While Reid Hoffman isn’t fond of long lines of fans eager to take pictures and talk business, he’s also not a full-fledged hermit. He enjoys and prefers smaller group conversations.

But the New York Times doesn’t call you “a king of connections” for nothing. Here are three practices Reid Hoffman shared that have helped him navigate corporate life.

Limited serendipity

Clearing out your inbox and prioritizing your time are standards to live by, but when it comes to success,

Hoffman said, “deliberately leave some room for serendipity.”

“Because what you’re trying to do is not actually, in fact, [to] eliminate time and meetings from your schedule; you’re trying to get high-value time, It’s like experimentation — it’s like a portfolio thing. Occasionally, I’ll look at a reference from somebody and they’ll say, ‘This person is just awesome.’ I’ll go, ‘Well, I don’t really know that they line up with any of the projects. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do.’ But I’ll meet them anyway. And sometimes, it’s amazing.” 

Get a reference

When Hoffman does find himself on one of those long lines of fans or approached by a star-struck startup founder, he has a go-to response: 

“I literally have people, probably once a week or something, walk up to me in a restaurant because I try to live a normal life and say, ‘You’re Reid Hoffman; I want to talk to you about something,’” Hoffman said. “I have a completely genuine and common answer, which is ‘find someone who knows you well enough to refer you to me and knows me well enough that I care about the reference.’”

Embrace your skillset

Hoffman said he counts himself in the “bottom percentage” of people who would walk up and introduce themselves to a stranger at a cocktail party.

“What I learned was that private company boards are a very good use of my skillset because more or less … they go ‘here’s what we’re working on,’” Hoffman said. “That’s like sport, that I’m like ‘oh, I enjoy this.’ How do we solve a customer acquisition problem, how do we solve an executive hiring problem, how do we solve a competition problem, how do we solve a need to reinvent the product problem; all of these kinds of things. That’s what makes this game hard, and I enjoy that.”

Boston Real Estate and the Botton Line

And that’s how LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman became successful

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