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. Dara Khosrowshahi, as Uber CEO, 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 ? and Dara turned the company around. His method? Truth-telling and doing the right thing. Cameo appearances: Arianna Huffington (Thrive Global) and Ben Chestnut (Mailchimp).
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 (Generally: 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 for any set of reasons. Cameo appearances: LeVar Burton (Star Trek, Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton Reads), Don MacKinnon (Milq), Karen Cahn (iFundWomen).
No organization that?s entirely closed ? or entirely open ? can scale as successfully as an organization that combines both. Yes, organizations that are open invite a bit of chaos ? but that chaos breeds innovation. Knowing which aspects of your organization should be open and which should be closed will set you on a path to rapid scale. No one knows this better than Joi Ito. He has spent his career championing radically open systems, from Creative Commons to cyber currency. Now as Director of the famed MIT Media Lab, he's focused on facilitating open conversations so we can keep pace with the shifting challenges we face in our companies, institutions, and societies. Cameo appearance: Megan Smith (former U.S. Chief Technology Officer).
When former Wired Editor 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. He believes they were also used by ISIS to drop bombs. What is Chris's responsibility? Did he foster innovation for a community of like-minded do-gooders or democratize a weapon for a terrorist group across the globe? Chris, who's now CEO of 3DR, joins host Caterina Fake, Quartz Editor in Chief Kevin Delaney and Comedian Baratunde Thurston, to explore the inventor's dilemma: What happens when you accidentally create a weapon?
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 same principles that have defined her career. With a cameo appearance by champion poker player Liv Boeree.
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 as you grow. 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, Sallie went on to found Ellevest, an investment platform aimed at women. Her straight talk ? and hilarious asides ? create the clear business case for diversity of all kinds. Cameo appearance: Steven Johnson (host of the podcast American Innovations; and author of best-selling books, including the recent "Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most").
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 Coffee from their beginnings. Her wise words for every founder: You have has a responsibility to shape the community from day one -- because the tone you set is the tone you?re going to keep, even as you go viral. With a cameo appearance by Joi Ito (Director, MIT Media Lab).
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 (Former Exec Producer, TED; Exec Producer, Masters of Scale & Cofounder of WaitWhat, the company behind it). Cameo appearances: Arianna Huffington (Thrive Global) and Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn).
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 Kevin Delaney, who help Daniel future-cast, and see his invention through the future best for humanity.
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. Guest Host is June Cohen, Executive Producer of Masters of Scale, CEO of WaitWhat, and former Executive Producer of TED. Cameo Apperance: Matthew Mercer, host of the web series Critical Role.
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 creators, offering everything from ticket sales to custom-made RFID readers.
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 joyful participation without sacrificing honesty.
[A favorite 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, volunteers and staff development that helped her organizations scale.
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. No one understands this better than Brit + Co Founder Brit Morin. 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. | With a cameo appearance by relationship therapist Esther Perel (Bestselling author and Host of the podcast ?Where Should We Begin?). Esther has lately turned her eye toward work relationships; her perspective on the millennial generation ? and the broad social trends that have shaped their collective character ? may give you an ?Aha!? moment.
Your first hires = cultural cofounders. And it?s worth your time to get every one right. Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri personally interviewed his first FIVE HUNDRED employees at Workday. He knows how to map back from the culture he wants, to employee attributes to interview questions. Today, with 8000+ employees and $2b in annual revenue, Workday is consistently rated one of the best places to work. With cameo appearances by Danny Meyer (Founder, Shake Shack), Arianna Huffington (founder, Thrive Global), Michael Bush (CEO, Great Place to Work) and Joyce Nethry (founder of Jeptha Creed Distillery).
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, New York?s 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 he?s scaled. From his first innovative restaurants, Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern, to the dramatic scale story of Shake Shack, Danny cast off received wisdom and wrote his own rules: The staff comes first; investors comes last; the customer isn?t always right; and ?service? is not the same as ?hospitality.? His simple ideas have radical implications for any industry. With a cameo appearance from Rick Barry (Former NBA player.)
To survive your entrepreneurial journey, you have to learn to recharge. In fact, knowing when to turn the lights OUT may be the only way to keep the lights on. You need a sustainable strategy that maximizes your team's efficiency, while avoiding burnout. And for that ? you have to know when and HOW to refuel. 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, Why We Sleep).
Normally, trust = consistency + time. But when you're scaling fast ? you have to find shortcuts, with your partners and your users. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek knows a thing or two about this. When he founded Spotify, he did what no disruptor had ever done before: 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 Söderström (Spotify's Chief Research & Development Officer) and Miles Daisher (Red Bull Air Force),
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).
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 at 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 Yahoo CEO, a role she reflects on in the show. With a cameo by Karen Kirkland (Nickelodeon).
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 up-ended 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, analyst at FiveThirtyEight, and comedian Matt Ruby, founder of Vooza.
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 champions 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").
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.
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.
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, chairman and former CEO of Starbucks, not only changed how America wakes up, but set new standards for employee benefits. From offering free 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.
Guest host Tim Ferriss shares advice you'll want to etch into stone: The 10 Commandments of Startup Success. We teamed up with Tim's eponymous podcast, the Tim Ferriss Show, to bring you this special remix. You'll hear actionable lessons from every episode of Masters of Scale Season One, including previously unaired insights from Airbnb's Brian Chesky, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Endeavor's Linda Rottenberg, and more.
Never put a limit on your first idea. It could span your entire career. Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium (and Blogger, before that), 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, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
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.
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 Chairman John Elkann shares the principles that allow 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. Featuring cameos from Radio Flyer's Robert Pasin, Cue Ball Ventures' Tony Tjan and ABC Home & Kitchen's Paulette Cole.
Better to have 100 users love you than 1 million that 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 president 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, famed inventor of the Cronut. Plus cameos from Sara Blakely of Spanx and Aubrie Pagano of fashion line Bow & Drape.
Whatever you are when you're small gets amplified when you grow. So if you're staring any kind of online community (social media, e-commerce, crowd-funding...) be careful what you cultivate. Caterina Fake has founded or invested in companies with the most interesting and influential communities - Flickr, Etsy, Kickstarter, Stack Overflow, even Blue Bottle Coffee. Her wise words for every founder: You have has a responsibility to shape the community from day one -- because the tone you set is the tone you?re going to keep, even as you go viral.
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, titan of "old" media (ABC, Paramount, Fox), mastered the new dot-com world?with everything from Expedia to Match.com. Part 2 of "Be an Infinite Learner." With Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi and serial entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan.
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.
?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 & Co's Tristan Walker, The Muse's Kathryn Minshew & Hint Water's Kara Goldin.
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 turned into game-changing communications platforms (Flickr and Slack).
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 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 boundless potential.
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. ?Competition is for losers,? he?s been known to say. Thiel is a former colleague, frequent co-investor and long-time intellectual sparring partner with Host Reid Hoffman. Their combined thinking on the competitive landscape is unmissable.
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 Facebook?s Mark Zuckerberg, Y Combinator?s Sam Altman, Zynga?s Mark Pincus and more.
If you try to put out every fire, you?ll only burn yourself out. The best entrepreneurs? They let fires burn. Knowing which problems not to solve is just as critical as knowing which problems must be solved. You won?t have time to sit down and assess every blaze burning around you. And good luck ranking your startup?s problems from most to least severe. The reality is problems flare up unexpectedly and on a daily basis ? yesterday?s whisp of smoke might be today?s five-alarm fire. So you have to conserve energy for the biggest blazes, and learn how to sleep easy while other fires smolder around you. That means you can ignore emails, tolerate buggy code, risk server outages and even ignore customers until their complaints hit fever pitch.
What?s the secret to Silicon Valley? And can any other region nurture such a thriving startup scene? 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 ? namely, a few initial entrepreneurs with access to capital and a willingness to pay it forward. Bear in mind that Silicon Valley is so much more than an archipelago of thriving tech companies. It?s actually an ecosystem ? one that?s deeply interconnected and self-reinforcing. Silicon Valley companies constantly swap talent ? investors, entrepreneurs, hackers and managers ? as they grow from seedlings to huge proportions. And any up-and-comer would have to do the same. Today, no region can match Silicon Valley?s collective wisdom for scaling a business. But ? from Buenos Aires to Boston, Tel Aviv to Shenzen ? there are fledgling startup scenes that could ultimately give Silicon Valley a run for its money.
Guest host Tim Ferriss shares advice you?ll will want to etch into stone: the Ten Commandments of Startup Success. We teamed up with Tim?s eponymous podcast, the Tim Ferriss Show, to bring you this special remix of actionable lessons from every episode of 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 an accomplished speaker who?s given multiple TED Talks and author of The 4 Hour Work Week. He?s masterful at extracting tips, tricks and lifehacks for busy entrepreneurs.
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.
I believe 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? offers a 100-slide description of how NetFlix sees itself ? not a ?family? but a high performing sports team. It won?t appeal to everyone ? and that?s the point. If you can define your culture tightly, while also resonating deeply with a diverse group of employees, you have a winning formula.
In this extended interview, Nancy Lublin, founding 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.
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.
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.?