(Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

Known as “the startup whisperer” of Silicon Valley, Bay Area native and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman joins us to discuss his recent book, “The Alliance.” In it, Hoffman writes about the new era of employee-employer relationships, and proposes a model that emphasizes transparency over empty promises of loyalty and job security.

Guests:
Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of "The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age"

  • Sean Dennehy

    My only issue with the interview questions like “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” or “What do you see yourself doing after this job?” is that I can’t help but think the employer is asking a trick question to see if I’ll stick with them or just plan on using them as a stepping stone. I just can’t *trust* the employer interviewing me to have my best interests at heart. How can one truly tell if the employer genuinely cares or is just asking a trick question?

    • Ridly Lee

      Answer honestly, as the interview goes both ways.

      If the manager is small minded, and want to only hire people who want to stay in this job forever, then they might not like your answer about where you want to develop. So, they don’t hire you, and you don’t want to work there anyway.

      If the manager is wiser and truly interested in developing you and wants to follow your career, then your honest answer is the best one.

      • Frequentshopper

        Maybe she needs a job now. She has the right to take a job temporarily while looking for something better just as the employer can do the same to her if they need someone ASAP. She will pay the consequences if she moves around too frequently. I’d love to see you apply for a job at an Apple Store. Good luck if you are over 30 or answer their questions honestly as you suggest, but you try it : )

  • Ridly Lee

    The company line might be, “Don’t leave with our secrets.”
    But, it’s people, not companies, that make decisions & shape culture.

    What I’ve found as a manager in Silicon Valley, is that if an employee leaves the company, then I truly wish them well. It’s in my own self-interest to have an ally in another company. I still have lunch with old employees, and learn from them, and get introduced to new technologies, people, investors, opportunities.

    If the employee just stayed with me & my company, I wouldn’t learn as much from them.

    • marte48

      managers are employees, too, unless you own the company.

  • LF

    Please address the rampant ageism in Silicon Valley. Employees over the age of 40 are often not even considered for a job, even if they have years of experience.

    • Carlisle

      Agreed.

    • marte48

      Yahoo and Google and probably Apple get sued all the time for age discrimination.

      • Frequentshopper

        Age discrimination is extremely hard to prove, even if you are already an employee. Try proving it if you are an applicant. That’s why Kamala Harris should be doing SV sting operations where older applicants with great credentials are really undercover agents. She could start with Apple Computer which shows applicants for jobs at their stores a 1 hour propaganda film in which you would be hard pressed to see a single store employee over 30 amongst the hundreds in the video. She could also subpoena duces tecum the applicant vs hire data for their stores. Apple disguises their discrimination in hiring by using hocus pocus alleged personality measuring exercises. If they are sincere about that they are failing an awful lot for such a successful company if you read their Yelp reviews re employee attitudes. Check out the Berkeley Apple Store’s Yelp reviews details.

        • marte48

          Yes, they can always make a case against anyone they want to.

  • david shimun

    I started my carrier at Motorola in the 90s. Companies used to spend on employees development. I recall a case when a junior engineer obtained MBA from Kellog at company cost. Nowadays in Silicon Valley with some company having assets of hundreds of billions of dollars but do not do a fraction of that. How could an alliance be built if there is less partnership towards individual growth.

    • marte48

      True! We used to value apprenticeship positions. Now it’s just unpaid “internships” – if you are lucky.

    • marte48

      you mean your “career” not “carrier”

  • geraldfnord

    Why settle for ‘making employment work’ when making employment unnecessary were if not immediately possible, waiting in the wings. Work may still have to be done by humans for survival for a few more years or decades, but ’employment’ as constructed is a social technology for getting work done, is but one of many, and now is far from the best such.

    I’ve never had a job I took to earn money—which describes most people in most jobs, sad to say, as in ‘That’ s why it’s called a “job”. ‘—that was in itself more enjoyable than doing exactly as I felt all day and night, taking orders from no├Âne and giving none, not dealing with people when I don’ t want to do, & c.. I understand that other people may get social signals and ‘goods’ I can’t notice or appreciate, but I can’t shake the feeling that most non-autistic people don’t like their jobs, and would be better-off and nicer if fhey were out of them.

  • Carlisle

    Ageism is Economically and Morally wrong also. What will SV do about this rampant bias?

    • Lance

      It’s more than just ageism. Being young and male is predominant because of available time.

      A young male can put in the 60+ hours a week, that women and older male workers with families, or women that want to have a family, are unable to compete.

      This doesn’t even cover maternity leave being a big negative to hiring.

      Also to address the myth of not enough qualified workers to the guests. Companies are not willing to pay for the experience when a H1 or new grad is half the cost, and can muddle through the work to get the job done.

      • marte48

        Don’t put in TOO many hours, Lance! The company will not even remember it when you are over 45. Older people did the same thing when they were your age.

  • geraldfnord

    A scalable, distributed, solution to illegal immigration: any illegal immigrant who reports a credible instance of violation of the labour laws gets a green card, their [sic] co-workers get a long-term stay of deportation so that they’re less likely to retaliate against the laudable snitch. If employers can’t safely underpay, mistreat, and endanger illegals, they’ll have much less incentive to hire them.

  • Another Mike

    Mirkarimi copped a plea to the one domestic violence charge that would enable him to still possess firearms.

    A head law enforcement officer barred the use of firearms by federal law would be too incongruous even for San Francisco.

  • geraldfnord

    Domestic violence, beside being evil and criminal (in decent places), poisons the relatipnship, because the ability to inflict pain destroys live, trust, and the free flow of useful information.

