to saying, "Hey, we have this difference of opinion on X. Well let's go find some third party that we both trust and have the conversation." And sit down and work through that. And by the way, if you can do that, it makes your marriage much stronger. It's a little bit of like don't waste good crises. I'm kind of like looking for a pivot center. Look for the crises because those can make things much better.
[00:15:15] And so you know, one of the things that I tell people is like one of the great things about having a crisis in any relationship, including a capital, our relationship, is when you get to a crisis, this is an opportunity by which you can actually be stronger. It isn't just a risk, it's also an opportunity. And, and I in across my relationship with everyone in my life, I actually look for those and I steer into them to try to make it good and strong it. And by the way, if it turns out that it doesn't become stronger, then maybe it's not the right thing. Maybe it's not the right thing for either of you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:46] I liked the idea of steering into a crisis because a lot of people go, "Ooh, this is going to be thorny. I don't really want to deal with this. That, of course, is going to crop up later along with the other 15 crises that you buried. And then that's how people end up --
Reid Hoffman: [00:15:59] Yup and at that point, it might not be fixable.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:01] Right, right. That it's like, "Well, you bury all these other problems." "Well, I was trying to smooth things over." Yeah. Then it's just an explosion. Someone leaves the cap off the toothpaste and you're getting sheaved.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:16:14] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Reid Hoffman. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:19] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator. Every week it seems like I'm reading something about a social media platform, changing the terms of service or leaking all of their users' private data, but since none of us can control anyone else's website, it's time to focus on what you can control your own website. You want to have your own home on the internet and don't want to worry about eviction or your data ending up in the dark web. Let our friends at HostGator handle all of your website needs. It's never been easier or cheaper and the best thing is you can start today. Your site is either for yourself or your business and you'd rather not worry about learning how to code, how to optimize a plugin. You'd probably rather focus on just about any other thing in the world and that's why we recommend HostGator's website builder. HostGator lets you choose from over a hundred beautiful templates. That way your site will look great and it will look good on any device, smartphone, tablet, desktop. They've got tons of add-ons, lots of bells and whistles. Don't worry, you don't need SEO webinars, they got to plugin for that. You can have unlimited email addresses, you can ditch your AOL email and if that sounds more advanced than that you'd like, you can start off with some WordPress. You can just use their control panel. It's all up to you. 99.9 percent uptime. The customer service is there 24/7, 365 and HostGator is giving our wonderful listeners up to 62 percent off all packages for new users and they even offer a 45-day complete money-back guarantee. So go to hostgator.com/jordan right now to sign up. That's hostgator.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:45] This episode is also sponsored by Just Crack An Egg.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:17:48] Is it time to put the heat back into your relationship with breakfast, but a hot breakfast? It just sounds like too much work. Well, it's time to head over to the egg aisle and pick up Just Crack An Egg. It's a hot, fluffy breakfast scrambled that'll have you back in hot breakfast love in less than two minutes. All you've got to do is add a fresh egg over their hearty breakfast fixings, then stir, microwave and reignite your love of breakfast. And something else you'll love about Just Crack An Egg is that it has no artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives, but even better is how fluffy and cheesy and delicious it is. It comes in seven different varieties including three brand new kinds of veggie, southwest style, and protein-packed scrambles, or just try one of the classics like Denver or all-American. So don't wait for the weekend to get a little hot, hearty breakfast love into your a.m. It's time to run with your arms wide open to the egg aisle and take breakfast back with Just Crack An Egg.
[00:18:36] Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Reid Hoffman. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all of the latest episodes in your podcast player as they're released so you don't miss a single thing. And now back to our show with Reid Hoffman.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:11] All right, this next clip was actually with you and it centers around one of the lessons you learned playing Dungeons and Dragons, which I think is -- it's funny how many people play this and take lessons away from that they use for the rest of their life. I know you went to the game creator of a different RPG, RuneQuest. You marked up the whole thing and created edits and to this day your name is on is listed as a contributor in RuneQuest, which actually is pretty awesome. I get amazing show ideas from fans all the time. Our most popular episodes are often just me giving advice from Feedback Friday and that's a fan idea.
[00:19:48] So in this clip, Reid, you're being interviewed by Masters of Scale executive producer June Cohen, and she's about to share what happened as you got more and more into Dungeons and Dragons. Let's see what we can take from this next clip.
June Cohen: [00:20:03] Reid's thirst for adventure grew. He recruited a band of classmates and took on the role of Game Master himself. He was now responsible for creating and running a fantasy world, a world in which his friends were spending more and more time. Reid soon realizes this involved more than coming up with fantastical situations and presiding over geeky dice rolls.
Reid Hoffman: [00:20:25] As part of it, you also wanted to have people feel like they kind of earned their heroism. So what they did is they would have a difficult challenge, they’d have something they’d really have to figure out, it would take effort and they might not get it right, and you had to make sure they didn't die because no one likes to be in the story where like, "Oh, you all died, right?" But that struggle, you would set that up with some depth it, so that people would enjoy the path for figuring out how they could be heroes.
