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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

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Masters of Scale is a new podcast in which LinkedIn Co-Founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman shows how famous founders take companies from zero to a gazillion. With original music and hilariously honest stories, the show sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard. It's also the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for guests. Masters of Scale is a WaitWhat original series in association with Stitcher.
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access_time2 days ago
Harry's took a one-two punch in 2020 – right on the chin. First, the federal government blocked a $1.37 billion acquisition of the shaving and consumer products company; then Covid-19 lockdowns hit. Rather than reeling from the abrupt change in plans, though, Harry's kept its balance. Co-founder and co-CEO Andy Katz-Mayfield explains how the team launched new brands amid the pandemic, tapped into unexpected pockets of demand, and, most recently, raised fresh capital at a valuation well above the blocked merger deal. Now, with a war chest at their disposal, Andy and co-founder and co-CEO Jeff Raider, are looking to acquire brands, having switched from seller to buyer. It is a classic entrepreneurial feat, finding strength and new opportunities out of disappointment and disruption.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time4 days ago
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 12,500 employees and over $4b 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 Bush (CEO, Great Place to Work) and Joyce Nethry (founder of Jeptha Creed Distillery).Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time9 days ago
Five years of growth in five weeks. That's how Covid-19 lockdowns accelerated Instacart's business last spring. Now, a year later, the company faces another "crucible moment," says Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta. He's leaning into what he describes as a four-sided market – including software services for grocers and advertising for product vendors – to amplify the appeal of tech-enabled shopping, even as vaccinations proliferate and in-store buying revives. Instacart's focus, he says, will help it outpace a rising field of competitors, and create a distinctive advantage even against behemoth Amazon.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time11 days ago
To win at scale, you need more than great players – you need a team of great coaches. This Strategy Session episode is full of great advice and tactics for building that deep bench of mentors, each with a role to play. Working with great coaches is a skill that Alex Rodriguez learned in his first career in baseball, working with legendary skippers like Lou Piniella, and he's brought that skill to his work as an investor at A-Rod Corp., where he has struck up a firm friendship with none other than Warren Buffet. Answering questions from the two co-leads of HBS Class of 2021, Alex, along with special guests Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox and Mihir Desai of HBS faculty, shows you how to get the most out of mentorship – and how to make sure your mentors also get something out of the deal too.
access_time16 days ago
With the pandemic, cooking at home got a renewed boost, and meal kit outfits saw a rise in demand. But a year in, the trend toward at-home dining now faces a new inflection point. We're talking with Linda Findley Kozlowski, CEO of meal-kit pioneer Blue Apron, because she’s on the frontlines of assessing which pandemic-fueled behaviors will persist, and in what ways. Early on, Linda made the choice NOT to sop up every ounce of demand, instead focusing on what she calls sustainable growth. Blue Apron has seen a flood of new competitors come onto the market, but her bet is that long-term trends and a differentiated product will matter more than crisis opportunity. As she puts it, a pandemic is not a business model.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time18 days ago
Frustration is an important signal: it indicates an opportunity, a problem to be solved. And if your solution also builds a community, you've unlocked a path to scale. Adi Tatarko founded the online home-design site Houzz with her husband as a hacked-together tool to find and share home design ideas, after their own home renovation turned into a frustrating time-waster. But by flipping frustration on its head, Houzz has grown into a bustling platform and marketplace with more than 40 million users, an essential (and delightful!) resource for homeowners, designers, architects, craftspeople. Learn how to identify frustration – and flip it. Special guests: Puzzle master Karen Kavett, Eventbrite cofounder Julia Hartz.
access_time23 days ago
It's 12 months of no meaningful revenue," says Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor. "And then last weekend was phenomenal." Taylor returns to the podcast to explain why the hip, culture-forward movie theater chain recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, even as movie-goers began to return back to theaters, plus the unexpected lessons she learned about the process – and why she still sees great hope and opportunity ahead for the business. Read the transcript at
access_time25 days ago
The future is sooner and stranger than you think," Reid Hoffman tells Rapid Response host Bob Safian in a frank, unfiltered conversation about the lessons of 2021 so far. "The rulebook will be changing month by month." The co-hosts dive into U.S. government stimulus efforts; GameStop, SPACs and potential froth in the investment markets; rising pressure on business leaders to engage on social and policy issues; and how vaccinations are impacting all of us. Plus: the 10-year anniversary of Reid's book "The Startup of You."Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comListen to Rapid Response episodes mentioned in this interview: John Donahoe (Nike): Bastian (Delta): Ballou-Aares (Leadership Now Project): to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time1 month ago
With 75% of U.S. customers saying they'll soon be vaccinated, Delta is embracing a new phase, opening up middle seats as of May 1. CEO Ed Bastian bet at the start of the pandemic that focusing on consumer confidence and reinforcing Delta’s brand would ultimately pay big rewards. Now that strategy will be put to the test -- even as Bastian clashes with Georgia officials over the state's new voting law. How quickly will domestic demand rebound? When will business and international travel return? And what blowback may Delta face for its political stance? For Bastian, being on the hot seat is just another day on the job.
access_time1 month ago
The customer isn't always right. As the founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown has spent years navigating misconceptions about plant-based foods. But smart entrepreneurs listen instead of arguing. Only by obsessing over what customers say they want has Brown been able to create a product that succeeds in the marketplace. What Brown has demonstrated, and what every entrepreneur should learn: You must first build trust from customers – making sure they feel heard – before you can educate them about the value of your innovation. Cameos: Chris Paul (professional basketball player).
access_time1 month ago
Revenue for Morning Brew's booming e-mail newsletter operation dried up when the pandemic hit, but its next-generation audience remained devoted. Morning Brew CEO Alex Lieberman, who started the business with co-founder Austin Rief as undergraduates at the University of Michigan, leaned into the brand's distinctive personality, fueling a sharp rebound. By last fall, they sold a majority interest to Business Insider for a reported $75 million. Lieberman explains the roots of this "trampoline effect," the potential of the creator economy for entrepreneurs, and why an authentic voice is a shortcut to business success.
access_time1 month ago
No one knows the fundraising game better than Mark Cuban, serial entrepreneur, investor, and star of Shark Tank. For founders, identifying the right source of capital, under the right terms, can provide a thermal updraft. But as Cuban explains, there are always strings attached when you bring on a financial partner – and those strings can pull you crashing down if you don't understand them properly. Cuban shares deep insights on the qualities investors look for in a founder, and what entrepreneurs should be looking for in return. Only the right value exchange, he says, will enable a business to leverage its way to new heights. Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at Masters of Scale Courses App is now LIVE!Redeem code CHALLENGE at for 50% off the annual membership price. You’ll want to get your membership before Monday, April 5, 2021, which is when we start the Masters of Scale 30-Day #MindsetChallenge on social media. Reid Hoffman will guide us through the first course in the app on social media. You can download the app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store and check out the first course now – it’s called “The Mindset of Scale” You can see 3 days of daily practice content for free when you download the app. To access the rest, you’ll need to become a member.Redeem code CHALLENGE at for 50% off the annual membership price.
access_time1 month ago
In recent months, business leaders have been pressed to take public positions on politics in ways they never have before. That's good for business and good for democracy, says Daniella Ballou-Aares, co-founder and CEO of the Leadership Now Project. She argues that even businesses that don’t lobby are key players in building our communities of the future – and that business-style innovation offers the best chance of improving democratic processes. With trust in entrepreneurs outpacing that of other civic leaders, Ballou-Aares notes, corporate activism isn’t stepping out of your place; it's embracing both responsibility and opportunity.
access_time2 months ago
From Pixar to Marvel to Lucasfilm, Disney's Bob Iger defied expectations, acquiring world-renowned brands and meshing them seamlessly with the House of Mouse. In Part 2 of our epic conversation with Iger – Disney's executive chair and former CEO – we delve into the next phase of the process, how he helped build a diverse, sustainable ecosystem for Disney companies in the China market, and how all the lessons learned played out in the massive acquisition of 20th Century Fox.Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at 
access_time2 months ago
Headlines last April predicted death for Airbnb. How could it survive a pandemic that stopped their core business cold? As the business cratered (in 8 weeks, they lost 80% of revenue), CEO Brian Chesky realized: It was a moment to step back, rethink and do more than anyone expected. So after putting a planned IPO on hold, he and his team started planning Airbnb's "illogical rebound." In this special Rapid Response interview with Bob Safian, Brian shares candid, never-before-heard stories about the advice he got from Barack Obama, and about the eye-popping December 2020 IPO at a valuation that left even him speechless. He speaks truthfully about the uncertainty, the anxiety, and the loneliness entrepreneurs are feeling as they fight for the future of their teams, their companies, and their vision.
