With the advent of FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a whole lot of social networks, the common understanding has been how large and how many people are on my network, how many people like what I do, etc. If you really look around the real value of social networks that execute are;
1. Small in size (10s)
2. All Closed and Private
3. Personal or Professional, they execute as NxN as value.
PayPal is a great example of a professional social network. Referred to as “mafia” by some, but what it really reflects is that this is a social network that creates value for itself through deep trust and thus the result collaboration from taking risks.
“PayPal Mafia” is a term used to indicate a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since founded and developed additional technology companies such as Tesla Motors, LinkedIn, Palantir Technologies, SpaceX, YouTube, Yelp Inc., and Yammer
PayPal Members – Individuals whom the media refers to as members of the PayPal Mafia include:
- Peter Thiel, PayPal founder and former chief executive officer who is sometimes referred to as the “don” of the PayPal Mafia
- Max Levchin, Founder and chief technology officer at PayPal sometimes called the “consigliere” of the PayPal Mafia
- David O. Sacks, former PayPal CEO who later founded Geni.com and Yammer
- Roelof Botha former PayPal CEO who later became a partner of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital
- Steve Chen, former PayPal engineer who co-founded YouTube
- Jawed Karim, former PayPal engineer who co-founded YouTube
- Chad Hurley, former PayPal web designer who co-founded YouTube
- Elon Musk, is founder of X.com which acquired the company Confinity. Musk later either founded or co-founded Tesla Motors and SpaceX
- Eric M. Jackson, who wrote the book The PayPal Wars and became chief executive officer of WND Books and co-founded CapLinked.
- Russel Simmons, former PayPal engineer who co-founded Yelp Inc.
- Jeremy Stoppelman, former vice president of technology at PayPal who later, co-founded Yelp, Inc.
- Premal Shah, former product manager at PayPal, became the founding president of Kiva.org.
- Daniel Issen became vice president of engineering at AdBrite.
- Keith Rabois, a former executive at PayPal who later worked at LinkedIn, Slide, Square, and currently Khosla Ventures, and personally invested in Tokbox, Xoom, Slide, LinkedIn, Geni, Room 9 Entertainment, YouTube, and Yelp
- Jared Kopf, former assistant to the PayPal CEO, helped found Slide, and later served as a director of Clarium Capital before founding several other companies, including the behavioral targeting company, Adroll.
- Reid Hoffman, former executive vice president who later founded LinkedIn and was an early investor in Facebook, Aviary,Friendster, Six Apart, Zynga, IronPort, Flickr, Digg, Grockit, Ping.fm, Nanosolar, Care.com, Knewton, Kongregate, Last.fm, Ning, and Technorati
- Dave McClure, a former PayPal marketing director, a super angel investor for start up companies
- Yishan Wong, a former engineering manager at PayPal, later worked at Facebook and became the CEO of reddit.
- Luke Nosek, PayPal co-founder and former vice president of marketing and strategy, became a partner at The Founders Fund with Peter Thiel and Ken Howery
- Ken Howery, former PayPal CFO who became a partner at The Founders Fund
Why London lacks a PayPal Mafia of its own
PayPal spawned a whole ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors, but that hasn’t happened in London
The lesson is. Personally of professionally. Large does not mean value, the real value is when your network “invests” what is most important to the other, time, credibility, skills and capital. Else it’s just not value. Why are social companies like FB, Twitter, Pinterest, et al struggling to find a business model. All these networks are open, large and the investment of members in each other is really just MB (Content) and MBPS (Bandwidth). Remember the laws of tech, they are free!