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Reid Hoffman's Blitzscaling Course at Stanford (Lecture 1)

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CS183C: Blitzscaling Instructors: Allen Blue, Reid Hoffman, John Lilly & Chris Yeh September 22, 2015


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Today 1. Introductions
 2. What you’ll get out of the class
 3. Blitzscaling
 4. Class Outline 5. LinkedIn Case Study 6. Organizational Scale 1 7. Prep for Thursday


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First, some background.


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What You Shouldn’t Expect From This Class


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What You’ll Get Out of this Class


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Warning!! Your Mileage May Vary


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“Blitzscaling”


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wut?


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The mythos of Silicon Valley is that startups are what make it really special.


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The classic story: • • • • • a garage (apartment or dorm room) technical founders new product (the app!) capital product-market fit: off to races


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That’s partly true. Startups are critical.


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The problem with the classic story: now start-ups are abundant In Silicon Valley In the US In many countries — Asia, Europe, Global


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Yet, SV still produces many industry transforming companies. So by themselves, startups are not only what makes this place, and this way of doing things, really special.


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Silicon Valley is special because it enables companies to get very large, very quickly. Not just to start up, but to scale up.


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And lately:


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And lately: Flickr: HarloweHeslop CC Sharealike


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Private Unicorns by Region (via CrunchBase) Bay Area China LA India Top 10 5 2 2 1 % 50% 20% 20% 10% Top 60 28 11 3 4 % 47% 18% 5% 7% Population 7M 1.4B 19M 1.3B NYC Uber Europe Xiaomi Airbnb Palantir Didi Kuaidi 3 Snapchat 5 Flipkart 5% 8% SpaceX 8M Pinterest 750M Dropbox Elsewhere 6 10% lots


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Private Unicorns by Region (via CrunchBase) Bay Area China LA India NYC Europe Elsewhere Top 10 5 2 2 1 % 50% 20% 20% 10% Top 60 28 11 3 4 3 5 6 % 47% 18% 5% 7% 5% 8% 10% Population 7M 1.4B 19M 1.3B 8M 750M lots


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Private Unicorns by Region (via CrunchBase) Bay Area China LA India NYC Europe Elsewhere Top 10 5 2 2 1 % 50% 20% 20% 10% Top 60 28 11 3 4 3 5 6 % 47% 18% 5% 7% 5% 8% 10% Population 7M 1.4B 19M 1.3B 8M 750M lots


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Why the intense concentration? Why does it persist?


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Everyone talks about scaling.


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What we’re talking about is a type of scaling that’s very particular to technology & Silicon Valley startups.


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The special sauce is that scaleups here depend greatly on networks (capital, talent, users, etc) that exist outside the startup itself. The network age: speed, global markets, global competition


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So: Blitzscaling


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Themes we’ll talk about over & over this quarter 1. Networks 2. Positive feedback loops 3. Distribution advantage 4. Organization Scale, Revenue Scale, 
 Customer scale


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Some questions we’ll discuss this quarter What’s the role of the founder? CEO? Team? Board? How does hiring change as you scale? Who? How? Onboarding? How do you find product-market fit? How do you know? How evolves? How should you think about competition? Other threats? What’re the key decisions & questions you should be asking? When? How should you think about partnerships & business development? How does your strategy change as you grow? How do you think about global — markets, competition, scale? Lots more…


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Class Structure: Organizational Scale Org Scale User Scale Customer Business (employees) (B2C users) Scale (B2B) Scale (rev) OS1: Family 1s 10,000s 0 <$10M OS2: Tribe 10s 100,000s 1s 10M+ O3: Village 100s 1,000,000s 10s 100M+ OS4: City 1,000s 10,000,000s 100s $1B+ OS5: Nation 10,000s 100,000,00+ 1,000+ $5B+ We’ll spend ~2 weeks on each stage.


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Organizational Scale & Functions: part of the grid that we will fill in OS1 OS2 OS3 OS4 People Product GTM Tech Strategy Operations Finance Hiring Management New Functs We will focus intensely on OS2 and OS3 to OS4 OS5


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General observations 1. When Blitzscale? (Preparation, Judgment) 2. Generalists to Specialists 3. Doers to Doer-Manager to Managers to Execs 4. Scale and innovation 5. Choice on adaptation vs. operational excellence 6. Global reach 7. Capital requirements 8. Speed is relative - but competition is global 9. Up-market and down-market


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OS1 (probably) a legal company tiny, close-knit team with ability to only focus on product-market fit no specialists, all doers, very adaptable OS2 a legal company, (most likely) some financing full team with ability to launch product and engage customers (generally) select specialists OS3 hiring first internal lawyers, HR team, real accounting many teams with ability to work on parallel threads and projects critical specialists, many functions OS4 global company, many offices teams of teams with ability to work in new products, new regions many specialists OS5 huge, global company essentially multiple companies with ability to play multiple product-market fits armies of specialists


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2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014


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Stage 1: The Household


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Stage 2: The Tribe


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Stage 3: The Village


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Stage 4: The City


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Stage 5: The Nation


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OS1: “Family”


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OS1: Key Functions 1. Product 2. Product-market fit 3. Role of founders 4. Hiring & company culture/values 5. Staying solvent/financed


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OS1: Important, but not as key 1. Board of Directors 2. Analytics & dashboards 3. Strategy 4. Everything else


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Finding fit


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Finding fit


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Mostly things start slow (the left side is often long) Then, sometimes, they
 start to work And in some special cases,
 they really, really work


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First 2 weeks (OS1) 9/22: Introduction 9/24: Sam Altman, Y Combinator 9/29: Michael Dearing, Harrison Metal 10/1: Ann Miura-Ko, Floodgate


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Sam Altman President, Y Combinator
 Founder, Loopt CS @ Stanford Sees thousands of new ventures; helps hundreds Assignment: reading & forum discussion


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Mechanics, sites, logistics LinkedIn Group (private to class) - you’ll receive an invitation to the group via e-mail - we’ll post content, reading assignments, questions - you’ll post questions, answers, etc Medium (open to public) - we will collect your Medium user names - optional (but recommended) you will post assignments to Medium - we’ll curate & re-post the best each week Questions, Assignments, Readings - you’ll receive an invitation to the group via e-mail


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Readings For Thursday (will post to LinkedIn group) Do Things That Don’t Scale, by Paul Graham www.paulgraham.com/ds.html Startup Advice, Briefly, by Sam Altman blog.samaltman.com/startup-advice-briefly Why Silicon Valley Works, by Sam Altman blog.samaltman.com/why-silicon-valley-works


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