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Auren Hoffman
Auren Hoffman is CEO of Rapleaf. Rapleaf is an automated search service that helps companies learn more about their consumers.

Auren is also a non-employee cofounder of BrightRoll and a co-founder of AdRocket.

He was formerly Chair of Stonebrick Group and the Connector Group. Previously, he founded and sold three Internet companies before age 30: BridgePath (sold in 2002), Kyber Systems (sold in 1997), and GetRelevant (sold in 2002). He is the founder of the Dialog Retreat. He's an active angel investor or advisor in: 750 Industries, AdRocket, Blip.TV, BrightRoll, Delicious Brands, GoodRec, Grouply, Huddler, LabPixies, Lefora, Mechanical Zoo, Meebo, Merchant Circle, MesmoTV, Offbeat Guides, OtherInbox, Play Megaphone, Proclivity, RateItAll, RichRelevance, SnapTalent, Socializr, Structural Wealth Management,, Yotify, Zoom Systems, and more. Auren holds a B.S.E. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the UC Berkeley. He writes a blog called Summation (

Blog Entries by Auren Hoffman

The Erosion of Online Anonymity (and How to Restore It)

Posted September 29, 2010 | 17:34:35 (EST)

One of the most important principles of individual privacy is the ability to act anonymously. When people are driving to a store or reading a book at home, they have a reasonable assumption that nobody is monitoring their behavior and attaching it to their name and address.

The same should...

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To Grow a Company, You Need to Be Good at Killing Things

Posted March 15, 2010 | 00:15:21 (EST)

To Grow a Company, You Need to Be Good at Killing Things

The hardest thing to do at a company is to kill things

Companies are all about building things, not destroying them. When your company is growing, you add lots of things to build the company: employees, investors, products,...

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To Grow a Company, You Need to Be Good at Killing Things

Posted March 14, 2010 | 18:42:16 (EST)

Companies are all about building things, not destroying them. When your company is growing, you add lots of things to build the company: employees, investors, products, features, meetings, benefits, processes, reports, code, and more.

While it does not come natural for a company (or any organization) to toss things...

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Common Traits of A-Players

Posted January 14, 2010 | 15:32:38 (EST)

An unscientific observation of what A-Players have in common

We often talk about the elusive "A-Player" - a person that everyone wants to hire, but many can rarely find. In this article we'll attempt to discuss how to spot these people and see what they have in common.

A few...

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Who Cheats More: Democrats or Republicans?

Posted September 24, 2009 | 16:07:18 (EST)

The thing I hear often from Republicans is that, "Democrats don't play fair.  They cheat."  And the thing I hear often from Democrats is that, "Republicans don't play fair.  They cheat."

Who's right? 
(I have no idea.)

However, we can devise a simple research project to...

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A Second(ary) Chance for Venture Capital

Posted August 26, 2009 | 16:16:27 (EST)

Troubled venture capitalists need to rethink how long they invest in startups; many should fund early and then sell to a secondary firm after a few years.

There's plenty of fretting in Silicon Valley and beyond over the venture capital industry, how broken it has become, and what needs to...

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Do Successful Politicians Have More Daughters?

Posted August 24, 2009 | 17:10:49 (EST)

Is there a correlation between being a successful male politician and having more daughters?

The last three U.S. presidents have a total of five daughters and no sons (Clinton has one daughter and George W. Bush and Obama both have two daughters).  

Maybe politicians with daughters are...

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Identifying the Elusive Influencer

Posted July 8, 2009 | 14:24:50 (EST)

And building programs to best leverage your most influential customers

Most companies internally assign a value to their customers that predicts how much money the customer will spend in the future, otherwise known as 'Total Customer Value' (TCV). Conventionally, the best way to determine a customer's TCV is to look...

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Everything You Learn in College is Wrong

Posted June 30, 2009 | 13:50:46 (EST)

In college, they teach you to use big words to make things sound important. If you are writing in college about the problems at GM, Ford, and Toyota, you'd write about the "automotive industry." Today, you'd make it simple and talk about "car companies."

In college you need to double...

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Why Hiring is Paradoxically Harder in a Downturn

Posted May 27, 2009 | 19:06:18 (EST)

Noise goes up but the quality stays the same.

Hiring is always hard. The hardest thing to do at a company is the recruiting and hiring. It was really hard when the economy was doing well. Paradoxically, for certain industries (especially those reliant on innovation such as those in the...

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You Think For Yourself but You Act Like Your Friends (on homophily)

Posted April 6, 2009 | 12:45:32 (EST)

It is important to understand how homophily changes the way we think

Birds of a feather tend to shop together. That we know. They also tend to talk together and walk together; and who their friends are affects more than just what type of jeans they buy....

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Birds of a Feather Shop Together

Posted March 18, 2009 | 13:28:18 (EST)

The Early Bird (Who is Your Friend) Gets the Worm

It's not too radical to claim that people are more like their friends than they are like other people that fit their demographic or psychographic makeup. Social psychology has shown that people tend to develop relationships with those that have...

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When and Why We Pendulum

Posted March 3, 2009 | 12:38:46 (EST)

When us humans come out of a suboptimal experience, we tend to over-correct in the opposite direction in our next experience. Repeated over-correcting results in pendulum-ing (which is often sub-optimal behavior).

For instance, let's say you dated a workaholic investment banker and the relationship goes sour (for reasons not qualifying...

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