In June of 2020, executive producers June Cohen and Jordan McLeod sat down with comedian Stephen Colbert to discuss how, as host of The Colbert Report, Stephen pivoted a satirical run for U.S. president into a massive fundraiser for the nonprofit Donors Choose. They dive into how that presidential run came to be, and how Donors Choose helped Stephen solve the challenge of collecting “campaign contributions” without breaking federal election law. It’s a master class in “Yes-and”-ing your way to scale. Plus, Stephen describes daring his show’s parent company to stop him, when they tried to clip his electoral wings.
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.
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.
Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, breaks down his insights on artificial intelligence. The co-author of “The Age of AI: And Our Human Future,” alongside Dr. Henry Kissinger and MIT’s Daniel Huttenlocher, says we’re entering an unknown era – one that requires vigilance. His advice to business: You need to be running as fast as you can toward AI applications. If your competitor gets there first, you’ll be in trouble. AI, he says, will change business, society, humanity itself.
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.
Andrew Wilson, the CEO of Electronic Arts, explains how he’s playing in the metaverse – and how an industry-wide cultural referendum on harassment keeps him up at night.
Forget writing that business plan. Design an experiment instead. So many products and companies fail because the assumptions in their beautiful business plans were just wrong. So stop writing and start testing. No one knows this better than Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and founder of the Long Term Stock Exchange. After his first product failed, he developed a new method of product design based on running small, fast experiments, measuring the results, and learning from them. It’s a system built on data, not assumptions, and it works with almost everything — from app development to airplane design. It starts with establishing your own measure of success — then experimenting, improving, and trying over and over again. The feedback loop never stops.
For Chewy, the pet-supply company, the pandemic is driving unprecedented demand. Ultra-rapid growth has its own set of challenges that CEO Sumit Singh is responding to by: hiring, setting up a task team, rolling out customer-facing innovations in a weekend, and more.
Can you turn the remote-work scramble into a long-term benefit? Wences Casares runs a fully distributed company at his unicorn bitcoin startup, Xapo. For Wences, remote work is an intentional choice, one that celebrates the creativity and freedom of being released from geographical boundaries – and turns remote work into a striking advantage.