Monday, March 5, 2012

LinkedIn Founder Will Teach us Some Business English: Talk Like a Successful American Entrepreneur!

Reid Hoffman is the co-founder of the company LinkedIn. As the Wall Street Journal discusses in a recent article and interview with him, he's also an investor and/or advisor to many other big tech companies. Now he's searching for the next "breakout idea". What's a breakout idea? One that is a very new idea that will form the basis of a very successful new product, service, or even entire company. Let's look at some of the Wall Street Journal's interview with Reid Hoffman, and we'll see his use of business idioms in action! Expressions we'll discuss are in bold. Today, we'll be exploring three great business expressions. At the end of this post, watch the video of Mr. Hoffman discussing his plans.

WSJ: Why is LinkedIn continuing to experience strong growth in a global recession? How long can the company keep it up?

Mr. Hoffman: In either an up or down economy, business proceeds. That is one of the reasons LinkedIn, in up and down economic circumstances, has continued to have good progress. I've been very pleased with Jeff as a CEO, the executive team has been firing on all cylinders. So far I don't see any negative indicators.

(to) fire on all cylinders - to operate as effectively as possible; to be running very well.

WSJ: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to reach 1 billion users. Do you have a similar goal for LinkedIn?

Mr. Hoffman: Ultimately the goal is to be the professional network of the world. It isn't just white-collar. It could be an executive assistant or a small-business owner. It is about improving what you are doing. Maybe that is roughly a quarter of the population of the world, and there are 7 billion people in the world

white-collar - office workers (those whose jobs do not typically involve manual labor or the wearing of uniforms - those jobs are called "blue collar"). If you work in a cubicle or nice office and the main way you get your hands dirty is the mustard you get on your hands while you eat your lunch, you are most likely a "white-collar worker" - this is for sure LinkedIn's current main audience, though we know from this interview that Reid Hoffman would like to expand beyond that

WSJ: You've just written a book, "The Start-up of You." What's the take-away?

Mr. Hoffman: Every individual needs to think about themselves as the entrepreneur of their own life. Do you invest in yourself? How do you establish good plans and strategy? How do you take intelligent risk? How do you adapt to the future? You don't do that, you are at serious risk.

take-away - the point; the thing you are supposed to get from reading something, watching something, or hearing a lecture. This is a very popular term in MBA programs around the world. Business school students read business cases. Then they discuss the "take-aways." Sometimes after a business school lecture, business professors will discuss the take-aways from the lecture as review. This helps for students who were sleeping during the entire lecture -- if they wake up and pay attention at the end of class, they can still get their take-aways.

For more great business expressions, check out Speak Better Business English and Make More Money and Speak Business English Like an American. Also, visit the iPhone and iPad apps Speak Business English I and Speak Business English II on iTunes.

Watch the video of Reid Hoffman discussing LinkedIn and improve your English. Listen for when he says "the need to stay on top of an industry." "Stay on top" is another business idioms - it means be aware of the newest things going on or keep your knowledge fresh. What other interesting things do you hear him say?: