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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. 4 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

    Sipho

    The third book by tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Reid Hoffmann, is a primer on how massively valuable businesses are built. The technique that many big companies in the internet age have used to grow in value is termed "blitzscaling" - a completely made up term, that may become popular parlance as the book gains popularity. Well written with lots of anecdotes forged from both personal experience and obvious friendships with some of the most powerful figures in Silicon Valley, Blitzsca The third book by tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Reid Hoffmann, is a primer on how massively valuable businesses are built. The technique that many big companies in the internet age have used to grow in value is termed "blitzscaling" - a completely made up term, that may become popular parlance as the book gains popularity. Well written with lots of anecdotes forged from both personal experience and obvious friendships with some of the most powerful figures in Silicon Valley, Blitzscaling goes into incredible detail about how to achieve scale in the tech business and what could work in other industries too. Key Takeaways PART I: WHAT IS BLITZSCALING? Blitzscaling is both the general framework and the specific techniques that allow companies to achieve massive scale at incredible speed. When you blitzscale, you make decisions and commit to them even though your confidence level is substantially lower than 100%. You accept the risk of making the wrong decision and willingly pay the cost of significant operating inefficiencies in exchange for the ability to move faster. These risks and costs are acceptable because the risk and cost of being too slow is even greater. Blitzscaling requires more than just courage and skill. It also requires an environment that is willing to finance intelligent risks with both financial capital and human capital, the essential ingredients. Growth alone is not blitzscaling; blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty. Classic start-up growth prioritizes efficiency in the face of uncertainty. Classic scale-up growth focuses on growing efficiently once the company has achieved certainty about the environment. Fastscaling means that you’re willing to sacrifice efficiency to increase your growth rate. However, because fastscaling takes place in an environment of certainty, the costs are well understood and predictable. Blitzscaling means that you’re willing to sacrifice efficiency for speed, but without waiting to achieve certainty on whether the sacrifice will pay off. The sequence that companies like Google and Facebook have gone through begins with classic start-up growth while establishing product/market fit, then shifts into blitzscaling to achieve critical mass and/or market dominance, then relaxes to fastscaling as the business matures and finally downshifts to classic scale-up growth when the company is an industry leader. The 3 basics of Blitzscaling 1. It is an offensive and a defensive strategy 2. It thrives on positive feedback loops in that the company that grows to scale first reaps significant competitive advantage 3. It comes with massive risks. The 5 stages of Blitzscaling Stage 1 (Family) 1–9 employees Stage 2 (Tribe) 10s of employees Stage 3 (Village) 100s of employees Stage 4 (City) 1000s of employees Stage 5 (Nation) 10000s of employees. 3 key techniques of Blitzscaling 1. BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION- design an innovative business model that can truly grow. Technology is no longer as strong a differentiator, while figuring out the right combinations of services to bring together into a breakthrough product has become a major differentiator 2. STRATEGY INNOVATION - know what you plan to do and also what you plan NOT to do. 3. MANAGEMENT INNOVATION - a company’s business model describes how it generates financial returns by producing, selling, and supporting its products. PART II: BUSINESS MODEL INNOVATION Most great business models have certain characteristics in common. If you want to find your best business model, you should try to design one that maximizes 4 key growth factors and minimizes 2 key growth limiters. - growth factor #1: market size -a big market has both a large number of potential customers and a variety of efficient channels for reaching those customers. If a company can’t achieve “venture scale” (generally, a market of at least $1 billion in annual sales), then most VCs won’t invest. When evaluating market size, account for how lower costs and product improvements can expand markets by appealing to new customers, in addition to seizing market share from existing players. - growth factor #2: distribution - distribution techniques fall into two general categories: leveraging existing networks and virality. - growth factor #3: high gross margins - the higher the gross margin, the more valuable each dollar of sales is to the company because it means that for each dollar of sales, the company has more cash available to fund growth and expansion. Also, high-gross-margin businesses are attractive to investors, who will often pay a premium for their cash-generating power. Most of a company’s operational challenges scale based on revenues or unit sales volume, not gross margin. - growth factor #4: network effects - sustaining that growth long enough to build a massively valuable and lasting franchise. A product or service is subject to positive network effects when increased usage by any user increases the value of the product or service for other users. Network effects 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. Direct Network Effects: increases in usage lead to direct increases in value Indirect Network Effects: increases in usage encourage consumption of complementary goods, which increases the value of the original product. two-Sided Network Effects: Increases in usage by one set of users increases the value to a different set of complementary users, and vice versa Local Network Effects: Increases in usage by a small subset of users increases the value for a connected user Compatibility and Standards: The use of one technology product encourages the use of compatible products. - growth limiter #1: lack of product/market fit - growth limiter #2: operational scalability Proven Business Models Patterns 1. Bits rather than atoms - bits-based businesses have a much easier time serving a global market, which in turn makes it easier to achieve a large market size. 2. Platforms - if a platform achieves scale and becomes the de facto standard for its industry. 