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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman
45 minutes | 2 days ago
82. Disney’s Bob Iger: How acquisitions become an ecosystem, part 1
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.
37 minutes | 7 days ago
Rapid Response: Wartime leadership, with Nike's John Donahoe
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.
42 minutes | 9 days ago
81. The secret to big leaps, w/Sir Richard Branson
Successful daredevils aren't really winging it, even if it looks that way from the outside. They have a method. No one knows this better – or does this better – than Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. Sir Richard has been willing to take death-defying entrepreneurial leaps again and again, into new markets and industries, establishing himself as one of the most prolific and successful founders ever. You can't help but marvel at his bias to action: his eagerness to ask “What if?” and then follow up those fanciful thoughts with bold and decisive steps forward. You don't have to be born with Sir Richard’s bravado to cultivate a bias to action. Sir Richard shares how you too can learn to take the right leaps, in the right moments, to generate outsize opportunities.Get tickets to the HBS Tech conference: http://www.techconferencehbs.com
2 minutes | 13 days ago
Coming soon on Masters of Scale Season 8
Coming February 23: An all-new season of Masters of Scale, with iconic leaders and rising stars of scale companies. This season, Reid Hoffman trades theories with Disney CEO Bob Iger, model/mogul Tyra Banks, investor Mark Cuban, Houzz founder Adi Tatarko, Beyond Meat founder Ethan Brown, Sir Richard Branson – and many more. Plus, we’ve got Live episodes coming up, your favorite Strategy Sessions, and a few surprises in store. Join us! Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX.
30 minutes | 14 days ago
Rapid Response: Winning and losing, w/Vanderbilt University coach Jerry Stackhouse
Maintaining high performance in business has become harder than ever, between health challenges, economic obstacles, and political uncertainty. But we all still work to win. Jerry Stackhouse, coach of the Vanderbilt University men’s basketball team and former NBA all-star, is focused on winning – in the near-term, and the long term. His experience offers a compelling parable for every business leader these days. With Covid-19, his team has faced cancellations, testing protocols, and a pandemic reality of isolation and empty arenas. Coach Stackhouse is balancing the high stakes of health, racial equity, and media scrutiny with the quest for performance. Leading a team has never been more difficult, or more important.
36 minutes | 16 days ago
Rapid Response: Public-private opportunities, with Defense Innovation Unit's Mike Brown
Call him the unofficial U.S. ambassador to Silicon Valley. As director of the Defense Innovation Unit within the U.S. Department of Defense, Mike Brown is tasked with bridging the gap between technology innovators and the U.S. government. Formerly CEO of Symantec, Brown knows the significant opportunity public-private partnerships can offer entrepreneurs – if structured for speed not bureaucracy – and he's been setting up new ones at a rapid clip. He also knows the intense need to keep the U.S. government on the leading edge of tech, for cost reasons and competitive ones. Brown has a keen eye on China’s tech-and-government efforts, and the potential impact on U.S. companies and U.S. national security. Bringing the best of commercial tech into the government, Brown says, isn’t just a nice to have but a need to have.
35 minutes | 21 days ago
Rapid Response: Iterating under pressure, with Feeding America's Claire Babineaux-Fontenot
The pandemic era has ushered in a new wave of food insecurity, with some 50 millions Americans hungry for food aid. How could Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, meet the moment? CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot describes the immense challenge: volunteers unavailable, mass-distribution centers untenable, resources unreliable. But with one in six Americans in need (one in four kids), she leaned on Feeding America's assets in new ways, empowering local chapters, collecting data, accelerating tech, and continually reassessing logistics to meet developing needs – a lesson all entrepreneurs can learn from. And landing a $100 million gift from Jeff Bezos didn't hurt either!
39 minutes | 23 days ago
Strategy Session: 5 burning questions & their unexpected answers w/Reid Hoffman & Bob Safian
How do you build expertise in new tech like quantum, crypto and AI? How much attention should you be paying to the stock market right now? How do you keep your company's culture fresh if you don't have an influx of fresh talent? Host Reid Hoffman and editor-at-large Bob Safian dig into the most-often-whispered questions of entrepreneurs right now – questions that are both of the moment and timeless. Plus: Would Reid ever go on Shark Tank?
