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Blitzscaling

The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

By Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
18-minute read
Audio available
Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh

Blitzscaling (2018) looks at a revolutionary development in the business world – one that’s so unprecedented, a new word had to be invented for it. It’s the process whereby companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon began as small, scrappy start-ups and then rapidly ballooned into world-conquering giants within just a few years. What’s their secret? In a word: blitzscaling. And that, as the title suggests, is what this book is all about.

  • Start-up dreamers who want to follow in the footsteps of tech-industry giants
  • Investors who want to cash in on the industry’s up-and-coming giants
  • People who have to live in a world shaped by those giants – namely, everyone!

Reid Hoffman was one of the cofounders of LinkedIn and PayPal, and an angel investor in Facebook. He is currently a board member at both Airbnb and Microsoft, and he was one of the coauthors of The Start-Up of You and The Alliance, both of which were New York Times best sellers.

Chris Yeh is also a coauthor of The Alliance. He is an investor, entrepreneur, writer and mentor based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His business perspective is informed by two degrees from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Blitzscaling

The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

By Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
Synopsis

Blitzscaling (2018) looks at a revolutionary development in the business world – one that’s so unprecedented, a new word had to be invented for it. It’s the process whereby companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon began as small, scrappy start-ups and then rapidly ballooned into world-conquering giants within just a few years. What’s their secret? In a word: blitzscaling. And that, as the title suggests, is what this book is all about.

Key idea 1 of 11

Blitzscaling is a form of very rapid sustainable business growth that lets companies quickly reach a massive scale.

“Blitzscaling” is a recently invented word, so if you’re not sure what it means, you’re in good company! The easiest way to define “blitzscaling” is to break it down into its components: “blitz” and “scaling.”

In German, “blitz” means lightning. In modern English, it’s become an informal way to describe what happens when an organization tries to achieve something at lightning speed. For example, if a company suddenly floods the airwaves with a full-throttle advertising campaign, it would be a “marketing blitz.”

“Scaling,” in turn, is shorthand for “scaling up.” In business, that means two things. First, it means growing a company in a way that keeps all of its parts proportional to each other as it develops. That’s important, because to sell more products or services, a company needs to expand its infrastructure, resources and labor force, and they have to keep pace with each other for the growth to be sustainable.

For instance, imagine you’re a kid with a lemonade stand, and you want to expand your empire. To sell more lemonade, you need to invest in additional booths, lemons, cups and workers. If you try to expand in just one of these areas, the expansion won’t be sustainable. After all, if you run out of cups, it won’t matter how many lemons you can squeeze!

If you manage to avoid this problem and your lemonade empire spreads to every block of the city, you’ve achieved “scaling” in the second sense of the term: your company is operating on a massive scale!

Put those ideas together, and you have a first approximation of what “blitzscaling” means: it’s business growth that’s not only very rapid, but also proportional, and therefore sustainable. It’s what happened when Amazon went from having 151 employees and $5.1 million in revenue in 1996 to having 7,600 employees and $1.64 billion in revenue in 1999 – a 50-fold increase in employees and a 322-fold increase in revenue, all in just three years!

But there’s a caveat we need to add to our definition. Every company seeks to grow, and every successful company grows. If “blitzscaling” only meant growing rapidly and sustainably, it would be just another word for impressive business success.

While blitzscaling involves rapid, sustainable growth, there’s more to it than that. We’ll find out what the missing ingredients are in the next blinks.

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