access_time2 months ago
To succeed in the modern business environment, you need to strut your stuff: to cultivate a personal brand that supports career growth. No one represents this better than Tyra Banks. As a model, a producer, and an entrepreneur, Tyra has forged a personal brand that has enabled her to make multiple pivots, building fame, wealth, and meaningful impact on the issues that matter most to her. Startups can come and go, and so can employers. In our very uncertain landscape, the thing that remains constant is YOU: how you solve problems, how you learn from mistakes, how you build networks and relationships. And what you stand for. At its core a personal brand is a promise to a solution – and everyone, from your customers to your investors to your extended network, will want a clear and compelling picture of who you are and what you bring to the table. Cameo appearance: Andy Cunningham (Cunningham Collective).
access_time2 months ago
How does a start-up geared to healthcare workers balance giving back during Covid with the desire for growth? FIGS, an emerging lifestyle brand for medical professionals that built its name around premium scrubs, faced key choices amid the pandemic. Co-founder and co-CEO Heather Hasson explains why a commitment to offering free PPE, isolation gowns, and more supported both FIGS's mission and its community. Shifting supply lines, leaning into a robust e-commerce system, and expanding internationally in response to demand, the FIGS team used the moment to reinforce their relationship with their customers – and saw annual revenue climb past $250 million. Hasson likens medical professionals to star athletes, under high pressure for hours on end, with huge stakes in the balance. By treating them with special care, and championing their contributions, FIGS has built enviable brand allegiance among a community that, until Covid hit, was often overlooked.
access_time2 months ago
For any distinctive brand or business, it can be a challenge to expand reach without diluting what makes you special. No one has a keener understanding of this issue than Bob Iger, executive chair and former CEO of the Walt Disney Company. In this special two-part episode, Iger takes us through how he supercharged the House of Mouse while acquiring Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. The trick, he explains, is setting up a diverse ecosystem that preserves the culture, methods, and core talent of both old parts and new parts – and fitting them together in ways that make everyone more successful.
access_time2 months ago
When he became CEO on the eve of the pandemic, Nike's John Donahoe starting game plan revolved around listening and being out in the marketplace. But when lockdowns began rolling through, he quickly adjusted, assuming what he calls a "wartime" approach to leadership. Donahoe's view is that top-down stewardship matters now more than ever. To not only survive the pandemic but come out in a stronger position, he is leaning into the brand’s legacy, his team’s strengths, and booming direct-to-consumer digital engagement. He's also tapped an innovation pipeline that's helped Nike release a new product every two weeks. The world needs sport to bring people together, Donahoe says, and Nike is at the center of that. Doubling down on that mission, he says, drives passion from both consumers and employees, pushing forward a message of hope and unity.
access_time2 months ago
Successful daredevils aren't really winging it, even if it looks that way from the outside. They have a method. No one knows this better – or does this better – than Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. Sir Richard has been willing to take death-defying entrepreneurial leaps again and again, into new markets and industries, establishing himself as one of the most prolific and successful founders ever. You can't help but marvel at his bias to action: his eagerness to ask “What if?” and then follow up those fanciful thoughts with bold and decisive steps forward. You don't have to be born with Sir Richard’s bravado to cultivate a bias to action. Sir Richard shares how you too can learn to take the right leaps, in the right moments, to generate outsize opportunities.
