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Topic: Founding
Podcast: Episode 127: Must Listen

Dare to make unexpected moves

Accenture Song’s David Droga

What drove the meteoric rise of David Droga’s trailblazing agency Droga5? A series of daring, unexpected leaps — tactics he’s now applying at mega-scale as head of Accenture Song. Conventional wisdom tells you to ‘climb the ladder’ of success linearly — as an individual or a company. But David’s unexpected moves — leaning into creative partnerships and controversial programs — accelerated his path to scale. David tells us: “I’m more scared of repetition than I am of failure.”

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Turning point for a climate-crisis solution

Climeworks’ Christoph Gebald

The carbon-capture industry notched a breakthrough in early 2023, when Climeworks became the first company to be third-party certified for taking carbon out of the air and mineralizing it underground. Climeworks co-founder and co-CEO Christoph Gebald is now racing to scale this new potential, from Iceland to Oman to the United States, by convincing investors, corporate partners, and governments to support a new pillar in the quest for net-zero goals. Christoph points to both serendipity and learning from mistakes as key in helping Climeworks navigate the steep path required in addressing climate-crisis.

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Podcast: Episode 126: Must Listen

When to seek advice and when to ignore it

Inspired Capital’s Alexa von Tobel

Smart entrepreneurs know one of the secrets to scale is leveraging wisdom from others. (In fact, that’s the mission of this show!) But not all advice is right for you right now — and some can even be disastrous. As the founder of the proto-fintech platform LearnVest, Alexa von Tobel scaled her business by seeking advice from mentors and friends … and then, taking only the advice that served her mission. Following Alexa’s story, you’ll learn how to become a good advice detective, with the power to sort the transformative advice from the traps.

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Podcast: Bonus

6 leadership traps and how to avoid them

For entrepreneurs and business leaders, the path to success is littered with traps. In this special episode of Masters of Scale, we go into the trenches with leaders from Google, Uber, LinkedIn, and more for inside stories on how to identify, decode, and surmount unexpected pitfalls — from organizational jams to overcommunication, from bloated meetings to bungled succession planning. Learn how to get out of, and avoid, these traps, for yourself and the entire organization.

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How to cultivate a new industry

Upside Foods’ Uma Valeti, MD

When the FDA blessed Upside Foods’ grown-from-cells chicken as safe to eat, it was a coming-of-age moment for cultivated meat. Upside founder and CEO Dr. Uma Valeti shares his journey of convincing skeptics, landing investors from Bill Gates to food giants Tyson and Cargill, and building a collaborative partnership with the FDA and USDA. Plus, his lessons on leadership from a career in cardiology and what it will take to convert consumers to a never-before-seen product.

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Podcast: Bonus

5 ways to keep your brand relevant

Branding is at the heart of any organization’s identity, product, and mission. That’s why brand relevance isn’t a nice-to-have — it’s a need to have. This special episode shares key branding lessons from Nike, Disney, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and more.

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The rise of the wisdom worker

Modern Elder Academy’s Chip Conley

As we live and work longer, leaders need to redefine how they think about attracting and developing intergenerational talent. Modern Elder Academy’s Chip Conley is at the forefront of this mindset shift, explaining why “wisdom workers” will take the place of “knowledge workers.” A close mentor to Airbnb founder Brian Chesky, Chip stresses that those in mid-career face both more angst and more opportunity than ever. He provides a roadmap for reframing midlife from crisis to calling, and argues that five generations in the workplace requires a new generational compact.

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Don’t be a unicorn, be a dragon

Techstars’ Maëlle Gavet

The tech industry and its investors have been captivated by the spell of the Unicorn for too long — and the ambitious goal of a billion-dollar valuation has done more harm than good. Instead, founders should aim to be resilient Dragons. That’s the view of Maëlle Gavet, who as CEO of early-stage investment business Techstars has unmatched insight into the hopes, dreams, and challenges of thousands of founders. Maëlle also shares her experience as a “Fixer and Scaler” and offers important lessons for all entrepreneurs, from pre-seed start-ups to corporate change agents.

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Podcast: Episode 121: Must Listen

Let waypoints guide you

Aurora’s Chris Urmson

To complete an audacious journey, you need to set short, achievable goals — or waypoints — to avoid getting wildly lost. But waypoints also need to be flexible because when you’re knocked off track, you need to be able to realign your waypoints to get back on course. Aurora’s Chris Urmson shares how he keeps returning to short, flexible waypoints on his daunting journey to make autonomous vehicles part of our everyday lives.

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How Covid lessons get tested by inflation

Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer

After slashing his NYC restaurant team from 2,400 people to just 45 in the teeth of the pandemic, Danny Meyer has rebuilt Union Square Hospitality Group back to its former size. But in his fifth appearance on Rapid Response since Covid struck, Danny says he isn’t yet triumphant. With inflation creating fresh challenges even at Shake Shack, Danny shares lessons on the good and bad of leading through a crisis, plus explains why he’s handed off his CEO title — and where he finds inspiration to fuel new innovations.

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How to stay inspired while remote? Is there a co-founder advantage?

Can a small entrepreneur make an impact within a massive, complex system, like healthcare or education? What’s the best framework to amplify the positive side of having co-founders and avoid the negatives? Reid Hoffman and Bob Safian answer these and more questions from small business owners in the Masters of Scale community. Plus: in our Need to Know segment, Reid & Bob take on a burning question: How can Black founders beat the odds and find funding?

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