There is something about a podcast that brings the experience of an entrepreneur to life in a way an article, book or even video lacks. Hearing their voice full of the tone and expression brings focus to crucial moments and lessons in short bursts.
Masters of Scale, from LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman, sets out to describe and prove theories that explain how great entrepreneurs take their companies from zero to a gazillion in ingenious fashion. It's my favourite podcast, and Episode 15 is one of the best!
In this episode, Reid chats with Barry Diller, Chairman & Senior Executive of InteractiveCorp about learning to unlearn. If you don't know who Barry is, he founded InteractiveCorp. The company that invented or purchased Ticketmaster, Match.com, Tinder, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Expedia, Vimeo, College Humor, and Dictionary.com. Just to name of few of the big name properties that he fostered in the early days of interactive media.
In a nutshell, it's easy to assume that when something is successful you just double-down on what you know and keep using the same playbook. Barry gets bored by the monotony of success and challenges himself, and a massive roster of individuals who under his stewardship have gone on to dominate the world of tech, to approach every opportunity as a blank page.
Here are my top three takeaways from their conversation:
- When things are moving as fast as they do in a startup, it's easy to lose your sense of curiosity and double-down on the way you've always done something. Shift your perspective of curiosity as a time suck to it being a conduit to confident lifelong learning. As long as you have a clear line of sight on where you want to apply that knowledge, you're golden!
- Don't assign labels to your team like the rockstar, the foot soldier, people person, the pushover... The lack of performance labels gives everyone the opportunity to get thrown into the deep end once and a while. In the deep end, they'll learn lots about what they're capable of and more innovative ideas will float to the top! (Keep an ear out for Barry's quote about turkeys, though!)
- Barry has a great quote "I always think nobody knows anything about anything, including me." You always have to assume you don't know everything. It's easy to go and take inventory of what you do and keep adding; it's way harder to start a blank page and re-evaluate everything. If you work from this approach, it also means that there is no better person than you to tackle a new problem, industry, or project!