access_time3 months ago
Coming February 23: An all-new season of Masters of Scale, with iconic leaders and rising stars of scale companies. This season, Reid Hoffman trades theories with Disney CEO Bob Iger, model/mogul Tyra Banks, investor Mark Cuban, Houzz founder Adi Tatarko, Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown, Sir Richard Branson – and many more. Plus, we’ve got Live episodes coming up, your favorite Strategy Sessions, and a few surprises in store. Join us!   Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time3 months ago
Maintaining high performance in business has become harder than ever, between health challenges, economic obstacles, and political uncertainty. But we all still work to win. Jerry Stackhouse, coach of the Vanderbilt University men’s basketball team and former NBA all-star, is focused on winning – in the near-term, and the long term. His experience offers a compelling parable for every business leader these days. With Covid-19, his team has faced cancellations, testing protocols, and a pandemic reality of isolation and empty arenas. Coach Stackhouse is balancing the high stakes of health, racial equity, and media scrutiny with the quest for performance. Leading a team has never been more difficult, or more important.
access_time3 months ago
Call him the unofficial U.S. ambassador to Silicon Valley. As director of the Defense Innovation Unit within the U.S. Department of Defense, Mike Brown is tasked with bridging the gap between technology innovators and the U.S. government. Formerly CEO of Symantec, Brown knows the significant opportunity public-private partnerships can offer entrepreneurs – if structured for speed not bureaucracy – and he's been setting up new ones at a rapid clip. He also knows the intense need to keep the U.S. government on the leading edge of tech, for cost reasons and competitive ones. Brown has a keen eye on China’s tech-and-government efforts, and the potential impact on U.S. companies and U.S. national security. Bringing the best of commercial tech into the government, Brown says, isn’t just a nice to have but a need to have.
access_time3 months ago
The pandemic era has ushered in a new wave of food insecurity, with some 50 millions Americans hungry for food aid. How could Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, meet the moment? CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot describes the immense challenge: volunteers unavailable, mass-distribution centers untenable, resources unreliable. But with one in six Americans in need (one in four kids), she leaned on Feeding America's assets in new ways, empowering local chapters, collecting data, accelerating tech, and continually reassessing logistics to meet developing needs – a lesson all entrepreneurs can learn from. And landing a $100 million gift from Jeff Bezos didn't hurt either!
access_time3 months ago
How do you build expertise in new tech like quantum, crypto and AI? How much attention should you be paying to the stock market right now? How do you keep your company's culture fresh if you don't have an influx of fresh talent? Host Reid Hoffman and editor-at-large Bob Safian dig into the most-often-whispered questions of entrepreneurs right now – questions that are both of the moment and timeless. Plus: Would Reid ever go on Shark Tank?
access_time3 months ago
As we grapple with pandemic-charged change in business and as a society, we’ve become more fractured, more divisive, and more vulnerable. Adam Grant, best-selling author and professor at the Wharton School, argues that recognizing what we don't know is the key step on the road to insight, competitive advantage, and community peace. In his new book, "Think Again," Grant illuminates why taking a fresh look at our assumptions, about others and about ourselves, is such a powerful tool. His in-the-trenches research – from Silicon Valley's halls of power to the beliefs of anti-vaxxers – provides actionable advice for all of us.
access_time3 months ago
Great entrepreneurs aren't just product obsessed; they're impact obsessed. Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, has spent most of her career thinking about how to project – and steward – the possible uses of artificial intelligence. Affectiva uses AI to read people's emotional states, but Rana won't put her software to work for just anyone. She's walking a fine line between thoughtfully nurturing her idea and being a cranky custodian: potentially throttling the scale of her business. It's a risk she's willing to take. She understands that entrepreneurship isn't just about providing a product or service that people love, or creating jobs; it's about asking: "Am I making a net contribution to society – not just right now, but for future generations?"
access_time3 months ago
Going head-to-head against Elon Musk and Tesla would be daunting enough. But for solar power company Sunrun's CEO Lynn Jurich, that's just the beginning. Expectations for solar are high under a Biden Administration, and Sunrun's stock price has quadrupled in the past year. Jurich faces not only the competitive specter of Tesla, but the complexities of a new-style energy utility and the vagaries of politics and policy in the most partisan environment in generations. Her touchstone – in a key lesson for entrepreneurs – is to focus on long-term trends that she believes are favorable. In the teeth of the pandemic, she spent $3 billion to buy up one of the other key industry players, doubling down on her commitment, and extending a scale-advantage over Tesla. From Sunrun's internal culture to the undulating energy marketplace, Jurich is both pivoting in search of opportunity and holding fast to central principles.
access_time3 months ago
The biggest challenge for founders often isn’t winning the strategic game – it’s winning the mental game. For a master class in mastering your emotions, we turn to Sam Harris, author, neuroscientist, and philosopher. His podcast “Making Sense,” his app “Waking Up,” and his many books have drawn a devoted following among entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond. Leadership experts often talk about the importance of adding new skills to your metaphorical toolbox, but less attention is paid to the actual toolbox itself: your mind. Sam shares how you can manage your own emotions, and master your own runaway thoughts, to not only make it through the entrepreneurial journey but learn more, and scale faster along the way.
access_time4 months ago
It's been an epic journey for iconic New York City restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer. Forced by the pandemic into closures and layoffs last spring, as he poignantly shared in two previous episodes, Danny stayed optimistic and was rewarded through the summer and fall, as new menu innovations and new dining protocols brought back customers.But then a fresh wave of infections inflicted fresh pain, with harder choices than ever and renewed layoffs and closings – one of them permanent. The restaurant industry overall is teetering on the edge, he says, desperate for federal help and active intervention to be able to return to the communities they once served. Danny still believes that restaurants will come back; that, in fact, the coming months will provide a unique opportunity for new restaurant launches. Yet his own spirit is being tested, as unrelenting challenges face off against defiant hope.
access_time4 months ago
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 hiring smart creatives, and the parallels between leading Google and piloting small aircraft. Plus, his “roommate” at Google, and the decision he made to support a crazy idea that he was certain would bankrupt the company.Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time4 months ago
Amidst the devastating effects of the pandemic, one in five women has left the workforce, and the gender pay gap and wealth gap are expanding. There's a long-term cost to that inequity, says Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, a fintech platform dedicated to serving women investors – and businesses can help to address that cost. A long-time C-suite leader at financial behemoths like Citi and Bank of America, Krawcheck knows firsthand the obstacles women face as well as the struggles big institutions can have in reconfiguring their practices to help. Today, she says, we can no longer look away from the harsh numbers. She believes the agility of startups provides a key part of the solution, demonstrating the impact that entrepreneurship can have, for all of us.
access_time4 months ago
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 Jenn Hyman's essay on the making of this episode: more about the Venardos Circus: to Stewart Butterfield on Masters of Scale: a transcript of this interview at: to the weekly Masters of Scale newsletter:
access_time4 months ago
Resolutions can be broken – but lessons are always there to relearn. We know a new year usually comes with some New Year’s resolutions but if 2021 is even half as unpredictable as 2020, you can expect any resolutions to fall quickly by the wayside. So what you're about to hear is a special episode of Masters of Scale, one that we hope will serve as a sort of primer for the new year, full of lessons learned from the sometimes devastating – often inspiring – year we just put behind us. These lessons come from a range of guests we've spoken to in a time of incredible change. Some are stories about doing everything right – and still ending up in crisis. Others are about overcoming the odds with grit, heart, and compassion. Featuring: Mary Barra, Jeff Winer, Jonah Peretti, Rashad Robinson, Colleen DeCourcy, Susan Wojcicki, and more. 
access_time4 months ago
A podcast recommendation for the New Year. The iconic founders who join us our show are all masters of creativity. From the initial spark, down the crooked path of invention, scaling a company is a hero’s journey in creativity. With that: a new podcast from the team behind this show. It’s called Spark & Fire. On each episode, an iconic creator tells the story of bringing a beloved work to life. Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project. Kemp Powers on Pixar’s “Soul". Architect Thomas Heatherwick on NYC’s Vessel. Novelist Isabel Allende on The House of the Spirits. Book designer Chip Kidd on Jurassic Park. Choreographer Bill T Jones. Last Jedi Director Rian Johnson. But it's not an interview. It’s a captivating story, told entirely in their words.If you love Masters of Scale, you might find this podcast resonates with you too. Take a moment now and to subscribe to Spark & Fire. When the first episode drops on January 6, you'll get it automatically. It will help you think more creatively about
access_time5 months ago
Our host, Reid Hoffman, and our editor at large, Bob Safian, in conversation about a pandemic-disrupted year filled with unexpected twists and lessons. From the rise (and risks) of remote work to accelerations in tech; from supply-chain disruption to opportunities in manufacturing; from stock-market fluctuations to social justice demonstrations, 2020 was a turning point in so many realms. Reid and Bob talk about the rising responsibility of business – now is the time, says Reid, to speak up on civic and cultural matters – and the many opportunities in the year to come. While 2020 has been devastating, says Reid, we have reached a moment for entrepreneurs to rise, to create, and to blaze the path forward.
