I loved working with colleagues at LinkedIn and Greylock and with reids broad network of portfolio companies and organizations (for-profit, non-profit, and political). But my favorite part of the job was the late night 1:1 conversations with reid like the one on the plane from Vegas, where i offered my best candid advice on whatever was on his mind and where i did my best impression. A handful of months have passed since transitioning out of the chief of staff gig along with the publication of our second book together ( The Alliance ). So it seemed an apt time to summarize several important lessons I learned about life and business from reid over three tours of duty: co-authoring Start-up of you, doing the chief of staff gig, and co-authoring The Alliance. Note that Im not going to get into the details of the work with reid at Linkedin and Greylock and his philanthropy and so on, in part due to privacy and confidentiality considerations. Instead, Im going to focus on some of the generalizable take-aways. I picked 16; there are dozens more, of course! (Also, if youre interested in more specifics on the process of conceiving, writing, editing, publishing, and then marketing a business book, here are my detailed lessons and insights from the Start-up of you process.) people are complicated and flawed.
Good and Bad Procrastination - paul Graham
The thought experiment was simple: What would it take to bridge the final self-identified 40 of his capacity so that 100 of his cylinders were firing? How would the world be different and how would his life be different as a result? With the Start-up of you done and published, i had some free time, and so we conceived a tour of duty for me to help wrestle with this question full time. It was initially set as an interim 6 month gig since neither of us knew exactly what I would be doing. It turned into two resume years. We picked Chief of Staff as the job title, even though there was no staff to be chief of yet and even though its a title that means different things in different contexts. Heres how I now list the position on my linkedIn profile : I helped conceive, build up, and then run a new organization to amplify and extend reid Hoffmans strategic priorities. Working out of the linkedIn and Greylock offices for almost two years, as Chief of Staff I was involved in many of the decisions reid made across the different areas of his work: LinkedIn (where hes co-founder/executive chairman Greylock (the venture capital firm where hes. I also strategized and executed new, proactive initiatives to increase reids impact in Silicon world Valley, washington. I hired and managed a team of employees who staffed all of the above efforts.
The Start-up of you, which gave me a view into his life. In addition to his duties as LinkedIns executive chairman, reid worked as a venture capitalist at Greylock, served on several private and public company boards, supported a range of philanthropic initiatives, and produced various intellectual artifacts, such as our book. And lets just say that his flow of ambition working and ideas was not exactly slowing down. Its a lot for anyone to keep track. On top of all that, thanks to linkedIns ipo, he was now a fixture on the forbes rich list. Billionaire status introduces all sorts of social complications in your life, especially for a guy who wasnt expecting. Reid played Dungeons dragons as a kid, drove oxen in high school, and came out of college with the intent of studying philosophy as a professional academic. It would be strange if there were not some scaling issues on the way to moguldom. Thats what I titled a presentation I delivered at reids house in July, 2012.
I believe tradeoffs loom larger than false choices. This is one theme i thought a lot about while working with reid over the past four years. In the pages ahead, i will elaborate on many other lessons I learned from him. But I suppose i should explain first: Why the heck was i on that plane back from Las Vegas in the first place? In her 2011 profile of reid Hoffman, evelyn Rusli of the new York times ended with a direct" from reid: Im functioning at 60 effectiveness, he said. It was a startling final acknowledgement because best the article chronicled the lengthy list of activities and accomplishments that made reid the king of Tech. Given how successful hed been over the past decade, youd think he was operating at 150 effectiveness. But i knew reid wasnt being facetious. I had just spent two years full time partnering with him on our first book.
Should you have a small number of intimate friends or a large number of looser ties? Indeed, one of reids favorite"s is from the great Jewish sage hillel: If i am not for myself, who is? And when i am for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? One interpretation of the" is that you must love yourself and yet you ought not to live just for your benefit. You should help others, too. Reject choosing between self-love and love of others: do both. So id agree that the macro correct answer to the save/savor dilemma is: both. But in practice, at the micro level of an individual decision, we tend to have to pick one or the other.
