After an infamous fall, MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes is back to try again, applying hard-earned lessons and a revamped model to meet the same goal: make theater-going a habit for a new generation. As a passionate Black entrepreneur, Stacy shares the hidden powers of being an outsider and how anyone can re-take control of their narrative to spark a new and exciting chapter.
To breathe fresh life into an established platform, Kickstarter’s new 33-year-old CEO Everette Taylor is shaking things up – and he’s unapologetic if it makes people uncomfortable. From bold new product lines to bold statements, Taylor is working to kickstart Kickstarter’s existing community while aggressively pursuing new users. Marketing is product and product is marketing, he says. “I want to build a juggernaut.”
While media companies from CNN to Buzzfeed have faced layoffs, one digital network focused on Black millennials has continued to forge ahead. Morgan DeBaun, CEO of Blavity, which reaches some 100 million users through brands like Travel Noire and Afrotech, has defied the odds — repeatedly. Morgan’s experience offers lessons about financial discipline and focused patience, as well as the untapped value in multicultural consumers. An adviser to big companies like American Airlines and an advocate for the Black tech community, Morgan illuminates how openness and opportunity reinforce each other, for enterprises at all scales.
When markets are in turmoil, you can’t rely on business as usual, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. As the housing climate has turned volatile, rest estate marketplace Zillow has been forced to rethink some priorities, while doubling down on others. Zillow president Susan Daimler talks about the importance of a strategy focused on the future, despite layoffs and pullbacks, and how maintaining a clear shared mindset has enabled forward progress in a challenging climate.
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?
Amazon wants to get bigger, but with that scale comes great responsibility. So says Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services, the most profitable and fastest growing part of the tech giant. Selipsky, who also oversees Amazon’s climate change efforts, points to two additions to the company’s vaunted “Leadership Principles” as evidence of Amazon’s commitment. Arguing that AWS is still in early days, he shares what he’s hearing from other CEOs about their biggest concerns, why “carbon intensity” is the best measure of climate progress for businesses, and what Amazon’s aspiration to be “Earth’s best employer” really means.
Crypto winter isn’t a disaster, it’s an opportunity. That’s how Michael Gronager, CEO of $8 billion crypto data company Chainalysis, describes the crashing prices and bankruptcies that have roiled the cryptocurrency sector. Gronager offers an insider’s perspective on operating in a volatile marketplace, providing lessons on dreaming too big in boom times and on leaning into building and creating when lulls emerge. Chainalysis helps track financial flows on blockchains, including crypto criminals from North Korea and Russia. Despite current risks, Gronager argues, the still-emerging crypto sector is maturing, and he’s as confident as ever about its future.
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.
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.
Jessica Alba’s approach in founding and building The Honest Company revolves around three letters: IRL, a useful acronym for “In Real Life.” This phrase acts as a reminder for the company to shine the spotlight onto their customer’s real needs – not only to understand them, but to address them as well.
When hard times hit, the show must still go on. But as Drama League board president and Broadway HD CEO Bonnie Comley explains, even when the lights are dark, progress can be made. Broadway’s 41 theaters were dark for 18 months, but the 18-month pandemic closure created an opportunity for the $16 billion industry to expand the customer base and embrace digital engagement.
To achieve massive scale, you don’t just need founders, you also need a re-founder – someone to come in at a later stage to keep the mission and culture on track. As Microsoft’s third CEO ever – after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer – Satya Nadella is doing just that. He discusses how he has transformed Microsoft from a cutthroat culture towards embracing social networks, collaboration, and cloud.