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The best startup advice from Silicon Valley and beyond. Iconic CEOs — from Nike to Netflix, Starbucks to Slack — share the stories and 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, strateg ...
 
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How to Start a Startup

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How to Start a Startup

Y Combinator and Stanford University: Sam Altman, Dustin Moskovitz, Paul Graham, Adora Cheung, Peter Thiel, Alex Schultz, Kevin Hale, Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway, Ben Silbermann, Alfred Lin, Patrick and John Collison, Aaron Levie, Reid Hoffman & more

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Sam Altman and the folks from Y Combinator offer up an amazing course in "How To Start A Startup" at Stanford. Course includes lectures from: Sam Altman, Dustin Moskovitz, Paul Graham, Adora Cheung, Peter Thiel, Alex Schultz, Kevin Hale, Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway, Ben Silbermann, Alfred Lin, Patrick and John Collison, Aaron Levie, Reid Hoffman, Keith Rabois, Ben Horowitz, Marissa Mayer, Hosian Rahman, Kirsty Nathoo, Carolynn Levy, and more
 
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show series
 
Since stepping down as Walmart’s president of e-commerce at the beginning of the year, billionaire entrepreneur Marc Lore has had a busy year of big ideas. In the spring, it was announced that he reached a deal to purchase the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, alongside Alex Rodriguez. And then last month, he outlined his …
 
Crowdsourcing is more than a group of people interested in the same cause, it’s a way to tap skills – and scale – that you don’t have. And when it works, it can be the rocket fuel that launches you to scale further than you could have ever imagined. No one knows this better than Luis von Ahn, founder and CEO of Duolingo. Duolingo is a language app …
 
In the last year, Sarah Hirshland has had to face one daunting issue after another as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee – each of which have required urgent, in-the-moment decisions. Most recently Sarah mandated that U.S. athletes be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in the upcoming Beijing winter games. But that’s just th…
 
Jessica Alba’s approach in founding and building The Honest Company revolves around three letters: IRL, a useful acronym for “In Real Life.” This phrase acts as a reminder for the company to shine the spotlight onto their customer’s real needs – not only to understand them, but to address them as well. Alba built the company around her passion to m…
 
Last year, SolarWinds became the subject of a massive and sophisticated cyberattack, potentially affecting thousands of organizations. CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna, who joined the company soon after the breach was discovered, speaks with host Bob Safian about how he and the company responded, and how other companies should approach the ever-looming thr…
 
No matter what phase of growth you’re in, data is essential to scale. Take it from Sheila Lirio Marcelo, the founder and former CEO of Care.com, the two-sided marketplace connecting working families with care providers. Marcelo scaled her business past the competition by getting the right data at the right time. Marketplaces are tricky flywheels to…
 
To compete against bigger players, you need a special edge. Sridhar Ramaswamy, who led Google’s huge ad business, is now going head-to head against his former employer with an ad-free subscription-based search engine called Neeva. Ramaswamy became disillusioned by Google’s priorities and practices and argues that big platforms – including Facebook …
 
To get the most out of your talent, you need to create an environment that allows them to thrive. Nobody knows this better than Indra Nooyi who spent 12 years as the CEO of PepsiCo. It was her drive to support talent that underpinned all of the initiatives that transformed the company. Her approach, which she calls “Performance with Purpose,” cente…
 
Your ability to make quick decisions in the face of a crisis can define your career. That’s been the case for Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College, the all-women's HBCU in Atlanta. In her second appearance on Rapid Response, Dr. Campbell, who recently announced her plan to retire at the end of the academic year, discusses how lis…
 
Managing your team right now requires fresh thinking. Learn what motivates the best performance, and how to build creative teams in remote, hybrid, and fluid conditions, from some of the sharpest minds in management. In this special episode, we share five moves that are essential to building a team right now. Tapping into lessons from top leaders a…
 
