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Masters of Scale

Masters of Scale

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On Masters of Scale, iconic business leaders share lessons and strategies that have helped them grow the world's most fascinating companies. Founders, CEOs, and dynamic innovators join candid conversations about their triumphs and challenges with a set of luminary hosts, including founding host Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner). From navigating early prototypes to expanding brands globally, Masters of Scale provides priceless insights to help anyone grow their dream enterprise.

466 Episodes
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Masters of Scale goes under the hood of powerful AI in audio, unveiling a full vocal clone for founding host Reid Hoffman. Our CEO Jeff Berman, the Masters of Scale staff, and Reid himself tell the story of creating a synthetic voice we call “Reid-ish.” The company Respeecher is behind the technology, and its CEO Alex Serdiuk walks us through the speech replication process. Through “Reid-ish” we grapple with authenticity, disclosure, labor, and evolving norms around AI in media. Reid ponders what’s possible for greater sharing and learning through this audio technology, as well as what listeners should know about its use.For more on our team’s principles and practices, go to mastersofscale.com/pledge for our proposed Listener’s Bill of Rights in the Age of AI.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Amid college campus protests over Palestine and Israel, stark US political divides, and legal challenges to diversity initiatives, business leaders face new pressure on whether to speak out and take action on issues of our time. Ken Frazier, former CEO of Merck, and Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express, offer their unfiltered advice, as board members of the Harvard Corporation and two of America’s most prominent Black executives. It’s a candid conversation about the most controversial topics in American business, from DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) to January 6th.The pair collaborate at the venture capital firm, General Catalyst. Ken Chenault is the Chairman and a Managing Director, while Ken Frazier is the firm’s Chairman of Health Assurance initiatives.Subscribe to the Rapid Response podcast feed: https://listen.rapidresponseshow.com/SubscribeFor more info, visit: www.rapidresponseshow.comSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Success looks different for everybody. But author and psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that whether we achieve success, or even seek it, may hinge on a characteristic that she calls “grit.” Angela’s 2016 bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance quickly became a must-read for business leaders. On Masters of Scale she describes her unlikely path to scaling the impact of her work, through becoming a public intellectual. We hear why she studied commonalities among high-achieving individuals, her top advice for founders, and why grit alone is not enough. Plus we get the scoop on Angela’s next book!Angela discussed her inspiration for distilling complex ideas into accessible wisdom: psychologist William James and his Talks to Teachers. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
As Rapid Response begins a twice-weekly cadence, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky returns to reveal how the company’s new Icons initiative points toward a surprising new chapter ahead. Host Bob Safian gets Chesky to open up about the mental struggles of being a high-profile CEO, plus the inside story behind Airbnb’s recent ad campaign targeting hotels. The pair cover so much, we’ve split the episode into two parts. Part 2 drops this Friday exclusively in the Rapid Response podcast feed. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!Subscribe to the Rapid Response podcast feed: https://listen.rapidresponseshow.com/SubscribeFor more info, visit: www.rapidresponseshow.comSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Some business leaders have a seemingly psychic ability to spot trends, and take them mainstream at just the right moment. Ron Shaich is one of those. As a pioneering force behind fast-casual dining, Shaich saw that a growing number of Americans craved higher quality food in a relaxed yet speedy setting. His first major company, Au Bon Pain, paved the way for the meteoric rise of Panera Bread, with more than 2,000 locations nationwide. An accidental start running a convenience store first showed Ron the power of business to enact change. And his curiosity about trends and pattern recognition has fueled the growth of his businesses for decades. These forces have led to Ron Shaich upending how we eat like few others. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeRead Ron's latest book, "Know What Matters": https://store.hbr.org/product/know-what-matters-lessons-from-a-lifetime-of-transformations/10660See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
