How the Lessons of Role-Playing Games Help Build Great Teams and Companies

Since launching the Masters of Scale podcast, I’ve interviewed more than 50 amazing entrepreneurs, and helped them share their experiences and lessons from building iconic companies. Now, for the first time in the history of the podcast, the tables have been turned.

My friend June Cohen, the co-founder of WaitWhat, the company behind Masters of Scale, steps out from the control booth to interview me about *my* entrepreneurial journey. This two-part special episode takes you from my childhood in the Bay Area to my experience blitzscaling companies like PayPal, LinkedIn, and Airbnb as an entrepreneur and investor at Greylock Partners.

You’ll learn how role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons helped me appreciate the power of helping every person play the part of a hero on an epic journey. You’ll learn why I think software is a powerful tool for moral inquiry. And I’ll share what I learned from the failure of my first startup, SocialNet and how that ultimately led me to co-founding LinkedIn.

We also dive into one of my favorite theories, about “Jedi Tours of Duty.” One of the key insights behind my previous book, The Alliance was: If you want to inspire employees, help them understand how their particular “tour of duty” with the company fits into the arc of their own epic story. Are they a Han Solo, a Luke Skywalker, or a Leia Organa?

You’ll even hear how Peter Thiel took the very same approach when he recruited me to join PayPal. He convinced me that helping him grow PayPal would be a six-month tour of duty that would help me start LinkedIn. And he was right, though it ended up taking three years, not six months!

As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts and reactions to this episode. What is your epic story or journey? How can you enlist other people in your journey by helping them be the heroes of their own stories? Can you tell if each key person is a Han, Luke, or Leia?

Please write a short post on your LinkedIn newsfeed to share your answers with the wider community. Tag your post #mastersofscale so I can find it. And if you’d like, Tweet it at me (@ReidHoffman) and @MastersOfScale.

Entrepreneur. Investor. Strategist.