3. Free or freemium - without third-party revenue, the problem with offering your product to users for free is that you can’t offset your lack of sales by “making it up in volume.” 4. Marketplaces - often tap into two-sided network effects. 5. Subscriptions - subscription Internet services have been successful because the sales and delivery model provides a larger market size and better distribution than traditional packaged software. 6. Digital good - digital goods tend to have nearly 100 percent gross margins. 7. Feeds - eg Facebook's news feeds Underlying the proven patterns of business model innovation are larger principles that can help refine those patterns or even create new ones. - Automation - computers are almost always faster, cheaper, and more reliable than human beings. - Adaptation not optimization - practice continuous improvement - The contrarian principle - "Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius" (Peter Thiel). if your company is pursuing an opportunity that conventional wisdom ignores or disdains, you will probably have the time you need to refine your business model innovation into a well-oiled machine PART III: STRATEGY INNOVATION A few factors if you are wondering whether the time is right for your company to blitzscale: 1. A big new opportunity - one where the market size and gross margins intersect to create enormous potential value, and there isn’t a dominant market leader or oligopoly. 2. First scaler advantage - the most frequent offensive reason for blitzscaling is to achieve a critical mass that confers a lasting competitive advantage. 3. Learning curve - be the first to climb a steep learning curve. 4. Competition - the most common driver of blitzscaling is the threat of competition. The more intense the competition, the faster you should try to move. 5. Good times, bad times - you can successfully blitzscale in both good times, and bad times, though market conditions can and should affect your strategy. If your market stops growing or reaches its upper limit, you should stop blitzscaling. The best time to choose not to blitzscale is when you’re pursuing a relatively low-margin business model that investors are unwilling to fund at all, unwilling to fund at scale, or unwilling to fund quickly—like, say, a fine-dining restaurant PART IV: MANAGEMENT INNOVATION 8 key transitions, which help guide the company through the stages of blitzscaling, and 9counterintuitive rules, which turn the conventional wisdom of traditional management on its head in order to cope with blitzscaling’s frenzied pace of growth 1. TRANSITION #1: small teams to large teams 2. TRANSITION #2: generalists to specialists 3. TRANSITION #3: Contributors to managers to executives 4. TRANSITION #4: Inspiration to data 5. TRANSITION #5: Single focus to multithreading 6. TRANSITION #6: Pirate to navy 7. TRANSITION #7: Scaling yourself - founder to leader: There are only three ways to scale yourself: delegation, amplification, and just plain making yourself better RULE #1: Embrace chaos - take action even if you know you still have issues to resolve. Embracing chaos means accepting that uncertainty exists and therefore taking steps to manage it. RULE #2: Hire Ms. RIGHT NOW, Not Ms. right - you need managers and executives who are “just right” for the current phase of growth RULE 3: tolerate bad management - classic “good” management and planning presume a certain amount of stability that isn’t always available when you’re blitzscaling. RULE 4: Launch a product that embarrasses you - if you need to choose between getting to market quickly with an imperfect product or getting to market slowly with a “perfect” product, choose the imperfect product nearly every time. Listen carefully to what your users have to say, but you also need to know when to selectively ignore them RULE 5: Let fires burn - Prioritizing fires is a function of a combination of different factors. The first is urgency: Which fire is going to damage or kill your business the soonest? The second factor is efficacy: Which fires do you have the ability to extinguish right now, and which will be easier to extinguish later (and vice versa)? The final factor is dependency: Will extinguishing Fire A make it easier to extinguish Fires B and C? RULE #6: Do things that don't scale -inefficiency is the rule, not the exception. To prioritize speed, you might invest less in security, write code that isn’t scalable, and wait for things to start breaking before you build QA tools and processes RULE #7: Ignore your customer Provide whatever customer service you can as long as it doesn’t slow you down…and that may mean no service. RULE 8: Raise too much money - Excess cash allows you to better account for the unforeseeable—and the only thing that’s foreseeable about blitzscaling is that you will at some point encounter the unforeseeable. Only spend money to fix things that are on the critical path to reach the next phase of scale; everything else can wait. RULE #9: Evolve your culture - 2 key levers of deliberate cultural transmission are communications and people management. Even established companies can blitzscale, although there are inherent disadvantages based on the nature of big corporates. Defending against Blitzscaling OPTION #1: beat them - continue to play your traditional game. OPTION #2: join them OPTION #3: avoid them - cede the current market to blitzscalers and use your current assets to migrate to a new, less vulnerable market. What all of us need to realize is that Speed and uncertainty are the new stability. Be an infinite learner, be a first responder and be a source of stability. Conclusion This is a very detailed piece of work. Unfortunately, it focuses on the tech world - Silicon Valley in particular. Although the authors argue that blitzscaling can apply to other industries, its not clear how it would. And its also not clear how it would work in other countries without the Silicon Valley ecosystem. The book also suffers, in a sense, from the constant refernce to Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (as well as other know companies like Air bnb and Zynga). It begs the question(s): how many other companies try blitzscaling and go bust? Is it actually worth it? What other factors influenced the hypergrowth of Facebook etc.? No answers are provided or even proffered. Overall, this book is likely a great read for entrepreneurs but take the advice with a pinch of salt - this stuff may not work for you.

