95% of your business disappears. What do you do? Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson recounts how the travel industry drastically changed last spring, with hotel bookings all but disappearing overnight. In the midst of his own battle with cancer, Arne has spent the year balancing the needs of his workforce against those of his partners; having blunt but critical conversations; and empowering his team to make tough decisions. He has wise words about the role of business leaders in times of social unrest, including how to think about who you speak for – and when to speak up. Arne admits the hotel industry will take years to recover. That hasn't dimmed his personal belief that travel matters more than ever.
A social network that limits your network? Yes. Meet Nextdoor, a hyperlocal social network that’s all about who you really are and where you really live. Although it goes against everything that we've come to expect from social networks, Nextdoor’s secret to scale lies in real personal connections based on empathy and kindness. And this is what Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar knows: No, these connections don’t scale as fast – but they tend to be stronger. And they can be the flywheel that drives you to scale.
Rapid Response: Movie-theater drama has come to every business, w/Shelli Taylor, CEO, Alamo Drafthouse
As big movie chains shut down, Shelli Taylor's determined to keep her theaters open. With revenue at a trickle, the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse is negotiating daily with landlords and banks, and even tried her own video-on-demand service. Her balancing act – a conviction that long-term demand will be strong, while near-term economics are dismal – is familiar among entrepreneurial leaders. By defiantly keeping the movie magic alive, she's leaning into hope, the human need for community, and a creative new model. Yet there's no guarantee how this story will end.
What's more important than product-market fit? Product-VALUE fit. If you choose the right values to drive product development, you'll draw the people, resources, and speed you need. It’s true for for-profits and for nonprofits. And Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales knows this well. Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has famously stuck to its values of openness, neutrality, and remaining not-for-profit. But he arrived at those precise values through trial and error – on an earlier free encyclopedia project that stalled. Once he found the right product-value fit, Wikipedia rapidly scaled from a niche side project to one of the most valued treasures on the internet.
To safely re-open a business, you need more than masks. Covid testing is key – and the options are changing quickly. We found the most in-the-know person in public health to walk us through the choices, costs, and protocols to keep an entrepreneurial team, and all of us, safe. Rajiv Shah is president of the Rockefeller Foundation, which has led response to health crises in the United States and around the world for 100 years (including the 1918 flu pandemic). Applying what he learned fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Shah has brought together business, government, and health officials to turbo-charge Covid testing development. Next-gen test kits are coming soon: cheaper, easier, more abundant. If deployed correctly, says Shah, they can make us all safer and healthier in 2021.
When you scale at warp speed, it’s easy to lose your bearings. You have to establish your company’s true north, or the dizzying pace of growth will push you off course. No one knows this better than Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. Under her leadership, YouTube has grown to be the world’s largest video platform. And in her previous role at Google, she was a chief architect of its advertising and analytics model. In both roles, she achieved massive scale – and grappled with massive challenges. Susan shares the guiding principles that help them stay the course – as well as stories from Google’s early years that you’ll hear first here. Cameo appearances: Dr. Becky Smethurst (astrophysicist, Oxford), Shishir Mehrotra (Coda, Google, YouTube).
The pandemic, social unrest, the U.S. election – everything affects your team and your business. And the stakes are only getting higher. How do you address race and diversity? Should your business take a stand in the upcoming election? What role should your company play? If you're debating how political to get right now, this is your must-listen. We're talking with writer / thinker Baratunde Thurston on how companies can show up as citizens – citizens with the potential for outsize impact. Baratunde is host of the podcast "How to Citizen with Baratunde", and an advisor to business leaders through these times.
You might not know Trevor McFedries yet, but if you're on Instagram, you've probably met Miquela. She has millions of followers, hit singles and lucrative contracts with brands. But she’s not actually real. Miquela’s the creation of Trevor’s stealthy creative media studio Brud, and the delicate balance they strike between artificial and authentic is a master class for any scaling company. In this first-ever in-depth interview with Trevor, he shares his bold plan to create celebrity at massive, multilingual scale; his advice for entrepreneurs of color as they fundraise; and his guidance for anyone connecting at scale: That once you build that connection with your audience, they don't care HOW you made it. All they care about is how it makes them feel. Cameo: Alison Darcy (Woebot).
Is your office safe to re-open? How much space do you need? Is remote-work really more productive? Diane Hoskins is co-CEO of architecture firm Gensler, which advises businesses from Google to Bank of America. With the pandemic, Hoskins explains, now is a critical moment to ask important questions about what your team needs to work smarter and successfully, and to build a physical space that is not just healthy but enables both collaboration and individual work. From new technology tools to insightful data, Hoskins shares insights that help us move toward the answers we need. Read the full survey from Gensler: https://www.gensler.com/research-insight/blog/insights-from-genslers-u-s-work-from-home-survey-2020 Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/ Coming soon: Season 7 of Masters of Scale! Our new season begins Sept. 29.
"Until this problem gets fixed, all the other things that I care about, that you care about, are on hold.” In this must-hear interview, Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO (and now co-founder of Schmidt Futures) shares why he's 100% focused on addressing the challenges of Covid-19. From vaccines and testing protocols to best practices for businesses, Schmidt shares a clear-eyed roadmap for moving toward a healthy, just, and economically vibrant post-pandemic world. Listen to the "Reimagine" podcast: https://www.reimaginepod.org Download the transcript for this episode: http://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse