Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman Podcast

The best startup advice from Silicon Valley & beyond. Iconic CEOs — from Nike to Netflix, Starbucks to Slack — share the stories & strategies that helped them grow from startups into global brands.On each episode, host Reid Hoffman — LinkedIn cofounder, Greylock partner and legendary Silicon Valley investor — proves an unconventional theory about how businesses scale, while his guests share the story of how I built this company. Reid and guests talk entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, management, fundraising. But they also talk about the human journey — with all its failures and setbacks. With original, cinematic music and hilariously honest stories, Masters of Scale is a business podcast that doesn’t sound like a business podcast. Guests on Masters of Scale have included the founders and CEOs of Netflix, Google, Facebook, Starbucks, Nike, Fiat, Spotify, Instagram, Airbnb, Uber, Paypal, Huffington Post, Twitter, Medium, Bumble, Yahoo, Slack, Spanx, Shake Shack, Dropbox, TaskRabbit, 23&Me, Mailchimp, Evite, Flickr, CharityWater, Endeavor, IAC and many more.

Rapid Response: Your company is a citizen – it can act like one, w/Baratunde Thurston
The pandemic, social unrest, the U.S. election – everything affects your team and your business. And the stakes are only getting higher. How do you address race and diversity? Should your business take a stand in the upcoming election? What role should your company play? If you're debating how political to get right now, this is your must-listen. We're talking with writer / thinker Baratunde Thurston on how companies can show up as citizens – citizens with the potential for outsize impact. Baratunde is host...

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71. How to build authentic connection at scale, w/Trevor McFedries & Lil Miquela
You might not know Trevor McFedries yet, but if you're on Instagram, you've probably met Miquela. She has millions of followers, hit singles and lucrative contracts with brands. But she’s not actually real. Miquela’s the creation of Trevor’s stealthy creative media studio Brud, and the delicate balance they strike between artificial and authentic is a master class for any scaling company. In this first-ever in-depth interview with Trevor, he shares his bold plan to create celebrity at massive, multilingual ...

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Rapid Response: Healthy offices and the myth of remote-work productivity, w/Diane Hoskins (Gensler)
Is your office safe to re-open? How much space do you need? Is remote-work really more productive? Diane Hoskins is co-CEO of architecture firm Gensler, which advises businesses from Google to Bank of America. With the pandemic, Hoskins explains, now is a critical moment to ask important questions about what your team needs to work smarter and successfully, and to build a physical space that is not just healthy but enables both collaboration and individual work. From new technology tools to insightful data,...

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Rapid Response: Nothing matters but this. w/Eric Schmidt (frmr Google CEO)
"Until this problem gets fixed, all the other things that I care about, that you care about, are on hold.” In this must-hear interview, Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO (and now co-founder of Schmidt Futures) shares why he's 100% focused on addressing the challenges of Covid-19. From vaccines and testing protocols to best practices for businesses, Schmidt shares a clear-eyed roadmap for moving toward a healthy, just, and economically vibrant post-pandemic world.Listen to the "Reimagine" podcast: https://www....

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Rapid Response: What you can learn from how schools are pivoting, w/ Success Academy's Eva Moskowitz
The first day of school doesn't look the way it used to – in some cases, it might not be happening at all. As schools across the country start a new year, we're kicking off a new season with Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy, a charter school network that serves 20,000 kids across New York City. In the spring, Success Academy pivoted to remote learning days before the City shut down schools and as they start a new semester, Success Academy is pivoting to "Remote Learning 2.0." Though Eva run...

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70. Peloton’s John Foley — How to turn skeptics into fans
Casual fans come and go. But converts stick with you — and spread the word. The trick is knowing how — and WHEN — to convert skeptics into super-fans. No one knows this better than Peloton co-founder and CEO John Foley, who has one of the most epic “No-to-Yes” stories in startup history. When he founded the company in 2012, skeptics abounded — especially among investors. But John pushed forward, convincing co-founders, angel investors, and then riders, one at a time. As he converted those skeptical customer...

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70. Peloton’s John Foley — How to turn skeptics into fans
Casual fans come and go. But converts stick with you — and spread the word. The trick is knowing how — and WHEN — to convert skeptics into super-fans. No one knows this better than Peloton Co-founder and CEO John Foley, who has one of the most epic “No” to “Yes” stories in startup history. When he founded the specialty spin and media company in 2012, skeptics abounded — especially among investors. But John pushed forward, convincing co-founders, angel investors, and then riders, one at a time. As he convert...

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69. Why your company needs new rituals w/Shishir Mehrotra (YouTube, Coda)
You need more than a good product to scale – you need strong rituals. All companies have rituals, from holding all-hands meetings to measuring KPIs. The right rituals in the right places help build your culture, cohere your team, and home in on your targets. The wrong ones can lead you horribly astray. Shishir Mehrotra, former head of YouTube and co-founder of Coda, learned this when he scaled YouTube to a billion hours of watch time each day. He kept the team focused on that audacious goal by establishing ...

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Classic: The infinite learner, w/Barry Diller (Part 1 of our interview)
Tinder. Top Gun. Roots. The Simpsons. What do they have in common? Media icon Barry Diller. We're re-airing a classic episode with some wise words. Barry is what we call an "infinite learner." He’s only interested in things he's never done before. And if they’ve never been done by ANYONE? Better yet. He succeeds by embracing that he is, in fact, a master of nothing. Entrepreneurs, take note: You just might be an infinite learner yourself, and Barry shares a lesson or two you can use. Listen to Part 2 of thi...

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Classic: How to price your product to scale, w/ClassPass's Payal Kadakia
The price that bleeds your business could also save it. We're revisiting a classic episode with ClassPass' Payal Kadakia to focus something every entrepreneur struggles with: pricing. When you invent something innovative, you can’t know how to price it on Day One. But you need to get people in the door — a LOT of people — even if you have to price your product fatally low at first. In this episode, ClassPass founder and chair Payal Kadakia shares the winding path to the right price — and how the journey rev...

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68. Be a painkiller AND a vitamin, w/Clara Shih (Hearsay Systems)
Some products are vitamins and some are painkillers – the best, though, are both. This is what Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Systems, learned in the early years of her software startup. To survive, she needed to shift her platform from a nice-to-have into a can’t-live-without. And in doing so, she learned a secret to scale: Solve your customers’ urgent needs now ... while looking ahead to their future wishlists. Cameo appearances: Shellye Archambeau (MetricStream), Gary Alexander (MyImprov driving ...

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Classic: Let fires burn w/Selina Tobaccowala (Evite, SurveyMonkey, Gixo)
It's the opposite of what you were taught. The best entrepreneurs — they let fires burn. Knowing which problems NOT to solve is as critical as knowing how to solve them. We're revisiting this episode with serial entrepreneur Selina Tobaccowala (Evite, SurveyMonkey, TicketMaster, Gixo) to underscore the one thing every entrepreneur needs to know right now: You have to conserve energy for the biggest blazes, and learn how to sleep easy while other fires smolder around you. Cameo appearances: Cheryl Kellond (...

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Rapid Response: Building a bridge over troubled waters, with Spelman College president Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell
How to keep students learning – and building their vital lifelong community bonds – in the middle of a pandemic? This is the question for Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College. Late in July, Dr. Campbell announced Spelman's plan for the upcoming academic year – with 100% online classes (and lower fees). Meanwhile, as the head of a leading HBCU, based in the protest hotbed of Atlanta, she's also been grappling with social unrest and calls for change. Spelman is taking this moment to experim...

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67. Strategy Session 5: How transparent should you be with your board? How do you boost morale in dark days? Is it time to blitzscale?
How do you take smart risks, how can you be transparent – but inspiring – with your board and your team, how do you keep up morale in what seem like the darkest days, and what does the future of blitzscaling look like now? Reid answers all in another Strategy Session. This session is a little different – what you're about to hear is actually a portion of Reid’s virtual fireside chat with Linda Rottenberg, the CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, an organization that supports and invests in entrepreneurs worldwid...

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Rapid Response: Inside PayPal's $530M plan to close the racial wealth gap, with CEO Dan Schulman
The pandemic has hurt many businesses – but PayPal isn't one of them. PayPal has boomed as e-commerce has swelled, with stock up more than 50% this year and a huge new demographic joining the platform. That doesn't mean, though, that CEO Dan Schulman has been sitting back. PayPal recently committed more than $500 million to support Black and minority-owned businesses, after facilitating some $1.9 billion in PPP loans to largely underbanked communities. Dan says PayPal has a unique opportunity to spur emergi...

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Rapid Response: What it will take for tech and Hollywood to be anti-racist, w/Color Of Change's Rashad Robinson
There's no quick fix to 400 years of oppression, says Color Of Change president Rashad Robinson. One of the largest racial justice organizations in the US, Color Of Change works with decision-makers in business and government to enact systemic change. In 2020, Color Of Change has seen its membership swell — along with its impact. Rashad's group railed against Hollywood's reflexive pro-police agenda, forcing TV shows "Cops" and "Live PD" off the air, and launched the Stop Hate For Profit campaign to hold tec...

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66. The 4 core principles of crisis management, w/Ellen Kullman (DuPont, Carbon)
To survive a crisis, you have to double down on who you already are as a company. This is something Ellen Kullman knows, having led DuPont through the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and taken the CEO role at 3D-printing unicorn Carbon only weeks before Covid hit. Through her years as a leader, Ellen has developed four crisis principles that allowed her to lead teams and thrive through pandemic, economic meltdown, and beyond. The key? Practicing the principles in calmer times, before crisis hits. Because as Rei...

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Rapid Response: A new playbook for new times, w/Ford Foundation president Darren Walker
"This was like 1918, 1929 and 1968 in one week," says Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. With the pandemic, economic crisis, and civil unrest all coming together after George Floyd's death, Walker found himself flooded with calls from CEOs struggling for how to respond. Walker's advice mixes clear-eyed messages — denying the trauma borne by communities of color is no longer option — with optimism about the opportunities ahead. At the Ford Foundation, they've accelerated giving and even exceede...

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65. Stephen Colbert + DonorsChoose's Charles Best — The power of small goals
Startups are audacious. They’re big. They’re world-changing. But you can’t achieve scale on day one. Sometimes the best way to achieve that monumental success tomorrow is to take a teeny tiny step today. This is what Charles Best did when he founded one of the world’s first crowdfunding platforms, DonorsChoose. For 20 years, the nonprofit has been helping public school teachers get funding and supplies for classroom projects and it all started with just a handful of projects in the Bronx, where Charles was ...

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Rapid Response: Burning cash, accepting turbulence w/Delta CEO Ed Bastian
A surprisingly candid and upbeat interview on the industry hardest hit by the pandemic. Delta saw seat bookings fall to less than 5% of normal, had 40,000 employees go on unpaid leave, and raised $14 billion in funding – all to withstand a cash burn that still stands at $30 million a day. To rebuild traveler trust, Delta CEO Ed Bastian has enacted a slew of new safety standards, including capping flight loads at 60 percent and using hospital-grade HEPA filters on board – in fact, Bastian contends there's no...

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Classic: Liberating the human spirit, w/Robert F. Smith (Vista Equity, Morehouse Commencement), Recorded live at Summit LA 2019
Every great founder has a second purpose — something outside their main business they're trying to get done in the world. And every successful company is like a Trojan Horse, carrying this second purpose forward. No one knows this better than Robert F. Smith. You may know him for his legendary Morehouse commencement speech (in which he promised to pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class), but Robert's scaling success and philanthropic work go far beyond that. As founder, chair, and CEO ...

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Rapid Response: How business can engage against racism, w/Shellye Archambeau (MetricStream, Nordstrom, Verizon)
What can your business do right now in the struggle against racism? More than you think, says Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream, now a board member at Verizon, Nordstrom and Okta. She returns to the show with her all-too-rare perspective as a Black woman at the top of some of the world’s largest businesses. The struggle is a marathon, but businesses are uniquely poised to demand accountability and transparency from their communities. Whether you're a CEO or a citizen, Shellye has heartfelt and ...

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64. Build. Measure. Learn, w/Eric Ries of The Lean Startup and the LTSE
Forget writing that business plan. Design an experiment instead. So many products and companies fail because the assumptions in their beautiful business plans were just wrong. So stop writing and start testing. No one knows this better than Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and founder of the Long-Term Stock Exchange. After his first product failed, he developed a new method of product design based on running small, fast experiments, measuring the results, and learning from them. It’s a system built on ...

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Rapid Response: GM's Mary Barra: "Going ventilator fast"
GM is now reopening auto plants, after shutting them in March, temporarily reducing pay for 69,000 employees, and making a fast pivot to produce masks and ventilators. But with the killing of George Floyd, things are hardly back to normal. Chair and CEO Mary Barra speaks to her “profound feeling of sadness,” but also to her optimism that the country and her company will bounce back. Though there is work to be done, says Mary, we're poised for transformation. Interviewed by editor Bob Safian.Read a transcrip...

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63. Strategy Session 4: The post-pandemic business, w/questions from Village Global and co-host Bob Safian, editor-at-large
How do you find new markets when your old ones stall? How do you stay agile when your team is overwhelmed? And do constraints always lead to creativity — really? In this Strategy Session recorded in the height of the global pandemic, Reid fields smart questions from six entrepreneurs with Village Global, and co-hosted by our own Bob Safian.Village Global is an early-stage venture capital firm backed by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.Read a transcript of this Strategy Session at: https://m...

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Rapid Response: BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: Record-high audience, record-low revenue
BuzzFeed audience is at record highs. But the pandemic's economic effects have crushed the bottom line. BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti shares how his company is making hard decisions to build long-term stability. “But the transition is painful,” he says. While BuzzFeed is leaning into food vertical Tasty, new e-commerce habits, and BuzzFeed News, he worries that businesses like his don't have more resources to support staffers of color. But, he says, there's a clarity of purpose in crisis, in bea...

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Bonus: Reid’s 2020 Commencement Speech: In a crisis, steer toward the emerging opportunities
New graduates 🎓are like entrepreneurs — standing on the edge of that cliff, ready to build their own plane and fly. But what if the blue skies and calm winds disappear? In a commencement speech for 2020 graduates — and anyone embarking on something new — our host Reid Hoffman says: Be optimistic. Be bold. But most of all, steer toward the opportunities emerging in this new world. How do you find them? Cultivate a network of people smart, curious people. This network creates a map of the world. And at uncer...

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Rapid Response: Danny Meyer, 10 weeks later: How to revive restaurants
"Being the first to close is one thing. But I don't want to be the last to open,” says iconic restaurateur Danny Meyer in his second Rapid Response interview. After shutting his iconic New York City restaurants, laying off 2,000 staffers (with hopes to re-hire) and returning a $10m PPP, Danny finds himself reconsidering nearly everything about his business model. Even before the coronavirus lockdown, the restaurant industry had a slew of “preexisting conditions,” Danny says. Now those weaknesses have become...

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Rapid Response: How "startup DNA" helped One Medical respond to Covid, with CEO Amir Rubin
Since One Medical’s IPO in January, CEO Amir Rubin has been forced to constantly adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, as healthcare needs, expectations, and behaviors shifted. From telemedicine to Covid-19 testing, One Medical has leaned into existing advantages to scale quickly: standing up respiratory care clinics and testing centers; revamping virtual and in-person visits; vetting labs and data. One Medical is now helping other businesses identify new practices to safely bring employees back to work. If yo...

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62. A masterclass in crowdsourcing, w/Duolingo's Luis Von Ahn
Crowdsourcing is more than a group of people interested in the same cause, it’s a way to tap skills – and scale – that you don’t have. And when it works, it can be the rocket fuel that launches you to scale further than you could have ever imagined. No one knows this better than Luis von Ahn, founder and CEO of Duolingo. Duolingo is a language app with over 300 million users worldwide, who complete over 7 billion exercises a month. It’s their passion for learning that drives them to create even more content...

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Rapid Response: How Warby Parker is making decisions in uncertainty, with CEO Neil Blumenthal
"It's like getting hit in the face over and over and over,” says Warby Parker co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. But “crisis brings out clarity.” At Warby, planning for the future has meant leaning into the present — from physical changes in their factory and stores that ensure social distancing to optimizing online vision tests. Blumenthal shares the complex factors they consider in deciding which stores to re-open and when, and relates the human challenge of inspiring their on-the-ground factory employees — at times...

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61. How to unite a team, Part 2 w/Angela Ahrendts of Burberry, Apple
In Part 2, Angela arrives at Apple, which feels like another planet after her years in fashion. In never-before heard stories, Angela shares how she learned the language of tech (the physical store is the ‘hardware’; the experience inside the ‘software’), then introduces innovations that change the face of Apple retail, from an app (The Loop) that let store managers collaborate to the landmark “Today at Apple” program, building community through free classes inside each Apple store. Throughout, Angela shows...

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Rapid Response: Future-proofing Verizon, with CEO Hans Vestberg
Data streaming, videoconferencing – even phone calls are way up at Verizon amid Covid-19, as digital interaction steps in for IRL. But boom times don't mean easy times for CEO Hans Vestberg, who moved over 100,000 employees remote in two weeks. As coronavirus hit and pressure on the Verizon network skyrocketed, Vestberg split his leadership team in two: one to deal with the specifics of the crisis and one to focus on pursuing present-and-future business goals. From new customer initiatives (like free bandwi...

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60. Apple's Angela Ahrendts: How to unite a team (Part 1)
The Apple logo. The iconic Burberry check. These images inspire loyalty of customers and employees alike. But it takes more than a beloved brand to power a company and motivate a team. No one knows this better than Angela Ahrendts, former SVP of retail at Apple, and the former CEO of Burberry. Angela has spent most of her career learning how to imbue those logos with meaning – and support them by down-to-earth, everyday, human connection. Why? Because to unite a team – especially one that’s large, global an...

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Rapid Response: Operating in a fishbowl w/Philly 76ers & NJ Devils CEO Scott O’Neil
In sports, everyone has an opinion on every hire, every trade, every price change. That’s the reality – and also the privilege, says Scott O'Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils. When the NBA dramatically shut down its season, O'Neil's life changed in a very public way. He faced leadership challenges that include missteps, like the decision (and sudden reversal) of cutting employee salaries, and discoveries, like knowing it’s okay to tap out when you need to recharge. With no players on...

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Rapid Response: Crisis lessons from inside the ER, with Dr. Bon Ku
In the Covid-19 storm, treating hospital patients requires constant iteration, creative information-sharing, and worst-case-scenario planning. Dr. Bon Ku, an ER physician and director of the Health Design Lab at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, takes us inside the practice and mindset required to perform under extraordinary pressure. He offers on-the-ground business insights we can all learn from, as he looks toward the future and reflects on a possible second wave of infections and the faulty incentiv...

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Rapid Response: Food security in a pandemic, w/Sara Menker of Gro Intelligence
Will the U.S. run out of food? Can the world's food supply chains survive coronavirus? Sara Menker, founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, which parses 650 trillion agricultural data points daily, shares eye-opening insights based on real-time facts. Learn about the hidden forces that impact what we see on shelves -- and why we might be worrying about the wrong things. Interviewed by editor Bob Safian.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale...

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Rapid Response: Inside Panera’s pandemic pivot, with CEO Niren Chaudhary
What do you do when you can’t serve customers in cafes and carry on business as usual? You try unusual things, says Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary. Forced to close cafes and restructure teams, Panera is leveraging its advantages (like a robust e-commerce system) to launch a slew of initiatives, from Panera Grocery to contactless delivery to Together Without Hunger, providing 500,000 meals to food banks across the U.S. It’s not the same Panera, says Chaudhary, but a Panera that will make it into the post-pandemi...

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Rapid Response: A crisis leadership session with General Stanley McChrystal
Everyone's looking for a box of crisis tricks. But the hard truth is that it simply doesn’t exist, says retired General Stanley McChrystal. Instead of looking for a new style, McChrystal says, lead with the same things that motivate people on a normal basis: Be honest about the path ahead, communicate clearly and build your team up. With calm reassurance, he encourages founders to keep their eyes on the future. Prepare for the post-pandemic world now, so you and your team can spring to action when the time ...

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Rapid Response: Pet adoptions: Up. Delivery business: Up. What that means to Chewy’s Sumit Singh
Pet adoptions have soared during the coronavirus lockdown, as people seek companionship and solace. For Chewy, the pet-supply company, that’s driving unprecedented demand. Ultra-rapid growth has its own set of challenges that CEO Sumit Singh is responding to by: hiring (at 13,000 employees, with plans to add another 6,000 to 10,000 by end of year.); setting up a COVID task team that meets daily; instituting health and safety checks; rolling out customer-facing innovations in a weekend, and more. Why? Becaus...

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Rapid Response: Build government back – better, w/Jen Pahlka (Code for America, USDR)
In the US, local governments are leading the response to COVID-19 – making decisions and gathering data at a speed and scale never before seen. And many of them are asking Jen Pahlka for help. The founder and past chair of Code for America, she co-founded U.S. Digital Response, a nonpartisan group that matches experts with local governments to work on tech, comms and operations. She shares what she's seeing right now – and paints a bold, big-picture vision of what a modern government could do in the years t...

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Rapid Response: Target’s Brian Cornell: “I want to see retail survive this”
Every day in a pandemic is different, and that’s true for people and for corporations. CEO Brian Cornell has promised Target will keep its doors open. To do that, Target is becoming "a good student," says Brian, listening to experts, collaborating with CEOs, staying flexible, and meeting daily to make decisions on an ever changing list of priorities, the first of which is to keep both the team and the guests safe. To date, they’ve made a $300 million investment in pay and benefits, back up childcare, elder ...

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Rapid Response: TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot: “A pandemic doesn’t see money.”
TaskRabbit remains open for business, says CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot. As the magnitude and severity of the pandemic became clear – and as workers across the U.S. were furloughed and services cut – TaskRabbit leaned into the work they do: providing services to those who need them and empowering Taskers with new opportunities for income, including virtual tasks, and Tasks for Good, which connects vulnerable individuals in need with local volunteer Taskers. TaskRabbit was founded during the 2008 financial crisis...

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Rapid Response: Lyft’s John Zimmer: How to keep an essential business running
Everything starts with transportation, says John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. And even though ride sharing is sharply down, transportation remains key – for essential workers and for our supply chain. So Lyft is flexing some new muscles, says John. They recently launched a delivery service so they can help get supplies where they need to go – and put drivers on the road. They’ve also spent over a million dollars on protective equipment so that both drivers and riders can be protected; and began...

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Rapid Response: Airbnb’s Brian Chesky: "Crisis is pushing us back to our roots"
As the pandemic hit, Airbnb was preparing for an IPO. Within a matter of days, everything changed dramatically, as travel worldwide screamed to a halt. “I felt like I was captain of a ship and a torpedo hit the side,” says CEO Brian Chesky. Airbnb responded quickly, announcing that they'd override host rules and allow for guest cancellations. They went on to establish a relief fund for hosts, lobby the U.S. Congress to include hosts in the CARES stimulus package; open up a new business line of virtual exper...

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Rapid Response: Fast pivots for changing needs w/DonorsChoose Charles Best
People are altruistic – even more so in times of uncertainty. This is what Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose, has learned through 20 years of leading his nonprofit through the terrorist attacks of 9/11, multiple recessions, and now a pandemic. Through it all, he’s learned how to listen what to donors – and grantees – really want, and how to pivot to address changing needs. In the last few weeks DonorsChoose has completely reimagined how it connects grantees with the resources they need, and buil...

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Rapid Response: Relief funding & crowdfunding in a crisis w/Karen Cahn of IFundWomen
What are your options for emergency funding in the US? Can you use the U.S. CARES Act to get financial assistance? Should you consider crowdfunding? We talk to Karen Cahn, CEO of IFundWomen, about what you need to know. Who qualifies for the forgivable and traditional loans within this $2.2 trillion stimulus package? Do you have to apply today? How much money could you get? And is a loan a good idea? Karen gives us the details – and makes the case that now is the best time to crowdfund. Hosted by editor-at-...

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Rapid Response: Crisis data is the story of our times, says Crisis Text Line founder
"Anxiety," "grief," "mom”: These are the words surfacing at this extreme moment in time. That data comes from Crisis Text Line, whose online counselors are using both empathy and aggregated data to help people through this pandemic. Founder and former CEO Nancy Lublin makes the case for not losing sight of data — especially at extreme moments like this. Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential crisis counseling via text, 24/7 and to help counselors meet the moment, they anonymize and analyze real-time d...

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Rapid Response: Hourly workers are a ‘hero class’ w/Cue Ball’s Tony Tjan
Hourly workers are the 'hero class,' says VC Tony Tjan. And the pandemic is wreaking havoc on their financial stability. At Boston’s Cue Ball Group, Tony’s portfolio includes companies that employ hundreds of nail care workers, cooks and servers, and he's asking: How can we protect hourly workers and help them prepare for an uncertain future? And how can we plan for the long term, when the daily keeps changing? Co-hosted by Masters of Scale editor-at-large Bob Safian. Read a transcript of this episode: http...

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Rapid Response: First, be human – Thoughts on the crisis from Reid Hoffman
Can you blitzscale when the world grinds to a halt? How do you do right by your team AND your investors? What will the entrepreneurial world look like on the other side of this? In this special episode, our host Reid Hoffman, sits on the other side of the mic, contextualizing the crisis and offering a hopeful viewpoint. Interviewed by editor Bob Safian.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX...

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Rapid Response: Danny Meyer on the wrenching decision to do layoffs
Last week, Danny Meyer laid off 2,000 people – that's 80 percent of staff at Union Square Hospitality Group, representing 20+ restaurants across the country. It was a heartbreaking decision made with full understanding of the impacts, short and long-term – or as much as can possibly be known in this volatile time. In this special episode, Danny returns to the show to share why and how he acted so quickly, the process he and his team used to make this decision, the impact of the layoff, and what comes next f...

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Rapid Response: Remote teams, w/WordPress/Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg
The first in a series of special episodes with tools you need RIGHT NOW | Suddenly, many of us are remote workers. As companies radically reimagine their day-to-day in response to the pandemic, we all need to know what Matt Mullenweg has learned: How to thrive as a successful remote team. As founder of Automattic (creators of WordPress etc.), Matt runs a 1,000-person team that’s almost entirely remote. How do they do it? Matt shares his best practices here. It won't sound like our typical episodes. This is ...

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59. How to start a revolution, w/Bitcoin pioneer Wences Casares (Xapo)
What if your idea is so radical that people have trouble grasping what it is — or even believing it won't harm them? Every founder believes their product is revolutionary – and the more revolutionary their product, the more reassuring they’ll need to be to get consumers on board. No one knows this better than Wences Casares, the trailblazing entrepreneur credited with bringing crypto to Silicon Valley (and convincing Reid himself). With his unicorn startup Xapo, a Bitcoin wallet, Wences aims to reassure the...

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58. Strategy Session 3: When to replace the founder, how to be a learn-it-all, when to take the "venture bet," w/questions from Endeavor Outliers and co-host Bob Safian, editor-at-large
Growth vs. innovation, scale vs. stability, founders vs, CEOs? Entrepreneurs want to know! In this month's Strategy Session, high-performing scale-ups from around the world ask Reid their most urgent strategic questions. This episode features Endeavor's "Outliers" – the fastest-growing, highest-performing entrepreneurs from this global incubator. They want to know: What do they do next? Co-hosted by Bob Safian, the host of our sister podcast, Masters of Scale: Rapid Response, and the former editor-in-chief ...

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Strategy Session: When to replace the founder, how to be a learn-it-all, when to take the "venture bet"
Growth vs innovation, scale vs stability, founders vs CEOs? Entrepreneurs want to know! We’re back with another Strategy Session episode, featuring fast-growing, high-performing scale-ups from around the world, and they’re asking Reid their biggest questions. They want to know: What do they do next? Co-hosted by Bob Safian (previously editor-in-chief at Fast Company magazine)....

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57. Be a platform, w/Shopify's Tobi Lütke
The secret to massive scale? Be a platform. Build a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, and you’ll emerge the biggest winner of all. This is what Tobi Lütke did when he built Shopify – and then opened it up to the world. Cameo appearances by: Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt (Google), Julia Hartz (Eventbrite), and Gustav Söderström (Spotify).Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/tobi-lutke-be-a-platform/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX...

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Classic: Netflix’s Reed Hastings: Why culture matters
Classic episode: You need a strong culture to build a company that will scale beyond the early days of start up. And strong company cultures only emerge when every employee feels they own the culture from day one. Here's how Reed Hastings did it – and made Netflix culture (and its “culture deck”) famous in the process. Cameo appearances: Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Aneel Bhusri (Workday), Margaret Heffernan (entrepreneur), Tristan Walker (Walker & Co.), Mariam Naficy (Minted)....

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56. When to zoom in, when to zoom out, w/Josh Silverman (Etsy/eBay/Skype/Evite)
When do you see the forest? And when do you see the trees? Building a company to scale requires a delicate balance of macro and micro focus – and the skill to know where to focus when. Josh Silverman has built that skill in leadership roles at Evite, eBay, Skype, and now Etsy. What he’s learned: Success isn’t just about zooming in on the details or taking the long view – but about knowing when to switch between perspectives.Read Nik Money's book The Selfish Ape: Human Nature and Our Path to Extinction.Watch...

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55. Strategy Session 2: When not to blitzscale, how to persuade your board to let you slow down, and: Are you in a Glengarry Glen Ross market? w/questions from Endeavor,and co-host Youngme Moon of HBS
When's the right time for hypergrowth? Should you take investment when you don’t need the money? How do you deal with an exhausted team? Global entrepreneurs facing hyperfast growth ask Reid their questions about raising capital, pivoting their product, bootstrapping vs. blitzscaling and more. Featuring six entrepreneurs from Endeavor, and cohosted by Harvard professor Youngme Moon, of the great HBS podcast After Hours.Youngme Moon is the Donald K. David Professor of Business at Harvard Business School; the...

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Bonus: A Meditative Story from Reid Hoffman
How do you find joy in your life? Our host, Reid Hoffman, finds it through friendship, and the genuine, honest, and intimate conversations it brings. In this special episode of Meditative Story, from the same producers as Masters of Scale, Reid shares his passion for connecting with others by asking big questions.Read a transcript of Reid Hoffman's Meditative Story at: https://podcast.meditativestory.com/ReidHoffman/...

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54. What's the hidden business behind your business? w/Rent the Runway's Jenn Hyman
Rent the Runway co-founder Jenn Hyman knows: Behind every successful business is another business backstage, one you might not expect. Rent the Runway is known for creating a glamorous "closet in the cloud,” but as Hyman explains, it achieved unicorn status by mastering a few less glamorous businesses — including the world’s largest dry-cleaning operation, and a data insights practice that’s changing the fashion industry. Cameo appearance: Kevin Venardos (Venardos Circus); Stewart Butterfield (Slack).Read J...

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Classic: How to find your big idea w/Spanx's Sara Blakely
To find your big idea? Look for it. And look for it. And be ready to act. Spanx founder Sara Blakely was actively seeking a business idea when she thought of Spanx. Then she moved fast, found help in the right places, and went all-in. The result: A billion-dollar company & women's wardrobes transformed. With cameos by National Geographic Explorer Andrés Ruzo, former director of the US Patent & Trademark Office Michelle Lee, and Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg.LINKS:Learn more about The Boiling River Project: ...

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Master the art of storytelling w/charity: water's Scott Harrison
You need a great story to build a great company. And great stories are unwaveringly TRUE. No one embodies this principle more fully than Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water. A master storyteller, Scott built his nonprofit on 3 radical principles: (1) 100% of donations would go to water projects (not overhead) (2) Progress reports would be utterly transparent, sharing victories, defeats and even GPS coordinates of water wells (3) The brand’s storytelling would lead with hope instead of guilt, inspiring...

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53. Bill Gates: The biggest success story you haven't heard (Part 2)
In Part 2 of this special two-part conversation, we’re talking with Bill Gates about the biggest success story ever told on the podcast. It was achieved not through Microsoft, but through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill and Melinda have built theit foundation into one of the world’s single largest private philanthropies, and they’ve done it by taking lessons learned at Microsoft – on how to massively capitalize on inflection points – and applied them to the nonprofit world. With some surprises alo...

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52. How to solve an impossible challenge, w/Megan Smith (US CTO, Google, shift7)
Faced with an impossible challenge? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look for someone who’s already solved the problem, and lift them up. Megan Smith calls that technique “scout and scale.” She used it as the United States' CTO. She did it as an exec at Google. She did it as CEO of PlanetOut. And she continues today with the company she co-founded, shift7. Cameo appearance: Monique Sternin (co-founder of the Positive Deviance Approach & Initiative).Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com...

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51. LIVE! Find your Trojan horse, w/Robert F. Smith
Recorded live at Summit LA: Every great founder has a second purpose — something outside their main business they're trying to get done in the world. And every successful company is like a Trojan horse, carrying this second purpose forward. No one knows this better than Robert F. Smith. You may know him for his legendary Morehouse commencement speech (in which he promised to pay off the student loan debt of the entire graduating class), but Robert's scaling success and philanthropic work go far beyond that....

