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LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman spoke about data as the new frontier for Web startups at SXSW today. It is one of those interesting parallel stories that today LinkedIn announced the launch of its app for feature phones. It has worked with Snaptu to release an app that will work with 2500 types of phones. Given that a lot of LinkedIn’s international members are using feature phones rather than smart phones, this is a major development in immediate access to data for LinkedIn’s user base.

Image courtesy Thunderbird

But back to Hoffman now. VentureBeat mentions that Hoffman is now a partner at venture firm Greylock Partners. The meat of his presentation was about the 10 rules of entrepreneurship in the cusp of Web 3.0:

  • Work toward “disruptive change”— “It’s got to be something that changes an industry.”
  • “Aim big” — Hoffman argument is that given that it takes the same amount of effort to run a small company as a big company, it is good to aspire to build a large organization that can change the way an industry works.
  • Build a network to amplify your company – He is the founder of LinkedIn, remeber? So the network he recommends should include everyone from employees and customers to investors and advisors.
  • “Plan for good luck” — I like this one in particular because it is sometimes hard for those in the self-employment mode to think very positively! Hoffman believes that entrepreneurship is about making use of new opportunities as they come up. He talks of the example of PayPal which started off as a product for mobile phones and then grew from there.
  • Combine flexibility and persistence — “The art is knowing when to be persistent and when to be flexible and how to blend them.”
  • “Launch early enough that you’re embarrassed by your 1.0 product release.” – You are not going to get it all right before you step out; face it and move on. (That means stop stalling!) Apparently Hoffman’s co-founder at LinkedIn wanted to wait to launch till they added the ‘contact finder’ feature. LinkedIn has done just fine without it – they still haven’t added it
  • “Always keep your aspirations and aim high, but don’t drink your own Kool Aid” – Don’t completely buy into your sales pitch
  • “Having a great idea of product is important, but having a great idea for product distribution is even more important.” – Marketing matters, getting the idea out matters. Otherwise it will be sitting in your garage or in your mother’s basement.
  • “Pay attention to your culture and your hires from the very beginning.” – A company is more than just a product.
  • “These rules of entrepreneurship are not laws of nature. You can break them.” — You are an entrepreneur, so go forth and chart your own course!

Some new ideas, some we have heard before but still good reminders. Which one speaks to you?