40:20 Vision from Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn

I decided to do a series on this year’s commencement speeches, highlighting the key pieces of 40:20 Vision they often impart.

Today’s speech is from Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, and partner at Greylock Partners. He also recently published the book, The Start-up of You.

The speech was given to the graduating class of Babson College, an institution that focuses on entrepreneurial education, on May 19th. Not surprisingly, the speech focused on entrepreneurism and networking. The message, in our ever changing world, entrepreneurial skills and tools will benefit all.

I also see a theme emerging…both he and Sheryl Sandberg spoke of the shift from career path as a ladder to career path as a jungle gym.  So new strategies are required. Does this mean we will stop hearing about business as war and military strategy and start hearing about the art of play?

“Playgrounds are all about enticing creativity and breaking down walls” – Playgroundology

That doesn’t sound like a bad strategy for innovation.  To read the full speech, go here. For the highlights, read on.

On career path ….the jungle gym

“Due to the changes in a globalized and accelerating world, the notion of a career has changed. Whereas we used to have a career ladder, now we have a career jungle gym. Success in a career is no longer a simple ascension on a path of steps. You need to climb sideways and sometimes down; sometimes you need to swing and jump from one set of bars to the next. And, to extend the metaphor, sometimes you need to spring from the jungle gym and establish your own turf somewhere else on the playground.

Modern careers need to deal with this constantly changing environment – where the playing field changes, your competition changes, and your tools change.

What are the tools and the mindset for the flexibility and adaptability of the new jungle gym and the career playground? Entrepreneurship! Everyone needs to think like an entrepreneur – even if still only a few will be starting new businesses.”

On networks …

“Build your network and always think in networks. Networks help you find your way; they create a sonar map of intelligence, expertise, information, and insight. Your allies, your connections, can help you navigate the large number of challenges that can derail a startup company.

Life is a team sport. And, as much as entrepreneurs look like individuals who explore the desert by themselves in order to find riches, they are actually successful based upon their ability to find, build, connect, and collaborate with important networks. Entrepreneurs succeed based upon their connection with networks.”

On the importance of entrepreneurism…

“Entrepreneurial talents, skills, and mindsets now apply to all jobs and professions. This is new, brought about by the accelerating change in the world from globalization and technology.

Entrepreneurs are massively important for society. Not just because they create companies and jobs – although those are both seriously important. Not just because entrepreneur-ism is the toolset for how all of us should pursue our work and careers – although the toolset is essential for modern professional success.

Entrepreneurs are massively important for society because they help build the institutions in which we live. And as the modern world continues to accelerate, adaptability and invention become even more important.”

The finale…

“As you go forth from this day, remember that you are leaders and pioneers. In creating new businesses, you are helping society evolve. In sharing what you know as entrepreneurs with others, you help them adapt to the modern world. Most of all, when you have the opportunity, remember to help rebuild our social platform – the framework where we all operate. Better platforms lead to much better entrepreneurial businesses.

Because if there’s one thing that entrepreneurs know, it is that an individual can change the world. And change the world at scale, when you engage your networks for magnified results.”

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