您的位置:知识库 » 创业

LinkedIn 创始人Reid Hoffman: 我的三条投资原则

作者: Reid Hoffman  来源: TechCrunch  发布时间: 2010-01-29 16:38  阅读: 986 次  推荐: 0   原文链接   [收藏]  

原文:Reid Hoffman: My Rule of Three for Investing


The guest post below was written by Reid Hoffman,CEO and Founder of LinkedIn. Reid, who’s been a prolific writer lately,is a strong advocate of entrepreneurism and the startup mentality. Seehis recent Washington Post article Let Our Start-Ups Bail Us Out, and the guest post he wrote here on TechCrunch, Stimulus 2.0: It’s The Startups, Stupid. Reid has recently appeared on Charlie Rose, and we had a chance to sit down with him earlier this year for a video interviewas well. Reid is an investor in over 60 web ventures including Digg,Facebook, Flickr, Friendster, FunnyOrDie, Ning, Last.fm, Six Apart andTechnorati. He is also a member of the nominating committee of ourupcoming TechFellow Awards with Founders Fund.


TechCrunch and Founders Fund announced the first annual TechFellow Awardslast week. This is a great time to stimulate investment and recognizeand encourage tech entrepreneurs –starting up is cheaper, talent ismore fluid, and people are more inclined to take calculated risks. Ifwe can find more ways to spur investment, it will be good for theentrepreneur now and good for society later.

As a serial investor, I’ve enjoyed backing some good Web 2.0companies, and it’s helped me develop a shortlist of criteria to cutthe wheat from the chaff. After five minutes of a pitch, I know if I’mnot going to invest, and after 30 minutes to an hour, I generally knowif I will. Many entrepreneurs are product-focused, which leads them topitch the brilliance of the product. Others are money-minded, so theycan over think the business plan. But neither of these approachesanswer the first few questions I want to know as an investor:

上周TechCrunch和创始人基金刚刚宣布了第一届TechFellow Awards。这是一个刺激投资、嘉奖和鼓励技术创业者的好时候 - 创业的成本更低了,人才流动性加强了,人们更愿意冒一些险。如果我们可以找到更多刺激投资的方式,这对于目前的创业者和未来的社会都将是好事。


1. How will you reach a massive audience?

In real estate the wisdom says “location, location, location.” Inconsumer Internet, think “distribution, distribution, distribution.”Thousands of products launch every month on hundreds of thousands ofnew Web pages. How does a company rise above the noise to attractmassive discovery and adoption? YouTube did it through existingchannels like MySpace, which already reached millions. Yelp had strongSEO, which found them a mass audience searching for restaurants andnightlife. Facebook’s University-centric approach landed them 80%adoption across a campus within 60 days of launch. Every Netentrepreneur should answer these questions: How do we get to onemillion users? Then how do we get to 10 million users? Then how willyou get deep engagement by your users.



2. What is your unique value proposition?

The Internet space is crowded. A product needs to be sufficientlyinnovative to distinguish itself from the pack, but not so forwardthinking as to alienate the user. Many entrepreneurs create incrementalimprovements on existing products. This can be big – Googlerevolutionized search when AOL and Yahoo! were presumed to have itlocked up – but more often, the pitch sounds like, “It’s a dating site,but for senior citizens…” I want to see innovation that iscategorically distinct from existing propositions. Digg lets usersdecide which headlines are newsworthy. Last.fm tracks music listeningwith an iTunes plugin and buffer great music discovery. Flickr enablesusers to share and tag photos in new ways.


互联网是一个拥挤的空间。一个产品要足够与众不同,但不能超前到让用户感到间离感。很多创业者是在一些现有的产品上做一些改进深化。这个想法有可能做大-例如Google在AOL和雅虎看起来已经坐稳江山的时候将搜索革了命。但更经常的情况是,公司的推广点为:"这是一个交友网站,但是是给老年人的..." 我希望看到的是与现有的各种提议在根本类别上的不同。Digg让用户决定哪一条新闻是值得关注的,last.fm用一个iTunes的插件跟踪都有哪些音乐被倾听从而提供优秀的音乐发掘能力, 而Flickr让用户用全新的方式是分享和标记照片。

3. Will your business be capital efficient?

This may be the most important of the three. Even if you have a massaudience and unique value prop, a business fails without cash flow. Aninitial round of financing is important, but how reliable is laterfinancing? Will investors see the right elements in the next stage?Your product must scale intelligently – this is why I like software. Awell-coded site can adapt to mass demand without its capitalexpenditures scaling out of control. A product like TypePad can grow to10 million users without half the growing pains of a service likeWebVan, the Web 1.0 startup that attempted to deliver groceries tousers’ doorsteps. Try reaching Facebook scale with a service like that.


这可能是上述三个问题中最重要的一个。即使你有大规模的用户和独特的价值定位,一个企业挣不到钱就是要失败关门。最初的一轮投资是重要的,但后期的投资是不是可靠?投资者会在你的下一个成长阶段中看到该看到的元素吗?你的产品必须要能够聪明地扩展规模 - 这就是为什么我很喜欢软件。一个程序写的很好的网站,可以很好地适应更大规模的需求,而同时又不使资本花销完全失控。一个TypePad那样的产品可以支持到1000万用户,而不承担像WebVan那样的公司一半的成长之痛 - 后者是一个Web1.0的创业公司,本来要尝试将蔬菜水果等生活品递送到用户门口的。你想想,这样的公司做到Facebook那样的规模,将需要什么样的资本。

With these three elements in place – mass audience, unique value,stable funding – a startup has time to discover where it can makemoney. Few business plans ever pan out like their owners intend. PayPalstarted as a plan to beam payments between Palm Pilots. Google raisedfunds with a vision to capitalize on enterprise search and ended up inadvertising. The formula is to build an audience with a great product –then secure enough funding to figure out how to make it pay.

有了这三样 - 大规模用户、独特价值、稳定的投资 -一个创业公司就有时间去发现它将怎样挣到钱。没有几个商业计划后来呈现出当初作者最早的意愿。PayPal的开始是为了在PalmPilots无线发送付款,Google融资的时候是为了做企业级搜索但最后成了一个广告业务。(他们的)公式就是用一个很棒的产品吸引用户,然后吸引到足够的投资来支持到公司摸索出怎么赚钱。

Since I’m focused on building LinkedIn, I’m not currently investingin new projects, but I firmly believe now is the time to take smartrisks as entrepreneurs and investors. I hope these criteria helpstartups make better pitches as they fundraise, and maybe evenencourage others to take the plunge. Good ideas need good strategy torealize their potential, and if these criteria help a few morecompanies find capital, it’s a win for everyone.