We’ve reached a radical inflection point in the growth of women’s sports, particularly the WNBA. As college stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese enter the league, fans are clamoring for tickets and on social media, generating unprecedented excitement and business potential. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert joins Rapid Response host Bob Safian to share how she plans to capitalize on this newfound buzz, and how NIL deals have transformed the business of sports for players and owners alike. Plus, Engelbert peels back the curtain on how she led the league through the Brittney Griner crisis and the tumult of COVID. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
What started with three college friends looking for a healthy lunch in D.C. grew into Sweetgreen, a fast-growing restaurant business focused on salads and grain bowls. From a tiny 500-square-foot storefront to more than 220 locations nationwide, the Sweetgreen journey includes booking The Strokes for a "salad festival," adopting cutting-edge technology, and proving that fast food can include locally-sourced, farm-fresh ingredients. Listen to co-founders Jonathan Neman, Nathaniel Ru, and Nicolas Jammet share how they have scaled the business in alignment with its core values, to a public company valued at $2.5 billion.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Khan Academy first rocked the education world with online video. Now Khan Academy CEO and founder Sal Khan has gone all-in on AI, convinced that it has immense potential to democratize and improve education. Khan tells Rapid Response host Bob Safian how an early outreach from OpenAI led Khan Academy to create an AI assistant called Khanmigo, which is already being used by thousands of students and teachers. Khan shares lessons from this real-world experiment, plus the inspiration behind his new book, Brave New Words, and why the most educated among us tend to avoid the risks worth taking.Pre-order Sal Khan’s new book, Brave New Words: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/740806/brave-new-words-by-salman-khan/Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Every day we’re inundated with news and opinion pieces about America’s hopeless division — but is this really true? Axios CEO Jim VandeHei joins Rapid Response host Bob Safian to bust what he sees as myth, plus share his seemingly counterintuitive AI play. VandeHei also makes a case for why the era of business leaders speaking out on political issues may be behind us, and he weighs-in on the state of Buzzfeed, NPR, and where the future of news media is inevitably headed.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Maëlle Gavet is the CEO of Techstars, a pre-seed investor focused on early-stage entrepreneurs. It boasts a market cap of $111.6 billion, and supports founders in programs that span from Tokyo to Lagos to Alabama. Maëlle champions hard work, gratitude, and a questioning nature, qualities her grandfather imparted while she was growing up in France. She has carried her curiosity through a wide-ranging international career, in start-ups and scaled corporations. We hear lessons drawn from her vast experience, including the transformation of Ozon — the "Amazon of Russia" — in the early 2010s, to leadership roles in global travel and real estate. And we get a sample of the advice she often shares with Techstars’ founders, about how to balance their values and the needs of their company, always with an optimism about entrepreneurship as a force for good.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
The streaming wars have reached a new inflection, as Netflix and Disney+ jostle for position, and in the process disrupt post-strike Hollywood. Paramount+ invested heavily in blockbuster veteran Alex Kurtzman to turn Star Trek into a distinguishing franchise. Now Kurtzman talks with Rapid Response host Bob Safian about the future of streaming, the end of TV’s golden age, and how courting Trekkies offers lessons for all customer engagement. Plus, Kurtzman shares behind the scenes stories of Star Trek’s past, present and future.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Generative AI is advancing at a breakneck pace, prompting questions on risk and opportunity, from content creation to personal data management. In a special live recording, we delve into the ways AI can augment human work and spur innovation, instead of simply using AI to cut costs or replace jobs. Host Jeff Berman joined a seasoned AI researcher, Intel's Lama Nachman, and a young start-up founder, Scale AI's Alexandr Wang, on stage at the Intel Vision event in April 2024. They explore topics like AI’s disruption of creative industries, mitigating its biggest risks (like deepfakes), and why human critical thinking will be even more vital as AI technology spreads.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Is the state of the U.S. economy good or bad right now? Stock markets have soared, but consumers remain wary. Are CEOs and investors deluding themselves? Or do Main Street Americans expect too much? Suzanne Clark, CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, has uncommon insight into this perplexing dichotomy. She talks with Rapid Response host Bob Safian about what she’s hearing from businesses in the U.S. and abroad. Plus, she shares details from her recent high-profile visit to China. Also: why bringing your full self to work may not be a good idea, and how optimism drives economic growth and progress.  Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
