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Alfred Lin Has The Midas Touch: The Man With $2 Billion In Acquisitions Under His Belt

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If you’ve got a company and you want a big acquisition in a year or two, you may want to consider hiring Alfred Lin, currently the COO/CFO of just-acquired Zappos. Every company he’s worked for has been acquired, and the smallest deal was $265 million.

Lin dropped out of a PhD program at Stanford to join LinkExchange in 1996 as acting CFO. Two years later the company was acquired by Microsoft for $265 million in stock. He then cofounded Venture Frogs, a $27 million venture fund, with college buddy Tony Hsieh. Investments included Zappos, TellMe, OpenTable, MyAble, Mongo Music and Ask Jeeves, all of which have been acquired or went public.

Lin then joined TellMe in 2001 as VP Finance and Business Development. At the time he joined the company was losing $60 million per year, he tells me. Microsoft bought the company for $800 million in 2007.

Then he really outdid himself. He joined Zappos, reuniting with his old friend Hsieh, in 2006 as COO and CFO. How’d they do? Yeah, they were acquired last week by Amazon for close to $1 billion.

I don’t know if Lin is the master operator (his former colleagues and venture capitalists all say glowing things) or if he’s just really, really good at picking winners. But one thing is clear – this guy has the Midas Touch. I highly recommend interviewing at whatever company he ends up at next. It’s likely to be a big winner.

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