Rank #1: Keep Humans In the Equation w/ TaskRabbit's Stacy Brown-Philpot
You may think that to scale you need to cut humans out of the equation. The opposite is true. You can harness the power of the "human cloud" to solve almost any problem — as long as you keep the word “human” in the equation. That's what TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot champions for this community of people who work with each other, teach each other, and continually learn from each other. With cameos by DeLashea Strawder (Mosaic Youth Theater in Detroit) and Whitney Johnson (Author, "Build An A Team").
Rank #2: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg in Imperfect is Perfect
If you’re Steve Jobs, you can wait for your product to be perfect. But there are almost no Steve Jobs’ in the world. For the rest of us, If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late. Imperfect is perfect. Why? Because your assumptions about what people want are never exactly right. Most entrepreneurs create great products through a tight feedback loop with real customers using a real product. So don’t fear imperfections; they won’t make or break your company. What will make or break you is speed. And no one knows this better than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. He shares the origin story of his famous mantra, “move fast and break things” and how this ethos applied as Facebook evolved from student project to tech giant.
Rank #3: Escape the Competition w/ PayPal's Peter Thiel
If you want to grow your business, your goal isn’t to beat the competition — it’s to escape the competition altogether. No one knows this better than Paypal founder Peter Thiel. “Competition is for losers,” he’s been known to say. Thiel is a former colleague, frequent co-investor and long-time intellectual sparring partner with Host Reid Hoffman. Their combined thinking on the competitive landscape is unmissable.
Rank #4: The elusive formula for great hiring w/Workday's Aneel Bhusri
Your first hires = cultural cofounders. And it’s worth your time to get every one right. Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri personally interviewed his first FIVE HUNDRED employees at Workday. He knows how to map back from the culture he wants, to employee attributes to interview questions. Today, with 8000+ employees and $2b in annual revenue, Workday is consistently rated one of the best places to work. With cameo appearances by Danny Meyer (Founder, Shake Shack), Arianna Huffington (founder, Thrive Global), Michael Bush (CEO, Great Place to Work) and Joyce Nethry (founder of Jeptha Creed Distillery).
Rank #5: Netflix's Reed Hastings in Culture Shock
I believe strong company cultures only emerge when every employee feels they own the culture — and this begins even before the first job interview. CEO Reed Hastings has built an adaptive, high-performing culture at NetFlix by being unabashedly upfront about who they are and who they aren’t. The company’s famous “culture deck” offers a 100-slide description of how NetFlix sees itself — not a “family” but a high performing sports team. It won’t appeal to everyone — and that’s the point. If you can define your culture tightly, while also resonating deeply with a diverse group of employees, you have a winning formula.
Rank #6: Google/Alphabet's Eric Schmidt in Innovation = Managed Chaos
Google has succeeded by innovating again and again. Not just search, but Gmail and Google Docs and even self-driving cars. Their secret? They don’t tell their employees how to innovate; they manage the chaos. Eric Schmidt—CEO of Google since 2001 and now Chairman of parent company Alphabet—shares the controversial management techniques he created to cultivate an environment of free-flowing ideas plus disciplined decision making that lead to breakthrough ideas. He reveals the hidden secret in Google’s famous “20% time” policy, their approach to hiring smart creatives, and the parallels between leading Google and piloting small airplanes. Plus, his “roommate” at Google, and the decision he made to support a crazy idea that he was certain would bankrupt the company.
Rank #7: Bonus Episode: The Ten Commandments of Startup Success
Guest host Tim Ferriss shares advice you’ll will want to etch into stone: the Ten Commandments of Startup Success. We teamed up with Tim’s eponymous podcast, the Tim Ferriss Show, to bring you this special remix of actionable lessons from every episode of Masters of Scale, Season One, including previously unaired insights from Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Endeavor’s Linda Rottenberg. Tim is an accomplished speaker who’s given multiple TED Talks and author of The 4 Hour Work Week. He’s masterful at extracting tips, tricks and lifehacks for busy entrepreneurs.
Rank #8: Look Sideways w/ Google / VMware’s Diane Greene
Business plan not entirely clear? Not sure how you’ll make enough money or find your users? That's OK. Really. The most scalable ideas often come at you sideways. You'll find yourself crabwalking from a small market to a bigger to one of unimaginable scale. We talk to the master of the entrepreneurial crabwalk, Diane Greene, who brought us into the age of cloud computing. As the founding CEO of VMWare and now the head of Google’s cloud division, she shares how she scampered sideways into a market of boundless potential.
