4 Startup Tips from Reid Hoffman at the Guardian Activate Summit in New York

Mark Horoszowski

Mark is the Co-founder of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform connecting people who want to volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations.

At the Guardian Activate Summit in New York, Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) took the stage with Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine) to discuss the power of social networks and big data for facilitating change.

In an enlightening QA, they discussed how startups can leverage technology to make a bigger impact, faster.

1. Develop a Platform for an Existing Community and Existing Needs.

Platforms don’t create needs, they address them. And if you’re building a technology company to facilitate change, make it a platform that empowers communities that already exist. LinkedIn did it with professional networking, Facebook did it to stay in touch with friends.

2. Build Useful Tools for Community Members.

If you can create an online tool for communities, give them tools that help them do what they do, better, faster, and easier. Twitter makes it easier to share, Mozilla makes it easier to search and interact, and The Guardian makes it simpler to find quality news – and interact with it.

3. Always Align Revenue and Missions.

Every organization should match its for-good mission with its for-profit activities. At the end of the day, happy customers are good customers, so it makes good business sense, too. In addition to improving decision making, this also helps drive better culture and performance.

4. Look to Creative Solutions for Growing Your Business, but Don’t Rely on Them.

According to Jeff, Kickstarter is good for funding projects, but bad for funding businesses. There are existing and creative solutions for almost all aspects of your business, but none of them are panaceas. Look around for help, but in order to prosper, you have to have the right team and the right product / service.

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