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Masters of Scale: Rapid Response

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Masters of Scale: Rapid Response

Masters of Scale: Rapid Response

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Plays
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About Us

Real-time wisdom from business leaders in fast-changing situations — covering the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. These fast, focused interviews with CEOs are the in-the-moment counterpoint to the timeless episodes in the classic Masters of Scale podcast. Hosted by Bob Safian, former editor in chief of Fast Company. 

Latest Episodes

A new playbook for new times, w/ Ford Foundation President Darren Walker

"This was like 1918, 1929 and 1968 in one week," says Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. With the pandemic, economic crisis, and civil unrest all coming together after George Floyd's death, Walker found himself flooded with calls from CEOs struggling for how to respond. Walker's advice mixes clear-eyed messages — denying the trauma borne by communities of color is no longer option — with optimism about the opportunities ahead. At the Ford Foundation, they've accelerated giving and even exceeded their own KPIs. With more leaders dedicated to making a positive impact, he says, the wind is changing, for people of color and for America. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/ Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX

26 MIN3 d ago
Comments
A new playbook for new times, w/ Ford Foundation President Darren Walker

Burning cash, accepting turbulence w/Delta CEO Ed Bastian

A surprisingly candid and upbeat interview on the industry hardest hit by the pandemic. Delta saw seat bookings fall to less than 5% of normal, had 40,000 employees go on unpaid leave, and raised $14 billion in funding – all to withstand a cash burn that still stands at $30 million a day. To rebuild traveler trust, Delta CEO Ed Bastian has enacted a slew of new safety standards, including capping flight loads at 60 percent and using hospital-grade HEPA filters on board –in fact, Bastian contends there's not a safer time to be on a plane than right now. He's also sped up forward-facing company initiatives, like phasing out less-efficient planes, building out airport terminals, and installing better wifi. Bastian acknowledges there will be fewer planes in the sky in years to come, but he believes Delta will come out of the pandemic as strong and essential as ever. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/ Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX

33 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Burning cash, accepting turbulence w/Delta CEO Ed Bastian

How business can engage against racism, w/Shellye Archambeau (MetricStream, Nordstrom, Verizon)

What can your business do right now in the struggle against racism? More than you think, says Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream, now a board member at Verizon, Nordstrom and Okta. She returns to the show with her all-too-rare perspective as a Black woman at the top of some of the world’s largest businesses. The struggle is a marathon, but businesses are uniquely poised to demand accountability and transparency from their communities. Whether you're a CEO or a citizen, Shellye has heartfelt and hard-earned wisdom for us all. Learn more about Shellye’s upcoming book Unapologetically Ambitious at unapologeticallyshellye.com Follow Shellye on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ShelArchambeau Read the full transcript of this episode at mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse

39 MIN2 w ago
Comments
How business can engage against racism, w/Shellye Archambeau (MetricStream, Nordstrom, Verizon)

GM's Mary Barra: "Deep, profound sadness" and "going ventilator fast"

GM is now reopening auto plants, after shutting them in March, temporarily reducing pay for 69,000 employees, and making a fast pivot to produce masks and ventilators. But with the killing of George Floyd, things are hardly back to normal. Chair and CEO Mary Barra speaks to her “profound feeling of sadness,” but also to her optimism that the country and her company will bounce back. Though there is work to be done, says Mary, we're poised for transformation.

28 MIN3 w ago
Comments
GM's Mary Barra: "Deep, profound sadness" and "going ventilator fast"

BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: Record-high audience, record-low revenue

BuzzFeed audience is at record highs. But the pandemic's economic effects have crushed the bottom line. BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti shares how his company is making hard decisions to build long-term stability. “But the transition is painful,” he says. While BuzzFeed is leaning into food vertical Tasty, new e-commerce habits, and BuzzFeed News, he worries that businesses like his don't have more resources to support staffers of color. But, he says, there's a clarity of purpose in crisis, in bearing witness to the things that are happening in the world.

31 MINJUN 6
Comments
BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: Record-high audience, record-low revenue

Danny Meyer, 10 wks later: How to revive restaurants

"Being the first to close is one thing. But I don't want to be the last to open,” says iconic restaurateur Danny Meyer in his second Rapid Response interview. After shutting his iconic New York City restaurants, laying off 2,000 staffers (with hopes to re-hire) and returning a $10m PPP, Danny finds himself reconsidering nearly everything about his business model. Even before the coronavirus lockdown, the restaurant industry had a slew of “preexisting conditions,” Danny says. Now those weaknesses have become exposed, putting at risk the future of hospitality — one of America’s core industries. Danny’s Union Square Hospitality Group is reimagining what and HOW their restaurants serve; rethinking how they generate revenue; and exploring new cost structures, like a bold new relationship with landlords. It’s all in the hopes, says Danny, of getting back to business, with customers safely at their tables, and the teams back together.