18 months ago, the lights went out on Broadway. What can you learn as this $16bn industry begins to re-light the lights? Tony-winning producer Bonnie Comley, the CEO of BroadwayHD and board president of the Drama League, shows us how Broadway's 41 theaters are coming back to life — and how the 18-month pandemic closure created some breathing room f…
 
As dangerous as obstacles and setbacks may appear, they can also present opportunities. Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of the real estate platform, Compass, knows this well. He’s a perfect example of how to use challenges to generate a fresh burst of energy. Reffkin explains how he’s been able to reassess situations in the wake of setbacks, plan h…
 
Chris Urmson has had to take a different approach in building his company Aurora, which develops self-driving technology. As opposed to creating and iterating a product with a handful of people, and then building a company around that product, Urmson says he’s had to do the opposite. “Given the scale of the problem we're trying to solve and the com…
 
Host Reid Hoffman answers seven burning questions from a range of entrepreneurs facing universal and timeless challenges in this all-new Strategy Session. How do you expand to a country where you’re not located? What was the insight that led Reid from entrepreneur to investor? Should you shift from product development to customer acquisition? Plus,…
 
“You have to preserve your energy because this year has been about pace,” says iconic restaurateur Danny Meyer in his fourth Rapid Response interview. Meyer catches us up on the past seven-plus months of operating in the midst of the pandemic. In the beginning of the summer, when Covid rates were plummeting in New York City, he says he was full of …
 
To achieve massive scale, you don’t just need founders, you also need a re-founder – someone to come in at a later stage to keep the mission and culture on track. As Microsoft’s third CEO ever – after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer – Satya Nadella is doing just that. He’s fostered a culture at Microsoft that rewards new ideas and makes room for feedb…
 
Hollywood may build stars, but gaming is "the biggest, fastest-growing entertainment medium in the world," says CEO Andrew Wilson of Electronic Arts. That's why businesses from Netflix to Disney to Facebook are eyeing the space, along with creators and startups eager to tap into the entrepreneurial opportunities posed by the still-evolving "metaver…
 
Coming August 31st: An all-new season of Masters of Scale, with iconic leaders and rising stars of scale companies. This season, Reid Hoffman trades theories with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass, Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsico, Jessica Alba, founder of The Honest Company, Beth Ford, CEO of Land O'Lake…
 
Facing off with the FTC isn't for the timid. But when your mission and your business model are aligned, the hard decisions – about risk, about investment, about priorities – become clearer. Francis deSouza is CEO of Illumina, the world’s dominant maker of gene sequencing technology. After playing a key role in the creation of Covid vaccines, Illumi…
 
Reid’s personal advice on the most important success factor for any scale leader: your mindset. Talking with editor-at-large Bob Safian, Reid shares how he approaches every challenge with a learning mindset: ask the right questions, leverage networks, and build curiosity and resilience. To cement the idea, he shares Lesson One from the new Masters …
 
What can entrepreneurs learn from a genre-crossing, multi-platinum musician? How to take a big opportunity — and leverage it into something epic. From his earliest days as a founding member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am learned from mentors how to not only identify big opportunities but compound them. From the Super Bowl to the first iTunes com…
 
You need a strong culture to build a company that will scale beyond the early startup days. And strong company cultures only emerge when every employee feels they own the culture from Day One. Here's how Reed Hastings and his team at Netflix did it – and made their culture deck famous in the process. Cameo appearances: Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Aneel…
 
Even an 118-year-old company needs an entrepreneurial jolt. When Jochen Zeitz took over as CEO of motorcycle maker Harley Davidson in early 2020, he moved quickly to restructure the business – even in the midst of the pandemic's highest uncertainty. That defiance paid off, settling investors and refocusing the company. He's trimmed the product line…
 
Unconventional ideas define entrepreneurship: They fuel dreams but also spur naysayers and obstacles. Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and CEO of Birchbox, has repeatedly found ways to recast the unconventional as something obvious, enabling ongoing growth through repeated challenges. When Katia and her co-founder introduced Birchbox, its novel business…
 
