To move at the speed of opportunity, you need to accelerate expertise. Mellody Hobson is co-CEO of Ariel Investments, the largest minority-owned investment firm in the United States, as well as board chair of Starbucks. Her entrepreneurial journey was fueled by an intense attention to learning from every mentor, every opportunity, and every mistake. Becoming both a fast and a deep learner is rarely something you’re born with, but it’s a practice we can all develop.
Scott Harrison’s success at Charity: Water flows from an unwavering belief that there’s no better investment in people and communities than clean water.
You can’t predict your next a-ha moment — but you can create the circumstances for serendipity to happen. No one knows this better than J.J. Abrams, director, producer, screenwriter, and co-founder and co-CEO of Bad Robot Productions, behind some of the most successful TV series and films of the last 20 years, from Lost to Star Trek to the Star Wars sequel trilogy. J.J. explains how creativity and collaboration are things you cultivate, not conjure; and that making room for magic isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential part of entrepreneurship.
How do you win the war for talent? Send your frontline workers to online school. That’s the pitch Rachel Carlson has made to businesses from Chipotle to Disney, Walmart to Waste Management. As co-founder and CEO of Guild Education, Carlson helps workers get online degrees and certifications as a free employee benefit. To meet the ongoing need for upskilling, Carlson says, company-sponsored classes should be as ubiquitous as company-sponsored health plans — because the ROI is astonishingly high.
Ad revenue for Morning Brew’s newsletter dried up when the pandemic hit, but its audience remained devoted. Morning Brew CEO Alex Lieberman, who started the business with co-founder Austin Rief as undergraduates at the University of Michigan, leaned into the brand’s distinctive personality, fueling a sharp rebound. Next step? Selling a majority interest to Business Insider for a reported $75 million. An authentic voice, he says, is a shortcut to business success.
Daniella Ballou-Aares of the Leadership Now Project argues that corporate activism is about embracing both responsibility and opportunity.
Successful daredevils aren’t really winging it, even if it looks that way from the outside. They have a method. No one knows like 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, as one of the most prolific, successful founders ever. You can’t help but marvel at his bias to action: his eagerness to ask “What if?” and then follow up. He shares how you too can learn to take the right leaps, in the right moments, to generate outsize opportunities.
As Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot oversees the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization and second-largest U.S. charity. She details the immense challenge of responding to food insecurity during the pandemic.
Going head-to-head against Tesla is daunting enough. But for solar power company Sunrun’s CEO Lynn Jurich, that’s just the beginning. Expectations for solar are high under a Biden administration, and Sunrun’s stock price has quadrupled in the past year — in the most partisan environment in generations. Her touchstone, in a key lesson for entrepreneurs, is to focus on long-term trends.
Small business is being taxed emotionally as well as financially, and that tax is rising, says H&R Block CEO Jeff Jones. As the pandemic hit, entrepreneurs did what entrepreneurs do: solved problems, protected teams, served customers. But their anxiety keeps riseing, according to an H&R Block study from which Jones shares important takeaways.
What’s more important than product-market fit? Product-VALUE fit. If you choose the right values to drive product development, you’ll draw the people, resources and speed you need. It’s true for for-profits and for nonprofits. And Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales knows this well. Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has famously stuck to its values of openness, neutrality, and remaining not-for-profit. But he arrived at those precise values through trial and error — on an earlier free encyclopedia project that stalled. Once he found the right product-value fit, Wikipedia rapidly scaled from a niche side project to one of the most valued treasures on the internet.
When you scale at warp speed, it’s easy to lose your bearings. You have to establish your company’s true north, or the dizzying pace of growth will push you off course. No one knows this better than Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. Under her leadership, YouTube has grown to be the world’s largest video platform. And in her previous role at Google, she was a chief architect of its advertising and analytics model. In both roles, she achieved massive scale – and grappled with massive challenges. Susan shares the guiding principles that help them stay the course — as well as stories from Google’s early years that you’ll hear first here. Cameo appearances: Dr. Becky Smethurst (astrophysicist, Oxford), Shishir Mehrotra (Coda, Google, YouTube).