access_time5 months ago
Salesforce's much-buzzed-about deal to acquire Slack for $28 billion goes back a decade, when Friendfeed founder Bret Taylor met Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield. Now Taylor is Salesforce's president, while Butterfield runs Slack. In this episode, Taylor talks about how the pandemic helped the two friends bring their businesses together, and what a Salesforce-Slack combination means for the future of work. Taylor explains how an initial paralysis within Salesforce when the pandemic hit turned into a new operating model based more than ever on digital work tools. With vaccines in sight, Taylor also shares inside data on our love-hate relationship with the office. In the end, he argues, the workplace of tomorrow will depend as much on human choices as it does on software.
access_time5 months ago
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: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at 
access_time5 months ago
Why leave a storied tech icon to lead a troubled brand? As the pandemic deepened this summer, Peggy Johnson left a safe perch at Microsoft to take the helm of one-time startup darling Magic Leap, which had just barely avoided bankruptcy. Yet with CEO roles for women in tech still unfortunately rare, Johnson felt compelled to take a risk. Now she's betting that the accelerated tech adoption prompted by Covid-19 will boost emerging areas like Magic Leap's AR. All entrepreneurs face moments when the bar seems impossibly high. But even in difficult times, Johnson knows, we can make our own opportunities.
access_time5 months ago
Onboarding isn't just about employees. The often overlooked step-by-step process – to join a product or company – lays the foundation for everything that follows. No one knows this better than Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Canva. From the moment she started the Australia-based graphic design platform, she knew she had to engage newcomers with simplicity and speed. It took a series of steps: onboard users to her product, one-by-one; onboard investors to help her build; onboard employees in a way that would pass along her values and her vision. Then onboard new investors, new features, new partners, new markets with the same care and ease-of-use – but at scale. With more than 40 million monthly active users and 3 billion designs created, Canva is proof for the magic of onboarding. Cameos: Ron White (Memory Expert).
access_time5 months ago
This is the loneliest century, says economist Noreena Hertz. Even before the pandemic forced us to stay home, loneliness was snaking its way through our lives, affecting everything from how we vote to how we work. Professor at University College London and author of the upcoming book, The Lonely Century, Noreena has some sage advice for businesses: about how less loneliness fuels more productivity, the bottom-line advantages of in-person connection over virtual interactions, and why values like kindness, community, and care are key to attracting and retaining talent. Technology is a double-edged sword, Noreena says, but we can use it to turn our isolation around, if we embrace the opportunity.
access_time5 months ago
Scaling isn’t only about scaling UP – it’s about scaling OUT: to new products, new verticals, new customers. And to do this, you’ll need to build bridges. No one knows this better than Daniel Lubetzky, the founder and executive chair of snack food company KIND. Daniel has spent his whole life working to bring together disparate supply chains, products, and communities. Through it, he’s learned the right – and the wrong – way to connect. That means building bridges that people actually want, letting people meet him halfway, and focusing on the foundations so those bridges last forever. Cameo appearance: Bianca Wylie (Public tech advocate).
access_time5 months ago
After suffering record shattering drops in revenue from Covid-19, JetBlue has had to rethink every plan and every assumption. Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue's president and chief operating officer, explains how the airline built a new system for flexing the business, to ramp up only when demand arises, deploying cost cuts but no furloughs, and looking for opportunity amid the downdraft. With JetBlue and airlines across the board now grappling with a renewed global infection surge, Geraghty says her decisions rely on new types of data as well as gut feeling – from re-opening middle seats starting in January to expanding flights to London. The volume of choices Geraghty has to make and the uncertainty around the risks are dizzying. But despite the challenges, she says, JetBlue is rising up.