39 minutes | a month ago
Rapid Response: Why we need to think again, w/Adam Grant
As we grapple with pandemic-charged change in business and as a society, we’ve become more fractured, more divisive, and more vulnerable. Adam Grant, best-selling author and professor at the Wharton School, argues that recognizing what we don't know is the key step on the road to insight, competitive advantage, and community peace. In his new book, "Think Again," Grant illuminates why taking a fresh look at our assumptions, about others and about ourselves, is such a powerful tool. His in-the-trenches research – from Silicon Valley's halls of power to the beliefs of anti-vaxxers – provides actionable advice for all of us.
46 minutes | a month ago
80. How to be the steward of your idea, w/Affectiva's Rana el Kaliouby
Great entrepreneurs aren't just product obsessed; they're impact obsessed. Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, has spent most of her career thinking about how to project – and steward – the possible uses of artificial intelligence. Affectiva uses AI to read people's emotional states, but Rana won't put her software to work for just anyone. She's walking a fine line between thoughtfully nurturing her idea and being a cranky custodian: potentially throttling the scale of her business. It's a risk she's willing to take. She understands that entrepreneurship isn't just about providing a product or service that people love, or creating jobs; it's about asking: "Am I making a net contribution to society – not just right now, but for future generations?"
36 minutes | a month ago
Rapid Response: Aggressive sustainability, w/Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun
Expectations for solar are high under a Biden administration, says Lynn Jurich, CEO of the solar power company Sunrun. While Sunrun's stock price has quadrupled in the past year, Jurich faces not only high-profile competition but the complexities of a new-style energy utility and the vagaries of politics and policy in the most partisan environment in generations. Her touchstone – in a key lesson for entrepreneurs – is to focus on long-term trends that she believes are favorable. In the teeth of the pandemic, she spent $3 billion to buy up one of the other key industry players, doubling down on her commitment, and extending a scale advantage. From Sunrun's internal culture to the undulating energy marketplace, Jurich is both pivoting in search of opportunity and holding fast to central principles.
40 minutes | a month ago
79. How to master your emotions, w/Sam Harris
The biggest challenge for founders often isn’t winning the strategic game – it’s winning the mental game. For a master class in mastering your emotions, we turn to Sam Harris, author, neuroscientist, and philosopher. His podcast “Making Sense,” his app “Waking Up,” and his many books have drawn a devoted following among entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond. Leadership experts often talk about the importance of adding new skills to your metaphorical toolbox, but less attention is paid to the actual toolbox itself: your mind. Sam shares how you can manage your own emotions, and master your own runaway thoughts, to not only make it through the entrepreneurial journey but learn more, and scale faster along the way.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/sam-harris/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
36 minutes | a month ago
Rapid Response: Ten months of pain and hope, w/restaurateur Danny Meyer
It's been an epic journey for iconic New York City restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer. Forced by the pandemic into closures and layoffs last spring, as he poignantly shared in two previous episodes, Danny stayed optimistic and was rewarded through the summer and fall, as new menu innovations and new dining protocols brought back customers.But then a fresh wave of infections inflicted fresh pain, with harder choices than ever and renewed layoffs and closings – one of them permanent. The restaurant industry overall is teetering on the edge, he says, desperate for federal help and active intervention to be able to return to the communities they once served. Danny still believes that restaurants will come back; that, in fact, the coming months will provide a unique opportunity for new restaurant launches. Yet his own spirit is being tested, as unrelenting challenges face off against defiant hope.
36 minutes | a month ago
6. Innovation is managed chaos, w/Eric Schmidt of Google/Alphabet
Google has succeeded by innovating again and again. Their secret? They don’t tell their employees how to innovate; they manage the chaos. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google since 2001 and now chair of parent company Alphabet, shares the controversial management techniques he created to lead an environment of free-flowing ideas – and the disciplined decision-making that helps to make a breakthrough idea into a profitable product. He reveals the secret to Google’s former “20% time” policy, their approach to hiring smart creatives, and the parallels between leading Google and piloting small aircraft. Plus, his “roommate” at Google, and the decision he made to support a crazy idea that he was certain would bankrupt the company.Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/eric-schmidt-innovation-managed-chaos/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
37 minutes | 2 months ago
Rapid Response: What the pandemic has cost women, w/Ellevest's Sallie Krawcheck
Amidst the devastating effects of the pandemic, one in five women has left the workforce, and the gender pay gap and wealth gap are expanding. There's a long-term cost to that inequity, says Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, a fintech platform dedicated to serving women investors – and businesses can help to address that cost. A long-time C-suite leader at financial behemoths like Citi and Bank of America, Krawcheck knows firsthand the obstacles women face as well as the struggles big institutions can have in reconfiguring their practices to help. Today, she says, we can no longer look away from the harsh numbers. She believes the agility of startups provides a key part of the solution, demonstrating the impact that entrepreneurship can have, for all of us.
46 minutes | 2 months ago
54. What's the hidden business behind your business? w/Rent the Runway's Jenn Hyman
Rent the Runway co-founder Jenn Hyman knows: Behind every successful business is another business backstage, one you might not expect. Rent the Runway is known for creating a glamorous "closet in the cloud,” but as Hyman explains, it achieved unicorn status by mastering a few less glamorous businesses — including the world’s largest dry-cleaning operation, and a data insights practice that’s changing the fashion industry. Cameo appearance: Kevin Venardos (Venardos Circus); Stewart Butterfield (Slack).Read Jenn Hyman's essay on the making of this episode: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mastering-businesses-behind-our-business-jennifer-hyman/Learn more about the Venardos Circus: https://www.venardoscircus.com/Listen to Stewart Butterfield on Masters of Scale: http://listen.mastersofscale.com/StewartButterfieldRead a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/jenn-hyman-the-secret-business-behind-the-business/Subscribe to the weekly Masters of Scale newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
61 minutes | 2 months ago
8 reliable lessons for unreliable times
If 2021 is even half as unpredictable as 2020 was, you'll need to dig deep into your resilience and wisdom to get through. We've pulled together this special episode of Masters of Scale to serve as a sort of primer for the new year, full of lessons learned from the sometimes devastating, sometimes inspiring year we just put behind us. These lessons come from a range of guests we've spoken to in a time of incredible change. Some are stories about doing everything right – and still ending up in crisis. Others are about overcoming the odds with grit, heart, and compassion. Featuring GM's Mary Barra, Jeff Wiener, Jonah Peretti, Rashad Robinson, Colleen DeCourcy, Susan Wojcicki, and more. Transcript at https://mastersofscale.com/
54 minutes | 2 months ago
2020: The Year in Review w/Reid Hoffman & Bob Safian
Our host, Reid Hoffman, and our editor at large, Bob Safian, in conversation about a pandemic-disrupted year filled with unexpected twists and lessons. From the rise (and risks) of remote work to accelerations in tech; from supply-chain disruption to opportunities in manufacturing; from stock-market fluctuations to social justice demonstrations, 2020 was a turning point in so many realms. Reid and Bob talk about the rising responsibility of business – now is the time, says Reid, to speak up on civic and cultural matters – and the many opportunities in the year to come. While 2020 has been devastating, says Reid, we have reached a moment for entrepreneurs to rise, to create, and to blaze the path forward.
37 minutes | 2 months ago
Rapid Response: Why Salesforce bought Slack, w/Salesforce's Bret Taylor
Salesforce's much-buzzed-about deal to acquire Slack for $28 billion goes back a decade, when Friendfeed founder Bret Taylor met Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield. Now Taylor is Salesforce's president, while Butterfield runs Slack. In this episode, Taylor talks about how the pandemic helped the two friends bring their businesses together, and what a Salesforce-Slack combination means for the future of work. Taylor explains how an initial paralysis within Salesforce when the pandemic hit turned into a new operating model based more than ever on digital work tools. With vaccines in sight, Taylor also shares inside data on our love-hate relationship with the office. In the end, he argues, the workplace of tomorrow will depend as much on human choices as it does on software.
38 minutes | 3 months ago
57. Be a platform, w/Shopify's Tobi Lütke
The secret to massive scale? Be a platform. Build a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, and you’ll emerge the biggest winner of all. This is what Tobi Lütke did when he built Shopify – and then opened it up to the world. Cameo appearances by: Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt (Google), Julia Hartz (Eventbrite), and Gustav Söderström (Spotify).Read a transcript of this interview at: https://mastersofscale.com/tobi-lutke-be-a-platform/Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX
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