May 22, 2019 | 02:02 PM

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05.02.2014A Few Pearls Of Entrepreneurial Wisdom From Master Investor Reid Hoffman

If you have any thought of becoming an entrepreneur or investing in one, you want to know what he has to say.

Robert Hof, Forbes.com

Few people have been more successful at early-stage tech investing in the past decade or so than Reid Hoffman. Onetime LinkedIn founder, angel investor and now a venture capitalist at Greylock Partners, he has invested in dozens of startups, including Facebook, Airbnb, Zynga, Flickr, last.fm, and OneKingsLane.

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So if you have any thought of becoming an entrepreneur or investing in one, you want to know what he has to say. If you want to know it all in detail, read the book he co-authored with Ben Casnocha, The Startup of You.

Or, you can flick through these pearls of wisdom that he dispensed Tuesday at the Startup Grind conference in Mountain View. He offered the tips in a “fireside chat” with Greg Tseng, cofounder and CEO of Tagged, a social network in which Hoffman invested.

* Really think through what makes your idea or product unique. “It’s like Pinterest but with animation” doesn’t really cut it.

* Don’t over-invest your psyche in the fact that you have a great idea. A frequent mistake entrepreneurs make is thinking they’re a genius because they have a great idea. Execution is the most important.

* Take seriously the prospect that you might fail. So do something that you think is a good thing to do in your life regardless of whether you succeed or fail.

* It’s always good to do a startup with one cofounder. They challenge each other.

* The way to seek mentors is through the natural operation of your life. Looking for a mentor is an odd thing. You’re looking to get something done.

* Anyone that’s smart and will talk to you, talk to them. Try to get as much input from your network as you can. If you’re hearing the same objection from a lot of them, listen.

* Pivot early. If you’re trending down in your investment confidence in your idea, think about changing. Have flexible persistence. In the early days, it’s much cheaper to change. 

* To build a real company, one that will last tens or hundreds of years, you have to have a commitment to the vision. That’s what can get you through the deep valleys. That doesn’t mean you have to be pure. Having a desire to be rich and famous is OK, but you have to earn it.

* Run hard, but work intelligently. You gotta keep your health up. On the other hand, you’re running a race. The classic metaphor for a startup is jumping off a cliff and building the plane on the way down. So if you’re not working six or seven days a week, you’re probably not going to make it.

* Even if you hire a CEO to replace you, don’t just hand off the company. You should think as a founder about how much you want to be CEO as the company grows and things like meetings are more of the job. Is that the kind of thing you wake up on Saturday morning and want to do? If not, hire a CEO. But you don’t want to go to Fiji for two years.

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