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LinkedIn Co-founder: the number of ‘tech giants’ will double in 5 years

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LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss the future of big tech and the United States' relationship with China under a Biden administration.

Video Transcript

ANDY SERWER: So as we go in to the Biden era, I'm curious as to what you think the direction and tenor of Washington, DC's desire to, perhaps, rein in or regulate the big-tech platforms, what path that's going to take. Because it's-- it's not at all clear cut. You've got Ted Cruz, David Cicilline, now Joe Biden, Sen. Warner, people with very different political perspectives, who seem to share distrust and anxiety about the platforms. But that's where the common ground ends, right?

REID HOFFMAN: Yeah. So look, roughly speaking, I'm-- this is not a no-regulation point of view. But I am a very strong believer that we've now moved to a multi-polar world. China will be building more and more of the technology platforms that matter in the coming years. And actually, to some degree, I hope that there's other places. Like I-- you know, one of the Greylock investments we have is this incubator called Entrepreneur First, which is building tech communities in Europe and in Singapore.

So you know, I hope for-- for more of this. But what that means is you don't disable your own player, right? You don't go hey, let's try to do that. What you want to do is you want to shape them.

You want to say, look, these outcomes, misinformation. Here is our social mandate for how we change that. So we have more truth in the media ecosystem. You know, those kinds of things are important.

But, like, the classic notion of an antitrust or breakup, I think those are, generally speaking, going to be actually, in fact, a counter American health and prosperity. And by the way, I say that as my primary thing as an investor, as new startups, as competing with these large tech companies. So this not like an embodied interest.

But actually, in fact, I think we're-- we have maybe five tech giants today. I think, you know, five years from now, we're going to have 10 tech giants. And those competition between those tech giants is what create lots of space for startups to either, you know, get their initial base, or to grow into being the 11th, or to be bought by one of them. And so that's part of the reason why I think actually, in fact, the-- the antitrust isn't the right thing. But figuring out how to contribute the right way to the health of-- of our society, and global society, is the right thing.

ANDY SERWER: Two questions here. So first of all, when you're talking about going from five to 10, are you talking about the other five being in China? And then, also, what specifically, though, short of anti-trust and breaking things up, would be your remedies?

REID HOFFMAN: So-- so, on the first, actually, in fact, if you're including China, you're like five going to 25. Right? So, it is much larger.

I was actually just talking about, you know, the-- the kind of the growth of companies like, you know, Airbnb and others as they-- as they establish, you know, on the stage. And obviously, you know, there's a bunch right now around, like, Netflix and Salesforce and other kinds of things. So I think there's a range of these-- these companies have become multipart technology platforms. And with China, you're going to see a ton more.