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Reid Hoffman’s talk for the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture series

<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">via flickr/Conlawprof</figcaption></figure>

[I was] more interested in being a public intellectual than being a scholar. And what I mean by public intellectual is someone who helps us as individuals and as a society figure out both who we are currently and who we should be.

One of the pluses of creating businesses is that you can weld it with a capital model because if you can create a sustainable, profitable business it theoretically lives forever. [You] have a force that makes change in the world.

Think of entrepreneurship as investing.

There are 3 basic strategies for investing:

  1. Sure bets – you have some kind of edge (resources, inside information…)
  2. Low risk – Not good for entrepreneurship. You don’t “Jump off the cliff and assemble the plane on the way down.”
  3. Accurate, contrarian – pick something most people aren’t doing.

A metaphor for entrepreneurship: Scuba diving – you’re at the bottom and only a limited amount of oxygen. The question you ask is, which way is the surface and how long do I have to get there.

Principles of entrepreneurship

  1. Work as if you’re going to succeed but, plan on the fact that you might actually fail. Get to your failure points and get to them as early as you can. What’s the central test of whether this succeeds or not and how can I get there fast?
  2. Time matters. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and sometimes you won’t. If your time cycles are too long, you’ll have less chance to catch the right wave.
  3. It’s about controlled risk
  4. In business, it’s about taking the easiest, simplest problem you can solve and scale.
  5. The fundamental strategy of a startup is not product or sales strategy, it’s financing strategy. If you’re under-capitalized relative to your competitors, you’re screwed.

There are 3 skill types that are part of a founding team:

  1. Technologist – you can build it
  2. Product person – you know what you’re delivering to the customer.
  3. General manager

In real estate, it’s location, location, location.

In consumer internet – the key is distribution, distribution, distribution

3 Stages of a startup:

  1. v0 – v1
  2. v1 – v1.1
  3. v1.1 – v2

Each stage requires fundamentally different skill-sets.

Entrepreneurship is very important because every modern career is heading toward entrepreneurship. You’re being a small business, entrepreneur even if you’re working within a company. The skill learned from entrepreneurship are applicable to any career path.