Words from Reid Hoffman to get you through the darkness

Ramesha Perera
Thu 27 Jun

Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and major investor in many other big startups, knows the struggle. In fact, on his Masters of Scale podcast he recently shared this truth as well as what he tells any startup that's facing its darkest moment. Here's what he said:


At some point, and usually at many points, the startups I've founded or invested in hit dark days. The company faces an existential threat. It will live or die on how the emergency plays out. The team is tired. The team is discouraged. The team is scared. And one of the things I'll do is give them a speech that sounds something like this:

If startups were easy, everyone would do it. They're hard. But that hardness is the thing that gives you the chance to change the world. All startups go through a valley of the shadow. All of them--PayPal, LinkedIn, things that I've done personally, things that I've invested in, Facebook, Airbnb--have valleys of the shadow, where you're like, 'Why did we think this was a good idea? We didn't realize there was going to be this landmine, that it was going to be this hard.'

But that's where you have the possibility of being heroic, of accomplishing something that no one else has done. Of making a change in the world that gets reflected in society and changes millions of people's lives. And that's the reason why you face down these dark days, you band together, and you work very hard to solve them. And that's your chance to be heroes.

Did you picture a soaring orchestral score underneath Hoffman's words too?

So next time you're facing an monstrous challenge keep on the hero's journey and you might just enjoy a cinematic ending.