Masters of Scale is an original podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn and Investor at Greylock. In each episode, Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion, testing his theories with legendary leaders. Masters of Scale is the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for guests. It won the 2018 People’s Voice Webby for Best Business Podcast.

Winner of the 2018 People’s Choice Webby For Best Business Podcast

In This Week's Episode:

HOW TO FIND YOUR BIG IDEA

Sara Blakely
Founder of Spanx

Cameo appearances: Andrés Ruzo (National Geographic explorer), Michelle Lee (former Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office), and Linda Rottenberg (Endeavor)

Photography Courtesy of Sara Blakely

Reid's theory:

I believe there’s only one way to find your big idea: Look for it. Look for it. Look for it. And then act.

"Look at 15 things in your life. Write down how they could be better. You'll have a big idea right there."

- SARA BLAKELY

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PAST EPISODES

EPISODE 21

HOW TO DO GOOD — AND DO GOOD BUSINESS

Howard Schultz
Chair & former CEO of Starbucks

Cameo appearances: Leila Janah (Samasource, LXMI)

Photography Courtesy of Starbucks

“Starbucks is values-driven, and as a result of those values, we have become very profitable.”

Reid’s theory:
I believe you can scale positive social impact along with your business. But only if you’re as creative and cash-conscious about doing good as you are about your business itself.

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BONUS EPISODE

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF STARTUP SUCCESS

Tim Ferriss
Author & entrepreneur

Cameo appearances: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Linda Rottenberg (Endeavor)

Photography Courtesy of Tim Ferriss

“Follow these 10 commandments and you’ll be on your way to startup success, life success, as well as your hero’s journey.”

Reid says:
All of the advice I give entrepreneurs comes from lessons that I have personally learned.

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EPISODE 20

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FIRST IDEA

Ev Williams
Co-founder of Medium & Twitter

Cameo appearances: Angela Duckworth (psychologist), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook)

Photography by Christopher Schodt

“Don’t feel fatigued by repetition. Instead, celebrate your single-mindedness.”

Reid’s theory:
I believe you can never know the full reach of your first idea. It could span your entire career.

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EPISODE 19

HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT TO SCALE

Payal Kadakia
Founder & Chair of ClassPass

Cameo appearances: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Linda Rottenberg (Endeavor)

Photography courtesy of Khaled Sayed

You have to know what it is about your service that your customers find invaluable.”

Reid’s theory:
I believe the price that bleeds your business may save your business.

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EPISODE 18

HOW TO BUILD YOUR COMPANY TO LAST

John Elkann
Chair of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Cameo appearances: Robert Pasin (Radio Flyer), Paulette Mae Cole (ABC Home & Carpet), Tony Tjan (Cue Ball)

Photography courtesy of John Elkann

“Forget being a Unicorn. Learn to be a Phoenix.”

Reid’s theory:
I believe you can scale a business that lasts a century or more — but you have to learn to rise and fall and rise again.

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EPISODE 17

HOW TO WIN USER LOVE

Sam Altman
President of Y Combinator

Cameo appearances: Dominique Ansel (Dominique Ansel Bakery), Aubrie Pagano (Bow & Drape), Sara Blakely (Spanx)

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“The true seed of scale begins with a tiny kernel of die hard fans.”

Reid’s theory:
I believe it’s more important to have 100 people who LOVE your product than one million who just sort of like it.

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EPISODE 16

MODEL BEHAVIOR

Caterina Fake
Co-founder of Flickr, investor

Cameo appearances: Joi Ito (MIT Media Lab)

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“In every kind of community — from a company to an online photo-sharing site — culture cements very quickly.”

Reid’s theory:
I believe every founder of an online community has a responsibility to shape the culture from day one, because the tone you set is the tone you’re going to keep.

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EPISODE 15

LEARN TO UNLEARN

Barry Diller
Chair of IAC

Cameo appearances: Dara Khosrowshahi (Uber), Margaret Heffernan (entrepreneur)

Photography By Angelica Ekeke

“I believe the essential skill set of a serial entrepreneur comes down to a simple habit: you have to learn to unlearn.”

Reid’s theory:
You have to frequently ask yourself, “Which of the old lessons have to be thrown out? And which things do I have to unlearn or learn anew?”

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EPISODE 14

INFINITE LEARNER

Barry Diller
Chair of IAC

Cameo appearances: Drew Houston (Dropbox), Alexa Christon (GE), and more.

Photography By Angelica Ekeke

“I believe there are no true ‘masters of scale.’ We are all, at best, infinite learners.”

Reid’s theory:
Almost every scalable idea forces you to grapple with an emerging phenomenon. Everything around you is changing — your business, your market, your team.

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EPISODE 13

THE BIG PIVOT

Stewart Butterfield
Co-founder of Slack, Flickr

Cameo appearances: Tim Lefler (Slack)

Photography By Christopher Schodt

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

Reid’s theory:
There’s more to a pivot than a sharp left turn. First, there’s the opportunity you’re pivoting toward. Can you see it clearly enough to navigate toward it? Can you convince others to come along?

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EPISODE 12

LOOK SIDEWAYS

Diane Greene
Co-founder of VMWare

Cameo appearances: Chris Costa (Victorinox)

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 11

Escape The Competition

Peter Thiel
CEO of PayPal

Cameo appearances: Darryl Woodson (USATF Track Coach), Natasha Hastings (Olympic champion), Umber Ahmad (Ma Zeh Dar Bakery), Brian Chesky (Airbnb)

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 10

Let Fires Burn

Selina Tobaccowala
CEO of Evite, Gixo

Cameo appearances: Cheryl Kellond (Apostrophe, Inc.), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Lisa Curtis (Kuli Kuli), Hadi Partovi (Code.org), Jerry Chen (Greylock Partners)

Photography By Christopher Schodt

“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 9

The Next Silicon Valley Is...?

Linda Rottenberg
CEO of Endeavor

Cameo appearances: Kristen Marhaver (TED, CARMABI), Sam Altman (Y-Combinator), Juliana Rotich (Ushahidi), Yossi Vardi (investor), Andrew Ng (Baidu)

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 8

Culture Shock

Reed Hastings
CEO & Founder of Netflix

Cameo appearances: Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Aneel Bhusri (Workday), Margaret Heffernan (entrepreneur), Tristan Walker (Walker & Co.), Mariam Naficy (Minted)

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 7

Grit Happens

Nancy Lublin
CEO & Founder of Crisis Text Line

Cameo appearances: Sam Altman (Y-Combinator), Greg Baldwin (VolunteerMatch), 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 6

Innovation = Managed Chaos

Eric Schmidt
Former CEO of Google

Cameo appearances: Margaret Heffernan (Entrepreneur, CEO), Omid Kordestani (Twitter), 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 5

Lead, Lead Again

Sheryl Sandberg
COO of Facebook

Cameo appearances: Bill Gates (Microsoft, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), Margaret Heffernan (Entrepreneur, CEO), 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 4

Imperfect is Perfect

Mark Zuckerberg
Founder & CEO of Facebook

Cameo appearances: Kara Goldin (Hint), Susan Danziger (Ziggeo), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), 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 3

The Beauty of a Bad Idea

Tristan Walker
Founder & 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 2

The Money Episode

Mariam Naficy
Founder & CEO of Minted

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

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 1

Handcrafted

Brian Chesky
Co-founder & CEO of Airbnb

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

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 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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