  3. 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andrus

    5 stars for the main idea, 4 stars for the examples and case studies that were on the shallow side, 3 stars for the last two hours of the book (I listened as an audiobook) which basically said that China is big and that companies that blitzscale should keep ethics in mind, without any practical guidance or examples. I’m guessing that a Blinkist version of this book would work well.

  5. 4 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. 5 out of 5

    Zahedul

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

  7. 4 out of 5

    Yxas

    Read this for work. Difficult to reconcile the recommendations I received with my personal experience with it: some of the smartest, most talented people I've ever met advised me to read this, as they rate it highly. In parts it was insightful, but in other parts it was intolerably bromidic and superficial. Like, dazzling in its superficiality. And as is the fashion with these sorts of books, the author is given a free pass to make sweeping statements unchecked, without any sort of references wh Read this for work. Difficult to reconcile the recommendations I received with my personal experience with it: some of the smartest, most talented people I've ever met advised me to read this, as they rate it highly. In parts it was insightful, but in other parts it was intolerably bromidic and superficial. Like, dazzling in its superficiality. And as is the fashion with these sorts of books, the author is given a free pass to make sweeping statements unchecked, without any sort of references whatsoever. Through Blitzscaling, we learn, M-Pesa boosted economic growth in Africa and empowered women there too. That's great. I would love to examine this claim more carefully, but I can't, because there is no reference and if you google "M-Pesa Blitzscaling" you'll be returned right back to this book. You'll be immobilised by similar claims at least 50 times reading this book. I guarantee it. It gets annoying and I don't think accessibility suffices as an excuse. Beyond the sometimes risible analysis, and the nauseating extrapolation of Blitzscaling as being an instrument for human progress, I did find the explanations of network effects very useful. Especially as it helps to explain why VCs are willing to pour money into start ups that grow quickly without making money. My recommendation: I wouldn't read past the strategy innovation chapter. This could've been an incredible essay, or series of blog posts. Instead it's a mass frustration with some informative bits. And that's pretty much it.

