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The best startup advice from Silicon Valley and beyond. Iconic CEOs — from Nike to Netflix, Starbucks to Slack — share the stories and 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, strateg ...
 
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Faced with long odds, how do you keep your team motivated and moving forward? As a leader, Alexis McGill Johnson is focused on building hope. As the president of Planned Parenthood, Johnson is preparing for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. But in the meantime, she’s modeling a sense of relentlessness for her team – so they can be fea…
 
To survive a crisis, you have to double down on who you already are as a company. This is something Ellen Kullman knows, having led DuPont through the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and taken the CEO role at 3D-printing unicorn Carbon only weeks before Covid hit. Through her years as a leader, Ellen has developed four crisis principles that allowed he…
 
Sir Jeremy Farrar is UK’s pre-eminent scientific authority on Covid-19 and the chief executive at the research foundation Wellcome Trust. He joins Rapid Response to discuss the latest learnings of the Omicron variant – and offers a framework for reacting to the uncertainty. Farrar, whose research specializes in infectious diseases, also shares the …
 
The more your business scales, the more tempting it is to delegate your company’s recruiting efforts. Resist that urge! You should always be recruiting. Featuring Paul English, co-founder of travel search platform Kayak, this episode guides us through five critical lessons for the hiring journey. English is passionate and relentless about the subje…
 
“Go for the megatons.” That’s John Doerr’s recommendation for how we need to combat the existential threat of climate change. Doerr, a venture capitalist and author of the new book Speed and Scale, joins host Bob Safian to discuss our decarbonization efforts, what he calls “the greatest economic opportunity of the next century.” The book quantifies…
 
Marc Lore is all too familiar with leaping into the unknown. He’s made leaps of faith as the founder of Diapers.com, Jet.com, the CEO of Walmart U.S. e-commerce, and now, as a part owner of NBA/WNBA teams, along with Telosa, a city that he’s announced he’s building from scratch. One thing he’s learned from all of these audacious endeavors: you can’…
 
As an early internet founder and iconic venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen has thought deeply about the role timing plays in a startup's success. Timing is of vital importance to any business: when to launch that first product; when to ramp up scale; when to make the move into a new market; when to pivot. Getting the timing wrong on any of these c…
 
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-p…
 
Crate & Barrel CEO Janet Hayes has been on a mission to modernize the home decor company since she took over as CEO in August, 2020. When she first joined the company, stores were closed and the future of retail was uncertain as Covid-19 put in-person experiences to a screeching halt. She’s responded by leaning into digital and sustainability for h…
 
This special rendition of Strategy Session stars small business owners who Masters of Scale fans might recognize. That’s because a number of them have been featured in our signature three-act ads. You’ll hear them ask host Reid Hoffman critical questions for challenges they’re facing now. This Strategy Session was live, recorded remotely in-front o…
 
From the start of the pandemic, GoFundMe has served as a consistent global outlet for help. Since its inception, the for-profit crowdsourcing platform has facilitated $15 billion in giving through more than 200 million donations. It’s also attracted big names to the platform, including Taylor Swift, the Dalai Lama, and will.i.am. The key to the com…
 
When Paul Polman joined Unilever as CEO in 2009, the consumer goods company – home to 400-plus brands including Dove soap, Ben & Jerry’s, and Vaseline – had been stagnated with years of lackluster performance. His famous turnaround of the company centered around his ability to redraw the boundaries of Unilever’s mission to emphasize sustainability …
 
This past summer, Fidji Simo departed from Facebook – where she stood among the highest-ranking female executives, serving as the head of their app – for the opportunity to become a first-time CEO at Instacart. She replaced founder Apoorva Mehta, who appeared on this show last spring to talk about Instacart’s incredible COVID-fueled growth. Since t…
 
This week, we’re returning to an episode of Masters of Scale featuring Ben Chestnut, the co-founder and CEO of Mailchimp. The email marketing platform was acquired this year by Intuit in a multi-billion-dollar deal that closed this month. Hear how Chestnut used a DIY ethos to grow the company without ever raising a dollar of outside funding. The Ma…
 
Many of us attempt to shift gears during the holidays, spend quality time with people we love, and refresh. But too often, we end up glued to our devices – catching up on work, avoiding complex people, or simply addicted to that screen. In an episode from our sister podcast, Meditative Story, host Rohan Gunatillake shares three calming techniques t…
 
Reid Hoffman and Rapid Response host Bob Safian break down what you need to know right now about the most important issues and opportunities impacting entrepreneurs. The co-hosts dive into inflation reactions, Facebook quandaries, metaverse mania, AI & crypto trends, and lessons from the Great Resignation. Plus: why LinkedIn pulled back in China, a…
 
