Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Shonda Rhimes on How to Create Stories (and Products) People Want

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Shonda Rhimes on How to Create Stories (and Products) People Want

The a16z Podcast


5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Hit TV series producer Shonda Rhimes approaches her creative work with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Editorial Rating



  • Overview
  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


TV series creator Shonda Rhimes typically juggles three to four shows in production simultaneously, creating around $20 million worth of television programming every nine days or so. Her first hit, the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, has been on the air for 16 years. Now, Rhimes, through her production company Shondaland, is making bingeworthy content at Netflix. Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen talks with Rhimes in this episode of the a16z podcast about how she creates her products and runs her business.


Shonda Rhimes wanted to avoid being a one-hit wonder.

Creators, like entrepreneurs, go through two phases in building their businesses. First comes the zero to one phase, when you create something new. Then comes scaling – going from “one to n” – which presents different challenges. The initial phase for Rhimes, already an established film screenwriter, was developing her first television hit, Grey’s Anatomy, a medical drama still running after 16 seasons.

Rhimes wanted to be sure she didn’t have a one-and-done career, so she began developing other shows. She had to figure out how to work on an even larger, different scale and build a supportive business infrastructure to execute her vision. Creating television programming is too big a job to do alone. Rhimes surrounds herself with people she trusts to get things done.

Luckily, Rhimes had a producing partner to help her navigate that learning curve as she scaled up Shondaland. She spread her trusted colleagues from Grey’s Anatomy out among her new projects. They became her eyes and ears. She explains this was the only way for her company to grow; ...

About the Podcast

Shonda Rhimes, founder of Shondaland, is the creator and executive producer of many hit television shows including Grey’s Anatomy and ScandalMarc Andreessen, co-founder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz, hosts the a16z podcast.

Comment on this summary