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Startup whisperer Reid Hoffman thinks social is still big

Co-founder of LinkedIn takes stage at D10 to pronounce social networking Not Dead Yet.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman

PALOS VERDES, Calif.--On stage at the D10 conference, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, aka the "startup whisperer," admonished tech investors to relax a bit. "The Valley tends to declare old trends dead earlier than they should," he said.

"What's after social?" he asked and then answered by saying that social isn't dead yet. He believes that his recent investments in Wrapp (social gifting) and Edmodo (social network for teachers and students) still have their best days ahead of them.

Reid agreed with interviewer Kara Swisher that "valuations go up in ways that are unsustainable," and that the trick, for investors, is to pick "companies that have discontinuous growth after five to seven years." By that he means a huge jump. But, "it's hard to figure out what's going to break through the noise."

LinkedIn itself is acquiring companies, fostering that discontinuous growth, and CEO Jeff Weiner, on stage with Hoffman, said that the size of the company's acquisitions will increase over time. "Before the Slideshare acquisition, we were acquiring companies of 5 to 10 people in size." As LInkedIn grows, he says, the size of companies that it acquires will also grow.