access_time5 months ago
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 world of investors who may or may not share your vision.Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
access_time6 months ago
Legendary ad agency Wieden+Kennedy pioneered some of the most successful campaigns in history. But 2020 has raised the stakes for companies—and fundamentally changed how advertising works, W+K president Colleen DeCourcy tells us. Even as her own business adapts to financial and cultural strains, DeCourcy and her team have been guiding brands from Nike to Coca-Cola to Uber in selecting the right messages in a turbulent world. Meshing an economic goal with an emotional message has never demanded more creativity. Brands should take a stand, she argues, but not on everything.Want more Wieden+Kennedy? Check out our episode with Phil Knight: the full transcript at mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter:
access_time6 months ago
Forget looking for a needle in a haystack – instead, build a new type of metal detector. Whatever field you’re in, no doubt it’s crowded and you’re looking for your competitive edge, you’re looking for that mythical needle in that confusing haystack. And so is everyone else. So stop looking. Your competitive edge is going to be finding under-valued assets that others overlook. That’s exactly what Franklin Leonard did when he started The Black List, an annual survey of screenplays everyone loved – but no one produced. Instead of spending hours, days, weeks pouring over screenplays, looking for that one shining needle – just like every other Hollywood exec – Leonard found a new way to sift through the material and use data to find screenplays worth producing, and stories that needed to be told. And you can do the same. We’re all searching for something valuable and rare – employees for our team, opportunities for our company, unicorns for our portfolio. Devise ways to find things no one else has found – or didn’t know to look for – and it could be the difference that drives you to scale. Cameo appearance: Tatiana Mac (software engineer).
access_time6 months ago
In-office engagement or remote flexibility? We don't need to choose, says Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston. Facing the biggest shift in work habits in half a century, Houston has embarked on a radical experiment to reimagine how work gets done. The company's recently announced Virtual First plan dedicates all in-office activity to creative, team-based efforts, rebranding its offices as Dropbox Studios. Individual work will happen offsite, either at home or a self-chosen co-working space. Project teams set their own schedules. The unique opportunity of this moment, Houston says: How do we make work better? Yes, he admits, remote work feeds Dropbox's business, which now includes a collaboration with Zoom as part of a re-thought product roadmap. If Dropbox is going to design for the future of work, says Houston, then its own workforce needs to live in that future, right now.
access_time6 months ago
Great branding is about identity – and it’s about matchmaking too. No one knows this better than the legendary co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight. When he and his partner, Hall of Fame track coach Bill Bowerman, started the sneaker company, they never tried to force-feed customers a product just to drive up the bottom line. They focused on one thing: making an excellent product for people who believed in the edgy Nike ethos. Because they knew, when there’s a mismatch between product and market, the bottom usually drops out. Instead, they told the world who the are, and then did everything they could to find their ideal customers. And made history. Cameo appearance: Eddy Lu (GOAT).
access_time6 months ago
With Covid-19 cases surging, businesses may be forced into a new wave of adjustments. Will the crisis-management tactics of spring and summer be successful as winter unfolds? Dr. Bon Ku, an ER physician at Jefferson University Hospital and director of the Health Design Lab, returns to the podcast to share what he’s seeing as we enter a new season and how we might respond. His proposals for health care delivery – about both heightened vigilance and creative shifts to financing, supply chains, digital tools, etc. – provide a bracing wake-up call. While doctors and hospitals have gotten much better at information sharing, testing, and treatment, Dr. Ku warns that without significant change we might be looking at a devastating period ahead.
access_time6 months ago
Small business is being taxed emotionally as well as financially, and that tax is rising, says H&R Block CEO Jeff Jones. As the pandemic hit, entrepreneurs did what entrepreneurs do: solved problems, protected teams, served customers. But as uncertainty has persisted, anxiety among business owners has risen, even since the summer, according to a major new H&R Block study. With small enterprises the backbone of his customers, Jones has a unique vantage to offer advice and lessons: about asking for help, prioritizing needs, and finding calm. Jones sees small businesses as key to thriving economies, convinced that entrepreneurial resilience can eventually overcome all hurdles.Subscribe to the Masters of Scale newsletter: