A lot of times after leadership changes or acquisitions, executives have a foot out the door on the day of the announcement. But after Reid Hoffman stepped down from LinkedIn seven years ago as chief executive, he kept showing up, four days a week, and has continued to do that ever since. Now that LinkedIn is no longer a public company, but owned by Microsoft, he said he continues to plan to play a major role — and is very interested in helping Microsoft tackle challenges like artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
Hoffman sat down for a great interview with Backchannel to discuss his plans, and speculated (a little bit) on what LinkedIn would look like in a decade.
"Let’s just focus on artificial intelligence. What if we could offer every member a personal assistant for their career? Members could ask: what are the skills that are going to be really important to me in three to five years? What is the best way to develop those?" he told Backchannel. "Which courses both here and across the internet would be the right ones to do? Which would be the people in my network at one, two and three degrees that I should connect with? Which LinkedIn groups are the most valuable for doing that?"
He said that while LinkedIn those kinds of discussions were hypothetical looks at the future, at Microsoft they become something they can work for in the near-term, based on both the technologies and platforms Microsoft already has. Hoffman even admitted that, from the beginning, one of the dreams LinkedIn had was integration across Outlook. Now that dream is a lot closer to reality.