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Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman

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The best startup advice from Silicon Valley & beyond. Iconic CEOs — from Nike to Netflix, Starbucks to Slack — share the stories & strategies that helped them grow from startups into global brands.

On each episode, host Reid Hoffman — LinkedIn cofounder, Greylock partner and legendary Silicon Valley investor — proves an unconventional theory about how businesses scale, while his guests share the story of how I built this company. Reid and guests talk entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, management, fundraising. But they also talk about the human journey — with all its failures and setbacks. 

With original, cinematic music and hilariously honest stories, Masters of Scale is a business podcast that doesn’t sound like a business podcast.

Guests on Masters of Scale have included the founders and CEOs of Netflix, Google, Facebook, Starbucks, Nike, Fiat, Spotify, Instagram, Airbnb, Uber, Paypal, Huffington Post, Twitter, Medium, Bumble, Yahoo, Slack, Spanx, Shake Shack, Dropbox, TaskRabbit, 23&Me, Mailchimp, Evite, Flickr, CharityWater, Endeavor, IAC and many more.

150 Episodes
Amidst the devastating effects of the pandemic, one in five women has left the workforce, and the gender pay gap and wealth gap are expanding. There's a long-term cost to that inequity, says Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, a fintech platform dedicated to serving women investors – and businesses can help to address that cost. A long-time C-suite leader at financial behemoths like Citi and Bank of America, Krawcheck knows firsthand the obstacles women face as well as the struggles big institutions can have in reconfiguring their practices to help. Today, she says, we can no longer look away from the harsh numbers. She believes the agility of startups provides a key part of the solution, demonstrating the impact that entrepreneurship can have, for all of us.
Rent the Runway co-founder Jenn Hyman knows: Behind every successful business is another business backstage, one you might not expect. Rent the Runway is known for creating a glamorous "closet in the cloud,” but as Hyman explains, it achieved unicorn status by mastering a few less glamorous businesses — including the world’s largest dry-cleaning operation, and a data insights practice that’s changing the fashion industry. Cameo appearance: Kevin Venardos (Venardos Circus); Stewart Butterfield (Slack).Read Jenn Hyman's essay on the making of this episode: more about the Venardos Circus: to Stewart Butterfield on Masters of Scale: a transcript of this interview at: to the weekly Masters of Scale newsletter:
If 2021 is even half as unpredictable as 2020 was, you'll need to dig deep into your resilience and wisdom to get through. We've pulled together this special episode of Masters of Scale to serve as a sort of primer for the new year, full of lessons learned from the sometimes devastating, sometimes inspiring year we just put behind us. These lessons come from a range of guests we've spoken to in a time of incredible change. Some are stories about doing everything right – and still ending up in crisis. Others are about overcoming the odds with grit, heart, and compassion. Featuring GM's Mary Barra, Jeff Wiener, Jonah Peretti, Rashad Robinson, Colleen DeCourcy, Susan Wojcicki, and more. Transcript at
A podcast recommendation for the New Year. The iconic founders who join us our show are all masters of creativity. From the initial spark, down the crooked path of invention, scaling a company is a hero’s journey in creativity. With that: a new podcast from the team behind this show. It’s called Spark & Fire. On each episode, an iconic creator tells the story of bringing a beloved work to life. Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project. Kemp Powers on Pixar’s “Soul". Architect Thomas Heatherwick on NYC’s Vessel. Novelist Isabel Allende on The House of the Spirits. Book designer Chip Kidd on Jurassic Park. Choreographer Bill T Jones. Last Jedi Director Rian Johnson. But it's not an interview. It’s a captivating story, told entirely in their words.If you love Masters of Scale, you might find this podcast resonates with you too. Take a moment now and to subscribe to Spark & Fire. When the first episode drops on January 6, you'll get it automatically. It will help you think more creatively about
Our host, Reid Hoffman, and our editor at large, Bob Safian, in conversation about a pandemic-disrupted year filled with unexpected twists and lessons. From the rise (and risks) of remote work to accelerations in tech; from supply-chain disruption to opportunities in manufacturing; from stock-market fluctuations to social justice demonstrations, 2020 was a turning point in so many realms. Reid and Bob talk about the rising responsibility of business – now is the time, says Reid, to speak up on civic and cultural matters – and the many opportunities in the year to come. While 2020 has been devastating, says Reid, we have reached a moment for entrepreneurs to rise, to create, and to blaze the path forward.
Salesforce's much-buzzed-about deal to acquire Slack for $28 billion goes back a decade, when Friendfeed founder Bret Taylor met Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield. Now Taylor is Salesforce's president, while Butterfield runs Slack. In this episode, Taylor talks about how the pandemic helped the two friends bring their businesses together, and what a Salesforce-Slack combination means for the future of work. Taylor explains how an initial paralysis within Salesforce when the pandemic hit turned into a new operating model based more than ever on digital work tools. With vaccines in sight, Taylor also shares inside data on our love-hate relationship with the office. In the end, he argues, the workplace of tomorrow will depend as much on human choices as it does on software.
The secret to massive scale? Be a platform. Build a virtuous cycle where everyone wins, and you’ll emerge the biggest winner of all. This is what Tobi Lütke did when he built Shopify – and then opened it up to the world. Cameo appearances by: Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt (Google), Julia Hartz (Eventbrite), and Gustav Söderström (Spotify).Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at 
Why leave a storied tech icon to lead a troubled brand? As the pandemic deepened this summer, Peggy Johnson left a safe perch at Microsoft to take the helm of one-time startup darling Magic Leap, which had just barely avoided bankruptcy. Yet with CEO roles for women in tech still unfortunately rare, Johnson felt compelled to take a risk. Now she's betting that the accelerated tech adoption prompted by Covid-19 will boost emerging areas like Magic Leap's AR. All entrepreneurs face moments when the bar seems impossibly high. But even in difficult times, Johnson knows, we can make our own opportunities.
Onboarding isn't just about employees. The often overlooked step-by-step process – to join a product or company – lays the foundation for everything that follows. No one knows this better than Melanie Perkins, co-founder and CEO of Canva. From the moment she started the Australia-based graphic design platform, she knew she had to engage newcomers with simplicity and speed. It took a series of steps: onboard users to her product, one-by-one; onboard investors to help her build; onboard employees in a way that would pass along her values and her vision. Then onboard new investors, new features, new partners, new markets with the same care and ease-of-use – but at scale. With more than 40 million monthly active users and 3 billion designs created, Canva is proof for the magic of onboarding. Cameos: Ron White (Memory Expert).
This is the loneliest century, says economist Noreena Hertz. Even before the pandemic forced us to stay home, loneliness was snaking its way through our lives, affecting everything from how we vote to how we work. Professor at University College London and author of the upcoming book, The Lonely Century, Noreena has some sage advice for businesses: about how less loneliness fuels more productivity, the bottom-line advantages of in-person connection over virtual interactions, and why values like kindness, community, and care are key to attracting and retaining talent. Technology is a double-edged sword, Noreena says, but we can use it to turn our isolation around, if we embrace the opportunity.
Scaling isn’t only about scaling UP – it’s about scaling OUT: to new products, new verticals, new customers. And to do this, you’ll need to build bridges. No one knows this better than Daniel Lubetzky, the founder and executive chair of snack food company KIND. Daniel has spent his whole life working to bring together disparate supply chains, products, and communities. Through it, he’s learned the right – and the wrong – way to connect. That means building bridges that people actually want, letting people meet him halfway, and focusing on the foundations so those bridges last forever. Cameo appearance: Bianca Wylie (Public tech advocate).
After suffering record shattering drops in revenue from Covid-19, JetBlue has had to rethink every plan and every assumption. Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue's president and chief operating officer, explains how the airline built a new system for flexing the business, to ramp up only when demand arises, deploying cost cuts but no furloughs, and looking for opportunity amid the downdraft. With JetBlue and airlines across the board now grappling with a renewed global infection surge, Geraghty says her decisions rely on new types of data as well as gut feeling – from re-opening middle seats starting in January to expanding flights to London. The volume of choices Geraghty has to make and the uncertainty around the risks are dizzying. But despite the challenges, she says, JetBlue is rising up.
The best business ideas often seem laughable at first glance. So if you’re hearing a chorus of “no’s” – it may actually be a good sign. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb – they all sounded crazy before they scaled spectacularly. So don’t be discouraged by rejection. Instead, learn to hear the nuance in the different kinds of “no.” That’s what Tristan Walker did. After stints at two successful startups, he launched out on his own with Walker & Company, makers of the Bevel razor – and learned to navigate the world of investors who may or may not share your vision.Read a transcript of this interview at: to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
Legendary ad agency Wieden+Kennedy pioneered some of the most successful campaigns in history. But 2020 has raised the stakes for companies—and fundamentally changed how advertising works, W+K president Colleen DeCourcy tells us. Even as her own business adapts to financial and cultural strains, DeCourcy and her team have been guiding brands from Nike to Coca-Cola to Uber in selecting the right messages in a turbulent world. Meshing an economic goal with an emotional message has never demanded more creativity. Brands should take a stand, she argues, but not on everything.Want to learn more about Wieden+Kennedy's work with Nike? Check out our episode with Nike founder Phil Knight: the full transcript at mastersofscale.comSubscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter:
Forget looking for a needle in a haystack – instead, build a new type of metal detector, to find undervalued assets that others don’t see. That’s exactly what Franklin Leonard did when he started The Black List, an annual survey of screenplays everyone loved (but no one was making). Devise ways to find things no one else has found – or didn’t think to look for – and it could be the difference that drives you to scale. Cameo: Software engineer Tatiana Mac.Learn more about The Black List: more about Tatiana Mac:
In-office engagement or remote flexibility? We don't need to choose, says Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston. Facing the biggest shift in work habits in half a century, Houston has embarked on a radical experiment to reimagine how work gets done. The company's recently announced Virtual First plan dedicates all in-office activity to creative, team-based efforts, rebranding its offices as Dropbox Studios. Individual work will happen offsite, either at home or a self-chosen co-working space. Project teams set their own schedules. The unique opportunity of this moment, Houston says: How do we make work better? Yes, he admits, remote work feeds Dropbox's business, which now includes a collaboration with Zoom as part of a re-thought product roadmap. If Dropbox is going to design for the future of work, says Houston, then its own workforce needs to live in that future, right now.
Great branding is about identity – and it’s about matchmaking too. No one knows this better than the legendary co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight. When he and his partner, Hall of Fame track coach Bill Bowerman, started the sneaker company, they never tried to force-feed customers a product just to drive up the bottom line. They focused on one thing: making an excellent product for people who believed in the edgy Nike ethos. Because they knew, when there’s a mismatch between product and market, the bottom usually drops out. Instead, they told the world who the are, and then did everything they could to find their ideal customers. And made history. Cameo appearance: Eddy Lu (GOAT).
With Covid-19 cases surging, businesses may be forced into a new wave of adjustments. Will the crisis-management tactics of spring and summer be successful as winter unfolds? Dr. Bon Ku, an ER physician at Jefferson University Hospital and director of the Health Design Lab, returns to the podcast to share what he’s seeing as we enter a new season and how we might respond. His proposals for health care delivery – about both heightened vigilance and creative shifts to financing, supply chains, digital tools, etc. – provide a bracing wake-up call. While doctors and hospitals have gotten much better at information sharing, testing, and treatment, Dr. Ku warns that without significant change we might be looking at a devastating period ahead.
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 as uncertainty has persisted, anxiety among business owners has risen, even since the summer, according to a major new H&R Block study. With small enterprises the backbone of his customers, Jones has a unique vantage to offer advice and lessons: about asking for help, prioritizing needs, and finding calm. Jones sees small businesses as key to thriving economies, convinced that entrepreneurial resilience can eventually overcome all hurdles.Read the transcript at to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
Internet pioneer Caterina Fake knows: Online communities are built one human connection at a time. As the founder, you need to establish guidelines and norms from Day One – because the tone you set is the tone you’re going to keep, even as you go viral.Read the transcript at to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at
Comments (111)

