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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
38 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Rapid Response: Fashioning a greener closet, w/Rent the Runway's Jenn Hyman
Fashion became secondary amid Covid lockdowns. Sweatpants-only life pressed apparel-subscription service Rent the Runway into layoffs and furloughs. But as co-founder and CEO Jenn Hyman explains, the business saw a surprising rebound early this year, fueled by new customers in unexpected places—and by a renewed consumer focus on sustainability. Building a “closet in the cloud,” as Jenn describes Rent the Runway, may not have been an essential pandemic service, but as we move into the next phase, her experience illuminates how accelerated change is remaking the marketplace.
47 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
91. Build the right flywheel, w/Teach for America / Teach for All's Wendy Kopp
Not every platform turns into a flywheel for scale. Wendy Kopp founded two networks that each became flywheels for change: Teach for America and Teach for All, where she's currently CEO. Yet the shape of the two networks are surprisingly different. While they both feed similar goals – helping educators find what they need, share what they learn, build enthusiasm, and motivate talent – the two organizations operate under different rules and assumptions. Kopp's journey illuminates how listening, adjusting, and open rethinking are key to building a network that thrives. And how hard-won lessons can produce extraordinary impact.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
34 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
Rapid Response: The promise and peril of engineering biology, w/Ginkgo Bioworks Reshma Shetty
Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine would not have scaled without Ginkgo Bioworks. Reshma Shetty, co-founder and COO of Ginkgo – slated to go public via SPAC acquisition at a reported $15 billion valuation – explains how biotech innovation can build a better future now. Ginkgo's platform already serves industries from food and agriculture, to materials, to healthcare. Shetty acknowledges that engineering genes is a high stakes pursuit, and says Ginkgo is trying to pair the ambition of Silicon Valley with a "higher level of care" than consumer tech companies like social media have demonstrated. The key, Shetty says, is creating an unstable equilibrium – propelling progress but not at the expense of principles.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
42 minutes | May 29, 2021
5 essential moves for post-pandemic success, featuring Airbnb, Etsy, Sunrun, and more
Shift your mindset. Tighten your focus. Map your future. In this special episode, Reid Hoffman presents a five-step playbook for post-crisis success. Moving from chaos to calm requires a revised agenda, whether the pandemic crushed your business or boosted it. Peace-time strategies need to be just as sharp as wartime strategies. Featuring Airbnb's Brian Chesky, Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, NBA all-star Jerry Stackhouse, and more. Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.com.Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX.
35 minutes | May 27, 2021
Rapid Response: Upskilling and the war for talent, w/Guild Education CEO Rachel Carson
How do you win the post-pandemic war for talent? Send your frontline workers to online school. That's the pitch that Rachel Carson has made – successfully – to big businesses from Chipotle to Disney, Walmart to Waste Management. As co-founder and CEO of Guild Education, Carlson runs a digital platform that enables workers to get degrees and certifications as a free employee benefit. Though virtual schooling for kids is under fire, virtual education for adults has caught on over the last year like never before. To meet the ongoing need for “upskilling” in the modern economy, Carlson says, company-sponsored digital classes should be as ubiquitous as company-sponsored health plans. The ROI, she explains, is astonishingly high.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
42 minutes | May 25, 2021
90. Alex Rodriguez: How mentorship provides an edge
Even all-star athletes are coached. So why not you? Alex Rodriguez, former professional baseball player, leaned into outside advice at the most challenging moments in his career – and in building his enormously successful business, A-Rod Corp. Rodrigues shares what he's learned from mentors like investing guru Warren Buffett and NBA icon Magic Johnson, and how mentorship can help sharpen your skills and open up opportunities. We spoke with A-Rod twice this year, including in a live Strategy Session that we released as an episode previously. Here, we dive deep into Alex's story, to explore how great mentors can be a driving force on your journey to scale – and how the best way to find great mentors is to always be learning and to have the mindset of a mentor yourself.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
34 minutes | May 20, 2021
Rapid Response: Why real estate matters more than ever, with Compass CEO Robert Reffkin
"We may not be able to survive this," remarked Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of real estate platform Compass, after pandemic lockdown rules essentially outlawed U.S. home selling. Yet today the housing market is booming, and Compass has successfully IPO'ed. Reffkin shares how he kept his team together, why he stayed optimistic, and what businesses lucky enough to have benefited from Covid times owe their communities. He also shares insights on housing prices – after correctly predicting last year that summer 2020 would be the most successful in the history of the real estate market – and on the future of big cities. It’s a house tour worth taking.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
42 minutes | May 18, 2021
89. President Barack Obama, part 2: How to adapt to changing rules
Creating a prototype in your garage isn't the same as leading a team of thousands. You need to keep your mission constant, but your tactics fluid as you scale. This is exactly the challenge President Barack Obama faced after winning the 2008 election. In the second episode of our two-part mini-series, we dive into how Obama grappled with the Great Recession once in office, what it took to secure the Affordable Care Act, and what was behind the disastrous roll out of the healthcare.gov website. Through it all, President Obama learned to let first principles guide the way, even as he and his staff adapted to new realities and changing rules.Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
37 minutes | May 13, 2021
Rapid Response: Inside Google’s Pandemic Safety Squad, w/Chief Health Officer Dr. Karen DeSalvo
Google search may be the world’s most powerful public health platform. Dr Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer, has built a team of doctors, scientists and clinicians who — alongside engineers and designers – determine what information and advice shows up when we search for answers about Covid-19, the pandemic, vaccines and more. She also heads Google’s employee health-safety efforts and leads external in-the-field efforts to broaden vaccine access in the US and across the globe. Her message to businesses is that we all have a role to play in combating the virus – and that, when it comes to return-to-work, our own personal risk assessment can’t be discounted. Read a transcript of this interview at: mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
45 minutes | May 11, 2021
President Barack Obama: When the moment chooses you, part 1
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
31 minutes | May 6, 2021
Rapid Response: Surviving a close shave, with Harry's co-CEO Andy Katz-Mayfield
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
47 minutes | May 4, 2021
30. The elusive formula for great hiring, w/Workday's Aneel Bhusri
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
28 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Rapid Response: "A crucible moment for Instacart," with founder & CEO Apoorva Mehta
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
35 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Build a team of mentors: Strategy Session with A-Rod at HBS Tech
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, along with special guests Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox and Mihir Desai of HBS faculty, shows you how to get the most out of mentorship – and how to make sure your mentors also get something out of the deal too.
31 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Rapid Response: A pandemic is not a business model, w/Blue Apron's Linda Findley Kozlowski
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
39 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
87. Frustration is your friend, w/Houzz founder Adi Tatarko
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 40 million users, 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.
30 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
Rapid Response: Can bankruptcy save movie theaters? with Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor
"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.
41 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Unfiltered with Reid & Bob: GameStop, SPACs, gov't stimulus, and vaccines
"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
42 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
Rapid Response: Delta CEO Ed Bastian: Turbulence, recovery, and risk
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.
51 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
86. Beyond Meat's Ethan Brown: How to teach your customer
The customer isn't always right. 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).
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