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50. Ray Dalio: How to embrace conflict
Want to improve any idea? Find someone who disagrees with it. This is something legendary investor Ray Dalio knows. But there’s a difference between constructive and destructive conflict – and Dalio is a master at spotting the difference. In constructive conflict, a team has a shared goal, whether or not they have differing opinions. And this is the key to success. Cameo appearances: Steve Horgan (USA Field Hockey Director of Umpiring), Daniel Amen (psychiatrist, founder of Amen Clinics).Ray's latest book, ...

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Classic: Raise more money than you need, w/Minted's Mariam Naficy
Think you've raised enough money for your startup? Think again. You have to run through a minefield of unexpected expenses as an entrepreneur. And you never know where the big opportunity will come from — or if you'll need to make an unexpected, expensive pivot to stay afloat. So always, always raise more money than you think you need. Mariam Naficy shares her white-knuckle experiences founding startups that survived two financial crashes — the online cosmetic company Eve.com in the dotcom-boom ’90s, and fo...

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49. How to set the drumbeat, w/LinkedIn's Jeff Weiner
Every leader has to set the drumbeat for their company — the culture, mission, and values that get the entire team in sync. And the rhythm has to be true to them. Jeff Weiner is a master at this. When he was the CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff grew users from 33 million to 660 million, and grew revenue to more than $7 billion. His drumbeat? Compassionate management. Cameo appearances by: Chris Tomson (Vampire Weekend), Monica Worline (Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education), and Keesa Sc...

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48. Bill Gates: How to accelerate history (Part 1)
How did Bill Gates scale BOTH a global business and a global philanthropy? He spotted an inflection point in history — and accelerated it. What does that take? A great idea, great timing and also: Great partners. Because even Bill Gates doesn’t go it alone. In Part 1 of this special two-part episode, Bill reflects with Reid on the founding and growth of Microsoft — how he not only spotted an inflection point (hello, personal computers) but accelerated it to massive scale (forget computers, let's talk platfo...

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47. Make it epic, w/will.i.am
What can entrepreneurs learn from a genre-crossing, multi-platinum musician? How to take a big opportunity — and leverage it into something epic. From his earliest days as a founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am learned from mentors how to not only identify big opportunities but compound them. From the Super Bowl to the first iTunes commercial; from the founding of Beats and his tech company i.am+ to a song beamed back from Mars, his ability to bring stakeholders together to leverage partnership...

47. Make it epic, w/will.i.am
What can entrepreneurs learn from a genre-crossing, multi-platinum musician? How to take a big opportunity — and leverage it into something epic. From his earliest days as a founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am learned from mentors how to not only identify big opportunities but compound them. From the Super Bowl to the first iTunes commercial; from the founding of Beats and his tech company i.am+ to a song beamed back from Mars, his ability to bring stakeholders together to leverage partnership...


46. LIVE! Patience or speed? Both. w/Tory Burch
Tory Burch built a billion-dollar business from the ground up, by speeding forward when others might have hit pause, and showing watchful patience when others may have gone full tilt. In our live onstage interview, Tory shows how this approach plays out in her global business – and in her impactful foundation that supports women business owners. Live audience energy and great music make this first-ever event a fun listen. Cameo appearances by the Polynesian Voyaging Society's Lehua Kamalu and Affectiva's Ra...

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Classic: Keep humans in the equation, w/TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot
You may think that to scale you need to cut humans out of the equation. The opposite is true. You can harness the power of the "human cloud" to solve almost any problem — as long as you keep the word “human” in the equation. That's what TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot championed for this community of people who work with each other, teach each other, and continually learn from each other. With cameos by DeLashea Strawder (Mosaic Youth Theater in Detroit) and Whitney Johnson (Author, Build an A-Team).Read...

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45. Strategy Session 1: How do you gain your users' trust? How do you build a team and company culture at the same time? w/questions from Entrepreneur First and co-host Jason Feifer of Entrepreneur magazine
How can I scale during a downturn? Should my company be a pirate or the navy? Reid Hoffman answers questions from early-stage entrepreneurs all over the world, asking questions specific to their business – and meaningful for you too: How do you gain trust? How do you build a company culture? Co-hosted with Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine and "Problem Solvers." Featuring eight entrepreneurs from the global network Entrepreneur First.Jason Feifer is the editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur m...

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Classic. How to build your company to last, w/Fiat's John Elkann
Forget being a unicorn. Learn to be a phoenix. Your company can last 100+ years — but you'll need the resilience to rise and fall, and rise again. Fiat’s chair John Elkann shares the principles that helped the "horseless carriage" company founded by his great-grandfather survive the ups and downs of a century of business — including competitor attacks, leader shakeups, financial crises and more. One key: Resilience. Another: Deciding which company traditions to keep, and which to leave in the past. Featurin...

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44. Take on Goliath — and win, w/Dropbox's Drew Houston
When Drew Houston founded Dropbox, he knew he faced some fierce competition (hello, Google, Apple and Microsoft). But he didn’t back down. Why? Because he believed in his product, and he knew he had an advantage those big, cumbersome competitors could never exploit: Dropbox was lean, focused and fast. Hear how he outmaneuvered the big dogs – and what's next for Dropbox. Drew Houston's reading list! Books mentioned in this episode:Competing Against Luck, by Clay Christensen and Karen DillonThe Effective Exec...

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Bonus: Recharge your brain with a Meditative Story by Arianna Huffington
As an entrepreneur, you have to find a way to recharge. This new podcast, from the creators of Masters of Scale, is designed to create calm amid an always-on schedule. The episode was inspired by Reid’s interview with Arianna Huffington, where she told a sliver of this story: it starts in the tiny Athens apartment where she grew up, and takes her to the University of Cambridge. Listen for the lesson she learned from her mother, about embracing life’s journey without being attached to the outcome — a lesson ...

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43. 23andMe's Anne Wojcicki: Embrace the gatekeepers
When Anne Wojcicki co-founded 23andMe, she carved out a brand-new space in personal health -- helping people become experts on their bodies right down to the DNA level. Then the federal regulators came calling. But instead of trying to outwit the FDA in the name of moving fast, Wojcicki made the call to work with regulators directly and collaboratively. Hear how she embraced "red tape" as a tool to scale — not swiftly, but sustainably. Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/anne-...

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Introducing Meditative Story
This short trailer offers a taste of a new podcast from the team that created Masters of Scale. And just like MoS, it's unlike anything you've heard before. In each episode of Meditative Story, you'll hear a storyteller who will transport you to a time and place where everything changed for them, telling a story you might find yourself relating to deeply. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan will offer gentle prompts to settle you more deeply into the story, and calm your mind.The entire experience...

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Classic: The Big Pivot w/Slack's Stewart Butterfield
In your company’s darkest moment, remember: You CAN pivot from failure to success. But only if you slash and burn everything that isn’t working. Slack’s co-founder and CEO, Stewart Butterfield, has twice navigated this kind of Big Pivot. He launched two different game companies, which both (surprise!) turned into game-changing communications platforms: Flickr and Slack. Hear the thinking behind making a hard left turn —and bringing your team along with you.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mas...

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42. Small changes with big impact w/Whitney Wolfe Herd of Bumble
Often a small tweak, a rethink of a feature, is what helps your product break out of the pack. Just ask the founder of the Bumble dating app, Whitney Wolfe Herd. She rebounded from one dating app startup (that you may have heard of) with a brilliant idea for a whole new way of connecting. Hear how the small tweaks along the way helped her move into huge new markets. With cameo appearances by Steve Spohn (AbleGamer) and Marissa Mayer (Google, Yahoo).Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofsc...

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41. Entrepreneurship as a second act w/Gwyneth Paltrow
t’s never too late to join the entrepreneurial party. We've heard all the stories of young geniuses, but plenty of influential entrepreneurs founded companies in their 30s, 40s, 50s. There’s value to being a late-stage founder -- like the fact that you’re bringing along all your life experience. That’s what Gwyneth Paltrow did when she launched Goop. Paltrow transitioned from Hollywood star to startup founder with her lifestyle brand, which now has over 8 million subscribers -- and she did it by leaning in ...

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Bonus: 10 New Rules for Big Career Changes (The Graduation Episode) w/Jordan Harbinger
On Masters of Scale, we talk a lot about how businesses grow. But we also talk about how people grow: How key decisions (and happy accidents) can shape your future, and how your setbacks can actually set you up for success. On this special Graduation Episode, guest host Jordan Harbinger teams up with Reid Hoffman to share advice that will help you navigate choices in your career, with insights from Instagram's Kevin Systrom, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, Spotify's Daniel Ek, and more. Get more from Jordan Harbinge...

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40. How pirates become the navy, w/Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi
Early-stage startups are a lot like pirate ships – they need a buccaneering spirit to survive. But every startup needs to shed its pirate nature at some point, and evolve into something more akin to a navy – no less heroic, but more disciplined. As the new CEO of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi took on the most extreme pirate-to-navy transition in startup history. Though Uber blitzscaled to become the most valuable startup in the world, it was also notorious for its toxic culture. Dara turned the company around. Hi...

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39. The case for bootstrapping, w/Mailchimp's Ben Chestnut
You can bootstrap your business to scale, but you'll have to make your own luck. Nobody knows this better than Mailchimp's Ben Chestnut. He used a DIY ethos to grow a $600M company without ever raising a dollar of outside funding. The Mailchimp story is the exception to Reid's rule (always raise more money than you think you need!). The episode explores a range of options for those who don't fit the VC-funding mold. Cameo appearances: LeVar Burton (Star Trek, Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton Reads), Don MacKin...

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38. Open or closed? The answer is both, w/Joi Ito
No organization that’s entirely closed — or entirely open — can scale as successfully as an organization that combines both. Yes, it invites a bit of chaos – but chaos breeds innovation. Joi Ito has spent his career championing radically open systems, from Creative Commons to cyber currency. As a past director of the famed MIT Media Lab, he focused on facilitating conversations that keep pace with the shifting challenges we face in our companies, institutions and societies. Cameo appearance: Megan Smith (fo...


Bonus: When your invention becomes a weapon, from "Should This Exist?"
Back when Chris Anderson launched DIY Drones, an open-source community for makers, drones were still considered a military technology. His drones were used by filmmakers, farmers and conservationists. But he believes they were also used by ISIS to drop bombs. What is Chris' responsibility here? Did he foster innovation for a community of like-minded do-gooders – or democratize a weapon? Chris, the former editor of Wired who's now CEO of 3DR, joins host Caterina Fake, Quartz editor in chief Kevin Delaney and...

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37. Take bigger risks, w/Shellye Archambeau
If you try to avoid risk, you actually risk total failure. Or worse: mediocrity. Take it from Shellye Archambeau. She led the most stunning Silicon Valley turnaround you’ve never heard of. She took the role of CEO for a failing tech company, months from bankruptcy. Through a series of calculated risks, she led it through a complex merger, a head-spinning pivot, and grew it into MetricStream, which now boasts 1,200 employees and a valuation in the hundreds of millions. How? Clear goals and big risks — the sa...

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36. Check your blindspot, w/Sallie Krawcheck (Ellevest)
If your company's dominated by one type of person, you run the risk of tunnel vision. You might move fast — but you'll often drive straight into traps. Truly scalable companies need a diverse portfolio of viewpoints to see the opportunities others miss. Sallie Krawcheck knows this well. She rose through the ranks of Wall Street and saw firsthand the challenges a lack of diversity brings. After serving as CEO of Sanford Bernstein, Smith Barney, Citi's Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Sa...

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Build a more human internet — w/ Caterina Fake (Host of “Should This Exist?")
How do you build a thriving online community? One human connection at a time. Caterina Fake is the host of our spinoff series "Should This Exist?” and she knows: Whatever you are when you're SMALL — gets amplified as you grow. So if you're building any kind of community (e-commerce, crowd-funding, social media), emphasize the human, and be careful what you cultivate. Caterina cofounded the pioneering photo site Flickr and helped build companies like Etsy, Kickstarter, Stack Overflow, and even Blue Bottle Co...

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35. The Reid Hoffman Story (Part 2): Make everyone a hero
We’re back with Part 2 of our special turn-the-tables episode with Reid Hoffman. In this episode, we follow Reid through PayPal, LinkedIn, the Microsoft acquisition, his angel investments, Greylock, and his hosting of Masters of Scale — all the while proving our theory that you can chart an epic journey to scale if you make everyone you enlist a hero — in their OWN story and not just yours. Guest host: June Cohen, the executive producer of Masters of Scale and the cofounder of WaitWhat, the company behind i...

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Introducing: Should This Exist?
Introducing a brand new show from the team behind Masters of Scale: Should This Exist?Neuroscientist Daniel Chao created a headset that hacks your brain with electricity so you can learn as fast as a kid again. It’s called Halo, and it helps you learn motor skills faster. Athletes use it; musicians too. But we’re not far from a future when Halo could help anyone master anything. Where will that take us? Host Caterina Fake leads the journey, joined by Comedian Baratunde Thurston and Quartz Editor in Chief Ke...

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34. The Reid Hoffman Story (Part 1): Make everyone a hero
In this special episode, we turn the tables on host Reid Hoffman. He’s the guest and we tell his story, while proving a theory that’s perfect for Reid: You can chart an epic journey to scale, if you make everyone a hero along the way. Our guest host is June Cohen, executive producer of Masters of Scale, CEO of WaitWhat, and former executive producer of TED Talks. Cameo: Matthew Mercer, host of the web series Critical Role.Listen to Critical Role: https://critrole.com/Read a transcript of this interview at: ...

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33. Let your customers be your scouts, w/Eventbrite's Julia Hartz
That constant roar of customer feedback? Be thankful for it. It holds all the secrets to your success, if you learn how to read the signs. Listen to what users say, sure. But also watch what they do and interpret what they need. Eventbrite's Julia Hartz embodies this principle. She believes passionately in learning from her customers, and has made rapid response to user feedback the driving force behind Eventbrite’s strategy — as it grew from a simple ticketing app to a full-service platform for event creat...

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32. To scale, you must master the skill of storytelling, w/Charity: Water's Scott Harrison
You need a great story to build a great company. And great stories are unwaveringly true. No one embodies this principle more fully than Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water. A master storyteller, Scott built his nonprofit on 3 radical principles: (1) 100% of donations would go to water projects (not overhead). (2) Progress reports would be utterly transparent, sharing victories, defeats and even GPS coordinates of water wells. (3) The brand’s storytelling would lead with hope instead of guilt, inspiri...

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Your Plan B Needs a Plan B — w/Nancy Lublin of Do Something and Crisis Text Line
[A classic episode returns.] To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need grit. But grit is more than persistence. You’re not just charging up the same hill over and over. You're generating an endless supply of Plans B. And Nancy Lublin always has a Plan B, and C, and D. It’s this kind of grit that fueled her success scaling three not-for-profits: Dress for Success, DoSomething.org and Crisis Text Line. With practical wisdom and wicked humor, she shares the innovative approach to technology, financing, volunteer...

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31. The Millennial Episode, w/Brit + Co's Brit Morin
You can marshal the power of millennials to grow your company, but you have to redefine your concept of loyalty. To keep millennials as users (and employees), you’ll need to keep evolving — and help them evolve. Brit + Co founder Brit Morin understand this: As a maker and media creator, Brit is constantly co-evolving with her (mostly millennial) audience and team. It’s a secret to scale with the generation adapted to a world of constant change. Cameo by relationship therapist Esther Perel (bestselling auth...

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30. The elusive formula for great hiring, w/Workday's Aneel Bhusri
Your first hires are your cultural cofounders. And it’s worth your time to get every one right. That's why Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri personally interviewed his first 500 employees. Today, with 8,000+ employees and $2b in annual revenue, Workday is consistently rated one of the best places to work. Learn the interview questions that can help you find the right employees to build your culture. With cameo appearances by Danny Meyer (founder, Shake Shack), Arianna Huffington (founder, Thrive Global), Michael Bu...

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29. When to ignore conventional wisdom, w/Shake Shack's Danny Meyer
To revolutionize an industry, you have to cast off received wisdom. Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer knows this well. When he opened his first high-end restaurant in New York, Union Square Cafe, received wisdom told him food was the star attraction. But Danny knew to focus on how customers FEEL. And it’s this feeling – Danny calls it “enlightened hospitality” — that can scale. From his first innovative restaurants to the dramatic scale story of Shake Shack, Danny cast off received wisdom and wrote his own rules. H...

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28. What great founders do at night, w/Arianna Huffington of Thrive Global
To survive your entrepreneurial journey, you have to learn to recharge. Knowing when to turn the lights out may be the only way to keep the lights on. Few know this better than Arianna Huffington, who dramatically scaled the Huffington Post — and then experienced profound physical burnout. Her new venture, Thrive Global, scales the idea of balance across an organization. With cameo appearances from Chris Yeh (co-author, Blitzscaling) and Dr. Matt Walker (author of Why We Sleep).Read Thrive: The Third Metric...

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27. How to build trust fast, w/Spotify's Daniel Ek
Normally, trust = consistency + time. But when you're scaling fast, you have to find shortcuts to trust, with your partners and your users. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek knows a thing or two about this. When he founded Spotify, he did what few disruptors ever do: He worked with the industry he was trying to reinvent. How did Ek build a relationship with a music industry wary of piracy? He found shortcuts to trust. And not just with the music industry, but users too: 140M of them. With cameo appearances from Gustav ...

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26. Instagram's Kevin Systrom: Keep it simple while scaling big
You can scale big with a simple idea (and a tiny team!) — but only if you catch the prevailing winds. That's what Kevin Systrom did when he co-founded Instagram: The simple photo app tapped the right trends, built on larger social networks, and dodged the complexities that would have slowed them down. The result? 30M users in 18 months. And a $1B sale of a 13-person company. With a cameo by Rohan Gunatillake (Buddhify).Listen to Rohan Gunatillake on the Meditative Story podcast: listen.meditativestory.com/M...

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25. How to make the star employees you need, w/Marissa Mayer
Can't find the star employees you need? Then make them. That's what Marissa Mayer did when she founded the Associate Product Manager program in the early days of Google — one of the company's crown jewels. She mentored a team of young, hungry, talented employees in the ways of Google, and they helped drive its success. She followed that same mindset when she became CEO of Yahoo!, and in all of her leadership roles since then. With a cameo by Karen Kirkland (Nickelodeon). Read a transcript of this interview ...

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24. How to kill your bad ideas, w/Zynga's Mark Pincus
To succeed, you have to be relentless about pursuing a big opportunity — and ruthless about killing your own bad ideas along the way. Zynga founder Mark Pincus upended the gaming industry with social games like Farmville and Words With Friends. And he did it by gathering data; killing ideas that didn't move the needle, and going all-in on the ones that did. With cameos by Andrea Jones-Rooy, data scientist and comedian, and Matt Ruby, founder of Vooza.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersof...

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23. Keep humans in the equation, w/TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot
You may think that to scale you need to cut humans out of the equation. The opposite is true. You can harness the power of the "human cloud" to solve almost any problem — as long as you keep the word “human” in the equation. That's what TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot championed for this community of people who work with each other, teach each other, and continually learn from each other. With cameos by DeLashea Strawder (Mosaic Youth Theater in Detroit) and Whitney Johnson (Author, Build an A-Team).Read...

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Introducing Season 3
Masters of Scale returns on Wed July 11th with Season 3, featuring the entrepreneurs who wrote the rule book of Silicon Valley - as well as the ones who challenge those rules. We'll hear hard-won insights from the founders of Spotify, Instagram, TaskRabbit, Shake Shack, Glossier and Zynga. Plus Tory Burch, Gwyneth Paltrow, Arianna Huffington, Marissa Mayer, and Dara Khosrowshahi, the new CEO of Uber. You can learn more at MastersofScale.com....

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22. How to find your big idea, w/Spanx's Sara Blakely
How to find your big idea? Look for it. And look for it. And be ready to act. Spanx founder Sara Blakely was actively seeking a business idea when she thought of Spanx (she shares a never-fail technique). Then she moved fast, found help in the right places, and went all-in. The result: A billion-dollar company and women's wardrobes transformed.. With cameos by National Geographic Explorer Andrés Ruzo, and the former director of the US Patent & Trademark Office Michelle Lee.Read The Boiling River by Andrés R...

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21. How to do good and do good business, w/Starbucks' Howard Schultz
You can make your social impact and your bottom line work hand-in-hand. But you'll have to be as creative and innovative about your company's values as you are about the business itself. Howard Schultz, chair and former CEO of Starbucks, not only changed how America wakes up, but set new standards for employee benefits. From offering college tuition to American employees to providing health care for employees' parents in China, Howard has always been one step ahead of the social impact curve.Read a transcri...

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Bonus: The 10 Commandments of Startup Success w/guest host Tim Ferriss
Guest host Tim Ferriss shares advice you’ll want to etch into stone: the Ten Commandments of Startup Success. We teamed up with Tim’s own podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, to bring you this special remix of actionable lessons from Masters of Scale Season One, including previously unaired insights from Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Endeavor’s Linda Rottenberg. Tim is the author of The 4-Hour Work Week and Tools of Titans, and a veteran TED speaker. He’s masterful at extracting tips, tric...

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20. Never underestimate your first idea, w/Twitter/Medium's Ev Williams
Never put a limit on your first idea. It could span your entire career. Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium (and before that: Blogger), shares what he learned in every iteration of his grand vision to connect the world’s brains. A reminder that passion and perseverance can be paths to scale. Cameos: "grit" expert Angela Duckworth and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.Read Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela DuckworthRead a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/ev...

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19. How to price your product to scale, w/ClassPass' Payal Kadakia
The price that bleeds your business could also save it. When you invent something innovative, you can’t know how to price it on day one. First, get people in the door — get a LOT of people in the door — even if you have to price your product fatally low at first. In this episode, ClassPass founder and chair Payal Kadakia shares their winding path to pricing and how it revealed what was invaluable about their service.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/payal-kadakia-how-to-pric...

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18. How to build your company to last, w/Fiat's John Elkann
Forget being a unicorn. Learn to be a phoenix. Your company can last 100+ years — but you'll need the resilience to rise and fall, and rise again. Fiat’s chair John Elkann shares the principles that helped the "horseless carriage" company founded by his great-grandfather survive the ups and downs of a century of business — including competitor attacks, leader shakeups, financial crises and more. One key: Resilience. Another: Deciding which company traditions to keep, and which to leave in the past. Featurin...

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17. Customer love is all you need, w/Y Combinator's Sam Altman
Better to have 100 users who love you than 1 million who kinda like you. The true seed of scale is love, and you can't buy it, hack it or game it. Ask Sam Altman, the head of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's legendary startup accelerator. He knows that a product that's deeply loved — even by a tiny base of users — is one that can scale. We also hear an epic story of customer love from chef Dominique Ansel, the inventor of the Cronut. Plus cameos from Sara Blakely of Spanx and Aubrie Pagano of fashion line Bow...

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16. Build a more human internet, w/Caterina Fake (Etsy, Kickstarter, Flickr, "Should This Exist?")
Whatever you are when you're small gets amplified when you grow. So if you're starting any kind of online community (social media, ecommerce, crowdfunding), be careful what you cultivate. Caterina Fake has founded or invested in companies with interesting and influential communities — Flickr, Etsy, Kickstarter, Stack Overflow, even Blue Bottle Coffee. Her wise words for every founder: You have a responsibility to shape the community from day one -- because the tone you set is the tone you’re going to keep, ...

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15. Learn to unlearn (Part 2) w/Barry Diller
To move from one success to another, you have to learn to unlearn. Take everything that helped you win the first time, then discard it and learn a new way. That's how Barry Diller, a titan of "old media" (at ABC, Paramount and Fox), mastered the new dot-com world — with everything from Expedia to Match.com. This is Part 2 of our epic interview with Barry Diller, and it features cameos from Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi and serial entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan.Listen to Part 1 of this interview: "Infinite Learn...

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14. The infinite learner, w/Barry Diller (Part 1 of our interview)
Tinder. Top Gun. Roots. The Simpsons. What do they have in common? Media icon Barry Diller. Barry is what we call an "infinite learner." He’s only interested in things he's never done before. And if they’ve never been done by anyone? Better yet. He succeeds by embracing that he is, in fact, a master of nothing. Entrepreneurs, take note: You just might be an infinite learner yourself, and Barry shares a lesson or two you can use. This is Part 1 of our epic interview with Barry Diller, and it features cameos ...

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Learn From Every 'No' w/ Bevel Razor's Tristan Walker
“If you’re laughed out of the room, it might actually be a good sign.” Entrepreneurs inevitably face a lot of rejection — as does anyone championing a big new idea. But the different ways that investors say “no” could reveal valuable clues about your idea’s potential. Sometimes, it's proof you’re in a space that’s ripe for the taking. Featuring Bevel Razor/Walker & Company's Tristan Walker, The Muse's Kathryn Minshew & Hint Water's Kara Goldin....

