Blitzscaling: my first college course

Yesterday, at age 32, I was in a college classroom for the first time in my life. I was genuinely excited. There is something awe-inspiring about a place where people learn their future professions, especially if that place is called Stanford.

Blitzscaling is a term coined by Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn), John Lilly (former Mozilla exec, now investor), Allen Blue (also LinkedIn) and Chris Yeh. If you Google it right now, all you’ll see are announcements of this Stanford course and nothing more. It will be interesting to see the Google Trend for this term in two or three years from now. Just like the Google Trend for “unicorn startup” shows that the term has basically appeared out of nowhere very recently, the Blitzscaling term may be picked up by the entire market.

The Blitzscaling team is saying that Silicon Valley’s advantage over the rest of the world isn’t just in the number of startups that are created; startups are created everywhere. The real difference, they say, is in the ability of these startups to scale. The first phase in a startup’s life is the “easy” one (relatively) where a bunch of people sit down, write code and ship an early product.

If people are actually interested in what they do, then things become more serious. How do you get your product to more people? How do you develop it? Who do you partner with? What people do you need? etc. etc These are all questions that morph and get more complicated as the startup grows.

Today, at indeni, we’re at the phase where we are making millions of dollars from paying customers all over the world using our product. We’re growing rapidly and keep asking ourselves how we want to look like over the next few years. There are tons of questions – who do we focus on as partners (the device manufacturers and channel partners), who do we hire, how do we scale customer support and satisfy our customers, how do we scale our technology to support more device manufacturers, etc.

My hope is that in this course I will learn from those who have built the company we all use to communicate through. I will learn from them what challenges lay ahead, how to think about them and tips on how to tackle them. Remember, each startup has a different course, but there’s a lot of common knowledge that can be shared between companies to help them succeed. That’s what makes Silicon Valley so successful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *