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31 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
Reid Hoffman | Philosopher Versus MBA
Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman and his Blitzscaling co-author Chris Yeh pick up their conversation from last week on how philosophical study can have a great impact on an entrepreneur's career. This week, they focus on how a philosophy degree compares to a much more conventional business background: the MBA."There are two things that need to be explained away in order for me to invest in your startup," says Hoffman, who holds an advanced degree in philosophy. "An MBA or a background in management consulting." While there are many exceptions, Hoffman believes pursuing an MBA can generally be adverse signal for entrepreneurship. Instead, he encourages prospective entrepreneurs gain real-world experience by working at a startup and pursuing other courses of study that help form fundamental critical thinking skills.
33 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
Reid Hoffman | The Philosopher-Entrepreneur
Greylock general partner and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman talks with his Blitzscaling co-author Chris Yeh about how a fundamental understanding of philosophy can be a powerful tool for entrepreneurship. Hoffman, who holds a master's degree in philosophy from Oxford University, outlines how studying philosophy helps people develop new frameworks for grappling with truth, humanity and decision-making, and how it has helped him succeed in his career as an entrepreneur and investor. This episode is the first of a two-part series.
50 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
Human-Centered AI | Dr. Fei-Fei Li
If AI is to serve the collective needs of humanity, how should machine intelligence be built and designed so that it can understand human language, feelings, intentions and behaviors, and interact with nuance and in multiple dimensions? Stanford University computer science professor Dr. Fei-Fei Li and Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman discuss the ethical considerations researchers, technologists and policymakers should make when developing and deploying AI. This episode was recorded as part of Greylock's Iconversations virtual speaker series. https://greylock.com/greymatter/fei-fei-li-reid-hoffman-human-centered-ai/
46 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
Coda | Powering the Maker Generation
A rebroadcast of our episode featuring Coda CEO and co-founder Shishir Mehrotra. The company, which saw a surge in usage during the Covid-19 pandemic and the widespread shift to remote work, recently closed $100 million Series D round. In this episode, which was recorded last year as part of Greylock general partner Sarah Guo's Work From Anywhere podcast series, Shishir talks about the way collaboration and productivity tools have created a lasting impact on the workplace, and what the office (virtual, hybrid and physical) might look like in the future. https://greylock.com/greymatter/powering-the-maker-generation/
36 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
Cresta and Abnormal Security | Building Applied ML Startups
From dealing with the notorious cold start problem of insufficient data to train models, to identifying the right business model for the product and the crucial need for early partnerships, applied ML companies grapple with an additional set of challenges from the beginning. Cresta CTO and co-founder Tim Shi and Abnormal Security Head of Machine Learning Jeshua Bratman join Greylock partner Saam Motamedi to discuss strategies for building applied ML companies.
27 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
Startups and the Media Pt 2 | Alex Konrad and Kaitlin Durkosh
The second part of our two-part conversation on working with the media. Forbes senior editor Alex Konrad joins Greylock marketing partner Elisa Schreiber and Greylock director of communications Kaitlin Durkosh to discuss how startup founders should think about building relationships with journalists; how journalists see their role amid the always evolving media landscape; and what impact founders should expect from sharing their story across different forms of media.
37 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Startups and Media Pt 1 | Alex Konrad and Kaitlin Durkosh
Forbes senior editor Alex Konrad has been covering venture capital and startups for nearly a decade. While many founders have learned how to work well with media, the learning curve is steep, and Konrad sees persistent miscommunication, misunderstanding, and misinformation between the two. Compounding the issue, today’s startup founders have to navigate the increasingly blurred lines of journalism, marketing, social media, and company-directed content, and then try to figure out where their story fits in. “The coverage they think they want is often not what they need,” Konrad tweeted earlier this year. “And their perspective of the process is skewed by the survivor bias of seeing who is getting covered." To demystify the world of media, Konrad joined Greylock marketing partner Elisa Schreiber and Greylock communications director Kaitlin Durkosh for a wide-ranging discussion. In the first of the two-part conversation, the three break down media basics and offer tactical advice to founders looking to effectively engage with media and tell their company story.
50 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Brian Chesky | People-First Capitalism
While many CEOs choose to stay out of the public eye during times of crisis, Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky has always opted for the opposite. It was no different during the Covid-19 pandemic, when travel came to a standstill and the company was forced to restructure. Chesky remained open, candid and transparent throughout the experience, and the company was able to navigate the crisis in stride. Chesky joined Greylock partner Reid Hoffman on Greylock's Iconversations speaker series to talk about how he guided Airbnb from an 80% loss within the first two months of the pandemic to a record-breaking IPO by the end of 2020; why Silicon Valley needs to redefine how it measures growth; how Chesky’s design background informs Airbnb’s business strategy; and, ultimately, the importance of putting people first.
53 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Wade Chambers, Kevin Wang and Wei Gan | Building Company Culture
Greylock partner Saam Motamedi is joined by engineering team leaders to discuss the wide-reaching topic of company culture. Wade Chambers, CTO and SVP of Engineering at Grand Rounds Health; Kevin Wang, VP of engineering at Abnormal Security; and Wei Gan, the co-founder and CTO of Ribbon Home, talk about the various ways they define and apply culture; how they differentiate between company-level and team-level cultural norms; and more.
39 minutes | May 25, 2021
Nick Bloom | What Workers Want
Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom has been researching remote work and management for decades. The Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the workplace provided a rare opportunity for a world-wide case study. Bloom joined Greylock general partner Sarah Guo on Greymatter’s Work From Anywhere podcast series to talk about the evolving workplace, what the data shows on both employee and management wellbeing, the allure of the hybrid-work model, and more.
51 minutes | May 18, 2021
Reid Hoffman | Game On
When people ask Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman how he learned strategy, his answer is not that he studied in business school and earned an MBA, or that he read (and re-read) Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. His answer is this: “I played a lot of games.” The best games, Hoffman says, not only require skill and tactics, but they also incorporate uncertainty and randomness, which teaches you to be strategic in ways that match the way the world works. In conversation with Blitzscaling co-author Chris Yeh, Hoffman describes how games have been so integral to his development as a business strategist, and to the theories he's developed and deployed.
59 minutes | May 11, 2021
Nextdoor's Sarah Friar | Tech to Reflect the World
To keep growth and user engagement up, most social platform avoid any features that could cause friction to the user. But Nextdoor is willing to take some risks. The company, which has taken on a greater role during the pandemic, has deployed tools that CEO Sarah Friar admits may impact growth, but are ultimately, "the right thing to do in order to build communities." These tools include the Kindness Reminder, which prompts users to stop and reconsider potentially offensive posts, as well as a more specific pop-up notification to stop racist statements. Sarah Friar joined Greylock general partner and Nextdoor board member David Sze on Greylock's Iconversations speaker series to discuss how the company strives to reflect the communities of the world.
39 minutes | May 4, 2021
Jaime Schmidt and Chris Cantino | Next Generation Commerce
To understand how some of the strongest brands are thriving with the omnichannel approach, Greylock general partner Mike Duboe hosted a wide-ranging discussion on Greymatter on what it takes to build the next generation of commerce companies with Color Capital co-founders Jaime Schmidt and Chris Cantino. The husband-wife team partner with companies creating the future of CPG, marketplaces, ecommerce, and media, and both bring a wealth of experience to the table. Schmidt is the founder of personal care brand Schmidt’s Naturals (which was acquired by Unilever in 2017), and is the author of Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms, which evolved into a media company Schmidt and Cantino run together. In this conversation, Schmidt and Cantino share stories from the early days of Schmidt’s Naturals, which began at local farmer’s markets in Portland, (also known as “the original DTC,” sales channel, says Cantino); their views on bootstrapping versus raising outside capital; how to assess partnerships and potential M&A; and the growing importance of media and content in the ecommerce world. This episode is part of a series of conversations on commerce hosted by Mike Duboe.
29 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Curated | Guided by Experts
The shift to ecommerce has been a natural progression for companies that sell everyday, approachable items like clothing and beauty products. But brands that sell pricey, technical and often highly variable products like skis, golf clubs and camping gear have historically struggled to make the online transition, as consumers tend to prefer in-person consultation at physical stores. Enter Curated. The company has developed a three-sided marketplace to replicate the valuable in-store experiences people want – and need – when purchasing high-consideration items. Curated works with a team of experts across various specialties who connect directly with consumers, then make recommendations for products from brands on the platform based on the individual’s skill level, goals and budget. Curated CEO and co-founder Eddie Vivas sat down with Greylock general partner and Curated board member David Thacker to discuss the company's formation, its accelerated traction during Covid, and their bold ambition for the future.
33 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
TraceHQ | Finance at the Foundation
When finance teams have a greater influence on everyday operations, companies can more nimbly respond to economic events – both good and bad. That's why TraceHQ developed a platform that functions as a service desk for finance; providing visibility for teams to immediately see how their financial decisions impact their budget. It then gives finance the committed forecast – a real-time financial plan. TraceHQ CEO and co-founder Mike Gonzalez sat down with Greylock general partner and TraceHQ board member Sarah Guo to discuss how TraceHQ was developed, why financial leaders should be more deeply ingrained into day-to-day operations, and what companies should do to be prepared for whatever the future presents.
41 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Cresta | Amplifying Expertise
Cresta believes AI should help humans, not replace them. Seeing the limitations of AI that simply automated the routine aspects of work performed by many, the company developed a platform that effectively scales the skills of the top few employees, whose job functions require heavier cognitive lifting and expertise. Cresta, which has initially focused on sales and customer service, now works with businesses such as Dropbox, Intuit and Porsche, and recently raised a $50 million Series B. Cresta CEO and co-founder Zayd Enam discusses the company's progress and the future of customer service with Greylock partner and Cresta board member Saam Motamedi.
55 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Mellody Hobson | Security in Knowledge
Ariel Investments President and co-CEO Mellody Hobson, who was recently named the chair of the board of Starbucks Corporation, joins Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman. Hobson, who is the first black woman to chair a Fortune 500 board, shares highlights from her career as an investor, board member, financial educator and philanthropist, and discusses the fundamental changes necessary to diversify corporate America. This discussion was recorded during Greylock’s virtual speaker series Iconversations. In our second event in the series, Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman talked with Ariel Investments president and co-ceo. Mellody Hobson.
53 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Peter High | Getting to Nimble
Greylock specialist Lee Haney talks with Peter High, president of Metis Strategy and author of the new book "Getting to Nimble: How to Transform Your Company into a Digital Leader." While no business is completely future-proof, companies that incorporate nimbleness into their people, practices and digital strategies are able to quickly pivot away from problems – and towards opportunities. Peter and Lee discuss tactics for nimbleness and share stories of companies that embody the concept.
33 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Reid Hoffman | How to Decide
Entrepreneurs and executives will do all sorts of things to improve themselves, from taking a class on a particular technology, to reading a book about venture deals, to practicing intermittent fasting. Yet very few of them stop to ask the simple yet powerful question, “How can I make my decision making better?” Greylock general partner and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman describes his approach to decision-making.
48 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Reid Hoffman and Michael Tubbs | Tech's Spiderman Ethics
Greylock general partner Reid Hoffman and former Stockton, CA mayor Michael Tubbs discuss how can technology be a force for good for all members of society. Hoffman and Tubbs – who was recently named by CA Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as the state's Special Advisor for Economy Mobility and Opportunity – discuss how a pervasive lack of diversity among tech founders, investors, and operators has translated to a disconnect between the industry and the rest of the world. To change the power dynamics and open opportunities for all, building a more inclusive network of founders, investors, and government leaders is a step in the right direction.
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