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Masters of Scale: Rapid Response


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 ofRead more

Popular episodes

Re-founding Instacart, with first-time CEO Fidji Simo

Dec 2 • 31:41

This past summer, Fidji Simo departed from Facebook – where she stood among the highest-ranking female executives, serving as the head of their app – for the opportunity to become a first-time CEO at Instacart. She replaced founder Apoorva Mehta, who appeared on this show last spring to talk about Instacart’s incredible COVID-fueled growth. Since then, Fidji has emphasized...

How to turn intentions into action, w/Aurora James, founder of the 15 Percent Pledge

Nov 18 • 33:35

In May 2020, as companies began making promises about how they’d help Black-owned businesses in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Aurora James launched the 15 Percent Pledge initiative with an Instagram post. Tagging major retailers, she declared that 15% of retail shelf space should belong to Black-owned businesses. And she's helped these companies turn promise into act...

"You should be running toward AI," w/Eric Schmidt (frmr Google CEO)

Nov 11 • 32:03

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, breaks down his deep insights around artificial intelligence on Rapid Response. Schmidt, co-author of the new book "The Age of AI: And Our Human Future," alongside Dr. Henry Kissinger and MIT’s Daniel Huttenlocher, says that we’re entering an unknown era with technology – one that requires extra vigilance to ensure that we amplify the po...

How Peloton keeps pushing through resistance, w/CEO John Foley

Nov 4 • 31:01

Skepticism and doubt are no strangers to John Foley, the CEO of Peloton. As he says, it’s been part of the company’s DNA “since the first time I pitched the business to an investor back in 2012.” Last year, the company was supercharged by pandemic demand. However, in 2021, the company has faced a slew of new headwinds, from product-safety issues to investor skepticism. In ...

The truth about what we watch, with Nielsen’s David Kenny

Oct 28 • 31:35

How do you respond when your own users resist your data? That question is top-of-mind for Nielsen CEO David Kenny. For decades, Nielsen has measured ratings and demographics across TV and media – the ultimate designator of success and failure. But as industry norms shift to streaming, Kenny has had to revamp processes and expectations, absorbing heat from traditional custo...

Launching a $500 billion startup, w/ founder and NBA owner Marc Lore

Oct 21 • 22:22

Since stepping down as Walmart’s president of e-commerce at the beginning of the year, billionaire entrepreneur Marc Lore has had a busy year of big ideas. In the Spring, it was announced that he reached a deal to purchase the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, alongside Alex Rodriguez. And then last month, he outlined his plans to build a new Amer...

Overcoming institutional hurdles, w/ U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland

Oct 14 • 33:58

In the last year, Sarah Hirshland has had to face one daunting issue after another as the CEO of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee – each of which have required urgent, in-the-moment decisions. Most recently Sarah mandated that U.S. athletes be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in the upcoming Beijing winter games. But that’s just the latest of a slew of cul...

SolarWinds: Urgent lessons from a cyberattack, w/ CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna

Oct 7 • 29:11

Last year, SolarWinds became the subject of a massive and sophisticated cyberattack, potentially affecting thousands of organizations. CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna, who joined the company soon after the breach was discovered, speaks with host Bob Safian about how he and the company responded, and how other companies should approach the ever-looming threat of cyber-risk. "There...

How to scale tech responsibly, with former Google ad chief and Neeva founder Sridhar Ramaswamy

Sep 30 • 27:18

To compete against bigger players, you need a special edge. Sridhar Ramaswamy, who led Google’s huge ad business, is now going head-to head against his former employer with an ad-free subscription-based search engine called Neeva. Ramaswamy became disillusioned by Google’s priorities and practices and argues that big platforms – including Facebook and Amazon – have failed ...

How to lead for enduring impact w/ Spelman’s Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell

Sep 23 • 29:08

Your ability to make quick decisions in the face of a crisis can define your career. That’s been the case for Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College, the all-women's HBCU in Atlanta. In her second appearance on Rapid Response, Dr. Campbell, who recently announced her plan to retire at the end of the academic year, discusses how listening to her community h...

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