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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

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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.

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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. As founder, chairman and CEO of private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, Robert finds profound ways to serve both his business and his second purpose — liberating people to reach their true potential — at scale. Cameo appearance: Sir Ken Robinson.Live stage photography: Jaime Fernandez (@jaymoxias)  
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 Amen Clinics).Ray's latest book, Principles for Success, is out now.
Every founder faces the same question when they start their entrepreneurial journey: How much money do I need to raise? And the answer is: A lot more than you think – but not for the reasons you think. In this classic episode, the founder and CEO of Minted, Mariam Naficy, talks about her decision to raise – and raise again. Not for a rainy-day slush fund, but because she understood that to outmaneuver the competition, to guard against economic downturns, and to take advantage of opportunities that may unfold late in the game, she’d need to have the capital. It was with that foresight that she raised more than $300 million – and grew Minted to the nine-figure revenue company it is today. Cameo appearances: Selina Tobaccowala (Evite, Gixo), Daniel Kahneman (Nobel-winning psychologist), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Amos Kedmey (Wine and Cheese Place).
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. As CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff grew users from 33 million to 660 million. He grew revenue to more than $7 billion and ultimately stewarded LinkedIn through its acquisition by Microsoft. Jeff’s drumbeat? Compassionate management. Cameo appearances by: Chris Tomson (Vampire Weekend), Monica Worline (Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education), Keesa Schreane (host, "You've Been Served"). 
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 one 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 platforms). There’s timeless wisdom in Bill’s ability to identify inflection points, build strategic partnerships and just work harder than everyone else. Later this season, watch for part two, where Bill reflects on scaling the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the lessons learned between the two.
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 multiple stakeholders together to leverage partnerships and compound possibilities will inspire founders at any stage of scale. Cameo appearance: Jeremy Siegel (urban designer, Bjarke Ingels Group).
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, she shows how this approach plays out in her global business – and in her impactful foundation that supports women business owners. With appearances by the Polynesian Voyaging Society's Lehua Kamalu and Affectiva's Rana el Kaliouby.Show notes:Learn more about the Tory Burch Foundation. Applications are open now to join the 5th annual Fellows Program for women entrepreneurs: Women in the United States are invited to apply online now through Tuesday, November 19, 2019, for a chance to be selected as one of the 50 Fellows to participate in the year-long program, including a five-day workshop at the Tory Burch Office in New York, a $5,000 grant for business education and the chance to be selected to pitch their business to investors and industry leaders.
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"). 
In this special episode, host Reid Hoffman answers questions from early-stage entrepreneurs – people in the trenches of startup life all over the world. How do you gain your users' trust? How do you build a team and company culture at the same time? This Strategy Session is co-hosted with Jason Feifer, editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine.
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.
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 guys – and what's next for Dropbox. Cameo appearances: Mark Pincus of Zynga, Shellye Archambeau of MetricStream.Music: "Exciting Trailer" by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.Books mentioned in this episode:Competing Against Luck, by Clay Christensen and Karen DillonThe Effective Executive, by Peter DruckerThe Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben HorowitzBecoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick TetzeliHard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire, by  James Wallace and Jim EricksonFounders at Work, by Jessica LivingstonHigh Output Management, by Andy Grove
As an entrepreneur, you have to find a way to recharge. This new podcast -- from the creators of Masters of Scale - was designed to create calm amid an always-on schedule. The particular episode we’re sharing 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 every founder needs to hear. Interspersed with the story, you'll hear prompts from a guide to help you center your mind; after the story, your guide leads you on a quiet meditation to help you recharge and refresh. If you like the effects - the way the episode makes you feel — subscribe to Meditative Story on the app you're using now.
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, sneak past or straight-up fight the FDA in the name of moving fast, Wojcicki made the call to work with regulators directly and collaboratively. Hear how (and why) she embraced red tape. Cameo appearance: Daniel Ek of Spotify.
Introducing Meditative Story

