The amazing Reid Hoffman, API

The New York Times gives +Reid Hoffman his due today. I've always found him to be incredibly generous and insightful.

One of the best reasons I have for continuing to go to Davos is that that's when I get to have breakfast with Reid in our fusty little hotel. For the last two years, he has given me invaluable advice for the entrepreneurial journalism program and the VC fund I hope to start at CUNY. Reid schooled me in the difference between entrepreneurial businesses (disruptive, scalable platforms) and free-agent-nation businesses (a bakery, a blog, a smaller scale business built on a known model). That helped me separate my students' enterprises in a very helpful way.

Three years ago there, I was to run a session with technologists and journalists. I loved watching Reid (and Cisco's John Chambers) cock their heads like disbelieving dogs at the morose editors in the room, who had given up on growth and change and were looking at milking their old cows until they keeled over. Reid gave them a proper kick in the butt and told them to look for opportunity .... and now that I think of it, I'd love to get him to CUNY to give that same pep talk and ass-kicking to editors and publishers today.

Longer ago than that, +Nick Denton nearly had me convinced to start the mass version of Gawker Media -- Time Inc. to his Condé Nast online -- and someone connected me to Reid for investment. He was ready to give me a hearing before I decided my business plan was flawed.

Lots of people have lots of advice in this world. Reid manages to give his without ever being haughty and know-it-all. He's just open with his intelligence and experience. He is an open, human API.
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