June Cohen: [00:20:52] It's interesting, because, by your description, it is very much a game of complex human motivations. What did you learn about human motivation playing Dungeons and Dragons?
Reid Hoffman: [00:21:03] I did learn that people wanted to be the hero of their own story. That that was a fundamental kind of human drive across almost everybody. I learned that kids tend to be a little simplistic and shallow, so their definition of heroism has kind of a pretty simple like, "Hit dragon with a sword." That gets richer for some of us as we get older.
June Cohen: [00:21:24] I suspect there have been moments as a CEO and investor when you longed for the days when people were as simple as just wanting to kill something with a sword.
Reid Hoffman: [00:21:33] Yes. Although sometimes, all you have to do is scratch at it to figure out where that is. Very often people's motives have a fairly simple character like, "I want to be the important person who solved that problem. I want to have the credit for it." When it’s really like, "Well, actually, in fact, there were five of us who were all working on it, who’re all contributed to the component. And yes, your component was important, but your weird behavior is because you're trying to kind of assert that claim." Life is a team sport, not an individual sport. And once you start thinking that way, everything goes a lot better.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:07] It's funny how human motivation can really parallel something like D and D Dungeons and Dragons. The team sports angle makes a lot of sense. I'm wondering what else you've learned about working with others from these sort of old school RPGs.
Reid Hoffman: [00:22:21] You know, one of the things that, which is the title of that Master of Scale episode is Make Everyone a Hero is that part of how a team comes together is everyone wants to feel that their part, their role, their contribution is meaningful. And so composing a good team -- whether it's the team of your own personal board of directors, the team that you're working on in an organization -- is that does everyone go, "Yeah, I'm a hero here." And they've bought into that hero role. And so part of what I found in playing RuneQuest, which I played much more than I played D and D, but I play both was that where everyone had a magical experience and it was reinforcing. So let’s say you had four players and, and you were there as a game master and where the five one plus one plus one was like 20 not five was then it was like, "Oh yeah, that was great. And this was great too." And everyone was like, "And we were all their heroes together." And the more that you can make this happen, I think the better delight everyone has and the more massive increase the value and the geeky technical term for this is to try to seek playing non-zero-sum games. There's this notion of zero-sum as well. One of us wins, one of us loses. It's a fixed pot. What do you get? What do I get? The more that you can be in life circumstances where when we all play this, the pot grows, we all win more. That's a much better place.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:47] That makes sense. Yeah. The zero-sum game, we see it a lot in diplomacy politics like, "Okay, I'm going to lose but you're going to lose more. So we're good." Or, "I'm going to win an edit, but it has to be at your expense." Not a great way to make friends or do business actually.
Reid Hoffman: [00:24:03] Or have a quality life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:04] Right, yeah, It's very sort of Machiavelli, but old school version. Working with some of the high-level executives, maybe egos that are present in Silicon Valley, how do you get those types of people to play on a team when it seems like a lot of accolades just go to the loudest person gunning for credit?
Reid Hoffman: [00:24:22] A lot depends on the specifics of the circumstance in this one. Usually, the mistake is to try to explicitly just go, "Wait a minute, this is my credit, that is my thing." Because then usually it sets the wrong dynamic. Part of it is you recognize as a multi transaction game to go, "Oh that didn't work out this well, so next time I'm going to angle a little bit better to make sure that the credit is delivered." Sometimes you could do, it takes extra work, but you can like write a report or a memo saying, "Oh you know, here's how things, I mean you kind of stated it in the way that you're looking at it." Sometimes you go, "Well the recognition of credit really matters to this specific person," like the boss or so forth. Then you can sit down and go, "You know, I felt a little awkward and I didn't know what the right way to be a good team player was. But I felt like maybe I should get a little bit more credit for this kind of thing cause X, Y and Z," and the real audience that mattered was the boss's opinion. And boss goes, "Oh, well you handled it socially appropriately rather than making a big scene at the office, possibly breaking team dynamics. You came to me, you expressed in a way that was partially a question." I kind of thought that, "Internally, I felt like I deserved more credit, but you know, I'm asking you about it because I'd like your feedback on this and here's why." And they go, "Oh great." And then they may tell you, "Well actually the credit should be more distributed the following way." And you go, "Okay, I learned something. Maybe I disagree with you, but I hear how you're looking at this." So there's a whole bunch of specifics that really matter. Probably the real take-home is don't just try to go beat the drum louder, try to maneuver so that the credit is kind of shown rather than you're telling people and to identify which audiences really matter versus the whole world because to which audience is an easier problem.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:05] Yeah, that's true. Right. Like if everyone in the boardroom knows that you took point on it, but the public face says, "Look at what this team did." It kind of doesn't matter if your goal is, "Look, I'm just trying to do good things for my venture capital firm. I don't care if Twitter knows is that is my idea."
Reid Hoffman: [00:26:22] Exactly.
[00:26:23] Coming up here, this next Masters of Scale clip features Brit Morin's founder of the lifestyle and skills community. Brit & Co. Brit has just killed it. Reaching and working with millennials. Most of Brit's users are millennials as is Britt and her team. What really stands out for me in this clip is your idea around tours of duty, Reid. I'd like to talk about that afterward. Here's the clip.
Reid Hoffman: [00:26:46] For me, passion in the workplace isn't something that can be bought. All the backrubs and bento boxes in the world aren't going to help your employees feel fulfilled if their goals are fundamentally different to yours. Instilling true passion is about aligning goals. And while it is true that this will encourage loyalty or retention or whatever you want to call it, you have to realize that goals change. The alignments can drift apart until they are following separate courses. This is certainly not unique to millennials.
Brit Morin: [00:27:19] We're always aware that oftentimes people might leave the company to take a whole different type of spin at a new career. We've had people leave to become nurses and yoga instructors and to start companies of their own. And to be honest, we just agree that that's normal for this generation and that we have to always be open to the idea of hiring replacements for many of our employees because, at the end of the day, our average tenure is about two and a half years, which is sad, but true to believe.
Reid Hoffman: [00:27:52] Here's where I disagree with Brit. A two-and-a-half-year tenure is only sad if your expectations are wrong. Think of it as a tour of duty. You agree to work together for the length of a particular project or for as long as the evolution makes sense. The only thing you have to be careful about is being true to your word. When you sign up for a tour of duty, you finish it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:21] So this is an area of friction for the older generation and a lot of millennials sort of butt heads on this. Because my parents or someone my parents’ age, a common topic at the dinner is "Nobody could stick with anything anymore. Everyone's always moving around. These kids can't hold jobs for more than four years. I was at Ford for 32 years," or whatever, but it's not quite accurate. There's something else going on here. Tell us why should we not be upset that people are switching jobs so often or that they're moving around so much?
Reid Hoffman: [00:28:50] The first book was Start-Up You, the second book is The Alliance. This is a part of what I was writing about in The Alliance and part of it was it's no longer career ladder, it's no longer career escalator. It's a jungle gym. And jungle gym is you're kind of going sideways, you're going down and going up. It's like kind of all over. And that's the nature of modern work. And so I think that the -- and actually, by the way, the whole world's better off for it. The world is better off if individuals that can have essentially multiple careers and kind of different ways they can learn and stay fresh and be interesting. Businesses can be infused with new talent, with bold ideas and different learnings from different areas and kind of adjust how they think of the market, how they play, how they operate. It's one of the things that makes Silicon Valley magical. Because actually, in fact, people move around from companies a lot. And so all of the companies are fiercely learning machines because they're all learning together through the exchange of these biological parts that go, "I learned this and I moved over here and I'm not taking any confidential information, but I did take what I learned and I'm applying it over here." And that sharing of information is super important. And you know, part of it is there's this kind of like, think of how foolish it is to say, "Well, I'm 20 and I've picked the exact right thing for me for the next 45 years." Like, "Really? You don't think you're going to learn anything in the next 45 years? You did all your learning when you're 20, you're done?" And the world's not changing and all the rest? So it's a good thing.
[00:30:16] The important thing, and this is part of The Alliance, in the book, was to say actually, in fact, staying synced and being forthright and being well allied with the companies you're at, with the managers you're working with is super important because you can say, "Look, what's the magical thing that I can accomplish by working here such that you think that that was a good tour of duty. And what's that thing? Let's agree on that. Let me do that. And that's part of what I contribute as part of this being a significant and interesting part of my career path." And then vice versa of "Okay, what's the thing that, how do I get transformed with this? How does this help amplify my career?" And maybe it'll end up being here my entire life. Great, awesome. And maybe it won't, and that should be great too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:05] I think the advantages are pretty clear and I know there are different types of tours of duty. We'll get to those in the next clip, but I'm wondering if there are any limitations, we should be aware of. And which do you prefer to see, for example, inside your own companies? Do you love it when people are doing tours of duty? Are you like, "Look, I'd like to ideally retain people for longer.”?
