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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, from Starbucks to Slack — share the stories and strategies that helped them grow from startups into global businesses.

On each episode of Masters of Scale, host Reid Hoffman — LinkedIn founder, Greylock partner and legendary Silicon Valley investor — proves an unconventional theory about how business scale, while his guests share the story of "how I built this company." Reid and guests talk 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.

58 Episodes
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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).
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).
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Comments (49)

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
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Áquila Lanza de Paula

Great insights. Tks for the amazing content, Reid

Jun 27th
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David Suarez

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

Jun 17th
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sushil shanbhag

David Suarez Dara doesnt even get to start talking till 12 min in!

Jul 18th
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Pedro Bittencourt

David Suarez troo

Jul 10th
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Alicia E Jones

loved this episode

May 8th
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geck1024

nice

May 6th
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Sushant Rai

Good episode. 👍🏼

Apr 19th
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Eslam el Khateeb

Loved this episode

Mar 31st
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Clément Camus

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

Mar 5th
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Vishnu Ks

should should this exist exist?

Feb 22nd
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Adebanjo Segun

awesome

Feb 17th
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Charles Nas-Omogiafo

really great story and inspirational brand

Jan 5th
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giovanny flores

amazing story!

Jan 2nd
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Mike Butkus

great story, really connected with me.

Dec 18th
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Mir Media

He didn't go against recieved wisdom. He followed his uncles advice. 🙂

Dec 8th
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Narendra

At 26 mins. There's a lovely quote about how getting out of comfort zone and Travelling are related

Oct 30th
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Kamilah Amica

love love love 💯 times 💖 thanks for this

Oct 14th
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Jesse Wilson

Absolutely amazing podcast with incredible insight. My biggest lesson learnt from MoS has been to stay super humble, always look after yourself first - you need to be able to pay rent, cloth and feed yourself (before you can help others) and finally trust your instinct.

Sep 26th
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Masoud Allameh

Reid Hoffman did an awesome job making these podcasts.

Sep 17th
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Pedro Bittencourt

Masoud Allameh agree

Jul 3rd
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Francois Rossouw

Amazingly irritating

Aug 16th
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