Podcasts We’re Diggin’: Two Silicon Valley “Greats” Agree That Competition Is For Losers

Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman, a podcast about growing and scaling businesses, is on a mission to “illuminate big concepts and simple hacks that can change everything”. Each episode features an entrepreneur (i.e. Mark Zuckerberg, Linda Rottenberg, Reed Hastings, and many more) to discuss relevant topics that tie back to Hoffman’s theories about the art of scaling organizations effectively. This podcast series launched back in May, and has truly made a name for itself due to its high profile guest speakers. Masters of Scale prides itself on being more than simply an interview show, but rather a “genre-defining series on how to think boldly and differently about the world”.

Meet The Host

Reid Hoffman

According to Business Insider, Reid Hoffman is “one of Silicon Valley’s most influential billionaires”. He co-founded LinkedIn [from the comfort of his living room I might add], serves on the boards of highly successful companies such as Airbnb and Microsoft, and is the author of best-sellers The Startup of You and The AllianceReid also has a heart for entrepreneurship and sits on the boards of entrepreneurial organizations such as Biohub and Endeavor. Unlike many of the moguls around him, Reid does not hold an MBA or a law degree. Instead he chose to obtain a master’s degree in philosophy – which he says honed his abilities of thinking critically at a high level and truly understanding human nature. These skills have served him well as an investor/entrepreneur and his track record is more than proof of that.

Featured Episode: Escape the Competition – with Paypal’s Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel, founder and former CEO of PayPal, notoriously states that “competition is for losers“. But what does this actually mean? That you should not compete with the other companies in your industry? Well…yes. Precisely.

Peter and Reid address various examples, with regards to PayPal and other game-changing companies, that explain why trying to “beat the competition” is not an effective use of company efforts – at least for a period of time. Peter stresses that conventional competition is antiquated. Now companies have to actually leave the current game create their own new game [and master it] in order to win. What does that look like? Peter walks through how he created a new game for PayPal to play. One where Ebay, Paypal’s partner-turned-competitor, didn’t play or know how to play. Peter delves into his equation for success [aka X-Factor] which is actually pretty simple once Reid steps in to explain it in terms the rest of us can comprehend [thanks Reid].

Why You Should Listen

You should listen because this podcast is a literal treasure trove of useful information. If you have your own business, the ideas expressed in this series totally pertain to the struggles that come with entering the market and addressing competition. But if you aren’t a business owner – this series is still highly relevant. This particular episode about “escaping the competition” resonated with me on a personal level because in today’s world, we are all selling ourselves in some way. Whether it’s to a client or a boss, or even in the dating scene [sigh] we have to sell who we are in an appealing way to be successful.

So if nothing else, I think this episode makes you question who you choose to measure your success up against. Is your business trying to beat harsh competitors in a saturated market? Are you doing things everyone else does and expecting to get ahead? Competition is relative. If you compete and win in a game but don’t truly want to be like those playing, are you even achieving something important to you? I’ve bought into Peter’s position – competition is for losers. Create your own game, master it, and then see what comes. If you need to know where start and how to do this, I recommend listen to this episode ASAP.

How To Find It

Find it in your podcast app or here

Follow Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel on:

Sam Schafer

Storyteller - Spotify peruser - Traveler Instagram: @sam_schafer27