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Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,893 ratings  ·  204 reviews
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 star
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Currency
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Giorgio Giuliani Well in many cases you are right. The problem is that in some type of markets, just growing organically is not enough to succeed because you will find…moreWell in many cases you are right. The problem is that in some type of markets, just growing organically is not enough to succeed because you will find some super fast competitor that will capture huge market shares and then capitalize on that success.
In the Internet space, many industries are actually winner take all markets, thus this blitzscalinb approach may have sense. Anyway this is not a silver bullet that works in any case. (less)

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Sipho
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Valle
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Yxas
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
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
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Andrus
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Sebastian Gebski
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Pascal Wagner
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 spee
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Anita
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blitzscaling is a book that I believe every entrepreneur should read today. It observes how speed and uncertainty are the new stability in the era of new emerging technologies and that those who act on that and accept it can scale their business in a faster, efficient and promising way. Good read, and amazing case studies and tips on how to implement it in your own business.
Zahedul
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Clearly my best read of 2018. Will recommend this to any entrepreneur.
Scott Wozniak
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Fabricio
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 w
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Tõnu Vahtra
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
“blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty.” Based on recommendations I had high expectations for this book and its not a bad book but I was not very impressed as I've encountered similar recommendations already in several other books. I saw many similar topics with Platform Revolution/Lean Startup and company examples were mainly based on LinkedIn, Paypal, Netflix, Airbnb, Tencent (Weechat), Amazon and Apple which are already well covered in their respective ...more
Justas Šaltinis
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
2/3 of the book would get 4* and the remaining part only 2*.

Blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency.

4 key factors to consider for blitzscaling: market size, distribution, gross margin, network effect.

5 stages and managerial changes while scaling: family 1-10 employees, tribe 10+, village 100+, city 1k+, nation 10k+

"When a market is up for grabs, the risk isn't inefficiency - the risk playing it too safe"

"... embrace counterintuitive rules like hir
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Evelyn Ding
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Ocean Gebhardt
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
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
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Kanchan Mandanekar
This book is the fastest MBA of today's times that I could ever do. It clears the "mystic secret" of what the Silicon Valley guys are really doing differently than us. Literally, every page has a big deal of a lesson. But most of all it is the lightening pace (even over efficiency, but not ethics!) that is the need of the hour that's impressed and honestly challenged me.

I look forward to thinking and mulling over this book for months to come, and hopefully apply it to my own little b
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Andrew
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Pooja Sethi
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a quick and entertaining read. Blitzscaling as defined by Reid Hoffman is trying to assemble a rocket ship as you free fall off of a cliff. I especially appreciated that Reid talks about when *NOT* to blitzscale despite how fashionable such approaches are in Silicon Valley, and how to apply blitzscaling as safely as possible.

I've also found "Masters of Scale" -- Reid's podcast --to be an interesting supplement to this book.
Achyuth Kumar
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Leo Fischer
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Genert
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Got a lot interesting thoughts from reading the book. A definite recommendation for anyone interested in building (massively) valuable companies.
Benjamin
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sometimes sloppy, often egregiously oversimplified, often enlightening, always entertaining.
Walter Zielkowski
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining book, relevant for today's business environment. Good insights for the modern entrepreneur.
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
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Andre Kubota
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This term comes as in the famous term blitzkrieg, a rapid growth. This is usually important for companies that needs a positive feedback loop and/or network effects. In this cases, it’s better to grow fast than being the most efficient, like in the war, when it was usual to gain ground at a slow pace so you could guarantee supplies and logistic. In the blitzkrieg, the troop took the risk of running out of supply and chose to act fast.

For this rapid grow, the oxygen is capital and human resource
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Arnab Padhi
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Well here are my numbers on these parameters:
Avoiding Redundancy: 1/5
Case Studies: 3/5
Authenticity: 4/5
Readability: 2/5
Practical: 2/5
Quotes: 5/5

The biggest issue with the book was the redundancy. It uses so much literature to state the same point over and over again. Also, it is a classic example of "Survivorship bias". It adulates the success stories but masks the failure stories.

Takeaways:
The importance of first-mover advantage
The i
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Felipe CZ
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. These companies, like Uber, prioritize speed over efficiency to achieve first-scaler advantage. The rapid growth thrives on distribution, networks and high gross margins, which allow acces to sizable markets, specially found in today's digital world. Tech-industry giants have gross margin from 60-90%, in comparison to compa ...more
Boni Aditya
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Rick Wong
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very relevant book in today's times.

notes:

2.2 percent of profits from innovation goes to the producer, the majority goes to the consumers

innovation is not optional, it is a means of survival and staying relevant in a world of constant change

Technology innovation without business innovation is not enough

business innovation factors
market size, distribution, high gross margins, network effects
limiters: no product/market fit, op
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Agustín Fischer
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"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."< ...more
Shanice
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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) ...more
Thomas Port
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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Reid Hoffman is a Partner at Greylock, and Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at LinkedIn.

Reid joined Greylock Partners in 2009. His areas of focus include consumer Internet, enterprise 2.0, mobile, social gaming, online marketplaces, payments, and social networks. Reid likes to work with products that can reach hundreds of millions of participants and businesses that have network effec
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“There’s a common misconception that Silicon Valley is the accelerator of the world. The real story is that the world keeps getting faster—Silicon Valley is just the first place to figure out how to keep pace. While Silicon Valley certainly has many key networks and resources that make it easier to apply the techniques we’re going to lay out for you, blitzscaling is made up of basic principles that do not depend on geography. We’re going to show you examples from overlooked parts of the United States, such as Detroit (Rocket Mortgage) and Connecticut (Priceline), as well as from international companies, such as WeChat and Spotify. In the process you’ll see how the lessons of blitzscaling can be adapted to help build great companies in nearly any ecosystem, albeit with differing degrees of difficulty. That’s the mission of this book. We want to share the secret weapon that has allowed Silicon Valley to punch so much (more than a hundred times) above its population index so that those lessons can be applied far beyond the sixty-mile stretch between the Golden Gate Bridge and San Jose. It is sorely needed.” 2 likes
“In fact, the same basic ingredients can easily be found in numerous start-up clusters in the United States and around the world: Austin, Boston, New York, Seattle, Shanghai, Bangalore, Istanbul, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, and Dubai. To discover the secret to Silicon Valley’s success, you need to look beyond the standard origin story. When people think of Silicon Valley, the first things that spring to mind—after the HBO television show, of course—are the names of famous start-ups and their equally glamorized founders: Apple, Google, Facebook; Jobs/ Wozniak, Page/ Brin, Zuckerberg. The success narrative of these hallowed names has become so universally familiar that people from countries around the world can tell it just as well as Sand Hill Road venture capitalists. It goes something like this: A brilliant entrepreneur discovers an incredible opportunity. After dropping out of college, he or she gathers a small team who are happy to work for equity, sets up shop in a humble garage, plays foosball, raises money from sage venture capitalists, and proceeds to change the world—after which, of course, the founders and early employees live happily ever after, using the wealth they’ve amassed to fund both a new generation of entrepreneurs and a set of eponymous buildings for Stanford University’s Computer Science Department. It’s an exciting and inspiring story. We get the appeal. There’s only one problem. It’s incomplete and deceptive in several important ways. First, while “Silicon Valley” and “start-ups” are used almost synonymously these days, only a tiny fraction of the world’s start-ups actually originate in Silicon Valley, and this fraction has been getting smaller as start-up knowledge spreads around the globe. Thanks to the Internet, entrepreneurs everywhere have access to the same information. Moreover, as other markets have matured, smart founders from around the globe are electing to build companies in start-up hubs in their home countries rather than immigrating to Silicon Valley.” 1 likes
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