LinkedIn's First Employees

Reid Hoffman graduated from Stanford in 1990 with a Symbolic Systems degree. He went to Oxford for a Master’s in Philosophy hoping to pursue a career in academia, but became disillusioned with the profession and pivoted to the tech world after graduation.

Hoffman wanted to start his own tech company, but first needed industry experience. He found a job in UX design at Apple and moved to product management at Fujitsu a few years later. He left Fujitsu to co-found SocialNet but stepped down when Peter Thiel and Max Levchin hired him as an executive at Paypal, whose board he had served on since its founding. He stayed there until Paypal went public in 2002.

In 2003, he recognized the potential of consumer internet products, and decided it was time to start his own venture. He realized the importance of networking in business, and saw an opportunity to create a social platform for the business world. He brought on four co-founders. One of them, Eric Ly, was Hoffman’s friend from their Stanford days where they both majored in Symbolic Systems. Two others, Blue and Vaillant, were at Stanford with Hoffman as well, but he didn’t meet them until later in their professional lives.

LinkedIn’s growth was slower than average for a social network platform, but continued to gain traction, especially after they proved to be a viable business model. When they reached critical mass, Hoffman stepped down as CEO, first hiring Dan Neff to lead the company through its first stages of growth, and then Jeff Weiner, who led the company through its IPO.

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Yan Pujante
C.S., Telecom ParisTech '95. Was a Senior Software Engineer at Reuters prior to joining LinkedIn as an Engineer in Sept. 2002.
Stephen Beitzel
Drama, UC Irvine '90. Worked at Apple and spent several years working as a software engineer and CTO at various startups before joining as an Engineer in Sept. 2002.
Konstantin Guericke
VP of Marketing
M.S. in Engineering, Stanford. Was VP of Marketing at other startups and Principal at Beresford Brothers before he was hired as VP of Marketing in Nov. 2002.
Eric Ly
PhD in C.S., Stanford '94. Was an engineer at IBM, C-level executive, and founder of various startups before joining as CTO in Nov. 2002.
Allen Blue
VP Product Management
B.A. in Drama and English, Stanford '90. Worked for several years as a Designer before he was hired as VP of Product Management in Nov. 2002.
Lee Hower
Corporate Development
Systems Engineering and Economics, UPenn '00. Was Director of Financial Services at Paypal before working in Corporate Development at LinkedIn starting from Dec. 2002.
Chris Saccheri
Web Development
B.A. in English, Stanford '98. Worked as a Freelance Designer and Developer for 8 years before becoming a Web Developer at LinkedIn in Dec. 2002.
Ian McNish
Systems Architect
Had several years of experience as a Systems Architect and Administrator before joining LinkedIn as a Systems Architect in Dec. 2002.
Jean-Luc Vaillant
VP of Engineering
Studied Telecommunications and Networks at Telecom ParisTech. Was Director of Engineering at Socialnet, Spotlife, and Logitech before joining as VP of Engineering in Jan. 2003.
Matt Cohler
GM and VP
Received a B.A. from Yale '01. Worked for McKinsey for two years as a consultant before becoming GM and VP at LinkedIn in 2003.
Sarah Imbach
Chief of Staff
BSE in Marketing, The Wharton School, UPenn. Worked for PayPal in Customer Service before becoming Chief of Staff at LinkedIn in July 2004.