John Mackey, co-founder and former CEO of Whole Foods Market, started in the grocery business as a Texas undergraduate seeking the keys to a happy life. The self-described “hippie” opened one natural foods store in Austin and scaled beyond imagination from there. In his 44 years as CEO, Whole Foods grew to more than 500 locations and to a $13.7 billion valuation. Mackey shares how tapping into passion and purpose can align an entrepreneur with larger waves of change. Even as traditional grocery chains cut costs and streamlined, Whole Foods focused on the in-store experience, and carefully selected locations for successful growth. Mackey shares lessons in being put to the test around politics and activist investors, and his belief in creating value for all stakeholders. Hear how and why he sold Whole Foods to Amazon, and how tapping into purpose led to a new venture, the health and wellness brand Love.Life.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
We are biologically wired to focus on the near-term, and that’s often a good thing. But in this moment — with global conflict, fast-evolving tech, and climate change dominating our present — we need to also prioritize long-term impacts. Futurist Ari Wallach joins Rapid Response host Bob Safian to dive into our biological and business motivations around what he calls “futuring.” Host of the new PBS docuseries, A Brief History of the Future, Wallach shares lessons from the longest-standing corporations on Earth, why he views AI as “immortal algorithms,” and how business leaders must embrace the moral imperative of their business as a core KPI.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
With his trademark wit and wisdom, Guy Kawasaki shares lessons from his trailblazing journeys in tech and investing. He was “software evangelist” at Apple when the company launched its revolutionary Macintosh line. He went on to lead his own wide-ranging ventures, and today has reprised his role as “evangelist” at the graphic design platform Canva. Guy has also written 16 books and hosts the “Remarkable People” podcast, which is now a book of the same name. He offers valuable insights on fostering a growth mindset, embracing change, and harnessing the power of AI to supercharge innovation. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
If the U.S. government bans TikTok, a generation of content creators and brands who have built businesses on the platform will be radically disrupted. With 17 million social followers — 3.5 million of which on TikTok — fitness and lifestyle entrepreneur Cassey Ho is in the heart of that storm. Founder of athleisure brands Blogilates and POPFLEX, she joins Rapid Response host Bob Safian to discuss the fast-changing game of social engagement and what’s required right now. Plus, she offers personal lessons on building a dedicated following and how audience feedback fuels her product roadmap. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
The high-flying Angel City Football Club is rising to a historic valuation in professional women’s soccer, nearing $200 million. When the Los Angeles team started four years ago, franchises in its league went for as little as $2 million. Co-founders Kara Nortman and Julie Uhrman reveal the game-changing strategies behind this seismic shift, created with a third co-founder, actor and activist Natalie Portman. The tale of ACFC holds valuable lessons, from harnessing an outsider's advantage to tapping an underserved market with fresh perspectives. Their bold vision: prove women's sports is a lucrative enterprise, champion equitable recognition and pay across gender, and craft an iconic brand fueling community impact. Kara and Julie’s big dreams, brilliant execution, and unstoppable determination have transformed an industry.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Rabid demand for weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy is altering US society and transforming the healthcare industry. Rapid Response host Bob Safian guides us through the upheaval and lessons, talking with CEO Zach Reitano of Ro, a telehealth platform that has ridden the wave to a $7 billion valuation. Reitano shares why he chose obesity-treatment as his company’s “hero product,” the impact of weight-loss drugs on industries beyond health-care, and why the potential of GLP-1s like Ozempic mirrors that of AI.Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Just like private companies, many not-for-profit organizations begin when a founder sees a gap in the market and makes something new to fill it. Ian Bassin is a lawyer, former White House counsel and not-for-profit leader who saw a need to better protect and preserve the building blocks of America’s democratic systems, and steer things away from authoritarianism. His organization, Protect Democracy, brings together stakeholders across political divides to develop products, systems and services related to good governance. And Ian’s workforce has been entirely distributed — with employees now in more than 20 states — from the very beginning.Host Jeff Berman draws out Ian’s story of crafting Protect Democracy’s mission alongside its culture. Hear how Ian gained the confidence, political and financial capital to start his work, and how he aligns an all-remote team. This episode is packed with insights for business leaders who navigate difference, and who aim to drive positive change. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribeSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
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