"We have to reignite the energy and the fire and the love," says CEO Libby Wadle of J.Crew Group, which launched Madewell Forever this week, a dynamic bet on sustainability. The resale platform, in partnership with ThredUp, is part of a purpose-led pivot that Wadle first sparked as head of Madewell. Wadle takes us inside that journey, looking back …
 
When should you hire your replacement as CEO? Is blitzscaling still the best strategy, in today's context of uncertainty? What are the best fundraising options if you can't access a major VC firm? How do you balance long-term growth with short-term pressures? In this all-new Strategy Session, Reid answers critical in-the-moment questions from six e…
 
"Hate is not a one community issue," says Sonal Shah, president of The Asian American Foundation, a nonprofit launched by business leaders in May, dedicated to addressing discrimination against Asian Americans. In just its first few weeks, TAAF raised $1 billion – and is now grappling with what all start-ups face: how to iterate fast, pivot, lose w…
 
To find your big idea? Look for it. And look for it. And be ready to act. Spanx founder Sara Blakely was actively seeking a business idea when she thought of Spanx. Then she moved fast, found help in the right places, and went all-in. The result: A billion-dollar company & women's wardrobes transformed. With cameos by National Geographic Explorer A…
 
Millennials and Gen Z want different experiences, different content, different opportunities. But catering to those distinct needs wasn't enough, says BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti; the digital-media outfit also needed to create a flywheel for value. When the pandemic trimmed tens of millions in revenue, Peretti cut back on costs – but …
 
To move at the speed of opportunity, you need to accelerate expertise. Mellody Hobson is co-CEO of Ariel Investments, the first Black-owned asset management firm in the United States, as well as board chair of Starbucks. Her incredible entrepreneurial journey – punctuated by deep societal and business impact – has been fueled by an intense attentio…
 
The art of promotion can advance any enterprise, as Scott Harrison demonstrated even during the pandemic. As founder and CEO of Charity Water, Scott faced fundraising trouble a year ago but now the nonprofit is on track to bring in a record $100 million in 2021. Over the last 15 years, Scott has dramatically grown Charity Water’s footprint by takin…
 
Barreling full-speed ahead isn't always the key to scale. For Michael Seibel, managing director at Y Combinator and co-founder of Justin.tv and Socialcam, action sometimes needs to take a back seat to asking: "Is this working?" Michael learned early on that by stopping to ask the counterintuitive question, he gained the wisdom – and avoided time lo…
 
With Marriott's business already reeling due to Covid, beloved CEO Arne Sorenson was lost to cancer earlier this year. Stephanie Linnartz, president of Marriott International, shares how she and new CEO Tony Capuano have picked up the reins in the most challenging travel environment in modern times. Stephanie’s journey, and her prescriptions for Ma…
 
"Will some people lose their shirts with crypto? Absolutely. Will new great industries be built upon this? Absolutely," Reid Hoffman tells Rapid Response host Bob Safian, in a new, unfiltered conversation. The co-hosts dive into cryptocurrency strategy, why cybersecurity "is an emperor-has-no-clothes situation," weighing Target vs. the corner store…
 
"Corporations can be a force for good – and they can also be very successful," says Ken Chenault, chair of investment firm General Catalyst and former longtime CEO of American Express. During the past year, Ken has been an outspoken advocate for business leaders to actively engage in societal matters. After George Floyd’s death, he and Merck CEO Ke…
 
You can’t predict your next a-ha moment. but you can create favorable circumstances for serendipity to happen – for you, and for your team. No one knows this better than J.J. Abrams, director, producer, screenwriter, and co-founder and co-CEO of Bad Robot Productions, which has been behind some of the most successful TV series and films of the last…
 
The never-before-released, original and uncut conversations between host Reid Hoffman and Masters of Scale guests. Each intimate, unedited conversation includes 60 minutes or more of content, including stories not included in Masters of Scale episodes. Subscribers will gain access to the archive, and to every new uncut interview, released in tandem…
 
Fashion became secondary amid Covid lockdowns. Sweatpants-only life pressed apparel-subscription service Rent the Runway into layoffs and furloughs. But as co-founder and CEO Jenn Hyman explains, the business saw a surprising rebound early this year, fueled by new customers in unexpected places – and by a renewed consumer focus on sustainability. B…
 
Not every platform turns into a flywheel for scale. Wendy Kopp founded two networks that each became flywheels for change: Teach for America and Teach for All, where she's currently CEO. Yet the shape of the two networks are surprisingly different. While they both feed similar goals – helping educators find what they need, share what they learn, bu…
 
Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine would not have scaled without Ginkgo Bioworks. Reshma Shetty, co-founder and COO of Ginkgo – slated to go public via SPAC acquisition at a reported $15 billion valuation – explains how biotech innovation can build a better future now. Ginkgo's platform already serves industries from food and agriculture, to materials, to …
 
Shift your mindset. Tighten your focus. Map your future. In this special episode, Reid Hoffman presents a five-step playbook for post-crisis success. Moving from chaos to calm requires a revised agenda, whether the pandemic crushed your business or boosted it. Peace-time strategies need to be just as sharp as wartime strategies. Featuring Airbnb's …
 
How do you win the post-pandemic war for talent? Send your frontline workers to online school. That's the pitch that Rachel Carlson has made – successfully – to big businesses from Chipotle to Disney, Walmart to Waste Management. As co-founder and CEO of Guild Education, Carlson runs a digital platform that enables workers to get degrees and certif…
 
Even all-star athletes are coached. So why not you? Alex Rodriguez, former professional baseball player, leaned into outside advice at the most challenging moments in his career – and in building his enormously successful business, A-Rod Corp. Rodriguez shares what he's learned from mentors like investing guru Warren Buffett and NBA icon Magic John…
 
"We may not be able to survive this," remarked Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of real estate platform Compass, after pandemic lockdown rules essentially outlawed U.S. home selling. Yet today the housing market is booming, and Compass has successfully IPO'ed. Reffkin shares how he kept his team together, why he stayed optimistic, and what businesse…
 
Creating a prototype in your garage isn't the same as leading a team of thousands. You need to keep your mission constant, but your tactics fluid as you scale. This is exactly the challenge President Barack Obama faced after winning the 2008 election. In the second episode of our two-part mini-series, we dive into how Obama grappled with the Great …
 
Google search may be the world’s most powerful public health platform. Dr Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer, has built a team of doctors, scientists and clinicians who — alongside engineers and designers – determine what information and advice shows up when we search for answers about Covid-19, the pandemic, vaccines and more. She also h…
 
Politics and entrepreneurship have much in common: Both versions of scale leadership require strategic patience, hard work, a clear vision of a better future, an unshakable belief that you can bring that future to life – and the ideal opportunity to make it all come together. President Barack Obama sits down with Reid Hoffman in Part 1 of our two-p…
 
Harry's took a one-two punch in 2020 – right on the chin. First, the federal government blocked a $1.37 billion acquisition of the shaving and consumer products company; then Covid-19 lockdowns hit. Rather than reeling from the abrupt change in plans, though, Harry's kept its balance. Co-founder and co-CEO Andy Katz-Mayfield explains how the team l…
 
Your first hires are your cultural cofounders. And it’s worth your time to get every one right. That's why Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri personally interviewed his first 500 employees. Today, with 12,500 employees and over $4b in annual revenue, Workday is consistently rated one of the best places to work. Learn the interview questions that can help you…
 
Five years of growth in five weeks. That's how Covid-19 lockdowns accelerated Instacart's business last spring. Now, a year later, the company faces another "crucible moment," says Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta. He's leaning into what he describes as a four-sided market – including software services for grocers and advertising for product vendors – t…
 
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