LinkedIn and Reid Hoffman: Recession Ready

I don’t usually post every article here about LinkedIn, but this BusinessWeek piece is worth reading:

LinkedIn and Reid Hoffman: Recession Ready

The online version is an extended version from the print magazine.  I think the only reason to read the print version is the unique and slightly intimidating picture of Reid across the center spread.  🙂

Here is my favorite passage:

It was at the bleakest stage of the dot-com bust, in 2002, that Hoffman began to build his empire. He had been a key partner at PayPal, the online payment company ) bought that June for $1.5 billion. Flush with his share, he looked for next-generation investments—and found himself nearly alone. “The common wisdom was that the consumer Net was dead,” he recalls, and “that it was controlled by Yahoo, eBay, and Google. I thought it was just beginning.”

So he devised a strategy. He would start a company to run the business side of the social Net—LinkedIn—and he would participate in the consumer side as an investor. “The huge majority of things I have invested in are massively successful,” he says. Many of the investments, of course, are still locked up in companies, including Facebook and LinkedIn, which haven’t yet gone public. The return on Hoffman’s holdings hinges largely on how they navigate the coming downturn. Still, he continues trumpet the economics of Internet businesses. “This is the only time in human history when, for somewhere between $5 million and $30 million of capital investment, you can create a sustainable ecosystem for 10 million-plus people,” he says.

When discussing his career, Hoffman can sound positively utopian. He says, for example, that he left academia for business because he wanted more “scaled impact” in his quest to make the world “a much nobler place.” He regards LinkedIn as a system where the good are rewarded by the community for their deeds, while liars and cheaters are exposed.

I feel exceptionally lucky to work for Reid and to benefit from both his experience and his unique strategic insight.  When you remember the issues the PayPal team had to navigate, and the timeframe in which they did it, it’s an even more impressive story.  How many companies managed to IPO successfully in 2002?

Check out the full article if you haven’t already.  More to come.

Two More First Spouse Coins for Sale

As I wrote last week, I’m saying goodbye to my First Spouse coins.  I’m moving through the series step by step.

The first coin sold for about 10% over the original purchase price last year.  Since that’s roughly the cost of eBay & PayPal fees, let’s just say that owning the coin did no damage financially.

This week, I have both Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty up for sale.

Bidding is on eBay all through the week.


2009 Presidential Dollar Series: Worst Ever?

The 2009 Presidential dollars are coming… and it’s shocking how uninteresting they are.

Let’s review the four Presidents that will be featured:

  • William Henry Harrison
  • John Tyler
  • James K. Polk
  • Zachary Taylor

I’m guessing the US Mint is already stockpiling coins to get ready for the stampede of demand.  🙂

Actually, my guess is that given the waning interest in the series, we might actually be in the realm of coins that, 30 years from now, will be very hard to find.  Remember that, paradoxically, the least interesting coins generally end up with the lowest mintage and availability, and hence, the most value long term.

That assumes, of course, that there will be demand in the future to collect the series.  I’m not sold on that fact at this point, although the historical interest in the Presidents and the relatively low cost of the coins gives at least some hope.

In any case, if you think these four Presidents will be unpopular with collectors, can you imagine paying $2400+ for the gold First Spouse companion coins?

I thought not.