How to Invest Wisely in "The Start-Up of You"

February 28, 2012

We founded LinkedIn in 2003 because we recognized that the world was changing in two interrelated ways. First, technology advancements were disrupting companies and changing entire industries. Second, globalization — which is partly a function of technology — was making the world of work for professionals more competitive. These changes are redefining how individual professionals survive and thrive in the modern economy. One part of my thesis when cofounding LinkedIn was that, in response to these changes, individuals in every industry need to think of themselves as the CEOs of their own careers. People should invest in themselves as businesses-of-one, especially if they are employees at a company. We built LinkedIn to be the platform on which you could manage your professional life in this way.

We kept it simple at the beginning. We provided every professional with the opportunity to have an identity on the web, connect with colleagues, and find the right resources to get work done. But being CEO of your career means more than this. In the years since starting the company, we have extended the LinkedIn platform: We're helping you acquire relevant business intelligence on your industry, identify the skills you need to master, make the right connections, and ultimately become better at the job you already have.

As I observed people learning LinkedIn, I came to realize that building the technology platform was not enough. People needed to understand more deeply the ideas and strategies that are behind the new world of work, otherwise they couldn't deploy the LinkedIn platform the right way. They needed to understand why and how to grow their "soft assets," adapt, and play for great opportunities. This is one reason why I co-authored a new book called The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, along with co-author and entrepreneur Ben Casnocha. In the book, Ben and I focus on entrepreneurial techniques that can accelerate your career, like establishing competitive differentiation, ABZ planning frameworks, and taking intelligent risk. We look at what start-up entrepreneurs do when growing companies and apply them to a career setting — the start-up of you.

We dedicated one of the eight chapters to professional relationships and explained how your network underpins all elements of career strategy. At the end of each chapter, we offer some ways to invest in yourself, including some LinkedIn-specific tips. We see the book as the foundation for an ongoing conversation. We've also created a LinkedIn group for you to share your ideas and experiences and connect with others who are similarly committed to taking control of their future. May you adapt to the future, invest in yourself, and transform your career. Life in "permanent beta" —a term we describe in the book — demands nothing less!

Learn more about living your life in "permanent beta" in Reid's new book here