Logo
    Search

    Podcast Summary

    • The Importance of Building a Strong Company CultureBuilding a strong company culture is essential for long-term success and should be intentionally developed to align with the organization's values and goals.

      Company culture is of utmost importance and should be treated as a top priority. At HubSpot, the co-founder and CEO initially did not focus on culture until he faced criticism from his peers. They made it clear that culture defines a company's destiny in the long run and should not be neglected. As a result, the responsibility to build a culture was handed over to Dharmesh Shah, who initially felt unqualified for the task. However, he embraced the challenge and approached building a culture in the same way he would develop a product. He learned from the negative feedback and realized that culture should not be simply superficial or misrepresented. This conversation highlights the need to intentionally and purposefully build a company culture that aligns with the organization's values and goals.

    • Applying a product approach to build a strong and adaptable company cultureDefining, collaborating, addressing feedback, and continuously iterating are crucial to creating an honest and lasting company culture. Involving the team and demonstrating the value of the culture guide can help build vibrant cultures in other organizations.

      Building a strong and adaptable company culture requires a product approach. Just like designing and iterating on a product, defining, collaborating, addressing feedback, and continuously iterating are crucial to creating an honest culture that lasts. Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot, applied this approach when creating the HubSpot Culture Code. He initially wrote a 16-slide deck to answer the question of what attributes make people successful and happy at HubSpot. Through feedback and user testing, the Culture Code evolved into a living document that guided decision-making and described how things were done at the company. By involving the team and demonstrating the value of the Culture Code, it gained credibility and became a tool for building vibrant, adaptable cultures in other organizations.

    • Turning Culture into a Collaborative Development ProjectEmbracing feedback and continuously iterating on your culture code is crucial to ensuring it delivers value to your team and drives success for your business.

      Treating your culture as a collaborative product development project can lead to huge buy-in from your team. By sharing their culture deck publicly, Dharmesh and Brian were able to get valuable feedback and inspiration from others, including the renowned Netflix culture deck. Despite the discomfort of receiving feedback, they realized that it was worth it in order to refine and improve their own culture code. Feedback is seen as a gift, just like it is in product development. Dharmesh understood the importance of continuously iterating on the culture code to ensure it delivers the intended value over time. One key component highlighted in the HubSpot culture deck is the focus on solving for the customer, which is often overlooked by businesses but crucial for success.

    • Putting the Customer First: A Cultural Imperative for SuccessPrioritizing the customer and cultivating a deep understanding of their perspective is crucial for driving success in a company. It leads to insights, empathy, higher motivation, and a stronger product.

      Putting the customer at the heart of a company's culture is crucial. Dharmesh, in the example given, was infuriated by an email from a service provider that lacked empathy and failed to apologize for an outage. This experience led Dharmesh to prioritize "solving for the customer" in HubSpot's company culture. The importance of keeping close to the customer's perspective is emphasized, with monthly meetings where the entire exec team discusses customer issues. Dharmesh also encourages engineers to directly engage with customers to understand their pain and improve the product. This cultural focus on the customer leads to insights, empathy, higher motivation, and a stronger product. It's crucial to solve for the entire customer base, rather than individual cases. In summary, prioritizing the customer and fostering a deep understanding of their perspective drives the success of a company.

    • Embracing Extreme Transparency: HubSpot's Key to SuccessHubSpot's commitment to transparency, even during its IPO, has helped maintain its culture and strengthen the team's vision, ultimately contributing to the company's success.

      HubSpot emphasizes extreme transparency as a defining factor of its culture. From the very beginning, the founders decided to share everything with their employees, and this principle has remained unchanged even during the IPO. By designating every individual employee as a designated insider, HubSpot maintained its commitment to transparency, even though it meant having close to 800 insiders at the time of the IPO. This unconventional move helped preserve the company's culture and prevented the narrowing of vision for the majority of the team. Just like building a product, compromising on one component, such as transparency, can have significant effects on the entire business. HubSpot's willingness to take risks and uphold its cultural values has contributed to its success.

