Reid Hoffman has four smartphones, which he uses to scan the 400+ email messages he gets every day.
That detail comes from yesterday’s New York Times profile of the LinkedIn founder, Greylock partner, and board member at Zynga, Mozilla, and six other companies.
What the article doesn’t explain: why the heck does he need four smartphones?
Two is not that uncommon, particularly for people in jobs that require them to carry a BlackBerry for email (nobody wants to use a BlackBerry at night — what if somebody sees you?). Three might be understandable if you’re an app developer or service provider who needs to test your product on multiple platforms or carriers.
But four? That seems like a show of alpha-geekery, like the back when IT workers would carry a bunch of gadgets on their belts. It would also seem to be supremely unproductive — what possible benefit would you get by checking email on four different devices?
The article reveals some other interesting bits about one of the best-connected people in Silicon Valley:
- His dad read “The Lord of the Rings” to him when he was five years old, and Reid kept moving the bookmark forward because his dad wasn’t reading it fast enough.
- He got his first job when he was 12 by walking into the offices of Chaosium, the company that made the role-playing game RuneQuest, and giving them a bunch of suggestions on how to improve the game.
- He almost became an academic but wanted to reach more people, and thought building an online service would be a way to do it.
- He works all the time except for a few hours on Friday and Saturday night, and an Australia trip in August was his first vacation in eight years.
Read the whole thing here.
And if anybody, including Hoffman, has an explanation for why you’d need four smartphones, we’d love to hear it — email mrosoff at businessinsider dot com.