Growing up in Berkeley, Calif., in the 1970s, Reid Hoffman was entranced by role-playing tabletop games.
By the age of 12, he was a paid editor at Chaosium, a game company. Two years later, Hoffman's name was on the box of Borderlands, Chaosium's role-playing game.
In high school, Hoffman drove oxen, farmed maple syrup, and studied epistemology. After graduating from Stanford, he earned an M.S. in Philosophy as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University.
By then, Hoffman wanted to make a positive impact on the world in a big way. After considering academia, he concluded that academics write books few people read. Hoffman wanted a more vigorous platform than that.
After a brief internship at a Napa Valley winery, Hoffman joined Apple Computer in 1994, then Fujitsu, before co-founding SocialNet.com, a dating platform that focused on matching people with comparable interests. A few years later, dating platforms were a worldwide trend.
Hoffman was on SocialNet's board of directors during the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service. Soon he was at PayPal, where he became known as "firefighter-in-chief" while honing his competitive skills to a razor's edge. In 2002, Hoffman was PayPal's executive VP when the company was purchased by eBay for $1.5 billion.
That same year, Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn--a site that enables registered users to create professional profiles and connect with each other. According to Forbes, LinkedIn is now the most effective social networking tool for job seekers and providers in the world. Hoffman's stake: an estimated $2.34 billion.
In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. A year later, Hoffman was on Microsoft's board of directors.
Today, Hoffman is among Silicon Valley's most active and prosperous angel investors. In fact, according to the book, "The Facebook Effect," it was Hoffman who arranged the first meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, a meeting that led to Thiel's initial $500,000 angel investment in Facebook.
Hoffman was an investor too.