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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

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.

180 Episodes
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Politics and entrepreneurship have much in common: Both versions of scale leadership require strategic patience, hard work, a clear vision of a better future, an unshakable belief that you can bring that future to life – and the ideal opportunity to make it all come together. President Barack Obama sits down with Reid Hoffman in Part 1 of our two-part episode on finding the right moment to act, and when the moment chooses you. Obama talks about how being in the right place, at the right time, with the right mindset enabled his political ascension. Fueled by what President Obama calls “preparation and perspiration,” his 2008 campaign was a startup that defied expectations. Then came the big pivot: figuring out how to move from renegade mode to leading one of the world's largest enterprises, the U.S. government. With guest will.i.am.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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 http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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: https://mastersofscale.com/aneel-bhusri-the-elusive-formula-for-great-hiring/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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 http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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 and Reid, along with special guests Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox and Mihir Desai of the HBS faculty, show you how to get the most out of mentorship – and how to make sure your mentors also get something out of the deal too.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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 http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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 65 million homeowners and home design enthusiasts, 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.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comListen to our episode featuring Julia Hartz, "Let Your Customers Be Your Scouts": http://listen.mastersofscale.com/EventbriteJuliaHartz Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
"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 mastersofscale.com.
"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): http://listen.mastersofscale.com/NikeJohnDonahoeEd Bastian (Delta): http://listen.mastersofscale.com/DeltaEdBastianDaniella Ballou-Aares (Leadership Now Project): http://listen.mastersofscale.com/LeadershipNowDBASubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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.
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).Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
Revenue for Morning Brew's booming email newsletter operation dried up when the pandemic hit, but its 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.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtXThe Masters of Scale Courses App is now LIVE!Redeem code CHALLENGE at join.mastersofscale.com/challenge 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 join.mastersofscale.com/challenge for 50% off the annual membership price.
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.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX 
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: https://mastersofscale.com/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX 
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.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX 
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).Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/tyra-banks/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX 
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.
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.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/bob-iger/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX 
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.Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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Comments (124)

Omar Alalshaykh

music is so annoying

May 10th
Reply

Adam Barnette

8. ys k . n 2owod3 m knp mli

Apr 18th
Reply

probity 118

Great write up. https://tinyurl.com/4m5z8bry

Apr 9th
Reply

Sushant Rai

Good summary episode from Masters of Scale. Must Listen.

Mar 24th
Reply

Sushant Rai

a good summary session from Masters of Scale. must listen for Startup Insite

Mar 24th
Reply (1)

Travis S.

Let the people you interview talk. Enough with the ridiculous sound effects and Reidsplaining. The interview with Bob Iger, one of the greatest business executives of the last 50 years and arguably of all time, was the last straw that forced me to unsubscribe. The early content of this show was phenomenal, and the early episodes can offer some great insights to newbies on entrepreneurship. However as the show goes on, it just gets worse and worse. We tune into an interview with Bob Iger to hear Bob Iger. We tune into an interview with Brian Chesky to hear Brian Chesky. We don’t tune in to constantly hear you interject and explain stuff like you’re talking to a 13 year old. There are still moments of greatness here, but things need to change in order to bring me back. Reading reviews on Apple Podcasts, CastBox and various apps podcast sites shows I’m definitely not the only one who feels this way. Listen to your audience!

Mar 13th
Reply

Nasir Uddin Betagi

good Chanel

Feb 27th
Reply (2)

Joseph Canas

Agree pure BS.

Feb 26th
Reply

Mack Bawden

so excited to hopefully be in the beta group. thanks for everything you're building Reid

Feb 2nd
Reply

Levi Wekesa

This is by far the greatest podcast ever

Dec 18th
Reply

Siamak

hi everyone

Nov 29th
Reply

Javier Rodriguez

31

Nov 23rd
Reply

Mack Bawden

Reid when are you coming to Utah!?

Oct 1st
Reply

Robert CN

the guest is great but the interviewer's frequent cutting into the conversation to narrate it in his own words, with his frequent pauses, is annoying.

Sep 21st
Reply

Mack Bawden

Love this episode. I'm a huge peloton digital fan, my dream in life is to buy the tread! Love this show thanks so much Reid

Aug 26th
Reply

DMIT MASTERMINDS

Insightful https://www.dmits.in/

Aug 1st
Reply

kagimub

this is very insightful. thank you

Jul 19th
Reply

jordan thielman

The commercials of this episode were better than the content.

Jun 30th
Reply

Jordyn K

w3 w 2

Jun 16th
Reply

Mack Bawden

Reid! You said my name wrong but I still very much appreciate the shout-out! Let me know next time you're in Salt Lake or at Sundance and want to come push a wheelchair with my nonprofit. Thanks for being such a great mentor!

Jun 14th
Reply
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