    • Building a Culture of Risk-Taking and Inclusive Decision-MakingLeadership support, a safe environment, clear commanders, and diversity in decision-making are essential for fostering innovation and creating a culture of calculated risk-taking.

      Building a culture of risk-taking requires intentional effort and support from leadership. Dharmesh, the founder of HubSpot, encourages everyone to take calculated risks while ensuring that the company has their backs if things don't go as planned. This is not about fostering recklessness, but rather creating a safe environment where innovative ideas can thrive. Dharmesh emphasizes the importance of having a clear commander for each risky venture, not for assigning blame, but to navigate through unforeseen challenges. Additionally, the conversation highlights the significance of diversity in decision-making. Early on, HubSpot lacked diversity, but they realized the value in having a broader perspective and actively worked towards creating a more inclusive workforce.

    • The Importance and Evolution of Company CultureBuilding and maintaining a strong company culture is essential for success, and it requires regular assessment and adaptation to align with the company's goals and values.

      Culture building is essential for companies to thrive. Neglecting culture can lead to negative consequences, even for companies that believe they have a positive culture. Hiring for culture fit requires a clear definition and understanding of the company's culture, rather than using it as an excuse to hire people who are similar to existing employees. Building a diverse and inclusive culture is crucial, as it helps employees better understand and empathize with a diverse customer base. Culture is not a static entity, but rather something that evolves and adapts over time. Thinking of culture as a product allows for constant improvement and involvement from the entire team. It is important to regularly assess and update the culture to ensure it aligns with the company's goals and values.

    Recent Episodes from Masters of Scale

    Rapid Response: What campus protests mean for business, w/Ken Frazier and Ken Chenault

    Rapid Response: What campus protests mean for business, w/Ken Frazier and Ken Chenault

    Amid college campus protests over Palestine and Israel, stark US political divides, and legal challenges to diversity initiatives, business leaders face new pressure on whether to speak out and take action on issues of our time. Ken Frazier, former CEO of Merck, and Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express, offer their unfiltered advice, as board members of the Harvard Corporation and two of America’s most prominent Black executives. It’s a candid conversation about the most controversial topics in American business, from DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) to January 6th.

    Subscribe to the Rapid Response podcast feed: https://listen.rapidresponseshow.com/Subscribe

    For more info, visit: www.rapidresponseshow.com

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Grit-scaling with Angela Duckworth

    Grit-scaling with Angela Duckworth

    Success looks different for everybody. But author and psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that whether we achieve success, or even seek it, may hinge on a characteristic that she calls “grit.” Angela’s 2016 bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance quickly became a must-read for business leaders. On Masters of Scale she describes her unlikely path to scaling the impact of her work, through becoming a public intellectual. We hear why she studied commonalities among high-achieving individuals, her top advice for founders, and why grit alone is not enough. Plus we get the scoop on Angela’s next book!

    Angela discussed her inspiration for distilling complex ideas into accessible wisdom: psychologist William James and his Talks to Teachers

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Rapid Response: Airbnb reimagined (Part 1), w/CEO Brian Chesky

    Rapid Response: Airbnb reimagined (Part 1), w/CEO Brian Chesky

    As Rapid Response begins a twice-weekly cadence, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky returns to reveal how the company’s new Icons initiative points toward a surprising new chapter ahead. Host Bob Safian gets Chesky to open up about the mental struggles of being a high-profile CEO, plus the inside story behind Airbnb’s recent ad campaign targeting hotels. The pair cover so much, we’ve split the episode into two parts. Part 2 drops this Friday exclusively in the Rapid Response podcast feed. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!

    Subscribe to the Rapid Response podcast feed: https://listen.rapidresponseshow.com/Subscribe

    For more info, visit: www.rapidresponseshow.com

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Trendspotting with Ron Shaich: Panera, Cava, and Beyond

    Trendspotting with Ron Shaich: Panera, Cava, and Beyond

    Some business leaders have a seemingly psychic ability to spot trends, and take them mainstream at just the right moment. Ron Shaich is one of those. As a pioneering force behind fast-casual dining, Shaich saw that a growing number of Americans craved higher quality food in a relaxed yet speedy setting. His first major company, Au Bon Pain, paved the way for the meteoric rise of Panera Bread, with more than 2,000 locations nationwide. An accidental start running a convenience store first showed Ron the power of business to enact change. And his curiosity about trends and pattern recognition has fueled the growth of his businesses for decades. These forces have led to Ron Shaich upending how we eat like few others. 

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Caitlin Clark and the new WNBA, w/Commissioner Cathy Engelbert

    Caitlin Clark and the new WNBA, w/Commissioner Cathy Engelbert

    We’ve reached a radical inflection point in the growth of women’s sports, particularly the WNBA. As college stars like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese enter the league, fans are clamoring for tickets and on social media, generating unprecedented excitement and business potential. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert joins Rapid Response host Bob Safian to share how she plans to capitalize on this newfound buzz, and how NIL deals have transformed the business of sports for players and owners alike. Plus, Engelbert peels back the curtain on how she led the league through the Brittney Griner crisis and the tumult of COVID. 

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Local veggies, national scale: Sweetgreen co-founders

    Local veggies, national scale: Sweetgreen co-founders

    What started with three college friends looking for a healthy lunch in D.C. grew into Sweetgreen, a fast-growing restaurant business focused on salads and grain bowls. From a tiny 500-square-foot storefront to more than 220 locations nationwide, the Sweetgreen journey includes booking The Strokes for a "salad festival," adopting cutting-edge technology, and proving that fast food can include locally-sourced, farm-fresh ingredients. Listen to co-founders Jonathan Neman, Nathaniel Ru, and Nicolas Jammet share how they have scaled the business in alignment with its core values, to a public company valued at $2.5 billion.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Meet your kid’s new AI tutor, w/Khan Academy founder and CEO Sal Khan

    Meet your kid’s new AI tutor, w/Khan Academy founder and CEO Sal Khan

    Khan Academy first rocked the education world with online video. Now Khan Academy CEO and founder Sal Khan has gone all-in on AI, convinced that it has immense potential to democratize and improve education. Khan tells Rapid Response host Bob Safian how an early outreach from OpenAI led Khan Academy to create an AI assistant called Khanmigo, which is already being used by thousands of students and teachers. Khan shares lessons from this real-world experiment, plus the inspiration behind his new book, Brave New Words, and why the most educated among us tend to avoid the risks worth taking.

    Pre-order Sal Khan’s new book, Brave New Words: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/740806/brave-new-words-by-salman-khan/

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Fighting media's reality distortion, w/Axios CEO Jim VandeHei

    Fighting media's reality distortion, w/Axios CEO Jim VandeHei

    Every day we’re inundated with news and opinion pieces about America’s hopeless division — but is this really true? Axios CEO Jim VandeHei joins Rapid Response host Bob Safian to bust what he sees as myth, plus share his seemingly counterintuitive AI play. VandeHei also makes a case for why the era of business leaders speaking out on political issues may be behind us, and he weighs-in on the state of Buzzfeed, NPR, and where the future of news media is inevitably headed.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Preserve start-up spirit at scale: Techstars’ Maëlle Gavet

    Preserve start-up spirit at scale: Techstars’ Maëlle Gavet

    Maëlle Gavet is the CEO of Techstars, a pre-seed investor focused on early-stage entrepreneurs. It boasts a market cap of $111.6 billion, and supports founders in programs that span from Tokyo to Lagos to Alabama. Maëlle champions hard work, gratitude, and a questioning nature, qualities her grandfather imparted while she was growing up in France. She has carried her curiosity through a wide-ranging international career, in start-ups and scaled corporations. We hear lessons drawn from her vast experience, including the transformation of Ozon — the "Amazon of Russia" — in the early 2010s, to leadership roles in global travel and real estate. And we get a sample of the advice she often shares with Techstars’ founders, about how to balance their values and the needs of their company, always with an optimism about entrepreneurship as a force for good.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    How Star Trek prospers against Netflix and Disney+, w/Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman

    How Star Trek prospers against Netflix and Disney+, w/Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman

    The streaming wars have reached a new inflection, as Netflix and Disney+ jostle for position, and in the process disrupt post-strike Hollywood. Paramount+ invested heavily in blockbuster veteran Alex Kurtzman to turn Star Trek into a distinguishing franchise. Now Kurtzman talks with Rapid Response host Bob Safian about the future of streaming, the end of TV’s golden age, and how courting Trekkies offers lessons for all customer engagement. Plus, Kurtzman shares behind the scenes stories of Star Trek’s past, present and future.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Related Episodes

    128. Jimmy Iovine: Harness fear to drive innovation, part 1

    128. Jimmy Iovine: Harness fear to drive innovation, part 1

    With guest host Angela Ahrendts (Burberry, Apple). To innovate, you need to build an instinct to smash through barriers — especially the ones that terrify you. Music industry legend Jimmy Iovine has done this throughout his career working with legendary artists like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Dr. Dre, working in innovative tech like Beats Electronics and Apple Music, as well as in his groundbreaking work educating the next generation of creatives.

    In part one of this two-part episode, we learn how fear is the tailwind that Jimmy has harnessed to break down barriers and drive creative breakthroughs.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    140. Start with a story, cook up success, w/Chef Marcus Samuelsson

    140. Start with a story, cook up success, w/Chef Marcus Samuelsson

    Telling a clear story about your product is a basic entrepreneurial skill. But to build enduring impact, you need to help amplify other stories — those that surround you in your community and your customers. 

    Marcus Samuelsson has done just this with beloved restaurants such as Hav & Mar and Red Rooster, and through his media group that celebrates the richness of the world's cuisines and the stories embedded within them.

    Marcus shares how embracing a diversity of stories has let him create spaces where every individual's narrative is valued, and has opened up new avenues of inspiration for him as an entrepreneur and award-winning chef. 

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Learn from every "no"

    Learn from every "no"

    In the entrepreneurial journey, facing rejection is not just a possibility, but a certainty. However, it's the ability to perceive these rejections not as setbacks, but as stepping stones, that sets apart the most successful entrepreneurs. 

    Each 'no' offers a unique opportunity to refine an idea, sharpen a pitch, and foster resilience. It can even be a sign that your idea is so contrarian that it could be truly transformative.

    This is a theory we've explored before on Masters of Scale. And now we're revisiting it in this special "Remix" episode. We'll hear a range of scale leaders share their strategies for weathering the chorus of no's, and see how doing so was a vital part of their scale journeys.

    Learn more about MacGyver: MacGyver.com

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    137. Pixar’s Ed Catmull: Throw out your rules

    137. Pixar’s Ed Catmull: Throw out your rules

    There's no perfect process for achieving your goals. Accepting that the rules you play by need to be constantly tweaked, hacked or reinvented will open you up to new ways of innovating. Instilling this attitude throughout your organization will help you be boldly differential in your experimentation.

    Ed Catmull literally wrote the book on creating a dynamic and sustainable creative culture. Drawing on his experience as co-founder of celebrated animation studio Pixar, and president of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ed shares his hard-won insights from his career as a pioneering technologist, animator and storyteller.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com/

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    139. will.i.am & Austin Russell: Mute the hype, amplify the product

    139. will.i.am & Austin Russell: Mute the hype, amplify the product

    One of the biggest strikes against the tech industry is too much noise and not enough signal. But does it always pay to "show, not tell," — even about the most innovative of products? Austin Russell of Luminar Technologies believes so. At just 17 years old, Austin created revolutionary tech that would unlock autonomous driving in the future, and make safer passenger cars today. Almost as startling is how he kept his breakthrough close to his chest for five years — carefully choosing trusted team members, mentors, and industry partners before revealing his tech to the wider world. In this special episode guest-hosted by master hype-ologist will.i.am, Austin sheds light on his quiet approach to scaling, and the importance of letting the technology speak for itself.

    Read a transcript of this episode: https://mastersofscale.com

    Subscribe to the Masters of Scale weekly newsletter: https://mastersofscale.com/subscribe

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.