It’s been a while that I am listening to the Masters of Scale podcast and I’ve extremely enjoyed its episodes as well as learning massively from the journeys the guests have gone through in scaling their business/idea. It also gave me an extreme sense of calmness to find out that the technical/business difficulties during early stages of launching a startup is nothing particular to me or the startups I’ve had the honour to be part of, but some of the largest companies todays, like Instagram, have faced similar challenges early on.
But I think the recent addition of Rapid Response episodes to the series have made the podcast even more interesting and especially helpful during these pandemic times. It covers issues and challenges related to COVID-19 and how different businesses/people in different sectors are trying to address those challenges.
I specifically enjoyed an episode with Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, where he describes how badly COVID-19 affected Airbnb and their plans for an IPO, and how they decided to face this challenge by being, what they call, a 21st century company where they serve ALL their stakeholders including the Airbnb hosts. So they contributed 250 Million Dollars to compensate cancellation refunds to their hosts, Airbnb employees donating another 1 Million Dollars to the relief fund and the co-founders donating 9 Million Dollars of their own money to that fund, among other measures (such as lobbying to include Airbnb hosts in the relief package prepared by the US government) to make sure that not only the company sees the pandemic through, but also help their hosts and their guests to stay safe and least affected by economic consequences of COVID-19.
Given that COVID-19 and the health/economical issues it causes is a something that almost all 7 Billion people on the face of earth are dealing with right now (and in that, it might be a unique opportunity for unity and collaboration among humans), the challenges and solutions are quite relevant here as well as other countries around the world.
If interested, you can listen to Masters of Scale on Spotify or Apple PodCasts. Below I also list some of the episodes that I’ve really enjoyed so far:
- How to do good and do good business, with Howard Schultz, chair and former CEO of Starbucks
- How to keep it simple while scaling big, with Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of instagram
- The Reid Hoffman Story, with Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin and Paypal
- How to scale history, with Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- In order to scale you have to do things that don’t scale, with Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb
- Why culture matters, with Reed Hastings, Founder and CEO of Netflix
- The big pivot, with Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and CEO of Slack
- How to build your company to last, with John Elkann, Chair of Fiat Automobiles
- Be a platform, with Tobi Lutke, Founder and CEO of Shopify
And from Rapid Response’s episodes:
- Hourly workers are a hero class, with Tony Tjan, CEO and co-founder of Cue Ball Investment Firm
- First be human, thoughts on the crisis from Reid Hoffman
- Operating in a fishbowl, with Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers
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