Reid Hoffman: [00:31:23] Well, the greater percentage of people that are retained for longer is better for the company for sure. They have a depth of knowledge. So they may like having worked there for years, they understand a bunch of things that have been tried or not. They're cultural standard bears. They're more aligned with the mission of the company and what they're doing. So that is a useful thing. Now that was a hundred percent usually that's a problem because then you're not getting new blood, you're not getting new ideas. So it isn't that the goal is 100 percent but a significant group of people who go, "This is something I'm doing from multiple tours of duty. Something that is really valuable to me." And the company should try to work in a way to make that the case that it's valuable for the individuals. Because by the way, they're also thinking, "Well, how does my life work out and so forth. And if it's staying here long at the company, it's great for the company but only in different from me. How does that work?" It should be an aligned set of interests. The company needs to be working on it. The individuals need to be working on it. But it is useful to have a group of people who are, we are long-timers at the company. And frequently when you look at the exec staff of most really well-run companies, occasionally executives are hired in from the outside. That's again, fresh blood, new ideas. It's useful but usually, a bulk of them tend to be promoted up from within the company because they have that depth of knowledge, they have that depth expertise. And that's one of the things that's useful to think about is if I'm starting out my career, it's like, "Well actually, I really love Netflix. I really love like Dan, I really love, whichever the company might be. And okay I may iterate my way through this and of course, I'll stay flexible. Maybe something else is the right thing at some point," but maybe it's a sequence of tour of duties right here at this one company.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:05] If I'm listening to this and I want to do more tours of duty like work, how do you recommend that I bring this up with the companies that I work with? Because it might be a little bit like, "Wait, are they leaving? I don't get it. They want to work on a project basis. Does that mean they're transitioning out?
Reid Hoffman: [00:33:20] in The Alliance, we recommend the manager brings up because they have it a little bit more of a positional power. But say you're an individual and you're working with someone and you feel that you have because as we described it as a dishonest connection because you're not actually talking about the elephant in the room, which maybe I'm going to go somewhere else. The best way to do is say, "Look, I love this company. I love the mission. It would be awesome for me if it worked out that I was working here for 20 years or a long time. I would love that. That's great. But it's also possible that it won't be the case. It's possible that you know, you guys don't think that I'm the right fit for the next progression. Like when I think it's time for me to be promoted or to take on a different responsibility, that job doesn't exist here, or you guys don't think I'm the right fit. That could happen. And so I want to be clear about talking both about the opportunities here at this company and the other opportunities." And if you do that as the overall frame, you're taking away those backdrops of, "Oh, are you telling me you're leaving? Are you telling me you're not loyal to me? Are you telling me you don't care about our mission? Are you telling me I can't depend upon you to accomplish the thing that I'm looking to do?" And you could, you can answer all of those upfronts saying, "Look, I'm committed to you. I want to make this project work, and so forth." And then you can then have a constructive conversation. So if you're in that employee position, bringing up the conversation, that's the way I recommend you do it.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:34:40] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Reid Hoffman. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:45] This episode is sponsored in part by the Hartford.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:34:48] At the Hartford, they understand there's nothing small in small business. As a small business owner, you're busy. You have a ton of big decisions to make every day. The last thing you want to do is worry about your small business insurance with coverage from the Hartford, you don't have to. With over 200 years of experience and over 1 million customers, they are specialists in small business. From worker's compensation to professional liability, commercial auto, and more, the Hartford offers a wide range of small business insurance products so you can keep focused on what you love, knowing that they're behind you every step of the way. Learn more at the hartford.com/smallbusiness.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:24] This episode is also sponsored by Apartments.com
Jason DeFillippo: [00:35:27] Have you ever thought about the fact that where you choose to live directly impacts the you, you become? Apartments.com has the most listings, which means you have the most apartments, townhomes, condos, and houses to choose from to unlock your full potential and become the best version of yourself. You're in control of your rental future. Not to mention they have custom search tools. So if you're looking for something specific like pet-friendly, commute-friendly, sit-on-my-couch-and-watch-reruns-because-I-have-the-place-all-to-myself-friendly, you'll find it. But wait, there's more. With apartments.com what you see is what you rent. They comb through their listings to make sure all the information is verified and up-to-date. That way you're not wasting your sweet, sweet time. They're making the hunting for a new place process of breeze. So, send it subpar rental search sites packing and visit apartments.com to find your perfect place. Apartments.com, change your apartment, change the world.
[00:35:18] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air and we really appreciate it. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. And don’t forget the worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And if you're listening to us on the Overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. We really appreciate it. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Reid Hoffman.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:46] So I mentioned before the break that I'm really interested in this idea around tours of duty. So when this next clip from Masters of Scale, we hear more about them read. In this clip, you're talking with Masters of Scale producer June Cohen about where this theory came from, what it means and how to apply it. Spoiler alert, it comes from Star Wars.
June Cohen: [00:37:11] We developed the idea of the "Jedi tours of duty" along with his book The Alliance. He says there are three different tours of duty -- rotational, transformational, and foundational. Each map onto a Star Wars character and probably some colleagues of yours. I asked Reid to take us through the three archetypes.
Reid Hoffman: [00:37:32] The first was rotational, which is kind of you're a hired gun, you're doing the work, you're not really tied to the mission. That was Han Solo. The second was a transformational tour of duty, which is how both you as an individual, as an employee, are transformed, and how you also transform the organization. Of course, that's Luke Skywalker, just beginning his Jedi journey. And then the foundational tour of duty is where your mission is so closely aligned with the organization that the organization as part of your own mission as an individual. And that's the foundational tour of duty, where your life's mission is part of growing and the impact of the organization. That's Princess Leia’s tour of duty.
