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.
74. The Empathy Flywheel, w/Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar
A social network that limits your network? Yes. Meet Nextdoor, a hyperlocal social network that’s all about who you really are and where you really live. Although it goes against everything that we've come to expect from social networks, Nextdoor’s secret to scale lies in real personal connections based on empathy and kindness. And this is what Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar knows: No, these connections don’t scale as fast – but they tend to be stronger. And they can be the flywheel that drives you to scale.
Rapid Response: Movie-theater drama has come to every business, w/Shelli Taylor, CEO, Alamo Drafthouse
As big movie chains shut down, Shelli Taylor's determined to keep her theaters open. With revenue at a trickle, the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse is negotiating daily with landlords and banks, and even tried her own video-on-demand service. Her balancing act – a conviction that long-term demand will be strong, while near-term economics are dismal – is familiar among entrepreneurial leaders. By defiantly keeping the movie magic alive, she's leaning into hope, the human need for community, and a creative new model. Yet there's no guarantee how this story will end.
73. Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales: To scale, find the right values
What's more important than product-market fit? Product-VALUE fit. If you choose the right values to drive product development, you'll draw the people, resources, and speed you need. It’s true for for-profits and for nonprofits. And Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales knows this well. Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has famously stuck to its values of openness, neutrality, and remaining not-for-profit. But he arrived at those precise values through trial and error – on an earlier free encyclopedia project that stalled. Once he found the right product-value fit, Wikipedia rapidly scaled from a niche side project to one of the most valued treasures on the internet.
Rapid Response: The Covid test facts every CEO needs, w/Rajiv Shah (Rockefeller Foundation)
To safely re-open a business, you need more than masks. Covid testing is key – and the options are changing quickly. We found the most in-the-know person in public health to walk us through the choices, costs, and protocols to keep an entrepreneurial team, and all of us, safe. Rajiv Shah is president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which has led response to health crises in the United States and around the world for 100 years (including the 1918 flu pandemic). Applying what he learned fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Shah has brought together business, government, and health officials to turbo-charge Covid testing development. Next-gen test kits are coming soon: cheaper, easier, more abundant. If deployed correctly, says Shah, they can make us all safer and healthier in 2021.
72. YouTube's Susan Wojcicki: How to find – and keep – true north
When you scale at warp speed, it’s easy to lose your bearings. You have to establish your company’s true north, or the dizzying pace of growth will push you off course. No one knows this better than Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. Under her leadership, YouTube has grown to be the world’s largest video platform. And in her previous role at Google, she was a chief architect of its advertising and analytics model. In both roles, she achieved massive scale – and grappled with massive challenges. Susan shares the guiding principles that help them stay the course – as well as stories from Google’s early years that you’ll hear first here. Cameo appearances: Dr. Becky Smethurst (astrophysicist, Oxford), Shishir Mehrotra (Coda, Google, YouTube).
Rapid Response: Your company is a citizen – it can act like one, w/Baratunde Thurston
The pandemic, social unrest, the U.S. election – everything affects your team and your business. And the stakes are only getting higher. How do you address race and diversity? Should your business take a stand in the upcoming election? What role should your company play? If you're debating how political to get right now, this is your must-listen. We're talking with writer / thinker Baratunde Thurston on how companies can show up as citizens – citizens with the potential for outsize impact. Baratunde is host of the podcast "How to Citizen with Baratunde", and an advisor to business leaders through these times.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I listen to a lot of podcasts and this is the first I’m compelled to leave a review. It’s interesting, it’s educational, it covers many different topics presented from various points of view. It gives ideas and encouragement by exploring not only successes but also failures. Even the ads are educational! It makes me wait for the credits to finish to hear the last nugget of insight from the show sponsors. Highly recommended.