  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. 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Ding

    This is a valuable book to read for someone interested in joining or understanding a high-growth startup. Hoffman provides concrete examples for the majority of his lessons in the book that are accessible to people who are not as familiar with the tech industry. He provides a compelling argument for the counterintuitive practice of blitzscaling, or prioritizing speed over efficiency in order to survive and achieve massive scale. However, most of his lessons around business innovation and strateg This is a valuable book to read for someone interested in joining or understanding a high-growth startup. Hoffman provides concrete examples for the majority of his lessons in the book that are accessible to people who are not as familiar with the tech industry. He provides a compelling argument for the counterintuitive practice of blitzscaling, or prioritizing speed over efficiency in order to survive and achieve massive scale. However, most of his lessons around business innovation and strategy innovation are focused on consumer companies, and far less applicable to enterprise companies. I really enjoyed his lessons around management innovation, and found that his classifications of the five stages of blitzscaling (family, tribe, village, city, and nation) were particularly useful references throughout the book as he explained things to watch out for and account for at each stage of the company. I found the final few chapters of the book to be disappointing. "The broader landscape of blitzscaling" felt behind the times (even less than a year after publication) as he refers to experts like Andrew Ng and Lei Jun to back his claims in areas like machine learning, politics, and China where he has much less personal experience. "Responsible blitzscaling" is an afterthought of a chapter about considering the social implications of the company as you blitzscale. Despite some concerns with parts of the book, I would recommend it as a reference to get a broad understanding of what startups are thinking about today as they scale.

  11. 4 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)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Fabricio

    My overall feeling is that I've learned a lot from this book. Although, I can't point specifically what. In the end, most blitzscalling challenges and tools are mostly useful for startup in general. Specially those with a good amount of funding. Hoffman ends up focusing a lot on three pillars : speed, size and people. Which makes lots of sense. And how they will end up building and breaking your company along the way. In a, hopefully, virtuous cycle. In the end he lost me when started incentivisin My overall feeling is that I've learned a lot from this book. Although, I can't point specifically what. In the end, most blitzscalling challenges and tools are mostly useful for startup in general. Specially those with a good amount of funding. Hoffman ends up focusing a lot on three pillars : speed, size and people. Which makes lots of sense. And how they will end up building and breaking your company along the way. In a, hopefully, virtuous cycle. In the end he lost me when started incentivising an unhealthy work pace and also selling that blitzscalling will kinda save the world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Best book of 2019! As with all of Reid's books, he does a fantastic job of taking complex ideas and presenting in easily understandable terms. Blitzscaling does a great job of using stories to demonstrate key ideas, strategies, and common pitfalls of companies that have successfully obliterated into behemoths of their respective industry, If your business has had sustained growth and you're willing to take some (not so) calculated risks, definitely read Blitzscaling

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leo Fischer

    A lot of the ideas were similar to related books, but there were two things I found particularly useful: 1) Priorities of a company while scaling. It's so simple, but very instructive 2) Ideas about what should be doing at different company stages e.g. 10-100, 100-1000 and 1,000-10,000 and the things that change (e.g. org chart, communication structure, culture etc.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Achyuth Kumar

    Hands down the best, most insightful literature if you want to learn how the scale anything. Basically, to learn the approach and mindset needed to scale anything. Plus, it doesn't hurt to have authors with real world experience doing and having done the things they preach!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Walter Zielkowski

    Entertaining book, relevant for today's business environment. Good insights for the modern entrepreneur.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

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

  18. 5 out of 5

    Prasanth K V S S D

    The biggest problem with this book for me is that the author treats 'scalabilty' as an independent variable that can be controlled. While in reality it is dependent on the variables that are largely not in a firms control. Most of the examples used in the book relates to the internet firms that pioneered the space and are different from traditional firms. For most of the examples cited, like Airbnb or Uber, there is practically no entry barrier to enter new markets expect for investment required The biggest problem with this book for me is that the author treats 'scalabilty' as an independent variable that can be controlled. While in reality it is dependent on the variables that are largely not in a firms control. Most of the examples used in the book relates to the internet firms that pioneered the space and are different from traditional firms. For most of the examples cited, like Airbnb or Uber, there is practically no entry barrier to enter new markets expect for investment required. This is well understood by the silicon valley investment circles and hence they are prioritizing growth for efficiency. Blitzscaling is possible for certain market conditions in the internet economy where the entry barriers are practically zero. This simple concept has been hackneyed and generalized without giving importance to the conditions under which it is applicable. However, the book gives a lot of insights into decision making and leadership of some of the key SV firms. Hoffman's experience in building a lot of successful companies is reflected in the chapter where he explains the various stages of scaling and what skills are required in those particular stages. Despite its flaws in rationalizing 'scaling' the book provides massive insights into functioning of silicon valley firms.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Boni Aditya

    This is definitely one the best business books I have read in the recent past. This isn't merely another business book. This is a manual to anyone who wishes to enter the exponentially growing business world. This is a counter intuitive guide, which seems like a race to the bottom, but after you win the race the funnel flips and you end up at the top of the funnel. This books contains the wisdom of hundreds of blitzscalers, who have spoken at length for a Masters of Scale podcast and has best pra This is definitely one the best business books I have read in the recent past. This isn't merely another business book. This is a manual to anyone who wishes to enter the exponentially growing business world. This is a counter intuitive guide, which seems like a race to the bottom, but after you win the race the funnel flips and you end up at the top of the funnel. This books contains the wisdom of hundreds of blitzscalers, who have spoken at length for a Masters of Scale podcast and has best practices and wisdom for new blitzscalers. The term is extremely catchy and I could not contain my exuberance. I just loved every single line in the book. The example about AIRBNB founders and their German Copy cat, was legendary. The big 4 blitzscaling isn't such a wonder, but the way the authors deciphered the growth of Google and made it clear why they were ahead of the curve and their investments was unique in a way that wasn't done before. Only an insider could have known about this. They did not leave anything to change, in that they have covered details such as the culture required to blitzscale, the distribution strategy required, the need to do things manually all of them were insights that one couldn't realize on their own, nor could a team realize on their own. They talked about Eco Systems, and only certain geographies that have the ability to support such ecosystems. Many of these ideas in this book matched with other established super ideas and insights that were contents of other books, for example the importance of eco systems was covered in the book "Where good ideas come from?" Similarly, the authors in their first example with AIRBNB tell the importance of hustling and building your plane while falling down and flying - The importance of having a side hustle to survive. Hustling must be in the DNA of the founders to be able to get things done, in unconventional ways, till they could have the resources to get it right. So much research funneled into this book, and the value addition is incredibly high. This is definitely one of the books that has changed the way I analyzed business and the world in General. Building a rocket while falling reminds me of the Iron Man scene where Loki pushes him off the building. The Side Hustle reminds me of other such legendary scenes. This book is a must read for anybody who wishes to understand network effects, two way & three way network effects or who wants to understand how or why these startups become so huge in such short time. The example about ZARA was an exception but this book introduced me to a concept called "Business model Innovation" and i am hooked onto it. I will be moving in that direction for a few more books.

  20. 4 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!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shanice

    Main points - Growth over efficiency - Maximise 4 growth factors (network effects, market size, distribution, high gross margins) - Minimise 2 growth limiters (product market fit, operational scalability) - 7 patterns of success (modular system, platform, freemium, market place, subscription, digital goods, feeds) - 3 principles underlying this need (Moore’s law, automation, adaptation vs optimisation) - The 5 stages and managerial changes (family, tribe, village, city, nation) Counters to blitzscal Main points - Growth over efficiency - Maximise 4 growth factors (network effects, market size, distribution, high gross margins) - Minimise 2 growth limiters (product market fit, operational scalability) - 7 patterns of success (modular system, platform, freemium, market place, subscription, digital goods, feeds) - 3 principles underlying this need (Moore’s law, automation, adaptation vs optimisation) - The 5 stages and managerial changes (family, tribe, village, city, nation) Counters to blitzscaling 1. Society loses out (extractive to consumers, supplies, workers esp platform model eg Microsoft’s effect on engineers, Google search cannibalisation) 2. Tech behemoths did not actually blitzscale; scaled sustainably (profitable or huge cash flow before ipo; did not receive massive funding) 3. Encourages value chasing death spiral (uber, Lyft; spend on UA) 4. Distorts the market of value - startups become financial instruments not business (diff priorities; maximise financial value vs profits; % ipo w negative earnings per share increased) 5. Ends justify the means (kalanick) Conclusions - Startups should raise less own more - VCs should repackage loans - convertible loans paid back by operational profit w option of shares like traditional exit strat - Once incumbent, blitzcalers have a duty to society; should not let culture of blitzscaling affect underlying mission - Blitzscaling is a good strategy only under specific conditions (big potential market gains, no dominant player, achieved product market fit, first scaler advantages exist eg network effects, industry w steep learning curve, more competition) - Should stop blitzscaling when rate of growth vs market is declining, worsening unit economics, diseconomies of scale appear

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Port

    Being an admirer of what Reid Hoffman has achieved throughout his career and the ringing endorsement by Bill Gates, I felt compelled to read this book, and while I wasn't immersed in the book cover to cover, I am certainly glad I invested the time in finishing it. Bliztscailing (As the Author describes) is the process in which companies prioritize speed of growth over the efficiency of capital used. That means ignoring the typical startup metrics of LTV/CAC etc and it means growing and growing q Being an admirer of what Reid Hoffman has achieved throughout his career and the ringing endorsement by Bill Gates, I felt compelled to read this book, and while I wasn't immersed in the book cover to cover, I am certainly glad I invested the time in finishing it. Bliztscailing (As the Author describes) is the process in which companies prioritize speed of growth over the efficiency of capital used. That means ignoring the typical startup metrics of LTV/CAC etc and it means growing and growing quickly while staring down the barrel of uncertainty. There was a myriad of different things I took from this book, but the principle was, that in order to Blitzscale effectively you need to meet two conditions: 1) A large addressable market. 2) How big a problem do you solve for that market? If you have access to cheap capital, have first mover advantage, and feel that from a product standpoint you can be number one, then you should absolutely blitzscale. If you don't, then perhaps you should still be mindful of how efficiently you are using your capital, after all, it's your companies life blood! My one criticism would be that this book, is that describes the nature of start ups through a US lens, in the sense that, my experience of European startups is that frankly outside of the tech hubs of the US, there is less access to capital for early-stage companies. The reality is if we don't prioritise efficiency of capital used in the early days of our companies, we fail, and fail fast, regardless of whether we met the conditions above Overall, a good book, extremely intelligent and insightful authors, well worth a read for anyone who lives in the bizarre world of tech start ups.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lakhdar Meftah

    This book is a must read, if you've ever dreamt of scaling a business. The author writing were good, the examples were also good. I like to think of this kind of books, as a testimonial books, as the author brings only his experience and his point of view of how startups should work. The author tells you the story of some successful startups, still, they are all outliers, and the methods they've used don't really reflect on their success, even though some of them share the same. Someone can argue, This book is a must read, if you've ever dreamt of scaling a business. The author writing were good, the examples were also good. I like to think of this kind of books, as a testimonial books, as the author brings only his experience and his point of view of how startups should work. The author tells you the story of some successful startups, still, they are all outliers, and the methods they've used don't really reflect on their success, even though some of them share the same. Someone can argue, and say that a lot of startups, has copied the same methods, but things just didn't work with them. Sometimes, people have to understand that, not only the methodology can help, but a combination of a lot of values, and methodology is just one these values, startups can fail for a lot of other good reasons and not just because it didn't look forward to scale. Well, I understand that the author is an investor, and he is encouraging this kind of startups who are looking to get investments from venture capitalist, this is a way of doing things, but it is not why they succeeded in the first place. I recommend reading this book as general culture, and not a way to follow for any startup, as it is only based on stories and it lacks a lot of necessarily methods to follow.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rohit Nallapeta

    This is a good book with some solid advice for entrepreneurs everywhere. The disclaimer being it's not for all companies, all sizes and it's not generic advice. The advice applies selectively to some companies, it's contradictory in some cases, rightfully so as each company should invest time in following the right kind of strategy for their situation. Some critique: In the case of China and their eco-system, the authors seem a bit condescending and overlook the fact the real competition and thr This is a good book with some solid advice for entrepreneurs everywhere. The disclaimer being it's not for all companies, all sizes and it's not generic advice. The advice applies selectively to some companies, it's contradictory in some cases, rightfully so as each company should invest time in following the right kind of strategy for their situation. Some critique: In the case of China and their eco-system, the authors seem a bit condescending and overlook the fact the real competition and threat, they seem to think silicon valley will reign supreme - reminiscent of the behavior of organizations who miss signals of disruption. I think that the same comment applies to Indian eco-system however, China has a head start so their competition is much more real and closer to challenging the SV hegemony. Some of the books finer points try to white-wash history by now adding reason to an action, which may have been totally random and wrong too. In conclusion: The advice as warned will be contradictory, it should be used as inspiration and selectively as principles. I think the structure and management aspects for such setup needs more articulation. Overall a good read with inspirational stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Seng Wee Wong

    I like how the author sells the skill - 'blitzscaling' as being tangential to becoming successful in life and not just in the commercial domain. The book suggests that blitzscaling is a both an offensive and defensive strategy to quickly build a massively valuable company. In the book, Reid constantly mention that blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty. This philosophy usually doesn't apply to most of the big companies where they test a product/feature to m I like how the author sells the skill - 'blitzscaling' as being tangential to becoming successful in life and not just in the commercial domain. The book suggests that blitzscaling is a both an offensive and defensive strategy to quickly build a massively valuable company. In the book, Reid constantly mention that blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty. This philosophy usually doesn't apply to most of the big companies where they test a product/feature to market-ready before selling them. The author argues that by growing the company fast, you leave your rivals no choice but to step into terra incognita to compete with you. Reid Hoffman being one of the co-founder of Linkedin is obviously very qualified to give advices on entrepreneurship. His expertise in growing companies is well-known. He documented many anecdotes of how startups like Airbnb faced problems in its early days which is generally fun to read. This book is written rather succinctly so I wouldn't mind reading it.

  26. 5 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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vlad

    Disappointing. The book just felt a little ... too narrow. There's good advice here for companies that have the specific opportunity to be "first to scale" but the intellectual depth of the work feels low. For example, would love to understand how some species in nature manage to "blitzscale" their populations during specific moments of opportunity. Would have loved a more thoughtful strategy discussion. Would have loved to understand other ways of scaling -- for example, in brand awareness -- a Disappointing. The book just felt a little ... too narrow. There's good advice here for companies that have the specific opportunity to be "first to scale" but the intellectual depth of the work feels low. For example, would love to understand how some species in nature manage to "blitzscale" their populations during specific moments of opportunity. Would have loved a more thoughtful strategy discussion. Would have loved to understand other ways of scaling -- for example, in brand awareness -- and how to hold on to tenuous positions attained through scale. What happens when the chaos of blitzscaling needs to be controlled and a new (higher) position settled into for a bit? How do companies manage the deceleration gracefully? I don't regret reading the book, and would recommend it to others going through "blitzscaling" -- but it's not something I'll feel the need to read again.

  28. 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brit MacRae

    If I was trying to build a TECH giant this book would've received 5 stars. I was reading it under the lens of using it as a model for my current business which is product-to-consumer in structure. Blitzscaling, from German "blitz" (lightning) and "scaling" (from scaling up) is a form of sustainable business growth that lets companies reach a massive scale very quickly. Companies such as AirBnB prioritize speed over efficiency to achieve first-scaler advantage. It was cool to see the numerical co If I was trying to build a TECH giant this book would've received 5 stars. I was reading it under the lens of using it as a model for my current business which is product-to-consumer in structure. Blitzscaling, from German "blitz" (lightning) and "scaling" (from scaling up) is a form of sustainable business growth that lets companies reach a massive scale very quickly. Companies such as AirBnB prioritize speed over efficiency to achieve first-scaler advantage. It was cool to see the numerical comparisons of the margins of tech giants (60-90% margin) to standard companies falling in the late 20th percentile. Definitely planted a few bugs on establishing market fit and how to scale efectively over time.

  30. 5 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

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