Levi Wekesa

This is by far the greatest podcast ever

Dec 18th


hi everyone

Nov 29th

Javier Rodriguez


Nov 23rd

Mack Bawden

Reid when are you coming to Utah!?

Oct 1st

Robert CN

the guest is great but the interviewer's frequent cutting into the conversation to narrate it in his own words, with his frequent pauses, is annoying.

Sep 21st

Mack Bawden

Love this episode. I'm a huge peloton digital fan, my dream in life is to buy the tread! Love this show thanks so much Reid

Aug 26th



Aug 1st


this is very insightful. thank you

Jul 19th

jordan thielman

The commercials of this episode were better than the content.

Jun 30th

Jordyn K

w3 w 2

Jun 16th

Mack Bawden

Reid! You said my name wrong but I still very much appreciate the shout-out! Let me know next time you're in Salt Lake or at Sundance and want to come push a wheelchair with my nonprofit. Thanks for being such a great mentor!

Jun 14th

Mack Bawden

Reid you said my name wrong! it's Mack! But I so appreciate the shout-out. Come push a wheelchair with my nonprofit the next time you are in Salt Lake, or at Sundance for that retreat you do!

Jun 14th


Pretty disingenuous to report this as if Buzzfeed is dying from anything other than crap partisan journalism written by 19 year olds and marketed to 25 year olds for a decade. This site was cancer and so was everyone else attached to it, including this podcast for even considering that there might be another reason for its failure.

Jun 10th

seyed hesameddin beheshti shirazi


Jun 6th

Regina Burkhart Graham

Love love love Verizon! Amazing job, always, and especially during this pandemic!

May 21st

Martin Shaw

Where is part 2?

May 17th

Celia Fauth

kz j no w not uu manipulation

May 15th

Celia Fauth


May 15th

Abeye Duguma

Brilliant! Very informative... wish it were longer... deserves another invite Bob. Thank you Sara.

May 9th

JJ Burnam

Nancy ... you're not in the catastrophe business, you're in the healing business, a worthy growth industry.

May 1st
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