Reid Hoffman: Web 2.0 Is About Data

Reid Hoffman, superangel extraordinaire and LinkedIn chairman, is talking data at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Just a few minutes, but he’s one person you always want to listen to. He’s being interviewed by Liz Gannes.

Web 2.0 is about real identity. The platform part of it will be data. This is where some massive innovation will happen that will transform our lives.

Everyone is a participant in what some call data exhaust. Now that data exhaust can be mashed up in lots of ways that will create a lot of value. It’s happening already, but I think it will happen a lot more in the next five years.

It will be pulling a number of different data sources together. Some will be open, some closed. (But) Good Internet companies do not ambush their users.

Q: Will a lot of data sets be closed? You’re going to have some really tightly held data sets. We already do–credits cards, etc. There will also be very open data sets.

Q: Are there going to be ways to have more decentralized data services that are controlled by users? A general principle is to only ask for the data when you have a specific value proposition that requires that. So LinkedIn doesn’t ask about gender.

Take services like Mint. They provide analytics about where you’re spending, how your spending patterns compare to others–it’s a value proposition that’s clear.

Q: How many of your Greylock fund investments fit into this data thesis? All of them eventually will. All of them will be developing interesting features off the data.

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