For truly sustainable long-term growth, you must prioritize your mission over your product — even if that means letting your product go. Noom founder and CEO Saeju Jeong has repeatedly turned his back on successful products in the name of his mission to help as many people as possible live healthier lives. In this episode, Saeju brings to life many of these make-or-break moments, and how his dedication to mission has driven his scale journey.
When is it time to double down on your instincts, and when is it time to open yourself up to feedback? Sometimes it comes down to a hard call… that you might get totally wrong. In Part Two of our episode with Patreon’s Jack Conte, you’ll hear how he was able to raise capital by telling his authentic story after a series of pitches that went disastrously wrong! And you’ll hear how his worst mistake as a founder helped him reconnect with Patreon’s mission and community, and build Patreon into a $4B company. How can being wrong accelerate your business? It takes running at the solution with insatiable curiosity.
Building a business means making mistakes. Lots of them. But how you’re wrong isn’t always obvious. Jack Conte has learned this lesson as a working musician — and while scaling Patreon into a company worth $4b. In Part One of a two-part series, you’ll hear how Jack wrote his own Wrongness Playbook, as he learned to answer questions like: If something isn’t working, is it time to trust your instincts? Or is there critical feedback you’ve been ignoring?
Creative energy is the raw fuel of entrepreneurship, but if you fail to direct that energy effectively, you risk chasing multiple ideas and delivering none. Tony Fadell learned this lesson time and again through his journey to co-create the iPod, iPhone, and Nest. He shares how he struck the tricky balance of channeling his creative experimentation into world-changing products.
If you want to capitalize on an opportunity that you think could change the world, you need to drive full speed toward it. Back in 1994, when Ajaz Ahmed dropped out of college to start one of the first digital ad agencies, AKQA, he knew he was at the cusp of the next revolution in tech. And if he wanted to be part of it, he’d have to move fast. Ahmed shares stories about how a band of 21-year-old dropouts built the agency from ground up, winning over early clients by building prototypes ahead of the competition. He dives into how his inner voice demanding him to “get big or die trying” led him to transform AKQA into a global agency with thousands of employees and the biggest clients in the world, like Nike, Virgin, and Usher.
Every company has its own internal factions: engineers vs. designers, East Coast vs. West, IT vs. everybody. The trick is turning factionalism into healthy competition that propels you toward your shared mission. At Motorola, Cisco, and now her start-up Fable, Padma Warrior has tapped into the power of internal divisions. It’s not about separating people into warring camps; it’s about building bridges from our differences, rather than divisions.
The first stage of building up a business is to break things down. Michael Dell started a computer company in his dorm room by cracking open some early IBM PCs and figuring out what he could do better, faster, and cheaper. Then he did the same thing to the entire model of computer sales. Learn from Dell how to revolutionize an industry — using deconstruction to gain insight your competitors lack, and then building something bigger and better.
Delivering human dignity to your customers is more than just good practice. It can be a powerful engine of scale. This insight has inspired Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins her whole career, as a labor leader, a music manager, and now as a fin-tech entrepreneur with Promise. Her secret? Take a contrarian lens to existing systems. Find a space where human dignity is lacking, create a product that gives your customers flexibility, options, access they didn’t have before — and unlock new value.
Watch the signed version of Amber Galloway’s story on YouTube.
A diverse network of collaborators is key when making scale leaps. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel has cultivated a wide network of scientists, business leaders, and government officials across his career. When COVID-19 struck, Bancel called upon this nexus of experts to aid the warp-speed development of the mRNA-based vaccine in the race to save millions of lives.
If you’re launching a moonshot, success depends on how you manage the trajectory of risk. When Stéphane Bancel became Moderna’s first CEO, the biotech start-up was chasing a way-out idea many experts thought was impossible. Stéphane built a culture of calculated risk-taking to create a platform for extraordinary leaps — one that enabled life-saving mRNA vaccines when Covid-19 struck.