Masters of Scale - an introduction
A while ago we produced a series of articles around Y-Combinator's excellent series on how to start a startup. Now I am pleased to say that we are starting a new series based on Reid Hoffman's (co-founder at both PayPal and LinkedIn) new podcast "Masters of Scale.
First acknowledgement to Tim Ferris (4 hour workweek, etc) whose podcast highlighted the series for me - it is well worth listening to Tim's series too.
There are a lot of really rubbishy articles, videos and podcasts that come out of Silicon Valley - many misleading, often overly-hyped and some frankly dangerous to a new founder who might take them to heart. But Reid is clearly different. He has been part of a number of incredibly successful businesses, part of a number of failures and has an eye for angel investing that is almost magical - some of his early investments include Facebook, AirBnB and Flickr. His insights are sharp and he is not afraid to take a contrarian view and so you will generally find his work really interesting. The excellent part of this series is that it takes place through interviews of top entrepreneurs who share their own experiences and wisdom including the likes of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Eric Schmidt (Google / Alphabet) and Brian Chesky (Air BnB).
The focus of the Masters of Scale series is about scaling i.e. rapidly growing a business where the business model has been tested. However, there is plenty (maybe 50%) of information around the startup phases as well i.e. where you are searching for and trying to find the business model that works. In Tim Ferris' podcast he briefly goes through all "ten commandments" - listening to this is a useful way of getting an overview. The commandments (and time in Tim's podcast where they appear) are:
Commandment 1: Expect rejection. [09:14]
Commandment 2: Hire like your life depends on it. It does. [19:26]
Commandment 3: In order to scale, you have to do things that don’t scale. [25:37]
Commandment 4: Raise more money than you think you need — potentially a lot more. [36:18]
Commandment 5: Release your products early enough that they can still embarrass you. Imperfect is perfect. [44:45]
Commandment 6: Decide. Decide. Decide. [1:00:16]
Commandment 7: Be prepared to both make and break plans. [1:03:13]
Commandment 8: Don’t tell your employees how to innovate. [1:07:21]
Commandment 9: To create a winning company culture, make sure every employee owns it. [01:12:32]
Commandment 10: Have grit and stick with your hero’s journey. [1:23:22]
Bonus Commandment 11: Pay it forward. Use the momentum of your own success to move the success of others. [1:26:03]
You can listen to the podcast by subscribing at Apple iTunes or the Android store; but you can also go to the website at Masters of Scale and listen to the podcasts. Finally, for fuller immersion, I recommend the Entrepreneur.com site where they host the series and add some of their own perspectives as well - Entrepreneur Masters of Scale.
I know many of you are time-strapped and would like to get an overview of the episodes before investing your time in listening to them - and so over the next few weeks, we will produce short summaries here to give you episode highlights peppered with our own views. Look out for our next blog:
Masters of Scale Episode 1: “In order to scale you have to do things that don’t scale.”
Note to university professors and faculty heads: Mashauri work hard at ensuring our programmes for students contain the type of material that is encompassed in this series. Not only do we believe that the practical experience we give student entrepreneurs in their courses is essential, we also believe that exposure to true entrepreneurial experts is a critical part of the learning process. For more about our prgrammes for universities, visit: Mashauri for Universities.