Introducing Meditative Story

2019-07-3000:05:081

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 is elevated with breathtaking music — all giving you the headspace to feel restored and refreshed. Subscribe today
Slack's Stewart Butterfield knows: There’s more to a pivot than a sharp left turn. First, there’s the opportunity you’re pivoting toward. Can you see it clearly enough to navigate toward it? Can you convince others to come along? Then you have to pivot away from your old idea. This can be incredibly difficult, because it involves humans. And humans don't tend to let go of old ideas easily. You risk blowback from your co-founders, your staff, your investors and your users. This will likely be be the single greatest test of your leadership skills, because your credibility will come under scrutiny. The moment you find the thing that your users cannot stop doing, you need to slash and burn the rest of your business.
Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd knows: The smallest feature can make or break your product. The challenge is recognizing the impact of that feature – and making sure it’s actually positive. This is what Wolfe Herd tapped into when she founded a dating app that required a whole new way of communication. She has become a master of understanding what her users want, and then making the small changes to Bumble that help them achieve their goals. While small changes typically lead to incremental improvements, every so often the impact is exponential. With cameo appearances by Steve Spohn (AbleGamer), and Marissa Mayer (Google, Yahoo).
Would-be entrepreneurs, this one's for you. It’s never too late to join the entrepreneurial party. We've all heard 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 to what she knew, embracing what she didn’t, and coming up with strategies to fill the gap. With cameo appearances by Sara Blakely (Spanx), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Boyd Martin (Olympic horse rider), and Ruben Harris (Career Karma).
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. Including clips from Instagram's Kevin Systrom, Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, Spotify's Daniel Ek, and more. 
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).
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Comments (59)

Ifedayo Ajibola

Thanks so much for this. It was very helpful

Dec 3rd
Reply

ray here

Immensely valueable insights. Fantastic incorporation of drumbeats complimenting the theme too. Ihappen to be a fan of Vampire Weekend

Nov 17th
Reply

Eslam el Khateeb

Who knew that "Will i am" is such a great entrepreneur?! Check this out

Nov 12th
Reply

Debra Dukes

Truly Awesome Podcast what Blast from the past Commodore64 sold at Toysrus first Job, Lotus, Netscape etc can't tell you how much I enjoyed and remember them all amazing loved this.Just shows you how much influence Microsoft had and still does.Really enjoyed Deb 😉👍✌ 0

Nov 8th
Reply

Adrian 'Yobi' Blumberg (A.Yobi B.)

Huh. Did he write this intro? cause if he did, that much peacocking in a podcast description is absolute proof that whatever he had got used, and it seems he parlayed the sycophants and paper money interestingly, but where is the truth? where is the God? where is the Woke? success means what? i see you. that question you just asked yourself about me? yep! i do. happy to share, but i didnt like the mirror much myself, but yeah, i am happy to hold a mirror for you. that very much a part of the answer to life. Truth=0. 0=death. we all agree. so what is 1? ttyl

Nov 3rd
Reply

Masoud Allameh

Its wonderful opportunity to have your ideas and experiences easily. You are inspiring a lot of people around the world, even places you cant even imagine. Thanks Reid.

Oct 29th
Reply

Mir Media

Why does he need a sidekick? Its padding

Oct 11th
Reply

Tumwine

David can slay Goliath if he knows his strengths.

Sep 19th
Reply

Alan Monai

mmmn. .. MN n.m..n . 🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇨🇳🏦😶🙂

Aug 26th
Reply

Mark Wilson Ramsay

Actually worked out the Data doesn't even talk before the 12 Mon mark. This is poor, last one I intend to listen too... Better ones out there that play on the conversation not the production.

Jul 18th
Reply

Pedro Bittencourt

the impact of being a Hollywood star seems to be negletible to the simptons of impostors syndrome, this is very interesting

Jul 3rd
Reply

Áquila Lanza de Paula

Great insights. Tks for the amazing content, Reid

Jun 27th
Reply

David Suarez

it kind of annoys me that the true content doesn't start until 9 min mark..

Jun 17th
Reply (2)

Alicia E Jones

loved this episode

May 8th
Reply

geck1024

nice

May 6th
Reply

Sushant Rai

Good episode. 👍🏼

Apr 19th
Reply

Eslam el Khateeb

Loved this episode

Mar 31st
Reply

Clément Camus

dudes that's by far the best episode I've listen to

Mar 5th
Reply

Vishnu Ks

should should this exist exist?

Feb 22nd
Reply

Adebanjo Segun

awesome

Feb 17th
Reply
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