Steve Blank Podcast
Summary: Steve Blank, eight-time entrepreneur and now a business school professor at Stanford, Columbia and Berkeley, shares his hard-won wisdom as he pioneers entrepreneurship as a management science, combining Customer Development, Business Model Design and Agile Development. The conclusion? Startups are simply not small versions of large companies! Startups are actually temporary organizations designed to search for a scalable and repeatable business model.
If you’re a busy startup founder, you’re likely delegating the task of scheduling key meetings about things you want/need to your admin. This is a mistake. That’s because the dialog you have in setting up the meeting is actually the first part of your meeting, not some clerical task. Treat it this way and you’re much more likely to achieve the objective you’re hoping to. Here’s why...
Every year I teach classrooms full of students who leave class understanding the basics of how to search for product/market fit—and thinking their next goal is to “get funded.” That’s a mistake. There are two reasons to raise money...
If you’re reading my blog, odds are you know who Clayton Christensen was. He passed away this week and it was a loss to us all. Everyone who writes about innovation stood on his shoulders. His insights transformed the language and the practice of innovation. Christensen changed the trajectory of my career and was the guide star for my work on innovation. I never got to say thank you.
There was a time when much of U.S. academia was engaged in weapon systems research for the Defense Department and intelligence community. Some of the best and brightest wanted to work for defense contractors or corporate research and development labs. And the best startups spun out of Stanford were building components for weapon systems.
I just had a coffee with Mei and Bill, two passionate students who are on fire about their new startup idea. It’s past the “napkin-sketch” stage with a rough minimum viable product and about 100 users. I thought they had a great insight about an application space others had previously tried to crack. But they needed to convince investors that they are Facebook not Friendster. Here’s what I suggested they do...
The type of disruption most companies and government agencies are facing is a once-in-every-few-centuries event. Disruption today is more than just changes in technology, or channel, or competitors – it’s all of them, all at once. And these forces are completely reshaping both commerce and defense.
It’s been almost a decade since we first started teaching the Lean Methodology. It’s remade entrepreneurship education, startup practice and innovation in companies and the government. But in all that time, we haven’t gotten a large group of educators together to talk about what it’s been like to teach Lean or the impact it’s had in their classrooms and beyond. It dawned on us that with 10 years of Lessons Learned to explore, now would be a good time.
AgileFall is an ironic term for program management where you try to be agile and lean, but you keep using waterfall development techniques. It often produces a result that’s like combining a floor wax and dessert topping.
We just finished our 4th annual Hacking for Defense class at Stanford. At the end of each class we have each team give a Lessons Learned presentation. Unlike traditional demo days or Shark Tanks which are “here’s how smart I am, please give me money,” a Lessons Learned presentation tells a story of a journey of hard-won learning and discovery. For all the teams it’s a roller coaster narrative of what happens when you discover that everything you thought you knew was wrong and how they eventually got it right.
I was interviewed by Philip Bouchard, Executive Director of TrustedPeer Entrepreneurship Advisory, about how entrepreneurship education has changed, mission-driven entrepreneurship, and what we’ve learned about corporate innovation.
Modern entrepreneurship began at the turn of this century with the observation that startups aren’t smaller versions of large companies – large companies at their core execute known business models, while startups search for scalable business models. Lean Methodology consists of three tools designed for entrepreneurs building new ventures...
VC’s have just changed the ~50-year old social contract with startup employees. In doing so they may have removed one of the key incentives that made startups different from working in a large company. For most startup employee’s startup stock options are now a bad deal. Here’s why.
We just finished the 8th annual Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford. The team presentations are at the end of this post. It’s hard to imagine, but only a decade ago, the capstone entrepreneurship class in most universities was how to write – or pitch- a business plan. As a serial entrepreneur turned educator, this didn’t make sense to me. In my experience, I saw that most business plans don’t survive first contact with customers.
I’m a big fan of McKinsey’s Three Horizons Model of innovation. (if you’re not familiar with it there’s a brief description a few paragraphs down.) It’s one of the quickest ways to describe and prioritize innovation ideas in a large company or government agency.
If you’re an early employee at a startup, one day you will wake up to find that what you worked on 24/7 for the last year is no longer the most important thing – you’re no longer the most important employee, and process, meetings, paperwork and managers and bosses have shown up. Most painfully, you’ll learn that your role in the company has to change.