Mr. Reid Hoffman
is one of  California’s leading venture
capitalists. Based at Greylock Partners in Silicon Valley, Mr. Hoffman is a
co-founder of LinkedIn and has been a major participant in PayPal, Zynga, and
Flickr-as well as an early Facebook investor.  

venture capitalists, along with the state’s staffing industry and local
Workforce Investment Boards, know California’s job markets. That’s why it was
good news last week to read in a column by Mr. Thomas Friedman that Mr. Hoffman
has a new book coming out early next year, "The Start Up of You". The book builds
on ideas of entrepreneurship within firms, among firms and throughout the
economy that Mr. Hoffman has been putting forward for some time.

Mr. Hoffman asks all
workers to regard themselves as start-ups. The worker cannot wait for someone
to hand him a job and cannot become complacent in a job. He must identify ways
he can add value to an enterprise and do so during his employment. He must
adapt to changing economic conditions, refreshing skills and learning new
skills. Whatever job security existed in the past is now largely extinct and
job insecurity will define the future.  

The breakdown in
job security in California over the past thirty years is a theme that Fox and
Hounds has noted at several times over the past few years (here
and here).
Mr. Hoffman’s encouragement for workers
to embrace this reality is welcome, and applicable to workers at all stages of
careers.  I look forward to the book and
to Mr. Hoffman’s further thoughts in this area.

would add one caveat.  At the same time
we embrace the worker as start-up model, we need to continue to look for more
steady employment structures in the state. By temperament and abilities, at
least 20%-30% of California workers will not function well in such a
competitive, even frenzied, employment environment.This past weekend,
Donna and I attended a gathering of the Bay Area chapter of the Autism, Asperger’s
Syndrome Coalition for Education Networking and Development (Aascend).   Aascend is a group of adults with Autism/Asperger’s
syndrome. The main topic, predictably, was employment.  Most of the Aascend participants and family
members were struggling to find anything.

To be sure, Mr.
Hoffman’s advice is applicable to these workers-they and their families too
must be encouraged to send out hundreds of applications, to network, to use
LinkedIn and Facebook and other social networks.

But most of them
already are trying these techniques-without a lot of success. Perhaps the  worker as start-up can co-exist in some way
with the worker in more steady employment.