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“It’s your ball. Run with it.” Jeff Weiner explains how he ended up as CEO of LinkedIn


JW EditOn stage tonight at Pando Monthly, after some weirdness about facial hair and a long discussion about his time at Yahoo, Jeff Weiner told Sarah Lacy, and a standing room only audience, about how he ended up at LinkedIn.

After Yahoo, Weiner ended up in the slightly curious position of being at both an EIR at both Accel and Greylock. He knew he didn’t want to found a company but rather “I wanted to join something a little later stage.” Enter Greylock partner and LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman.

“A number of people had suggested I meet Reid while I was still at Yahoo… When LinkedIn decided to make a change of its leadership, a couple of the [Greylock] partners asked if I’d be interested, and I said sure I’d be happy to help Reid out. That could be part of my Greylock two days a week…. I showed up at Reid’s place and he said ‘I’ve got two lists. One is an interim list and I have a full-time CEO list and you’re the only name on both lists, go what do you think?”

Over the next several weeks the two men spent 15-20 hours of “getting to know you” time, but Weiner says he still wasn’t sure if he was ready to go back to work full time. So he opted for the interim option at first, albeit with all the responsibilities of CEO.

“It’s your ball,” said Hoffman, “run with it.”

Six years later, Weiner is still running.