    When the alternative to employment is penury, humiliation, and possibly even death, anyone who authorised to fire you can with impunity inflict a great deal of pain…..

    Our current system is better than serfdom, but with luck will soon look almost as bad once the Stockholm Syndrome fades.

  • LF

    An engineer I know who is in his 60s was working in embedded software in the Valley. A young 22 year old was stumped by a coding problem. My friend helped him figure out this coding issue with a simple google search. I know that many older engineers have a lot to offer yet they are discounted. Of course, it is true that not all older people keep their skills up to date, but why paint all older people with the same brush.

  • Chris OConnell

    “Turn on, tune in, drop out”: the slogan for my new startup LinkedOut, leveraging multifaceted multicultural overlays against ecosystem retrofitting.

    • kcwest

      YES!

  • John Brooks

    Mr. Hoffman’s description of the employee-employer alliance sounds like a well meaning completely disconnected from reality utopian fantasy – typical Valley – where employers and employees are almost equals, employers “invest” in the employee’s career beyond the company, rotating “tours of duty” are readily accepted, employees have choices and mobility. How quaint. Unfortunately for all but the star performers, who do indeed have choices and mobility, the reality is far different. Below star status there are plenty of great performers – every bit as good as the stars except for age, color or sex, not to mention that the non-stars may not have been as aggressive at self promotion and rigorous networking. The norm today is to commoditize employees who are no longer employees but “partners” with no security, support, benefits or advancement opportunities and, best of all, crap wages. Uber and Airbnb are just two of many examples. Mr. Hoffman’s response? Maybe you should look elsewhere. Maybe many of us don’t have a choice.

  • kcwest

    I never heard anybody use so much “spin” in my life. I’m trying to be polite. I don’t believe one word he said.

  • Frequentshopper

    Shame on Krasny for perpetuating the myth that just because you are older you don’t have the skills. I changed to a completely different career and despite having a Bachelor of Science degree went to CCSF and completed over 100 units getting the highest grade in one department for a class required for every student in the department, often getting the only perfect score or the highest score on a test and winning first place in a statewide California Community College Competition in a digital field. I took only classes that I knew taught skills I needed to know since I already had the general requirements. My digital video documentary and my digital animation homework projects screened in 7 film festivals around the world including Mill Valley FF. I did’t accomplish what I did by working shorter hours than my younger peers. I worked much longer hours as I was willing to set aside my recreational and personal activities to work in my projects. I will have to work for myself cause age discrimination laws are not enforced by Kamala Harris so I can’t get a job. If they can prove racial discrimination through sting operations for housing in NYC why can’t Harris do the same for older job seekers in CA? Harris does not even enforce laws against illegal phony unpaid internships that hire unpaid students and graduates to do errands, get coffee, and especially bad, use them to run their social media campaigns cause the management doesn’t have those skills.

    • marte48

      That’s not what Michael said at all. You mis-heard him.

      • Frequentshopper

        I’m pretty sure I didn’t mis-hear him but if you know exactly what he said let me have it, I’m all ears. There was something else on KQED Radio very recently, not sure if it was Krasny’s show, where they were talking about a business sending a token older person to get retrained. Another myth/stereotype implying that people over 50 can only learn new things if a company pays for us to do it and pays us while we do it. Wrong. Some of us do it on our own initiative and at our own expense just like some young people, but to no avail. We exist but you would never know that listening to Krasny. We are not some government charity case needing taxpayer subsidies or company subsidies to learn new digital skills other than access to community college classes that are not filled up by international students. How about part of 1 show he interviews some over 50 workers who have done what I did on their own and still can’t get a job for what we trained for? I have been asking and waiting. Still waiting for that show or part of a show. Well?

        • marte48

          maybe no one wants to work with someone as hostile as you.

  • marte48

    To be fair to younger workers, they don’t know everything, either – and should not be expected to!

    • Frequentshopper

      Maybe you should tell them, not us.

  • marte48

    Just because Michael’s guests express a certain opinion, doesn’t mean he agrees with them. He tries to give everyone a chance to have their say. As for myself, I went back to school in 1998 after 30 years of being a graphic designer and technical illustrator. I was 50 years old, and had two young kids in elementary school. (I had my daughter at 40.) Even with 13 years at Lockheed and 7 years of teaching graphic design at San Jose City College, I could not get a job without “HTML” on my resume. When I lost my home in foreclosure, I had no choice but to go back to school. As soon as I learned HTML, I was back at Oracle – I had been there in 1997 doing Adobe Illustrator – teaching other graphic designers how to build HTML pages. I have been doing that for various companies for 16 years now. Lots of young people I work with do not have 16 years of experience at anything at all, let alone at more than one. But I don’t blame them – they have to fulfill high expectations of the corporations who exploit their hard work – just like they did mine. I only try to warn them of what is to come.

  • Darthmaul

    I think as a general rule KQED should not have CEO’s of local companies appear as guests AKA pitchmen. It’s a form of “stealth” advertising for whatever company the CEO runs, and there are more important issues that can be discussed.

  • Frequentshopper

    Apple Computer is now the lone holdout on releasing racial and gender demographics of its employees. I have heard no questioning about age demographics, especially for new hires or store hires, or for gender identity, but you would not know that listening to KQED radio. It’s not even on their radar. We older workers need our own spokesperson. Who should it be? I checked out and bought the Sony Xperia Z rather than an iphone due to Apple’s discrimination. Love it and it’s larger screen and better camera!

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