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Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

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Foreword by Bill Gates LinkedIn cofounder, legendary investor, and host of the award-winning Masters of Scale podcast reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies. What entrepreneur or founder doesn't aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb? Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups th Foreword by Bill Gates LinkedIn cofounder, legendary investor, and host of the award-winning Masters of Scale podcast reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies. What entrepreneur or founder doesn't aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb? Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones who grow to become global giants? The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of Blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion -as quickly as possible. When growing at a breakneck pace, getting to next level requires very different strategies from those that got you to where you are today. In a book inspired by their popular class at Stanford Business School, Hoffman and Yeh reveal how to navigate the necessary shifts and weather the unique challenges that arise at each stage of a company's life cycle, such as: how to design business models for igniting and sustaining relentless growth; strategies for hiring and managing; how the role of the founder and company culture must evolve as the business matures, and more. Whether your business has ten employees or ten thousand, Blitzscaling is the essential playbook for winning in a world where speed is the only competitive advantage that matters.


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Foreword by Bill Gates LinkedIn cofounder, legendary investor, and host of the award-winning Masters of Scale podcast reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies. What entrepreneur or founder doesn't aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb? Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups th Foreword by Bill Gates LinkedIn cofounder, legendary investor, and host of the award-winning Masters of Scale podcast reveals the secret to starting and scaling massively valuable companies. What entrepreneur or founder doesn't aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb? Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones who grow to become global giants? The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of Blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion -as quickly as possible. When growing at a breakneck pace, getting to next level requires very different strategies from those that got you to where you are today. In a book inspired by their popular class at Stanford Business School, Hoffman and Yeh reveal how to navigate the necessary shifts and weather the unique challenges that arise at each stage of a company's life cycle, such as: how to design business models for igniting and sustaining relentless growth; strategies for hiring and managing; how the role of the founder and company culture must evolve as the business matures, and more. Whether your business has ten employees or ten thousand, Blitzscaling is the essential playbook for winning in a world where speed is the only competitive advantage that matters.

30 review for Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

  1. 5 out of 5

    د.أمجد الجنباز

    يتحدث الكتاب عن آلية تكبير المشاريع الناشئة. فيبدأ بذكر أهمية التكبير وأنه ليس برفاهية، وإنما هو أساسي لضمان بقاء واستمرار المشروع الريادي. ثم يعطي آلية القيام بالتكبير واستراتيجياته وخطواته. ينصح بالكتاب لأي شخص بدأ بمشروعه الناشئ

  2. 5 out of 5

    Denis Vasilev

    Объяснение концепции, которую сам же Рид Хоффман и придумал - блитцскейлинг. Не так много инсайтов, проблема - книга написана по материалам оффлайн курса и слишком много достаточно базовых и повторяющихся вещей. Из интересного - объяснение в чем смысл блитцскейлинга, его особенности, фазы, риски, отличие от просто быстрого роста/масштабирования.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zahedul

    Clearly my best read of 2018. Will recommend this to any entrepreneur.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ocean Gebhardt

    Maybe I'm just getting old, but I'm not sure how I feel about these books that try to make a point without any sort of comprehensive study, just some personal anecdotes of the author's. Granted, the author giving the personal anecdotes is one of the biggest success stories out there. This also seems to apply only to people trying to make their businesses go viral, so it might not be applicable to B2B companies, or local restaurants, etc. To be fair, he addresses this (around halfway through the Maybe I'm just getting old, but I'm not sure how I feel about these books that try to make a point without any sort of comprehensive study, just some personal anecdotes of the author's. Granted, the author giving the personal anecdotes is one of the biggest success stories out there. This also seems to apply only to people trying to make their businesses go viral, so it might not be applicable to B2B companies, or local restaurants, etc. To be fair, he addresses this (around halfway through the book), but he then states that most businesses will be online businesses (or already are). While this is true, it would have been handier (and frankly, more honest), to state this at the beginning, or on the dust jacket, so people who pick this book up know who its target market is right away. All of this isn't to say I don't believe in his message. On the contrary, for some businesses this book is probably essential reading. This may even, at some point, include mine, in which case I should probably re-read it at that point. In the meantime, these are some of the notes I took: The only time to blitzscale is when you have determined that speed is THE critical strategy to achieve massive outcomes. (This means greater uncertainty) [EDIT: 8 Transitions in Management Innovation (NOT steps in Blitzscaling, as previously written)]: 1. Small teams to large teams 2. Generalists to Specialists (Marines, army and police analogy) 3. Contributors to managers to executives 4. Dialogue to Broadcasting 5. Inspiration to Data 6. Single focus to multi-threading "Freedom just means you have nothing to lose" 7. Pirate to Navy (If I wanted to compete with myself, what would I do?) 8. Scale yourself (Founder to leader) Always have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan Z Launch a product that embarrasses you (no time for perfection)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian Gebski

