WaitWhat and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global Introduce “Meditative Story” — a First-of-Its-Kind Immersive Storytelling Podcast

Combines the emotional pull of first-person storytelling with the immediate, science-backed benefits of a mindfulness practice

July 30, 2019 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WaitWhat, founded by former TED executives Deron Triff and June Cohen who also created Masters of Scale, and Thrive Global, the behavior change technology company founded by Arianna Huffington, today released the premiere episode of Meditative Story, a completely new kind of listening experience that blends intimate first-person stories with mindfulness prompts, enveloped in beautiful music composition. The series is available on Apple PodcastSpotify and other leading podcast platforms. WaitWhat and Thrive have chosen Salesforce as the exclusive sponsor of Meditative Story because of the company’s unique devotion to both storytelling as a platform for change, and mindfulness as a keystone of the Salesforce culture across its 40,000 employees.

Every week, subscribers will receive a new Meditative Story from a storyteller who will transport listeners to the time and place where everything changed for them — a story that often will be deeply relatable to the listener’s own life. As the story unfolds, mindfulness guide Rohan Gunatillake (founder of the popular Buddhify meditation app) offers prompts to calm the mind and help listeners connect with their own observations. The entire experience is elevated by music created by The Holladay Brothers. Shifting between music and vibration, the exquisite sound design rides above the narrative, bringing each Meditative Story to life and empowering subscribers to feel restored and refreshed.

"We're thrilled to be partnering with WaitWhat on this truly unique and transformative listening experience," said Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global. "Meditative Story is a first-of-its-kind podcast and seamlessly combines the power of personal stories with the science-backed benefits of mindfulness. The stories allow you to immediately connect with yourself and reset, which is something we all need more of in our lives.”

Meditative Story debuts today with Dr. Lucy Kalanithi sharing, for the first time, an extraordinary coda to her late husband Paul Kalanithi’s New York Times best-selling memoir When Breath Becomes Air.

Storytellers for Meditative Story include well-known culture makers from the media world and beyond. Their lyrical voices transport us into their fascinating worlds we’ve not experienced. This combination of recognizable names and new voices will bring a beautiful array of stories and styles to the podcast. Some storytellers who will be sharing a Meditative Story in its first season include:

  • Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, widow of Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)

  • Author Pico Iyer

  • Thrive Global’s Arianna Huffington

  • On Being’s Krista Tippett

  • Restaurateur Danny Meyer

  • Futurist Jane McGonigal

  • ABC Nightline’s Dan Harris

  • NPR’s Peter Sagal

  • Apple Music’s Larry Jackson

  • Astronomer Michelle Thaller

  • Actor Josh Radnor

  • Transgender boxer and author Thomas Page McBee

  • Pulitzer-winning photojournalist John Moore

  • Best-selling author AJ Jacobs

    And more...

“Meditative Story is one of the most inventive and beautiful formats I’ve had the opportunity to help create — there’s nothing like it in the world,” says Deron Triff, Co-Founder of WaitWhat and Executive Producer of Meditative Story. “The creative teams from WaitWhat and Thrive see Meditative Story as a genre-making endeavor. We hope to one day see thousands of well known storytellers and newer voices ‘share a Meditative Story’ with the world — and in doing so, create the kind of global culture shift we helped build for TED.”

“Stories have the power to change perspectives," says Cristina Jones, Salesforce SVP of Customer Marketing, Brand Partnerships, and C-Suite Engagement. "Our approach makes it possible for everyone to share the inspiring stories of change makers. We are thrilled to collaborate with WaitWhat and Thrive to use this storytelling platform to spark action within every potential change maker out there."

Meditative Story’s 360-degree view on life through story will be as evocative as it is impactful, giving listeners the opportunity to restore themselves at any point of the day. Simon & Schuster’s Cary Goldstein curated the first season of storytellers.

Subscribe for free to Meditative Story on Apple PodcastSpotify or wherever you listen. Follow Meditative Story at Twitter.com/MeditativeStoryFacebook.com/MeditativeStory and Instagram.com/MeditativeStory.

About WaitWhat

WaitWhat is a media invention company that invests in, develops, produces and distributes wholly-owned media properties with the specific purpose of creating new genres, categories and formats of content that scale. WaitWhat creates and owns the Webby award-winning Masters of Scale podcast — hosted by LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Should this Exist?, a new property hosted by Caterina Fake that unpacks what technology is doing for us and to us.

Prior to WaitWhat, co-founders June Cohen and Deron Triff originated and executive produced The TED Radio Hour in partnership with NPR; Sincerely, X — the podcast of anonymous TED Talks co-created with Audible; The Possible, the world's first documentary series in VR (with Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin of Vrse (now Within); and originated the podcast Where Shall We Begin? — with Esther Perel for Audible. WaitWhat is founded upon a culture of possibility-thinking, courageous experimentation, originality, integrity and diversity.

About Thrive Global

Founded and led by Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global is a behavior change technology company helping individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance. Thrive Global is headquartered in New York and launched in the fall of 2016. For more information, visit www.thriveglobal.com.

About Salesforce

Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, voice and blockchain—to create a 360-degree view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.

Contacts

Monica Lee 
Chief Communications Officer 
Thrive Global 
monica@thriveglobal.com 
917-575-2630 

Susan McPherson 
Founder and CEO 
McPherson Strategies 
susan@mcpstrategies.com 
917-859-2291

Tory Burch Will Headline Masters Of Scale Live! In Boston

The cult-favorite business podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman chose Boston for its first-ever live event.

BOSTON, June 26, 2019 -- BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The award-winning Masters of Scale podcast will bring its signature style to the stage of Boston’s gorgeous Wilbur Theatre at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23, with celebrated founder and philanthropist Tory Burch as the featured guest. Host Reid Hoffman — founder of LinkedIn and legendary investor with Boston-born Greylock Partners — will set out to prove a counter-intuitive theory about scaling a business alongside Tory, who opened her first boutique in 2004 and has since grown her business into an iconic brand with more than 250 stores around the world.

Together, Tory and Reid will delve into the intersection of two ideas: the combination of patience and timing required to scale a sustainable business; and the drive to give back and support fellow entrepreneurs. Tory’s vision to start a foundation was part of her business plan from the beginning, and since launching in 2009, has distributed $50M in loans to nearly 3,000 women entrepreneurs in partnership with Bank of America. Tory will share insights and winning strategies from carving her own entrepreneurial path — and how she's using those lessons to now support women entrepreneurs.

“I’ve long admired Reid and his ‘Masters of Scale’ series,” Tory Burch shared. “His themes and business theories are always unexpected, and I can’t wait to see how he channels them to a live audience. I’m honored and delighted to participate in the first show.”

“Tory is a scale entrepreneur who grew a spectacular business through a combination of patience and speed,” said Reid Hoffman. “I’m honored to have her join us for the first Masters of Scale live event, and looking forward to comparing stories on how we each approach company-building.”

This first-ever live recording of Masters of Scale will unfold through a captivating onstage interview between Reid and Tory; “cameo” appearances by other well-known names in technology and business; the show's beloved music, and surprise moments just for the room. Many of Boston's leading thinkers and builders will be at the theater, connecting with up-and-coming entrepreneurs for an evening full of illuminating stories and hard-won truths on growing a business.

Why Boston? From Instagram's Kevin Systrom to Dropbox’s Drew Houston to MIT Media Lab's Joi Ito, famous founders from Boston and around the world have appeared on Masters of Scale, sitting down with Reid to talk about steering a company through a time of explosive growth and change. Boston has always been a hotbed of business and tech innovation, and it’s home to some of our favorite incubators, startup spaces and research labs. We're connecting here with a passionate audience that cuts across the spectrum, from investors to early-stage startups; scale executives to students.

Listeners have described Masters of Scale as “the best masterclass in building companies and scaling them,” “like sitting through an MBA program,” and said of Reid's interview style: “His thought process is so crystal clear that it makes you want to be like him.”

The evening is presented by Thoughtexchange, a disruptive platform that helps leaders crowdsource answers to questions in real time.

“We’re more than a little excited to partner with Masters of Scale for their first-ever live event,” said Dave MacLeod, CEO of Thoughtexchange. “It will be an amazing opportunity to learn from Reid and Tory, and see if we can learn a thing or two from one another as we tackle a tough question with the audience using Thoughtexchange!”

Tory Burch is the Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch LLC, an American lifestyle brand. Tory launched the company in 2004 with a small boutique on Elizabeth Street in New York City, as well as an ecommerce site. The brand has since grown into a global business with more than 250 boutiques from New York to Paris and Shanghai. In 2009, she launched the Tory Burch Foundation to advance women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in the United States by providing access to capital, education and digital resources, as well as a Fellowship program. To date, over $50M in loans have been distributed to over 2,800 women entrepreneurs through the Foundation’s Capital Program powered by Bank of America, and more than 300,000 women benefit from the Foundation’s digital resources each month.

Reid Hoffman is the host of Masters of Scale, co-founder of LinkedIn, and a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. As an entrepreneur and executive, Reid has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses, including LinkedIn and PayPal. He possesses a unique understanding of consumer behavior and the dynamics of viral businesses, as well as deep experience in driving companies from the earliest stages through periods of explosive, “blitzscaling” growth. He serves on the boards of Airbnb, Apollo Fusion, Aurora, Coda, Convoy, Entrepreneur First, Gixo, Microsoft, Nauto, Xapo and a few early-stage companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Kiva, Endeavor, CZI Biohub and Do Something. Prior to joining Greylock, he angel invested in many influential Internet companies, including Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, and Zynga. Reid is the co-author of the recent book Blitzscaling and best-selling books: The Start-up of You and The Alliance.

Masters of Scale is an original podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and a legendary Silicon Valley investor at the Boston-born Greylock Partners. In each episode, Reid shares a key theory about how companies grow, testing his conclusions in conversation with some of the most iconic business minds on the planet – famous founders and leaders who've built world-changing companies from a single great idea. Guests have included Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, Netflix head Reed Hastings, Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit, Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber, Spanx’s Sara Blakely, Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer, Daniel Ek of Spotify, Caterina Fake of Flickr/Etsy, Joi Ito from the MIT Media Lab, as well as Arianna Huffington, Barry Diller and Tim Ferriss. Voted the winner of the 2018 People’s Voice Award Webby for best business podcast, Masters of Scale was the first American media property to commit to equitable gender representation among guests. Masters of Scale is an original series from WaitWhat, a media invention company founded by June Cohen and Deron Triff, former TED executives, and is based in New York.

Details: Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at the Wilbur Theatre on Tremont Street. Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. Tickets are available at mastersofscale.com/live and the Wilbur Theatre box office.

Find Masters of Scale on Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you listen and @MastersofScale on Twitter. Follow live show news at #MoSLIVE.

Find Tory Burch at toryburch.com and ToryBurchFoundation.org.

Discover more about how Thoughtexchange brings people together at www.thoughtexchange.com and @thoughtxchng on Twitter.

Contacts

Cathy Atkins 
Metis Communications 
waitwhat@metiscomm.com 
978-590-9195

WaitWhat — the Premium Content Company and Award-Winning Podcast Creator — Raises $4.3M Series A

NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2019 -- WaitWhat, the "media invention company" known for its creation of premium, genre-defining digital content announced today that it has raised $4.3 million in Series A funding. Founded by former TED executives June Cohen and Deron Triff, the duo who led the ushering of TED Talks into a globally recognized media brand, WaitWhat in its short history has already developed one of the most successful online media properties with the 2018 Webby Award-winning podcast Masters of Scale, hosted by iconic entrepreneur and investor Reid Hoffman. In addition to its Series A funding, today the company launches Should This Exist? — a podcast, created in partnership with Quartz, which offers a fascinating journey into what technology is doing to humanity.

Ms. Cohen and Mr. Triff, whose combined leadership built TED Talks from a concept to 1 billion views/listens each year, quietly launched WaitWhat in January 2017 as a media company committed to the creation of highly-differentiated, premium content that is gender-balanced and diverse in its subject profiles, and boundary-breaking in its formats. Where most media companies focus on quick hits within a specific genre, format or demographic, WaitWhat is betting on a strategy aimed at creating diverse content experiences that scale across mediums; designing media properties whose value builds over time; and eliciting certain "contagious emotions" that accelerate sharing.

"People don't just transact with content; they want to feel connected to it through a sense of wonder, awe, curiosity, and mastery. These are contagious emotions, and research shows they stimulate sharing," said WaitWhat Co-founder and CEO June Cohen. "Where many media companies aim for volume — putting out lots of content with a short shelf life — we're building a completely distinctive portfolio of premium properties that are continually increasing in value, inspiring deep audience engagement, and creating opportunities for format expansion."

In May 2017, WaitWhat launched Masters of Scale as its prototype for an entirely original media experience, born as a podcast, and evolving into other formats that expand how audiences access each episode's timeless content. With guests like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Netflix's Reed Hastings, Spotify's Daniel Ek, Thrive's Arianna Huffington, Starbucks' Howard Schultz, Goop's Gwyneth Paltrow and Nike's Phil Knight; 15+ million downloads in more than 200 countries; 2,500 5-star reviews on Apple Podcasts; and a listen-through rate of nearly 90%, Masters of Scale has become one of the most prestigious and differentiated media properties in the world of business. 

In January 2019, WaitWhat forged a partnership with Harvard Business Publishing to create an offering of "Podcases," which adapt Masters of Scale content into an audio-first version of Harvard's world-renowned business cases. The first 3 Masters of Scale Podcases are now being licensed to universities around the world.

"In creating the TED Radio Hour and other media innovations during my time at TED, I fell in love with the idea of completely rethinking format. The initial body of content is the 'first format," and it acts as a precursor to what ultimately becomes an entire eco-system of media products, experiences and more innovative business models surrounding it," says Deron Triff, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of WaitWhat.  "With this raise, we're able to expand the team who will continually invent both new properties and format extensions."

"There is an undeniable shift and demand in media today for premium differentiated content.  What I love about WaitWhat is not only their unmatched ability to consistently produce the most relevant content, but to equally innovate around the business model and partnerships that accrue the best value for that content. This is the future of media – high quality content, but with a different and better business model.  We are honored to be part of this great team and investor set," said Tony Tjan, Managing Partner of Cue Ball.

In addition to its Series A funding, the company announced and launched today Should This Exist?a podcast created in partnership with Quartz, and hosted by Caterina Fake, the Silicon Valley investor and Internet pioneer who's known as an eloquent dot-connector on technology and the human condition. In each episode, an entrepreneur or scientist with a radical new technology joins Caterina on a journey to peer around corners, and glimpse their technology's wildest potential to change human lives for the better — and the hidden forces that might send their vision sideways.

In identifying potential investors for WaitWhat, Ms. Cohen and Mr. Triff sought out a diverse, group of backers who think boldly about reinventing media, understand the advantages of building gender-balanced and ethnically diverse teams, and believe in the long-term value of creating premium media properties.

Cue Ball and Burda Principal Investments led WaitWhat's Series A round. Other investors include Reid Hoffman, Jacki Zehner, Joi Ito, Julia Popowitz, Roy Martin, Ann Lovell, Will Allen, Maria Thomas, Joshua Schacter, Liminal Ventures, and Scott Green. The company has also reserved up to $1.5 million dollars of additional funding capacity specifically for women and minority led investment funds such as Victress Capital, Human Ventures, Able Partners who will join in this Series A Round.

About WaitWhat
WaitWhat is a media invention company that invests in, develops, produces and distributes wholly-owned media properties with the specific purpose of creating new genres, categories and formats of content that scale. WaitWhat creates and owns the Webby award-winning Masters of Scale podcast — hosted by LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Should this Exist? a new property hosted by Caterina Fake that will unpack what technology is doing for us and to us.  Prior to the company's formal founding, Cohen and Triff originated and executive produced Sincerely, X — the podcast of anonymous TED Talks co-produced with Audible; created and executive produced The Possible, the world's first documentary series in VR (with Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin of Vrse (now Within); and originated the podcast Where Shall We Begin? — with Esther Perel for Audible. For a combined 16 years, Cohen and Triff led TED's media organization, growing TED Talks from a concept to 1 billion views/listens each year through launching TED.com, the TED Open Translation ProjectTED Radio Hour on NPRTED Books, TED in Cinema, TED's professional development and English-language learning products, and nearly 100 distribution partnerships around the world. WaitWhat is founded upon a culture of possibility-thinking, courageous experimentation, originality, integrity and diversity. 

About Cue Ball
Cue Ball is a venture firm built on a distinct purpose-driven and human capital-centric  philosophy.  The fund seeks early venture and growth opportunities that hold the potential for durable growth and is unique in its evergreen structure allowing founders greater flexibility and patience.  The General Partners of Cue Ball have operating backgrounds of being both ground-up entrepreneurs and senior executives from notable Fortune businesses. Notably, founding members of Cue Ball previously led one of the largest media and information transformations in modern business history, Thomson Reuters.  Since the firm's founding, Cue Ball has focused on partnering with diverse and outstanding founders who dare to take on category-defining and culturally-shaping opportunities.  

About Burda Principal Investments
Burda Principal Investments, a division of Hubert Burda Media, provides long-term growth equity for fast-growing digital technology companies including marketplaces, direct-to-consumer and digital networks. BPI is a partner for visionary entrepreneurs and internet-centric businesses, leveraging Burda's capital, brands and sector expertise, particularly in the areas of business expansion, internationalization and localization. BPI has invested in a portfolio of highly successful consumer internet companies in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Examples include Etsy, Baublebar, M.Gemi, Notonthehighstreet, Vinted, nebenan.de and Zilingo.

Contact: 
Julie Zeilinger
julie@mcpstrategies.com

SOURCE WaitWhat