June Cohen: [00:38:11] The Star Wars metaphor is funny, but it's also deeply useful for anyone assembling a team. It gives you a framework for thinking, not just about what you could get from this new team member, but what they get from you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:28] How do we know what type of tour of duty we're looking for? Or is that more up to the company and the manager and we're just sort of a tourist of duty?
Reid Hoffman: [00:38:36] Oh, that's funny. I actually I haven't heard that tourist of duty as a good idea. It's a match. Generally speaking, I think the initial focus of your career when you starting should be transformational is, you're learning yourself. You're figuring out what's out there in the market. If figuring out how it plays. You may get to a place where you go, "Oh my gosh, the mission of this organization, this is my mission, this is the mission that I like. I can't see myself wanting to do something else." And by the way, that can change back to, but then you switched to the foundational mission. And by the way, that has to be generally, you have to see eye-to-eye with the company, eye-to-eye with your manager on that but you can be expressing it that way. And then rotational tours of duty are fairly straight forward, which is like, "Well, this is actually in fact, I kind of a more of a plug and play job and so even though I may be thinking about this as this is what I want to be doing for a very long time, I'm simply going to be in that rotational tour for a long time," whether it's a barista or a driver or something else and that's fine, but, but you should realize where you are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:34] This next idea is one that'll be familiar to most of us work-life balance. It's super important to some folks for others as highly controversial and for others, it might be a little overrated but talk about buzzwordy trending things right now.
[00:39:47] This clip features a few founders, Airbnb's Brian Chesky, Spotify’s Daniel Ek, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, MIT Media Lab’s Joi Ito, Marissa Mayer of Google and Yahoo, and Reid Hoffman himself. Let's take a listen to this Masters of Scale clip.
Reid Hoffman: [00:40:04] Before I go further, I have to admit I'm a very flawed spokesperson on this particular theory. I have at times use the phrase, "Sleep is for the weak." But in my defense, I was being somewhat tongue in cheek. Well, for the most part. I don't really think sleep is a sign of weakness. If I know that I have a particularly creative project coming up, I'll make sure I get eight hours of sleep the night before. But a younger, less wise me, would often limit sleep to continue the thrill of the entrepreneurial chase. Those super late-nighters to ship a new product are far behind me, but I can't deny. I look back on those days with a hint of fond romanticism. As do many of my previous guests on Masters of Scale.
Marissa Mayer: [00:40:58] They had told me like, "Look, leave at 6:00 p.m. because you're like, we don't know when you'll ever leave at 6:00 p.m. again."
Brian Chesky: [00:41:03] I literally lay on the floor of the lobby and I use my backpack as a pillow.
Daniel Ek: [00:41:08] I did sleep outside of the conference room for a few nights.
Joi Ito: [00:41:13] And I remember, you know, people were like sleeping under their desks.
Reed Hastings: [00:41:15] I was coding all night trying to be CEO in the day and once in a while would squeeze in a shower.
Reid Hoffman: [00:41:20] Okay. Striking the balance between work and rejuvenation is something I still struggle with. My good friend, Joi Ito, will tell you so. Joi is the director of the MIT Media Lab. Here's what he told one of our producers when they interviewed him about my idea of letting fires burn.
Joi Ito: [00:41:41] So the only concern I have for Reid is that this notion of letting fires burn isn't the greatest philosophy for having a work-life balance. And I think that's something that Reid is now it's just starting to process. So on the one hand, I think he's the master of scaling. But on the other hand, I think he's just beginning to figure it out how that ties into a sort of taking care of himself and his life.
Reid Hoffman: [00:42:07] In fact, it's my conversations on the subject with Joi and other entrepreneurs that have gotten me thinking more seriously about this question of wellness, not just when it comes to the individual. But how it can be scaled throughout a company in a measurable way that boosts the bottom line.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:42:26] So sleep is for the weak, huh?
Reid Hoffman: [00:42:27] You have to understand what game you're playing. There are games you can play with work-life balance. That's what you want to do. Great. Like no harm, no foul. Good thing to do. If you're doing a startup, which is the metaphor I use is you're jumping off a cliff, assembling an airplane on the way down. You're all in. There is no work-life balance there. It's you assemble the plane or you crash on the ground. And so at that point, yes, you need to rest enough that you can play. It's a marathon, not just a sprint that you can play that out, but that's where you kind of go, "Okay, I am playing this as hard as possible."
[00:43:00] Now, the "sleep is for the weak" is kind of a fun metaphor. I am actually, I think making intelligent decisions is really key to how you learn and do everything else and you need to be getting enough sleep that you're cognitively functional, that you're making decisions the right way. So it isn't, "Oh yeah, stay up two nights. That's great." It's like, no, no, no, no, it's a marathon and your cognitive process and the decisions you're making are super important.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:25] The more I researched this and talk to people about it. The more the research shows that people are actually happier when they have some sort of balance, but they're happier kind of in the moment where that balance exists, of course. But there are people who are the most successful economically and they typically on our show say, "Look, at no time in my 20s and 30s did I have any sort of work-life balance." This isn't universally true, but Scott Galloway, who's a professor at Stern, he said, "Look, forget it. If you want balance before your 40s that's fine, but you might have to accept that you won't be as economically successful as people that just burned it for 20 years and were like obsessed with every business that they were in and slept in the office."
[00:44:08] And it's an uncomfortable truth because I'm from the Wall Street background, so I'm fully familiar with some supplementing your diet with Red Bull and sleeping upright in a chair in front of an Excel spreadsheet. But a lot of people are like, "No, it's not fair. I should have balance and I should still be able to be successful." But it's kind of like follow your passion where some people do it and then they talk about how great that is. And other go, "Wait a minute. I come home every day, I still work six days a week and I'm not seeing it. What do I really have to have 80-hour work weeks?"
Reid Hoffman: [00:44:40] It's a competitive world. What's your differentiation? The other people are working 80-hour weeks and you're working 40 and you think you're going to win. You know, you'd better be lucky or amazingly good or both?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:53] Probably both.
Reid Hoffman: [00:44:54] Yes. Right. So you got to think about it. Everyone wants to have high or many, many people and the majority of people want to have a high economic success. So they're kind of competing for it. And you have to think about it as a competition, which means that it's the person who goes and says, "Oh, I'm going to be a star basketball player and I'm not going to practice." Oh really? No, no, no. Actually, in fact, you have to commit. You have to put in the time, you have to put the energy, the blood, sweat and tears. That's what it takes.
[00:45:18] Now, the only thing I'd say that kind of slightly soften that is people can say, "Work-life balance. Hey, I'm a, you know, go home and five I've got every evening, I got all my hobbies." Or, "Oh my God, I'm sleeping at the office." Think about it as kind of like maybe a little bit closer to them sleeping in the office, but think about like, "Okay, what can I do to make the marathon work for me?" "Well, I do good sleep. I do get enough sleep. Like maybe I'm getting seven versus eight hours, right? But I am getting enough sleep and I take small breaks." I'm like, okay, Saturday afternoons I go do something that just totally delights me and I just make sure that’s sacrosanct every time I get to Saturday and then I'm working and that's what I was doing when I was doing startups. It was like, okay, it isn't seven days, nothing matters. It's how do you have one thing that kind of recharges you a little bit and it isn't mean, doesn't mean that you aren't, "Oh my God, I'm working like I'm just working so hard." Of course, you are, but you can do that little thing that keeps your batteries charged enough.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:23] So I'm digging this format with the cliffs, but I do want to transition to some good old-fashioned conversation here before we wrap. I heard as a kid you used to go to the library and just read one book, finish it, pulled another one off the shelf. I mean that's, you're either a fast reader or you spend a lot of time in the library or probably both.
Reid Hoffman: [00:46:39] Both.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:40] Do you originally wanted to be the director of the CIA? That seems a little -- what was the thought process behind that?
Reid Hoffman: [00:46:46] That's a very funny, deep historical clip. So I was confronted with the fact that -- and this is being a kid who was reading military history and history of the world and all the rest of those with it. But I was curious about the world and the world around me, and that happened to be the sectional library I found, and I realized at a nine or something, some young age, that part of the suffering that happened is nations would get into conflict and the wars would happen and wars were massive amounts of suffering. And I was like, well, how do you stop wars? Like how do you get it to no Wars happen? I was like, well, actually in fact of nations are knowledgeable and don't make accidents and understand what's going on and understand that peace is better them broadly and then kind of adjust for that. That would be the way to do that. Well, how could I help with that? Well, I could be the director of the CIA because then I could help the information being the right information that would then happen and that would make the world a more peaceful place. Oh, maybe I should do that. That was the logic.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:47] It's pretty sound. I mean it's not totally off; I think. And I know your friends had different positions. You had kind of like your teenage avengers with your friends -- one was the president, one was the CEO of IBM, which is funny -- You’re thinking, "All right. Director of the CIA, president of the United States, CEO of IBM." I guess back then though --
Reid Hoffman: [00:48:07] Back then, IBM was always the big tech company.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:09] That was like one of you has to be Jeff Bezos or so like whatever the modern day --
Reid Hoffman: [00:48:13] Exactly. So you know, it's kind of like, "Oh, we're going to go do this." And of course, this is more youthful fancy.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:19] Sure. Yeah. But it seems like you wanted to be a connector early on. There was some idealism there, obviously. There's something called the Bilderberg group that seems very international, but when I Googled it people are freak. I mean this is like Illuminati conspiracy theory pit. What is that?
Reid Hoffman: [00:48:36] It's a group of people who gathered together to try to figure out what might go wrong with the kind of peaceful, global kind of society, kind of trade and everything else. And it's more like identifying risks. Like you have financial system collapsed and that kind of thing. And I find kind of funny though because I've seen all of the Illuminati threads as well. You know, people like John Micklethwait, the former editor-in-chief of The Economist and now editor-in-chief of Bloomberg. You know these people whose careers would be made by reporting on the Illuminati are there, they're in the room. So it's not the Illuminati. They insist on confidential conversations because part of what happens is let’s say, for example, you were talking about well here's how our risk on a run on the banking system might happen and here's how we might have financial system collapsed in region X of the world. Well, you don't want to be like saying that out in public to the world because you don't want to have a bad actor be able to do something and you may not want to create panic. Because, by the way, part of it is confidence that the system's working about what happens. Like run-ons on the bank, you wouldn't want to do that kind of thing. So they insist on confidentiality for that basis. And that's the reason. And then the other people said, "Well I should know." Look, there's a billion people in the world. What we want to do is identify the risk, have the system be able to go fix the risk before there's any awareness of it, and then we're great. It's just like cybersecurity. You don't say, "Oh, by the way, here's the hole that anyone could get into anyone's Gmail account." No, no, no, no. We don't publicize that. We fixed it first.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:07] Right. That makes sense. So if you're in there and it's not close door and you're saying, Hey, by the way, we're using old software and all our power grid systems, somebody like, dang. So that makes sense. It makes sense. As far as a practical impact on society, I guess, I think whenever you have guys like you and Eric Schmidt and the, I don't know, King of Denmark or whatever in a room and it's like, "Hey, don't we don't talk about what happens there. It's just right before Reddit going bananas.
Reid Hoffman: [00:50:34] And it's the classical when you think about it. Look, think about what are the other reasons, you might have a confidential conversation that’s not like the "We’re there." And by the way, there's a bunch of journalists in the room, their economic incentive, their publicity incentive is if there's anything untoward, ooh, that makes their careers.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:51] Right, that makes sense. What's the next chapter for you? A lot of people want to know what somebody, what people with your level of resources are going to do with like the second half of your life.
Reid Hoffman: [00:51:02] I think it's always good to be thinking like what's the next interesting thing to accomplish, the next thing to do that the delight shoe that the world could use or need. You have some theory of that. And so, you know, for me like that obviously goes into one of the things I can do in philanthropy and I've been doing stuff in artificial intelligence and philanthropy. I helped launch the Stanford’s Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute. And then there's things around, uh, will work. I take the things that I've learned like for example in tech investing and, and help the world in various ways to like change that org is one of the things I invested in because it's like how do you speak humanity to power when that power is governments and corporations and say, "No, be more human." And that could be the internet treasure that does that for you know, decades, hundreds of years, whatever the length of time of these organizations is. Those kinds of things are the kinds of things that have already been part of the last decade, but you know, grow and amplify in the next decade or two.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:03] You do have a lot of resources. What's something that you'd hypothetically get for your kids or, or kids that are close to you and your family and think, "Okay, this is going to give these children a huge advantage in the future." It doesn't have to be something you buy or pay for. But I think a lot of folks go, "Oh well these people all have these advantages," but I'm often asking people this and the advantage is not like send them to a $200,000 a year private school. It's like getting them involved in STEM early or something very simple.
Reid Hoffman: [00:52:31] I think the best thing you can do to help kids is to help experienced the light on some of the things that could be useful paths to them. So like, you know, one of my investments is this company called Aurora, which is self-driving cars. And I was talking to a friend of mine and her nephew is coming over from France and I was like, "What should we do when the nephew comes over from France to be useful in Silicon Valley?" "Well, maybe I can get, you know, the nephew a ride in the overall car." And he’s like, "Ooh, Oh my God, this is what the future looks like." And that could be the, Oh, it could be really exciting to be involved in these kinds of technologies and this kind of technological future. And if you have that kind of excitement, and this sets you on that kind of path. So it's like what kinds of experiences can you help people have conversations, learnings that would go, "Ooh, that's a good anchor moment in what could be a really useful path to go down." And I think those kinds of things are frequently underrated.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:29] So basically get them inspired or open to possibility early so that the thinking changes even one degree. But since it's so early that becomes like steering the ship one degree out of port.
Reid Hoffman: [00:53:40] And realize what's possible.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:41] Yeah. Perfect. That's great. People must spend tons of time and effort trying to get your attention. I can only imagine. What are some of the best ways to get busy people like yourself to pay attention to their communication?
Reid Hoffman: [00:53:54] So the thing I always recommend, because it really is the basic, is to get referred by someone who knows who I am --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:00] Yeah, the warm intro.
Reid Hoffman: [00:54:00] -- and trust. Because like everyone goes, "Wow, what if I put this compelling thing in the cold email, this compelling in the cold email." Yes, one of the 200 that arrived today that I probably don't really even look at. So you go, "Okay, that doesn't really work that way." I've had people wait outside this office and approached me as I'm coming out and I'm like I don't know the difference between you and a sociopath. That’s bad. I'm not going to talk to you in this context. So a warm intro is really the best possible thing. And then the other thing is everyone tends to go to the highest wrong in the celebrity ladder. They tend to go to the, "How do I talk to Bill Gates?" Oh my gosh, the millions, the billions of people that want to talk to Bill Gates. Okay, who's the person that could be really helpful. That's right. That's actually within my sphere. Sure, they're like an important and successful person but they could be helpful to me and really look for that person.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:54] Yeah, good point. You don't really need Bill Gates or Reid Hoffman to say, "This is a good app idea." You need somebody who's built an app before even just mild success.
Reid Hoffman: [00:55:03] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:04] You're right. People go straight to the top. "Jordan, I need to talk to you. Should I start a podcast?" "Ah, I don't know." "How should I launch mine?" "I did mine 12 years ago. I'm the worst person to ask. Start 12 years ago is usually a good tip and then go from there. I mean, I'm really not the person to ask about that sort of thing," so I definitely can identify with that.
[00:55:25] Last but not least, you've mentioned that you would eventually someday maybe like to rewrite Machiavelli's The Prince for modern-day Silicon Valley. What would some of the big changes be from that book?
Reid Hoffman: [00:55:37] When Machiavelli wrote The Prince, there's a lot of scholarship and a lot of contention about what he was trying to do, but he was basically trying to say, "Here's the things that as a key advisor to these powerful Italian families, what are the thing that they should recognize and why should people like me or should be identified as a key advisor." And he was right about this kind of almost state of warfare between the different areas where they also needed to have there are people like them within their city-state. Well, the parallel is we have all these massive tech companies where are these massive tech companies are our powers in the world. They're not this overblown. It's like, "Oh, Google is more powerful than countries." No, it's not like. Almost all of the big major countries, they have armies, police forces -- there's a lot of things where they're a lot more powerful. Kidding aside, the interesting question is the percentage of people listening to this podcast or watching this video would know where it is intrinsically without looking it up. But the thing is that these are in fact like city-states, they are in fact like there's an internal group that's really important to keep connected and yet you have to understand that there's this competition, this conflict between these companies and other kinds of interested. How do you re-orient that? Now part of my interest in doing that is to not just take like a Machiavelli's The Prince and the discourses are kind of the textbook of sociopathic, no morals matter, part of my interest in rewriting and to say actually how do you rewrite it when you say, "Actually the moral compass says do matter." You still have to be realpolitik but realpolitik with moral compasses. And that's the thing that has intrigued me on that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:25] Yeah, that makes sense because I was going to say, okay, you're big on connection and friendship that sort of is un-Machiavelli as maybe it gets. So right, the realpolitik with a moral compass.
Reid Hoffman: [00:57:37] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:37] Well, I'm looking forward to that book someday.
Reid Hoffman: [00:57:39] Yeah, thank you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:40] Reid, thank you very much.
Reid Hoffman: [00:57:41] Pleasure.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:44] Great big thank you to Reid Hoffman. Check out his podcast, Masters of Scale. It is really in-depth interviews and it's produced really well, which I really like. It's got a lot of little bells and whistles that make it really easy to listen to so it's not just super dense business scale up, scale down all the time. It's really well done. The WaitWhat crew who I worked with on this project was just a pleasure to work with and everything they do is really, really well done.
[00:58:09] If you want to know how we managed to book great guests like Reid Hoffman, it's a process. It's a bit of a task to get a network that includes people of this magnitude. And Jason, you've been doing this for a while. I've been doing this for a while. We put some of our knowledge on how to create and maintain relationships for business or personal reasons over at Six-Minute Networking. It's a free course that we created for you over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Now, I know you're thinking you'll do it later. You got to do it later. Well, the number one mistake I see people making is postponing this, kicking the can down the road, and not digging the well before they get thirsty. Once you need relationships, you're too late to leverage them. These drills take a few minutes per day, hence the name Six-Minute Networking plus five minutes was taken. Look, we wish we knew this stuff 20 years ago. It is crucial. You can find it at jordanharbinger.com/course. And remember that a lot of the guests on the show, they are also in this course and on the newsletter, so come join us. Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Reid. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. There's a video of this interview, both Parts One and Two on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube.
[00:59:16] This show is produced in association with PodcastOne and this episode was co-produced by Jason "The Oracle Whisperer” DeFillippo and Jen Harbinger, show notes and worksheets are by Robert Fogarty, and I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love and even those you don't. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:59:46] A lot of people ask me what podcasts I recommend, and if you like interviews, if you like people who are good at asking questions, you'll probably like Cal Fussman. He's been on the show, he's a good friend of mine and on his show, Big Questions with Cal Fussman. He's had Kobe Bryant, Bill Nye, Mike Posner, Jim Kwik, Glenn Beck, so you'll find something interesting there for sure. He's got a whole great lineup, similar guest lists to what we're looking at here for The Jordan Harbinger Show, and a different spin on some of the interviews. So let me know what you think of this show. A lot of people have recommended this to me and, of course, Cal and I are friends, so I'm biased.