37 MINMAY 30
Comments
Danny Meyer, 10 wks later: How to revive restaurants

How "startup DNA" helped One Medical respond to Covid, with CEO Amir Rubin

Since One Medical’s IPO in January, CEO Amir Rubin has been forced to constantly adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, as healthcare needs, expectations, and behaviors shifted. From telemedicine to Covid-19 testing, One Medical has leaned into existing advantages to scale quickly: standing up respiratory care clinics and testing centers; revamping virtual and in-person visits; vetting labs and data. One Medical is now helping other businesses identify new practices to safely bring employees back to work. If you have a consistent platform and mission, explains Amir, that operating system can be applied to even fast-changing environments.

37 MINMAY 28
Comments
How "startup DNA" helped One Medical respond to Covid, with CEO Amir Rubin

How Warby Parker is making decisions in uncertainty, with CEO Neil Blumenthal

"It's like getting hit in the face over and over and over,” says Warby Parker co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. But “crisis brings out clarity.” At Warby, planning for the future has meant leaning into the present — from physical changes in their factory and stores that ensure social distancing to optimizing online vision tests. Blumenthal shares the complex factors they consider in deciding which stores to re-open and when, and relates the human challenge of inspiring their on-the-ground factory employees — at times of increased risk. For Blumenthal, it's all about recognizing new priorities (safety) and fitting them into ongoing strategy.

31 MINMAY 23
Comments
How Warby Parker is making decisions in uncertainty, with CEO Neil Blumenthal

Leading with your gut, with Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky

Tapping both personal experience and intuition, Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky has embraced action amid uncertainty. Before the pandemic reached full throttle, Lifeway stockpiled seven weeks worth of product, secured supply chains, and reached out to all their customers. Mask on, Smolyansky personally visited her Chicago warehouse, made in-person donations to the food pantry at Wrigley Field, and went to dozens of stores across the city searching for thermometers for her team. The crisis, she says, has evoked her early years in the Soviet Union and her family's fight, as immigrants, to live the American Dream.

28 MINMAY 21
Comments
Leading with your gut, with Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky

Future-proofing Verizon, with CEO Hans Vestberg

Data streaming, videoconferencing – even phone calls are way up at Verizon amid Covid-19, as digital interaction steps in for IRL. But boom times don't mean easy times for CEO Hans Vestberg, who moved over 100,000 employees remote in two weeks. As coronavirus hit and pressure on the Verizon network skyrocketed, Vestberg split his leadership team in two: one to deal with the specifics of the crisis and one to focus on pursuing present-and-future business goals. From new customer initiatives (like free bandwidth and FIOS-in-a-box) to future bets (like the acquisition of video conferencing service BlueJeans), Vestberg has championed that meeting customers' needs today – even if not fully compensated for them – will pay off for the business tomorrow.

29 MINMAY 16
Comments
Future-proofing Verizon, with CEO Hans Vestberg

Latest Episodes

A new playbook for new times, w/ Ford Foundation President Darren Walker

"This was like 1918, 1929 and 1968 in one week," says Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. With the pandemic, economic crisis, and civil unrest all coming together after George Floyd's death, Walker found himself flooded with calls from CEOs struggling for how to respond. Walker's advice mixes clear-eyed messages — denying the trauma borne by communities of color is no longer option — with optimism about the opportunities ahead. At the Ford Foundation, they've accelerated giving and even exceeded their own KPIs. With more leaders dedicated to making a positive impact, he says, the wind is changing, for people of color and for America. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/ Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX

26 MIN3 d ago
Comments
A new playbook for new times, w/ Ford Foundation President Darren Walker

Burning cash, accepting turbulence w/Delta CEO Ed Bastian

A surprisingly candid and upbeat interview on the industry hardest hit by the pandemic. Delta saw seat bookings fall to less than 5% of normal, had 40,000 employees go on unpaid leave, and raised $14 billion in funding – all to withstand a cash burn that still stands at $30 million a day. To rebuild traveler trust, Delta CEO Ed Bastian has enacted a slew of new safety standards, including capping flight loads at 60 percent and using hospital-grade HEPA filters on board –in fact, Bastian contends there's not a safer time to be on a plane than right now. He's also sped up forward-facing company initiatives, like phasing out less-efficient planes, building out airport terminals, and installing better wifi. Bastian acknowledges there will be fewer planes in the sky in years to come, but he believes Delta will come out of the pandemic as strong and essential as ever. Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse/ Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/dlirtX

33 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Burning cash, accepting turbulence w/Delta CEO Ed Bastian

How business can engage against racism, w/Shellye Archambeau (MetricStream, Nordstrom, Verizon)

What can your business do right now in the struggle against racism? More than you think, says Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream, now a board member at Verizon, Nordstrom and Okta. She returns to the show with her all-too-rare perspective as a Black woman at the top of some of the world’s largest businesses. The struggle is a marathon, but businesses are uniquely poised to demand accountability and transparency from their communities. Whether you're a CEO or a citizen, Shellye has heartfelt and hard-earned wisdom for us all. Learn more about Shellye’s upcoming book Unapologetically Ambitious at unapologeticallyshellye.com Follow Shellye on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ShelArchambeau Read the full transcript of this episode at mastersofscale.com/rapidresponse

39 MIN2 w ago
Comments
How business can engage against racism, w/Shellye Archambeau (MetricStream, Nordstrom, Verizon)

GM's Mary Barra: "Deep, profound sadness" and "going ventilator fast"

GM is now reopening auto plants, after shutting them in March, temporarily reducing pay for 69,000 employees, and making a fast pivot to produce masks and ventilators. But with the killing of George Floyd, things are hardly back to normal. Chair and CEO Mary Barra speaks to her “profound feeling of sadness,” but also to her optimism that the country and her company will bounce back. Though there is work to be done, says Mary, we're poised for transformation.