    I've started reading this one thanks to some recommendations, but I was more than skeptical - my initial impression was that author tries to "sell" me some wonderful scaling framework, silver-bullet of rapid growth, hype-generating bullshit peptalk conveniently split into few non-specific rules. This impression lasted until 15%-20% of the book. Fortunately, I've prevailed & read further ... ... and now I can confirm that there's actually a lot of valuable content in these pages. A lot of good I've started reading this one thanks to some recommendations, but I was more than skeptical - my initial impression was that author tries to "sell" me some wonderful scaling framework, silver-bullet of rapid growth, hype-generating bullshit peptalk conveniently split into few non-specific rules. This impression lasted until 15%-20% of the book. Fortunately, I've prevailed & read further ... ... and now I can confirm that there's actually a lot of valuable content in these pages. A lot of good points regarding various profiles of people (& where they fit), archetypes of culture, conditions when rapid scaling may be beneficial (or not), roles of managers & executives, importance of network effects, etc. Book is in fact very practical & it clearly feels that it was written by someone who has got the experience "in the trenches". In the end, maybe it's not a "super-clear, undisputed 5 stars", but surely not less than 4.5. Recommended read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    If you are a company that needs to win your market to win--like a social network where the key to survival is having tons of people on your platform or a large volume producer that needs a ton of clients to reach profit--then this is an amazing book for you. He does a great job clarifying that everyone shouldn't be in blitz-growth mode, and that even those who do it shouldn't stay in that mode forever. It's not efficient growth at all. But this might be the first great book on how to actually dr If you are a company that needs to win your market to win--like a social network where the key to survival is having tons of people on your platform or a large volume producer that needs a ton of clients to reach profit--then this is an amazing book for you. He does a great job clarifying that everyone shouldn't be in blitz-growth mode, and that even those who do it shouldn't stay in that mode forever. It's not efficient growth at all. But this might be the first great book on how to actually drive crazy fast growth and win a market in one massive blitz. Very well written. Not for everyone, though.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Sometimes sloppy, often egregiously oversimplified, often enlightening, always entertaining.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pascal Wagner

    Blitzscaling is to achieve a critical mass that confers a lasting competitive advantage. If taking on additional cost and uncertainty doesn't actually confer an advantage, it's better to follow the traditional rules of business (at least for the time being) so that when blitzscaling does become appropriate, your organization can be efficient, well maintained, and more ready to scale. Because blitzscaling is - by definition - an inefficient use of capital, it only makes sense when speed and moment Blitzscaling is to achieve a critical mass that confers a lasting competitive advantage. If taking on additional cost and uncertainty doesn't actually confer an advantage, it's better to follow the traditional rules of business (at least for the time being) so that when blitzscaling does become appropriate, your organization can be efficient, well maintained, and more ready to scale. Because blitzscaling is - by definition - an inefficient use of capital, it only makes sense when speed and momentum are important. Marines are start-up people who are used to dealing with chaos and improvising solutions on the spot. Army soldiers are scale-up people, who know how to rapidly seize and secure territory once your forces make it off the beach. And police offers are stability people, whose job is to sustain rather than disrupt. As you blitzscale, you may need to find new beaches for your marines to take rather than ask them to help patrol the existing ones. Our friend John Lilly like to distinguish between "genius-driven design" (e.g. Apple) and "data-driven design" (e.g. Google). Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Data-driven design is great at optimizing products with incremental changes, but it could steer you to the top of a local hill rather than the highest peak. Genius-driven design may be the only way to build a revolutionary product, but it usually needs to be supplemented with data-driven refinement. Startups in the early stages of blitzscaling are generally single-product companies that focus on doing one thing extremely well. but to keep the company growing in the later stages, scale-ups need to manage multiple product lines or even business units. Dropbox's Drew Houston described how he tries to learn from fellow entrepreneurs who are on the same journey: Talk with other entrepreneurs. Not just famous entrepreneurs, but people who are one year ahead, two years ahead and 5 years ahead. you learn very different and important things from those kinds of people. It really helps to have a sense of the longer-term arc, because the game changes quietly from phase to phase. Most cultures begin to form organically. As we've discussed previously, the founders of the organization have a major influence on the culture, simply because of who they are. If a founder believes that certain beliefs and practices are fundamental keys to winning, those beliefs and practices tend to be transmitted to the people who work closely with him or her. This might occur via filtering during the hiring process, as a result of working closely together, or both. By the time an organization reaches the Village stag of blitzscaling (at least one hundred employees), the mesh of person-to-person interaction is insufficient, especially when culture needs to be synchronized across multiple offices. Drew Houston makes sure that all Dropbox employees are aware that they need to help re-create the culture. "We tell people, 'You might have just joined last week, but sooner or later, you'll be an old-school Dropboxer too. So remember the things you like about this place now, because it'll be your responsibility to make sure those things stick around.'" You while early employees often feat that deliberate cultural development will bring bureaucracy, as Reed argues, culture is actually a substitute for bureaucracy and rules. The stronger you make your culture, the less you'll have to bind people's behavior with rigid directives. "Culture is about repeating, over and over again, the things that really matter for your company." At Amazon, Jeff Bezos famously bans PowerPoint decks and insists on written memos, which are read in silence at the beginning of each meeting. This memo policy is one of the ways that Amazon encourages a culture of truth telling. Memos have to be specific and comprehensive, and those who read the memos have to respond in kind rather than simply sit through some broad bullet points on a PowerPoint deck and nod vague agreement. Bezos believes that memos encourage smarter questions and deeper thinking. Plus, because they're self-container (rather than requiring a person to present a deck), they are more easily distributed and consumed by a wider population within Amazon. Eric Schmidt - "The people that you hire make your culture, we'd hire people who were special in some way. You don't hire generic people - you hire people who have had stress and achievement."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Agustín Fischer

    "Economists refer to these effects as 'demand-side economies of scale' or, more generally, 'positive externalities.' The magic of network effects is that they generate a positive feedback loop that results in superlinear growth and value creation. This superlinear effect makes it very difficult for any node in the network to switch from an incumbent to an alternative ('customer lock-in') since it is almost impossible for any new entrant to match the value of plugging into the existing network." T "Economists refer to these effects as 'demand-side economies of scale' or, more generally, 'positive externalities.' The magic of network effects is that they generate a positive feedback loop that results in superlinear growth and value creation. This superlinear effect makes it very difficult for any node in the network to switch from an incumbent to an alternative ('customer lock-in') since it is almost impossible for any new entrant to match the value of plugging into the existing network." The Networked Age has unlocked the ability for new companies to scale at rhythms that were not imaginable a few years ago. Their new business models make the game pretty interesting. They build ecosystems where their main focus is to enable interactions between producers of some kind of value and consumers of that value. Since they usually don't own at all the value, these companies are able to get scalability superpowers. The higher the number of interactions they enable —also known as liquidity—, the stronger their ecosystem becomes. If more consumers come to their ecosystem that will attract more producers to bring value to it; which at the same time attracts even more consumers. This is what we call a network effect, which is the pillar for growth in this paradigm. Think of Uber for instance. More drivers mean more geographic coverage which allows having faster pickups, less driver downtime, and lower prices. That brings in more demand; which hence, brings more drivers into the ecosystem. The fun part is that building these networks makes competing extremely hard. You are either end up on the companies that build networks of billions of users, or you will become a niche company and get stuck in the tens of millions —which it's still a pretty damn decent company. The complexity of the problem forces then these businesses to aim for hypergrowth if they want to win (or in some cases, even survive). Blitzscaling is about achieving hypergrowth as quickly as possible by putting speed over efficiency for a specific period of time. This requires different strategies when thinking about business models, profit, pivoting and management of the company. One of the best reads (for noobs like me) on platform strategies and growth that I've read so far! Totally recommendable!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Harish

    A book that is full of insights from the world of businesses that have shaped our lives and world in last two decades. A must read for current age entrepreneurs, institution builders and those shaping/ holding reins of society. This is a new science in the making for mega enterprises capturing voices & perspectives of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, consumers and society. If one wants to learn to ride the disruption and be part of building the future rather than future being forced upon A book that is full of insights from the world of businesses that have shaped our lives and world in last two decades. A must read for current age entrepreneurs, institution builders and those shaping/ holding reins of society. This is a new science in the making for mega enterprises capturing voices & perspectives of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, consumers and society. If one wants to learn to ride the disruption and be part of building the future rather than future being forced upon one, then this book offers plenty of techniques. Recommended routes to grow a business from zero to billion are on the basis of real stories. Reid Hoffman has done a commendable job of presenting his best learning and insights of several industry leaders. The book lead me to tune into his podcast "Masters of Scale" which compliments this work beautifully. I have become a fan of Reid.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    This book is basically a summary and philosophical positioning on fast-growing companies. Blitzscaling is about investing heavily in growth in an uncertain environment. There are some good high-level guidelines about going through such change, e.g. listing growth factors and limiters, and pointing out the differences in operation require between family/tribe/village/nation stages of a growing company. The case studies are pretty high level and heavily focused on current winners like Google, Face This book is basically a summary and philosophical positioning on fast-growing companies. Blitzscaling is about investing heavily in growth in an uncertain environment. There are some good high-level guidelines about going through such change, e.g. listing growth factors and limiters, and pointing out the differences in operation require between family/tribe/village/nation stages of a growing company. The case studies are pretty high level and heavily focused on current winners like Google, Facebook, etc. I think this book was a great read for conceptual awareness of the strategy (contrast with capital efficiency in a "lean startup", or traditional conservative investment in a mature business), but doesn't provide that much depth.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alan Newton

    The definitive handbook for a technology start up that has global ambitions. Packed for of useful insight and a framework for navigating the treacherous waters of a competitive market with a need for speed. Hoffman uses his own personal experiences at Pay Pal and LinkedIn, as well as earlier start-ups, to provide entrepreneurs with practical advice from someone who has been there and done it. His role as a VC also provides useful insight into the manner in which investors think... albeit, it’s a The definitive handbook for a technology start up that has global ambitions. Packed for of useful insight and a framework for navigating the treacherous waters of a competitive market with a need for speed. Hoffman uses his own personal experiences at Pay Pal and LinkedIn, as well as earlier start-ups, to provide entrepreneurs with practical advice from someone who has been there and done it. His role as a VC also provides useful insight into the manner in which investors think... albeit, it’s a very different situation in the US to the U.K., where ideas and well-presented market opportunities can land you the cash to get on with it, whereas the more conservative approach in the U.K. and Europe can be limiting. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kiril Kirilov

    So, I don’t buy the whole blitzscaling thing. It sounds more like ‘survival bias’ to me - “We have done something, our company survived, so the thing we have done is the right thing to do in our place.” It skips all other companies that have done the same thing (called ‘blitzscaling’) and have met unknown demise. But… The redeeming quality of the book? It is full of stories from the silicon valley. Stories from Airbnb, Paypal, Facebook, even Friendster. Stories about Sheryl Sandberg, Mark you-know- So, I don’t buy the whole blitzscaling thing. It sounds more like ‘survival bias’ to me - “We have done something, our company survived, so the thing we have done is the right thing to do in our place.”

 It skips all other companies that have done the same thing (called ‘blitzscaling’) and have met unknown demise. But… The redeeming quality of the book? It is full of stories from the silicon valley. Stories from Airbnb, Paypal, Facebook, even Friendster. Stories about Sheryl Sandberg, Mark you-know-who, the google guys, the apple god. These are the things the real successful (or unsuccessful) companies have done.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Efua Ok

    Blitz means lightning and scaling means scaling up. In business, this means growing a company rapidly. Here are some key takeaways from Blitzscaling companies: Sustainable Rapid business growth. Blitscaling companies embrace uncertainty and risk. Blitscaling companies prioritize speed over efficiency. A new terminology I learned from this book is the term: First-Scaler advantage Reid, the author of this book is a brilliant entrepreneur who has transformed the professional networking landscape with Lin Blitz means lightning and scaling means scaling up. In business, this means growing a company rapidly. Here are some key takeaways from Blitzscaling companies: Sustainable Rapid business growth. Blitscaling companies embrace uncertainty and risk. Blitscaling companies prioritize speed over efficiency. A new terminology I learned from this book is the term: First-Scaler advantage Reid, the author of this book is a brilliant entrepreneur who has transformed the professional networking landscape with LinkedIn. The thing I dislike about this book is how monotonous the book is. It is structured around the silicon valley eco system where large funding is available for startups. In summary, to create a Blitzscaling company you need access to a ton of capital for hyper growth.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David S

    Very insightful look into what it takes to (blitz)scale. I like the way the author divides the growth stages up and talks about the different characteristics of each. Memorable quote: "Speed and uncertainty are the new stability. The only way to thrive in this fast changing world is to accept the inevitability of change. Use it to your advantage,whether your are focused on your individual life or the faith of a nation."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Rivas

    I enjoyed this book more than I taught I would because how much knowledge the author has. It would be amazing to sit in on the Standford classes the author was teaching and all the fantastic business leaders that came in to speak. The author has so much inside knowledge and experience in the business world that I learned so much from this book. Once again I feel so lucky to be living in a time where I can learn from such great minds, and I do not have to be a Standford student.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samer Chidiac

    When it comes to REID's Books and program, you can consider yourself sitting at a university class. A very nice addition to the other books that Reid Hoffman have released and a very nice compliment to the Masters of Scale Podcast. Loved the book, and now I will be using the Term Blitzscaling when I refer to a stage of growth combined with innovation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Orlopp

    Excellent book about blitzscaling a business for huge success. Go Big or Go Home is the approach Reid Hoffman has taken. The book contains many examples of other companies and leaders who had the vision to think big and applied the resources behind the dream. Great best practices around talent, business model innovation, infrastructure, resources, etc while blitzscaling. Highly recommend!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dean Calhoun

    Great insight to the different stages of a rapidly growing company. Companies that wish to blitzscale need to understand and be comfortable with the chaos that occurs in the early stages. As Reed says, a startup is like jumping off a cliff and assembling the plane on the way down. The default scenario is death.

  20. 5 out of 5

    D

    The author looks at successful Silicon Valley startups (including their own) and extrapolates that the decisions they made and the techniques they used must have been successful. Too many generic anecdotes for my taste.

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Cowan

    This book really is a great primer on rapid growth and I highly recommend it to startup and other founders who want to grow rapidly. I only rated this a 4, rather than a 5 because I listen to the podcast that is produced by Reid Hoffman, so some of the end of this book was repetitive.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Mello

    Very good book about high growth entrepreneurship Very good book about how companies grow like crazy with Venture Capital money. Has interesting stories drawn from the Masters of Scale podcast.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stevo Brock

    This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 12/2. Check out other reviews and recommendations at http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1 and http://www.twitter.com/stevo4747.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brad Boyson

    Unfortunately quite a bit of previous material being re-purposed.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Liston

    Interesting perspective but lacks enough engaging examples and universal applicability

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jay Waghray

    The definitive

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dragos Giugula

    Excellent Lessons!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Xinyu Wu

    good stuff, but things you can learn from other sources. Nothing very new

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rafid

    Very good.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fabian Il.

    Solid book from people with read credentials in the business world (at least Reid Hoffman).

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