Masters of Scale is an original podcast hosted by LinkedIn Co-Founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman showing how companies grow from zero to a gazillion. The series unfolds like a music-infused detective story as Hoffman tests his theories with famous founders. Masters of Scale is the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for guests.

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In This Week's Episode:

The Big Pivot

With Stewart Butterfield
Co-Founder Slack, Flickr

Cameo appearances: Tim Lefler (Slack)

Photography By Christopher Schodt

Reid’s theory:

You can pivot from failure to success, but only if you slash and burn the rest of your business.

"What do you do with an idea that isn't working? You kill it."

- REID HOFFMAN

"Concentrate on the storytelling on convincing people. If you can't do that doesn't matter how good the product is."

- STEWART BUTTERFIELD

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PAST EPISODES

EPISODE 1

Handcrafted

With Brian Chesky,
Co-Founder & CEO
of Airbnb

With cameo appearances by Patrick Collison (Stripe), Nancy Lublin (Dress for Success) and more.

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“In order to scale you have to do things that don’t scale.”

Reid’s theory:
If you want your company to truly scale, you first have to do things that don’t scale. Hand-craft the core experience. Serve your customers one-by-one. Then figure out how and what to scale.

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EPISODE 2

The Money Episode

With Mariam Naficy
Founder & CEO of Minted

Cameo appearances by Selina Tobaccowala (Evite, Gixo), Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize-winning psychologist) and more.

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“Always raise more money than you think you need.”

Reid’s theory:
Think you’ve raised enough money for your startup? Think again. You’ll have to run through a minefield of unexpected expenses. So always, always raise more money than you think you need.

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EPISODE 3

The Beauty of a Bad Idea

With Tristan Walker
Founder and CEO
of Walker and Co.

Cameo appearances by Kathryn Minshew (The Muse), Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital), Kara Goldin (Hint).

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“The best business ideas often seem laughable at first glance.”

Reid’s theory:
If you’re hearing a chorus of “No’s” it may actually be a good sign… Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb — they all sounded crazy before they scaled spectacularly. So don’t be discouraged by rejection. Instead, learn to hear the nuance between the different kinds of “no.”

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EPISODE 4

Imperfect is Perfect

With Mark Zuckerberg
Founder and CEO
of Facebook

Cameo appearances: Kara Goldin (Hint), Susan Danzinger (Ziggeo), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Dick Stockton (Hall of Fame sportscaster)

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late”

Reid’s theory:
Imperfect is perfect. Why? Because your assumptions about what people want are never exactly right. Most entrepreneurs create great products through a tight feedback loop with real customers using a real product. So don’t fear imperfections; they won’t make or break your company

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EPISODE 5

Lead, Lead Again

With Sheryl Sandberg
COO of Facebook

Cameo appearances: Bill Gates (Microsoft, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Margaret Heffernan (Entrepreneur, CEO) and Selina Tobaccowala (Evite, Gixo)

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“You have to be as skilled at breaking plans as you are at making them.”

Reid’s theory:
Great scale leaders know how to pivot. Every day, there are new competitors, new threats, new opportunities. There’s no simple, straightforward set of marching orders.

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EPISODE 6

Innovation = Managed Chaos

With Eric Schmidt
Executive Chairman of Alphabet

Cameo appearances: Margaret Heffernan (Entrepreneur, CEO), Omid Kordestani (Twitter) and Mark Pincus (Zynga)

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“The smartest companies don’t tell their employees how to innovate, they manage the chaos.”

Reid’s theory:
Eric Schmidt—CEO of Google since 2001 and now Chairman of parent company Alphabet—shares the controversial management techniques he created to cultivate an environment of free-flowing ideas plus disciplined decision making that lead to breakthrough ideas.

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EPISODE 7

Grit Happens

With Nancy Lublin
CEO and Founder of Crisis Text Line

Cameo appearances: Sam Altman (Y-Combinator), Greg Baldwin (VolunteerMatch) and John Lilly (Greylock Partners)

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“Entrepreneurs need a good idea, good timing, money and luck. But more than that — they need grit.”

Reid’s theory:
Don’t confuse grit with sheer persistence; it’s not about charging up the same hill, again and again. The sort of grit you need to scale a business is less reliant on brute force. It’s actually one part determination and one part ingenuity — the ability to generate an endless supply of Plans B.

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EPISODE 8

Culture Shock

With Reed Hastings
CEO and Founder of Netflix

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“A winning culture only emerges when every employee feels they personally own the culture.”

Reid’s theory:
The company’s famous “culture deck” offers a 100-slide description of how NetFlix sees itself — not a “family” but a high performing sports team. It won’t appeal to everyone — and that’s the point.

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EPISODE 9

The Next Silicon Valley Is...?

With Linda Rottenberg
CEO of Endeavor's

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“There will soon be contenders to Silicon Valley, especially in … China.”

Reid’s theory:
Today, no region can match Silicon Valley’s collective wisdom for scaling a business. But — from Buenos Aires to Boston, Tel Aviv to Shenzen — there are fledgling startup scenes that could ultimately give Silicon Valley a run for its money.

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EPISODE 10

Let Fires Burn

With Selina Tobaccowala
CEO of Evite, Gixo

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

“I believe smart managers know when to let fires burn.”

Reid’s theory:
The best entrepreneurs? They let fires burn. Knowing which problems not to solve is just as critical as knowing which problems must be solved.

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EPISODE 11

Escape The Competition

With Peter Thiel
CEO of PayPal

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“Your goal is not to beat the competition. Your goal is to break free of competition entirely.”

Reid’s theory:
“If you really want to scale a business, escape the competition. Change the playing field.”

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EPISODE 12

Look Sideways

With Diane Greene
Co-founder, VMWare

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“Scaleable ideas often come at you sideways.”

Reid’s theory:
“Quiet conversations are critical for ideas that come at you sideways. You ask ‘Are you seeing what I am seeing?’ Your own vision gets sharper.”

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EPISODE 2

The Money Episode

With Mariam Naficy
Founder and CEO of Minted

Cameo appearances by Selina Tobaccowala (Evite, Gixo), Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize-winning psychologist) and more.

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

COMING MAY 10

IMPERFECT IS PERFECT

With Mark Zuckerberg
Founder & CEO of Facebook

Cameo appearances: Kara Goldin (Hint Water), Susan Danzinger (Ziggeo), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Dick Stockton (Hall of Fame sportscaster)

Photography By Jacqui Ipp

COMING SOON

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