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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.

83 Episodes
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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).
Classic episode: You need a strong culture to build a company that will scale beyond the early days of start up. And strong company cultures only emerge when every employee feels they own the culture from day one. Here's how Reed Hastings did it – and made Netflix culture (and its “culture deck”) famous in the process. Cameo appearances: Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Aneel Bhusri (Workday), Margaret Heffernan (entrepreneur), Tristan Walker (Walker & Co.), Mariam Naficy (Minted).
When do you see the forest? And when do you see the trees? Building a company to scale requires a delicate balance of macro and micro focus – and the skill to know where to focus when. Josh Silverman has built that skill in leadership roles at Evite, eBay, Skype, and now Etsy. What he’s learned: Success isn’t just about zooming in on the details or taking the long view – but about knowing when to switch between perspectives.Read Nik Money's book The Selfish Ape: Human Nature and Our Path to Extinction.Watch Scott Suko topple dominoes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IuUp-rI0VU&feature=youtu.beRead the weekly Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
When's the right time for hypergrowth? Should you take investment when you don’t need the money? How do you deal with an exhausted team? Global entrepreneurs facing hyperfast growth ask Reid their questions about raising capital, pivoting their product, bootstrapping vs. blitzscaling and more. Featuring some of the highest-performing scale entrepreneurs from Endeavor, and cohosted by Harvard professor Youngme Moon, of the great HBS podcast After Hours.
How do you find joy in your life? Our host, Reid Hoffman, finds it through friendship, and the genuine, honest, and intimate conversations it brings. In this special episode of Meditative Story, from the same producers as Masters of Scale, Reid shares his passion for connecting with others by asking big questions.
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: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mastering-businesses-behind-our-business-jennifer-hyman/Learn more about the Venardos Circus: https://www.venardoscircus.com/Listen to Stewart Butterfield on Masters of Scale: http://listen.mastersofscale.com/StewartButterfieldSubscribe to the weekly Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
To find your big idea? Look for it. And look for it. And be ready to act. Spanx founder Sara Blakely was actively seeking a business idea when she thought of Spanx. Then she moved fast, found help in the right places, and went all-in. The result: A billion-dollar company & women's wardrobes transformed. With cameos by National Geographic Explorer Andrés Ruzo, former director of the US Patent & Trademark Office Michelle Lee, and Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg.LINKS:Learn more about The Boiling River Project: http://www.boilingriver.orgRead "The Boiling River" by Andrés Ruzo: https://amzn.to/36iHHNFLearn more about the US patent system: https://www.uspto.gov/Meet Andre, who dresses Oprah Winfrey: https://andrewalkerhair.comListen to Linda Rottenberg on Masters of Scale: https://mastersofscale.com/linda-rottenberg-the-next-silicon-valley-is/Get the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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. Cameo appearance: Jonathan Gottschall (fellow at Washington & Jefferson College & author).
In part two of this special two-part episode with Bill Gates, we’re talking about the biggest success story ever told on the podcast – and not just for Bill Gates, but for humanity. And it was achieved not through Microsoft, but through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill & Melinda Gates have built the foundation into one of the world’s single largest private philanthropies and they’ve done it by taking lessons learned at Microsoft – on how to massively capitalize on inflection points – and applied them to the nonprofit world. Here's how. 
Faced with an impossible challenge? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find someone who’s already solved the problem – and help those inventors keep inventing. Megan Smith calls that technique “scout and scale.” She used it as the United States' CTO. She did it as an exec at Google. She did it as CEO of PlanetOut. And she continues today with the company she co-founded, shift7. Cameo appearance: Monique Sternin (co-founder of the Positive Deviance Approach & Initiative).
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)  Subscribe to the Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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.Subscribe to the Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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"). Subscribe to the Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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.Subscribe to the Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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.
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Comments (73)

abu bakar

Love your posdcat

Feb 16th
Reply

abu bakar

Brilliant podcast So. Many interesting stories to learn from

Feb 15th
Reply

Ifedayo Ajibola

Learnt so much. Thanks Tobi 🙏🏾

Feb 15th
Reply

Austin Peek

My competitors aren't smart enough to listen to this podcast... 🤔

Feb 5th
Reply (1)

Caton Lai

This is great for those looking to transition to higher roles and managerial positions, not just entrepreneurs. the comment about what a leader should be (not a solutions finder) was brilliant.

Feb 1st
Reply

Mack Bawden

I consider Reid a personal mentor from listening to this podcast. Thanks for helping me grow my nonrpfit @runon

Jan 26th
Reply

Aaron nelson

7

Jan 23rd
Reply (1)

Robert Summers

Master's of Scale has motivated me to reach higher in the the completion of my purpose for my career that will be used to help humanity.

Jan 17th
Reply

Luiz A D R Marques

The narration and music are super annoying, but the interviews are good.

Dec 17th
Reply (2)

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
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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
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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
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Mir Media

Why does he need a sidekick? Its padding

Oct 11th
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Tumwine

David can slay Goliath if he knows his strengths.

Sep 19th
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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
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