White consulting llc turning
Hes worked so hard to achieve his success, why not kick back a little and play settlers of Catan while drinking fine whisky in the south of France? Yet at other moments, after he meets with a dynamite non-profit thats saving the lives of millions, i essay understand why he commits to helping, even if it leaves him drained by the end of the weekends marathon meetings. The save/savor dilemma is one hes still figuring out and probably always will. Hes not alone, of course. All of us who enjoy privilege in the world struggle with the dilemma on different scales. Myself, i wonder about how much energy i should expend on the billion people in the world who live on a dollar a day or less versus tending to and enjoying my own little inconsequential life. How much should i volunteer and donate to charity?
What does it mean to lead audit a life of purpose larger than self, and is that something i even need to concern myself with? Should I feel guilty if I blow money at a resort in Thailand when people just hours away are starving? Reid likes to point out false choices. For example, some ask if entrepreneurs should set plans or just be ready to adapt. False choice, reid says: they need to do both.
He wants to use his talent and network and money to change the world for the better and solve some of humanitys biggest problems. He is among the most selfless and externally-generous people ive met in my life. Decision making becomes hard when you want to do both. Which is it today: saving or savoring? Usually you do have to choose.
Its the very rare project that involves close friends and ongoing intellectual stimulation, and change-the-world impact. That evening, as I sat across from him on the plane, he looked exhausted. The speaking event he had just done was in the save or change the world category—it would hopefully inspire other entrepreneurs, extend the. Greylock brand, and help build a couple relationships with folks in the industry. It wasnt especially fun or stimulating and didnt involve close friends. At that moment, i felt like he should be doing more stuff just for him.
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I wake up in the morning unsure of whether I want to savor the world or save the world, White said, this makes it hard to plan the day. For some, savor is story the easy answer to the task of planning a life. For those with no constraints, the plan is often straightforward: they put their name on a few buildings of their alma matter, buy a pro sports franchise, and call it a day. For the 99 of people with resource constraints, they might bag a 9-5 job, accumulate vacation days as diligently as possible, retire early, and maybe donate to their friends Walk Against Cancer. Reid likes to savor, albeit not hedonistically. Savor for him means arriving at intellectual epiphanies; it means spending time with friends. But what he really wants to do is save.
in his life that were heavier than the ones you or I face. Imagine you could meet anyone, from the President of the United States on down. Do almost anything you can think of from saving the local opera company from bankruptcy to traveling to the farthest outposts on earth in total luxury. A small number of humans have virtually no constraints on their decision-making, and reid is one of them. When reid chose to fly to las Vegas and speak at this event, the list of things he chose not to do with that time was very, very long. Often, reid wrestled with these tradeoffs. White once captured the essence of why.
Salem State college who offered invaluable suggestions for the project proposal and whose work on Hawthorne is featured on this site thanks to his wife, marilyn Salleck, and my late husband, Professor Dan Popp from North Shore community college, who died during the first year. Terri Whitney, professor of English, north Shore community college, and Project Director. time to read: 50 minutes, we touched down in Las Vegas only three hours before, but we were already back in the plane and flying home to san Jose on a brisk winter day in December, 2012. Not fill having to go through security at an airport saves a lot of time. Other than the two pilots in the front, reid and I were alone, debriefing what worked and what didnt at the tech event where he had just spoken. I gave some quick feedback on the answer he offered to a question about LinkedIns vision. He re-played his answer on how Greylock differed from other venture capital firms. The conversation then shifted, as it increasingly did those days, to a different line of inquiry: Did this trip to vegas advance an important professional project? Did he have fun?
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This Website was funded in may of 2000 by a three-year grant from the. National, endowment for the humanities and is a collaborative effort. North Shore community college in Danvers, massachusetts, and three salem, massachusetts museums with important Hawthorne collections: The, peabody Essex Museum, the, house of the seven Gables Historic Site, and the, salem Maritime national Historic Site. Also, the sections on The custom story house chapter. The Scarlet Letter, the architecture of the salem Custom house, and some parts of the life and Times section were funded in 1999 by a one-year grant from the. Community college humanities Association. Dedication, enter site, this site is dedicated to two people who helped me draft the project proposal and without whose guidance and support I probably would never have had the energy to re-submit the proposal when it was not funded by neh the first year.