28 MIN3 w ago
Comments
GM's Mary Barra: "Deep, profound sadness" and "going ventilator fast"

BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: Record-high audience, record-low revenue

BuzzFeed audience is at record highs. But the pandemic's economic effects have crushed the bottom line. BuzzFeed co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti shares how his company is making hard decisions to build long-term stability. “But the transition is painful,” he says. While BuzzFeed is leaning into food vertical Tasty, new e-commerce habits, and BuzzFeed News, he worries that businesses like his don't have more resources to support staffers of color. But, he says, there's a clarity of purpose in crisis, in bearing witness to the things that are happening in the world.

31 MINJUN 6
Comments
BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: Record-high audience, record-low revenue

Danny Meyer, 10 wks later: How to revive restaurants

"Being the first to close is one thing. But I don't want to be the last to open,” says iconic restaurateur Danny Meyer in his second Rapid Response interview. After shutting his iconic New York City restaurants, laying off 2,000 staffers (with hopes to re-hire) and returning a $10m PPP, Danny finds himself reconsidering nearly everything about his business model. Even before the coronavirus lockdown, the restaurant industry had a slew of “preexisting conditions,” Danny says. Now those weaknesses have become exposed, putting at risk the future of hospitality — one of America’s core industries. Danny’s Union Square Hospitality Group is reimagining what and HOW their restaurants serve; rethinking how they generate revenue; and exploring new cost structures, like a bold new relationship with landlords. It’s all in the hopes, says Danny, of getting back to business, with customers safely at their tables, and the teams back together.

37 MINMAY 30
Comments
Danny Meyer, 10 wks later: How to revive restaurants

How "startup DNA" helped One Medical respond to Covid, with CEO Amir Rubin

Since One Medical’s IPO in January, CEO Amir Rubin has been forced to constantly adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, as healthcare needs, expectations, and behaviors shifted. From telemedicine to Covid-19 testing, One Medical has leaned into existing advantages to scale quickly: standing up respiratory care clinics and testing centers; revamping virtual and in-person visits; vetting labs and data. One Medical is now helping other businesses identify new practices to safely bring employees back to work. If you have a consistent platform and mission, explains Amir, that operating system can be applied to even fast-changing environments.

37 MINMAY 28
Comments
How "startup DNA" helped One Medical respond to Covid, with CEO Amir Rubin

How Warby Parker is making decisions in uncertainty, with CEO Neil Blumenthal

"It's like getting hit in the face over and over and over,” says Warby Parker co-CEO Neil Blumenthal. But “crisis brings out clarity.” At Warby, planning for the future has meant leaning into the present — from physical changes in their factory and stores that ensure social distancing to optimizing online vision tests. Blumenthal shares the complex factors they consider in deciding which stores to re-open and when, and relates the human challenge of inspiring their on-the-ground factory employees — at times of increased risk. For Blumenthal, it's all about recognizing new priorities (safety) and fitting them into ongoing strategy.

31 MINMAY 23
Comments
How Warby Parker is making decisions in uncertainty, with CEO Neil Blumenthal

Leading with your gut, with Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky

Tapping both personal experience and intuition, Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky has embraced action amid uncertainty. Before the pandemic reached full throttle, Lifeway stockpiled seven weeks worth of product, secured supply chains, and reached out to all their customers. Mask on, Smolyansky personally visited her Chicago warehouse, made in-person donations to the food pantry at Wrigley Field, and went to dozens of stores across the city searching for thermometers for her team. The crisis, she says, has evoked her early years in the Soviet Union and her family's fight, as immigrants, to live the American Dream.

28 MINMAY 21
Comments
Leading with your gut, with Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky

Future-proofing Verizon, with CEO Hans Vestberg

Data streaming, videoconferencing – even phone calls are way up at Verizon amid Covid-19, as digital interaction steps in for IRL. But boom times don't mean easy times for CEO Hans Vestberg, who moved over 100,000 employees remote in two weeks. As coronavirus hit and pressure on the Verizon network skyrocketed, Vestberg split his leadership team in two: one to deal with the specifics of the crisis and one to focus on pursuing present-and-future business goals. From new customer initiatives (like free bandwidth and FIOS-in-a-box) to future bets (like the acquisition of video conferencing service BlueJeans), Vestberg has championed that meeting customers' needs today – even if not fully compensated for them – will pay off for the business tomorrow.

29 MINMAY 16
Comments
Future-proofing Verizon, with CEO Hans Vestberg
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