In May 2020, as companies began making promises about how they’d help Black-owned businesses in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Aurora James launched the 15 Percent Pledge initiative with an Instagram post. Tagging major retailers, she declared that 15% of retail shelf space should belong to Black-owned businesses. And she's helped these compan…
 
Your board of directors can make or break you. In fact, Reid believes, the wrong board member can break your company faster than the right board member can make it. Learn the five vital mindset shifts that can help you create a better board, with insights from Mellody Hobson, the co-CEO of Ariel Investments and the chair of the Starbucks board, alo…
 
Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, breaks down his deep insights around artificial intelligence on Rapid Response. Schmidt, co-author of the new book "The Age of AI: And Our Human Future," alongside Dr. Henry Kissinger and MIT’s Daniel Huttenlocher, says that we’re entering an unknown era with technology – one that requires extra vigilance to ensu…
 
Too often, companies only focus on the type of scale that’s visible: massive campuses, thousands of workers, offices around the globe. But as Land O’Lakes proves, there are less conspicuous ways to scale – ways that supply your business with structural integrity. This is something CEO Beth Ford knows well. She’s strategically scaled Land O’Lakes – …
 
Skepticism and doubt are no strangers to John Foley, the CEO of Peloton. As he says, it’s been part of the company’s DNA “since the first time I pitched the business to an investor back in 2012.” Last year, the company was supercharged by pandemic demand. However, in 2021, the company has faced a slew of new headwinds, from product-safety issues to…
 
What’s harder about entrepreneurship than most people realize? How do you overcome your own doubts? Can you really trust your team? In this special episode, Reid Hoffman and Masters of Scale executive producer June Cohen gather five of their favorite guests – Brian Chesky, Tyra Banks, Angela Ahrendts, Sallie Krawcheck, and Franklin Leonard — for a …
 
How do you respond when your own users resist your data? That question is top-of-mind for Nielsen CEO David Kenny. For decades, Nielsen has measured ratings and demographics across TV and media – the ultimate designator of success and failure. But as industry norms shift to streaming, Kenny has had to revamp processes and expectations, absorbing he…
 
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 th…
 
Since stepping down as Walmart’s president of e-commerce at the beginning of the year, billionaire entrepreneur Marc Lore has had a busy year of big ideas. In the spring, it was announced that he reached a deal to purchase the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, alongside Alex Rodriguez. And then last month, he outlined his …
 
Crowdsourcing is more than a group of people interested in the same cause, it’s a way to tap skills – and scale – that you don’t have. And when it works, it can be the rocket fuel that launches you to scale further than you could have ever imagined. No one knows this better than Luis von Ahn, founder and CEO of Duolingo. Duolingo is a language app …
 
In the last year, Sarah Hirshland has had to face one daunting issue after another as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee – each of which have required urgent, in-the-moment decisions. Most recently Sarah mandated that U.S. athletes be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in the upcoming Beijing winter games. But that’s just th…
 
Jessica Alba’s approach in founding and building The Honest Company revolves around three letters: IRL, a useful acronym for “In Real Life.” This phrase acts as a reminder for the company to shine the spotlight onto their customer’s real needs – not only to understand them, but to address them as well. Alba built the company around her passion to m…
 
Last year, SolarWinds became the subject of a massive and sophisticated cyberattack, potentially affecting thousands of organizations. CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna, who joined the company soon after the breach was discovered, speaks with host Bob Safian about how he and the company responded, and how other companies should approach the ever-looming thr…
 
No matter what phase of growth you’re in, data is essential to scale. Take it from Sheila Lirio Marcelo, the founder and former CEO of Care.com, the two-sided marketplace connecting working families with care providers. Marcelo scaled her business past the competition by getting the right data at the right time. Marketplaces are tricky flywheels to…
 
To compete against bigger players, you need a special edge. Sridhar Ramaswamy, who led Google’s huge ad business, is now going head-to head against his former employer with an ad-free subscription-based search engine called Neeva. Ramaswamy became disillusioned by Google’s priorities and practices and argues that big platforms – including Facebook …
 
To get the most out of your talent, you need to create an environment that allows them to thrive. Nobody knows this better than Indra Nooyi who spent 12 years as the CEO of PepsiCo. It was her drive to support talent that underpinned all of the initiatives that transformed the company. Her approach, which she calls “Performance with Purpose,” cente…
 
Your ability to make quick decisions in the face of a crisis can define your career. That’s been the case for Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College, the all-women's HBCU in Atlanta. In her second appearance on Rapid Response, Dr. Campbell, who recently announced her plan to retire at the end of the academic year, discusses how lis…
 
Managing your team right now requires fresh thinking. Learn what motivates the best performance, and how to build creative teams in remote, hybrid, and fluid conditions, from some of the sharpest minds in management. In this special episode, we share five moves that are essential to building a team right now. Tapping into lessons from top leaders a…
 
18 months ago, the lights went out on Broadway. What can you learn as this $16bn industry begins to re-light the lights? Tony-winning producer Bonnie Comley, the CEO of BroadwayHD and board president of the Drama League, shows us how Broadway's 41 theaters are coming back to life — and how the 18-month pandemic closure created some breathing room f…
 
As dangerous as obstacles and setbacks may appear, they can also present opportunities. Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of the real estate platform, Compass, knows this well. He’s a perfect example of how to use challenges to generate a fresh burst of energy. Reffkin explains how he’s been able to reassess situations in the wake of setbacks, plan h…
 
Chris Urmson has had to take a different approach in building his company Aurora, which develops self-driving technology. As opposed to creating and iterating a product with a handful of people, and then building a company around that product, Urmson says he’s had to do the opposite. “Given the scale of the problem we're trying to solve and the com…
 
Host Reid Hoffman answers seven burning questions from a range of entrepreneurs facing universal and timeless challenges in this all-new Strategy Session. How do you expand to a country where you’re not located? What was the insight that led Reid from entrepreneur to investor? Should you shift from product development to customer acquisition? Plus,…
 
“You have to preserve your energy because this year has been about pace,” says iconic restaurateur Danny Meyer in his fourth Rapid Response interview. Meyer catches us up on the past seven-plus months of operating in the midst of the pandemic. In the beginning of the summer, when Covid rates were plummeting in New York City, he says he was full of …
 
To achieve massive scale, you don’t just need founders, you also need a re-founder – someone to come in at a later stage to keep the mission and culture on track. As Microsoft’s third CEO ever – after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer – Satya Nadella is doing just that. He’s fostered a culture at Microsoft that rewards new ideas and makes room for feedb…
 
Hollywood may build stars, but gaming is "the biggest, fastest-growing entertainment medium in the world," says CEO Andrew Wilson of Electronic Arts. That's why businesses from Netflix to Disney to Facebook are eyeing the space, along with creators and startups eager to tap into the entrepreneurial opportunities posed by the still-evolving "metaver…
 
Coming August 31st: An all-new season of Masters of Scale, with iconic leaders and rising stars of scale companies. This season, Reid Hoffman trades theories with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass, Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsico, Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company, Beth Ford, CEO of Land O'Lake…
 
Facing off with the FTC isn't for the timid. But when your mission and your business model are aligned, the hard decisions – about risk, about investment, about priorities – become clearer. Francis deSouza is CEO of Illumina, the world’s dominant maker of gene sequencing technology. After playing a key role in the creation of Covid vaccines, Illumi…
 
Reid’s personal advice on the most important success factor for any scale leader: your mindset. Talking with editor-at-large Bob Safian, Reid shares how he approaches every challenge with a learning mindset: ask the right questions, leverage networks, and build curiosity and resilience. To cement the idea, he shares Lesson One from the new Masters …
 
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 com…
 
You need a strong culture to build a company that will scale beyond the early startup days. And strong company cultures only emerge when every employee feels they own the culture from Day One. Here's how Reed Hastings and his team at Netflix did it – and made their culture deck famous in the process. Cameo appearances: Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Aneel…
 
Even an 118-year-old company needs an entrepreneurial jolt. When Jochen Zeitz took over as CEO of motorcycle maker Harley Davidson in early 2020, he moved quickly to restructure the business – even in the midst of the pandemic's highest uncertainty. That defiance paid off, settling investors and refocusing the company. He's trimmed the product line…
 
Unconventional ideas define entrepreneurship: They fuel dreams but also spur naysayers and obstacles. Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and CEO of Birchbox, has repeatedly found ways to recast the unconventional as something obvious, enabling ongoing growth through repeated challenges. When Katia and her co-founder introduced Birchbox, its novel business…
 
"We have to reignite the energy and the fire and the love," says CEO Libby Wadle of J.Crew Group, which launched Madewell Forever this week, a dynamic bet on sustainability. The resale platform, in partnership with ThredUp, is part of a purpose-led pivot that Wadle first sparked as head of Madewell. Wadle takes us inside that journey, looking back …
 
When should you hire your replacement as CEO? Is blitzscaling still the best strategy, in today's context of uncertainty? What are the best fundraising options if you can't access a major VC firm? How do you balance long-term growth with short-term pressures? In this all-new Strategy Session, Reid answers critical in-the-moment questions from six e…
 
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