As part of our InDay Speaker Series, LinkedIn’s co-founder Reid Hoffman sat down with one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent visionaries, Marc Andreessen, to talk about software, platforms and career advice. It was standing room only, but I was fortunate enough to see it live. The entire hour was full of insights and advice. Here are five highlights that really got me thinking.
1. Software is eating the world. This is not a new argument by Andreessen, but he shared even more compelling examples to make his point. For example, he believes that the real magic of Apple is not its beautifully-designed hardware – but how its software ties you to additional Apple services and devices.
2. Platforms are an extraordinary way to leverage talent. You can never hire all the smart people in the world, but if you build a platform and let smart people build on it, you can leverage their talents.
3. Silicon Valley is difficult to replicate, but we should continue to try. Having access to capital and a supportive legal structure is the bare minimum. You also need educational institutions like Stanford University – both for the research as well as for the entrepreneurs that the university produces. Apparently, if you add up all the companies founded by Stanford graduates, it would be the world’s 10th largest economy. That is simply amazing and worth trying to replicate.
4. Go to the heart of your industry. In your career, there is no substitute for being at the center. Be “heat seeking” and go to the core of the matter because that is where you can take advantage of the the network effect.
5. Be a professional hybrid. This is advice Andreessen got from Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams. Adams claims that the key to his success is being a professional hybrid: he is the cartoonist who understands business. The programmer who can talk to customers or the marketer who can be technical has a huge advantage over their colleagues who can’t.
The LinkedIn InDay Speaker Series is an opportunity for employees to hear live from individuals who have had a transformative impact in their sectors. Past speakers have included: Thomas Friedman, Sal Khan, Michelle Rhee and Cory Booker. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn Company Page updates for future speaker sessions which can be viewed publicly.