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13. The Big Pivot, w/Slack's Stewart Butterfield
In your company’s darkest moment, remember: You CAN pivot from failure to success. But only if you slash and burn everything that isn’t working. Slack’s co-founder and CEO, Stewart Butterfield, has twice navigated this kind of Big Pivot. He launched two different game companies, which both (surprise!) turned into game-changing communications platforms: Flickr and Slack. Hear the thinking behind making a hard left turn —and bringing your team along with you.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mas...

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12. Look for the ideas that come at you sideways, w/Diane Greene of Google, VMware
Business plan not entirely clear? Not sure how you’ll make enough money or find your users? That's OK. Really. The most scalable ideas often come at you sideways. You'll find yourself crabwalking from a small market to a bigger one to one of unimaginable scale. We talk to the master of the entrepreneurial crabwalk, Diane Greene, who brought us into the age of cloud computing. As the founding CEO of VMWare and now the head of Google’s cloud division, she shares how she scampered sideways into a market of bou...

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11. Escape the competition, w/PayPal's Peter Thiel
If you want to grow your business, your goal isn’t to beat the competition — it’s to escape the competition altogether. No one knows this better than PayPal founder Peter Thiel. His theory? “Competition is for losers.” Thiel is a former colleague, frequent co-investor and longtime intellectual sparring partner with host Reid Hoffman. Their combined thinking on the competitive landscape is unmissable.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/peter-thiel-escape-the-competition/Subscri...

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Bonus: Seven lesser-known laws of leadership
The Masters of Scale team brings you a special blend of leadership tips from Season One guests — including clips we haven’t aired yet. In this bonus episode, we’ll share our favorite insights from Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Zynga’s Mark Pincus and more.Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX...

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10. Let fires burn, w/Selina Tobaccowala of Gixo
In the early days of your startup, it feels like everything's on fire all the time. Real talk: if you try to put out every fire, every day, you’ll only burn yourself out. The best entrepreneurs know how to let some fires burn. Selina Tobaccowala, veteran leader of Evite, SurveyMonkey and the fitness startup Gixo, shares her insights on how to choose which problems not to solve, and how to conserve your energy for the biggest blazes.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/selina-to...

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9. The next Silicon Valley is...? w/Endeavor's Linda Rottenberg
What’s the secret to Silicon Valley's thriving startup scene? And can that kind of ecosystem happen anywhere else in the world? Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavor, makes the case that a startup culture can be nurtured almost anywhere, so long as you have the raw ingredients — starting with a few initial entrepreneurs with access to capital and a willingness to pay it forward. From Buenos Aires to Boston, Tel Aviv to Shenzen, hear Linda's stories of global startup scenes that could give Silicon Valley a run f...

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Bonus: The 10 Commandments of Startup Success w/guest host Tim Ferriss
Guest host Tim Ferriss shares advice you’ll want to etch into stone: the Ten Commandments of Startup Success. We teamed up with Tim’s own podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, to bring you this special remix of actionable lessons from Masters of Scale Season One, including previously unaired insights from Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Endeavor’s Linda Rottenberg. Tim is the author of The 4-Hour Work Week and Tools of Titans, and a veteran TED speaker. He’s masterful at extracting tips, tric...

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BONUS: Uncut interview w/ Netflix's Reed Hastings
Host Reid Hoffman visits Netflix's headquarters for an extended interview with the company's founding CEO, Reed Hastings. They discuss the distinctive culture that enabled Netflix to leap from DVD's to online streaming to becoming a content-production studio that blends the wisdom of Hollywood and Silicon Valley....

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8. Why culture matters, w/Netflix's Reed Hastings
Strong company cultures only emerge when every employee feels they own the culture — and this begins even before the first job interview. CEO Reed Hastings has built an adaptive, high-performing culture at Netflix by being unabashedly upfront about who they are and who they aren’t. The company’s famous “culture deck” offered a 100-slide description of how Netflix sees itself — not as a family, but as a high-performing sports team. It won’t appeal to everyone — and that’s the point. If you can define your cu...

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BONUS: Uncut Interview w/Nancy Lublin
In this extended interview, Nancy Lublin, founder and former CEO of Crisis Text Line, shares insights from her restless career as a serial entrepreneur, recruiting armies of volunteers to the causes she’s passionate about....

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7. Your plan B needs a plan B, w/Crisis Text Line founder Nancy Lublin
To succeed, entrepreneurs need a good idea, timing, money, luck. But more than anything, they need the ability to generate an endless supply of Plans B, C, and D when Plan A doesn't come through. Nancy Lublin has scaled three successful not-for-profits: Dress for Success, DoSomething.org and Crisis Text Line. She shares the tenacious approach to technology and financing that have helped these organizations scale. Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/nancy-lublin-grit-happens/Su...

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6. Innovation is managed chaos, w/Eric Schmidt of Google/Alphabet
Google has succeeded by innovating again and again. Their secret? They don’t tell their employees how to innovate; they manage the chaos. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google since 2001 and now chair of parent company Alphabet, shares the controversial management techniques he created to lead an environment of free-flowing ideas — and the disciplined decision-making that helps to make a breakthrough idea into a profitable product. He reveals the secret to Google’s former “20% time” policy, their approach to hiri...

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BONUS: Uncut Interview w/ Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg
Host Reid Hoffman met Sheryl in a conference room at One Facebook Way to discuss a vexing subject: How does she lead an organization that doubles or triples in size each year? She also reveals previously unaired insights from her new book, Option B, and how her first book, Lean In, morphed into a grassroots movement....

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5. Lead, lead again, w/Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg
In just 6 years, Facebook grew to 2 billion users and 14,000 employees. How? Well, first, they hired COO Sheryl Sandberg. And she knew that to lead a fast-changing organization, you have to be as skilled at breaking plans as you are at making them. Great scale leaders know how to pivot, because every day there are new competitors, new threats, new opportunities. Sandberg shares the practical, tactical on-the-ground leadership lessons she learned while scaling at Google and Facebook.Read a transcript of this...

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BONUS: Uncut interview w/ Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg
This is the extended, uncut version of Reid Hoffman's rare, hour-long interview with Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg from Ep. 4 “Imperfect is Perfect". Our recommendation: Listen to the episode first. Then enjoy the full interview, with its previously unheard material — including our Masters of Scale “Lightning Round.”...

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4. Imperfect is perfect, w/Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg
If you’re Steve Jobs, you can wait for your product to be perfect. For the rest of us, If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late. Imperfect is perfect. Why? Because your assumptions about what people want are never exactly right. Most entrepreneurs create great products through a tight feedback loop with real customers using a real product. So don’t fear imperfections; they won’t make or break your company. What will make or break you is speed. And no one knows thi...

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3. Learn from every "no," w/Walker & Company's Tristan Walker
The best business ideas often seem laughable at first glance. So if you’re hearing a chorus of “No’s” — it may actually be a good sign! Google, Facebook, LInkedIn, Airbnb — they all sounded crazy before they scaled spectacularly. So don’t be discouraged by rejection. Instead, learn to hear the nuance in the different kinds of “no.” That’s what Tristan Walker did. After stints at two successful startups, he launched out on his own with Walker & Company, makers of the Bevel razor — and learned to navigate the...

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2. Raise more money than you need, w/Minted's Mariam Naficy
Think you've raised enough money for your startup? Think again. You have to run through a minefield of unexpected expenses as an entrepreneur. And you never know where the big opportunity will come from — or if you'll need to make an unexpected, expensive pivot to stay afloat. So always, always raise more money than you think you need. Mariam Naficy shares her white-knuckle experiences founding startups that survived two financial crashes — the online cosmetic company Eve.com in the dotcom-boom ’90s, and fo...

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BONUS: Uncut Interview w/ Airbnb's Brian Chesky
Host Reid Hoffman interviews Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb. In this extended interview, Chesky explains how a willingness to work with his hands laid the foundation for Airbnb’s growth. He also shares previously unaired stories about pitches that went terribly awry and a guest appearance on a reality television series....

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1. Airbnb's Brian Chesky in Handcrafted
If you want your company to truly scale, you first have to do things that don't scale. Handcraft the core experience. Get your hands dirty. Serve your customers one-by-one. And don't stop until you know exactly what they want. That's what Brian Chesky did. As CEO of Airbnb, Brian’s early work was more akin to a traveling salesman. He takes us back to his lean years – when he went door-to-door, meeting Airbnb hosts in person – and shares the imaginative route to crafting what he calls an "11-star experience....

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Coming Soon: Masters of Scale
Coming May 3rd, Reid Hoffman, legendary Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, explains how famous founders take their companies from zero to a gazillion. In this trailer for Season One, a taste of this straight-from-Silicon Valley podcast....

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