Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman: Etsy’s Josh Silverman Podcast Summary

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Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman: Etsy’s Josh Silverman

Building a company to scale requires a delicate balance of macro and micro, as well as knowing where to focus. Josh Silverman has perfected the skill over decades of experience at multiple companies and three CEO roles: at Evite, Skype, and most recently, Etsy. Josh has learned that success isn’t just about zooming in on the details or taking the long view, but about knowing exactly when to switch between these perspectives.

Extraordinary scale

  • To achieve extraordinary scale, entrepreneurs must strike a balance between diving deep into details and zooming out to see the bigger picture. It’s about seeing both the forest and the trees in order to fuel growth.
  • Successful leaders need to balance focus on both the big picture and details, synthesize complex information, create structure in unstructured situations, and communicate simply with various stakeholders.


  • Simplifying complex plans into simple strategies is important for successful scaling. By focusing on unique details, businesses can find their competitive advantage and succeed in the market.
  • Analyzing data and keeping an open mind to unconventional competition and product-market fits can help companies stay ahead of the game

Focus on a specific problem and go to the smallest detail

Focusing on a specific problem and using data to support its findings can lead to new strategies. Adapting quickly in network-effect businesses is crucial to staying ahead of competition in hyper-connected markets.

Leaders should prioritize the smallest details and connect them to the big picture, switching to the appropriate level of fidelity in a crisis. Focusing intensely on just a few things can lead to success and standing out from the competition.

Serve individual users

Microorganisms may be small, but they play a big role in maintaining the health of our planet and businesses. By including them in our models and thinking, we can ensure long-term sustainability.

To succeed in business, focus on understanding and serving individual users. By pivoting to video, Skype’s CEO tapped into the app’s essence of connecting people separated by distance, resulting in increased engagement and success.

Zoom in

Understanding the essential needs of your customers is crucial for creating a successful business. By zooming in on individual customer needs and creating experiences to fulfill those needs, you can grow your company and increase profitability.

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