Rank #9: The Reid Hoffman Story (Part 1) — Make everyone a hero
In this special episode, we turn the tables on host Reid Hoffman. He’s the guest and we tell his story, while proving a theory that’s perfect for Reid: You can chart an epic journey to scale, if you make everyone a hero along the way. Guest Host is June Cohen, Executive Producer of Masters of Scale, CEO of WaitWhat, and former Executive Producer of TED. Cameo Apperance: Matthew Mercer, host of the web series Critical Role.
Rank #10: Grit Happens with Crisis Text Line's Nancy Lublin
To succeed, entrepreneurs need a good idea, timing, money, luck. But more than anything, they need grit. Don’t confuse grit with sheer persistence; it’s not about charging up the same hill, again and again. The sort of grit you need to scale a business is less reliant on brute force. It’s actually one part determination and one part ingenuity — the ability to generate an endless supply of Plans B. And Nancy Lublin has a boundless supply of grit, which fueled her success scaling three successful not-for-profits: Dress for Success, DoSomething.org and Crisis Text Line. With practical wisdom and wicked humor, she shares the innovative approach to technology, financing, volunteers and staff development that have given her organizations such scale. If you think the for-profit world has a monopoly on scale thinking, think again.
Rank #11: Why Customer Love is All You Need w/ Y Combinator's Sam Altman
Better to have 100 users love you than 1 million that kinda like you. The true seed of scale is love, and you can't buy it, hack it, or game it. Ask Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's legendary startup accelerator. He knows that a product that's deeply loved — even by a tiny base of users — is one that can scale. We also hear an epic story of customer love from Chef Dominique Ansel, famed inventor of the Cronut. Plus cameos from Sara Blakely of Spanx and Aubrie Pagano of fashion line Bow & Drape.
Rank #12: Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg in Lead, Lead Again
In just 6 years, Facebook grew to 2 billion users and 14,000 employees. How? Well first, they hired COO Sheryl Sandberg. And she knew that to lead a fast-changing organization, you have to be as skilled at breaking plans as you are at making them. Great scale leaders know how to pivot. Every day, there are new competitors, new threats, new opportunities. There’s no simple, straightforward set of marching orders. It’s more like a dogfight. You and your team will be flying upside down and at an angle sometimes. Sandberg shares her practical, tactical on-the-ground lessons she learned at both Google and Facebook — everything from hiring people for roles that never existed before, celebrating birthdays for an enormous team, and navigating make-or-break crises as a management team. She also reveals the slow, professional courtship of Mark Zuckerberg.
Rank #13: The Big Pivot w/ Slack's Stewart Butterfield
In your company’s darkest moment, remember: You CAN pivot from failure to success. But only if you slash and burn everything that isn’t working. Slack’s Co-Founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield has twice navigated this kind of Big Pivot. He launched two different game companies, which turned into game-changing communications platforms (Flickr and Slack).
Rank #14: Shake Shack's Danny Meyer — When to ignore conventional wisdom
To revolutionize an industry, you have to cast off received wisdom. Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer knows this well. When he opened his first high-end restaurant, New York’s Union Square Cafe, received wisdom told him food was the star attraction. But Danny knew to focus on how customers FEEL. And it’s this feeling – Danny calls it “enlightened hospitality” — that he’s scaled. From his first innovative restaurants, Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern, to the dramatic scale story of Shake Shack, Danny cast off received wisdom and wrote his own rules: The staff comes first; investors comes last; the customer isn’t always right; and “service” is not the same as “hospitality.” His simple ideas have radical implications for any industry. With a cameo appearance from Rick Barry (Former NBA player.)
Rank #15: Infinite Learner (Part I) w/ IAC's Barry Diller
Tinder. Top Gun. Roots. The Simpsons. What do they have in common? Media icon Barry Diller. Barry is what we call an "infinite learner." He’s only interested in things he's never done before. And if they’ve never been done by ANYONE? Better yet. He succeeds by embracing that he is, in fact, a master of nothing. Entrepreneurs, take note: You just might be an infinite learner yourself, and Barry shares a lesson or two you can use.