Billionaire investor Reid Hoffman reveals why his family was furious at him for going to Stanford

Reid Hoffman caused a

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Reid Hoffman caused a “firestorm” over his choice.
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Steve Jennings/Getty

    Reid Hoffman’s dad, mom, grandmother and grandfather all attended the University of California-Berkeley. When he chose Stanford University it caused a “firestorm.” He knew he would thrive in a smaller college setting.

Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn and a Greylock Partners investor, defied his whole family when he made his college choice. Eschewing tradition, he chose to attend Stanford over the University of California-Berkeley.

“I said I wanted to go to Stanford,” Hoffman explained on CNBC. “There was this whole sort of firestorm within the family.” They balked at the decision, commenting, “Is he too good for public school? Why isn’t he going to public school?”

For the Hoffmans, the decision felt personal. His dad, mom, grandmother and grandfather all attended Berkeley.

“They are legitimately and greatly advocates of what public universities and public education means for the greatness of the country,” he said.

But Hoffman explained the decision had more to do with understanding himself, and advised others to be similarly self-aware.

“Know your own strengths and weaknesses,” Hoffman said. “I thrive much better in small classroom environments. I thrive much better when I can connect with a teacher. And so one of the disadvantages of public schools is that they tend to be large and you tend to get lost in large lecture classes.”

That’s certainly true for Berkeley, which has about 30,000 undergraduates compared to Stanford’s nearly 7,000.

You can watch the entire interview here: