The Startup Playbook

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As co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman led one of the most successful startups ever. In The Startup Playbook, he shares the secrets of his company’s ascendancy. The book, co-authored with serial entrepreneur David Kidder, reveals how dozens of tech entrepreneurs built growth stars. Here, Hoffman offers advice that’s relevant to startups in any sector:

Focus on your biggest idea:

Building up a small idea is as much work in the early stages as building up a big one. With a big idea, you’re far more likely to achieve a big result—or, at least, a small result that will attract a buyer for your startup. A big idea also makes it easier to get help from employees, investors and advisors.

Be early to market:

If you’re early, you will have a harder time raising money but a lot less competition. That means you’ll be able to develop your product and build momentum that will make it tough for later entrants to catch up.

Offer a huge competitive differentiation:

If your idea is a little bigger or faster than some- thing already on the market, forget it. The only competitive differentiation that matters is being 10 times better. That’s what it takes to attract customers, investors and employees.

Tackle your hardest problems first:

Most people initially work on the problems they have the most confidence in solving. But in a startup, you want to face death soonest—fail fast, so you can quickly pivot and redeploy capital to move onto a path to success.

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