Steve Blank

The Covid-19 virus is not politically correct

Steve Blank

The Covid-19 virus is not politically correct. It discriminates against the old and the unhealthy. The biggest risk factor in dying from the virus is age. If you’re 60 to 70 years old, you’re 30 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than if you’re under 40.

What’s Missing From Zoom Reminds Us What It Means to Be Human

Steve Blank

Over the last month billions of people have been unwilling participants in the largest unintentional social experiment ever run – testing how video conferencing replaced face-to-face communication.

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The Virus Survival Strategy For Your Startup

Steve Blank

“Winter is coming.”. This is the one blog post that I hope I’m completely wrong about. With the Covid-19 virus a worldwide pandemic, if you’re leading any startup or small business, you have to be asking yourself, “What’s Plan B? And what’s in my lifeboat?”.

Seven Steps to Small Business Recovery

Steve Blank

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche. The world is a different place than it was 90 days ago. Countries traded saving lives by shutting down most of their economy. Tens of millions who had jobs are now unemployed worrying about their future.

Building Healthy Innovation Ecosystems for Your Projects

Speaker: Nick Noreña, Innovation Coach and Advisor, Kromatic

In this webinar, Nick Noreña will walk through an Innovation Ecosystem Model that he and his team at Kromatic have developed to help investors, heads of product, teachers, and executives understand how they can best support innovation in their own ecosystem. He'll also go over metrics we can use to measure the health of our ecosystems as we build more resources for innovators.

Customer Discovery In the Time Of the Covid-19 Virus

Steve Blank

With in-person classes canceled, we’re about to start our online versions of Hacking for Defense and Hacking for Oceans (and here ). The classes are built on the Lean Startup methodology: Customer Discovery, Agile Engineering and the Business/Mission Model Canvas.

Hacking 4 Recovery

Steve Blank

We’re holding a series of 5-day online classes at Stanford where teams will learn how to develop new business models for an economy that’s getting back to work and on the road to recovery. Sign up at [link]. The post-pandemic world will be a very different place.

In a Crisis – An Opportunity For A More Meaningful Life

Steve Blank

Sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, my coffees with current and ex-students (entrepreneurs, as well as employees early in their careers) have gone virtual. Pre-pandemic these coffees were usually about what startup to join or how to find product/market fit.

Clayton Christensen

Steve Blank

Say not in grief he is no more – but live in thankfulness that he was. 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.

Lean 305

You’re Not Important to Me but I Want To Meet With You

Steve Blank

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.

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Why The Government is Isn’t a Bigger Version of a Startup

Steve Blank

This article previously appeared in War On The Rocks. There was a time when much of U.S. academia was engaged in weapon systems research for the Defense Department and intelligence community.

How To Keep Your Company Alive – Observe, Orient, Decide and Act

Steve Blank

This article previously appeared in the Harvard Business Review. It’s been updated with new information about the U.S. Paycheck Protection program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. What cashflow-negative companies must do to survive. We’re in uncharted territory with the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s increasingly looking grim.

How to Stop Playing “Target Market Roulette”: A new addition to the Lean toolset

Steve Blank

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 319

Why Companies and Government Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation

Steve Blank

This article previously appeared in the Harvard Business Review. 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.

Startup Stock Options – Why A Good Deal Has Gone Bad

Steve Blank

A version of this article first appeared in the Harvard Business Review. 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.

Action Today for CFO’s

Steve Blank

Jeff Epstein is on the board of Shutterstock, Twilio, Kaiser Permanente, and was the CFO of Oracle, DoubleClick, Nielsen and King World and is an operating partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. He teaches the Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford with me. And the minute he talks about financing I shut up and take notes. He sent this message to the CFOs of his companies yesterday. Read it along with yesterdays survival strategy advice to CEOs.).

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The Evolution of Entrepreneurial Education and Corporate Innovation

Steve Blank

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. Worth a read.

The Fatal Flaw of the Three Horizons Model and How To Fix It

Steve Blank

I’m a big fan of McKinsey’s Three Horizons Model of innovation. (if 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.

Why Entrepreneurs Start Companies Rather Than Join Them

Steve Blank

If you asked me why I gravitated to startups rather than work in a large company I would have answered at various times: “I want to be my own boss.” “I I love risk.” “I I want flexible work hours.” “I I want to work on tough problems that matter.” “I I have a vision and want to see it through.” “I

U.C. Santa Cruz Commencement Speech – 2019

Steve Blank

I was honored to give the commencement speech at the University of California Santa Cruz, right down the road from the ranch.

How to Convince Investors You’re the Future not the Past

Steve Blank

This article previously appeared in VentureBeat. 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.

The Difference Between Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Steve Blank

I just received a thank-you note from a student who attended a fireside chat I held at the ranch. Something I said seemed to inspire her: “I always thought you needed to be innovative, original to be an entrepreneur. Now I have a different perception.

Why Founders Need a Moral Compass

Steve Blank

I’ve been thinking why the ethical boundaries of todays founder/VC interactions feel so different then they did when I was an entrepreneur. I’ve written about the root causes in an HBR article here and an expanded version here. Worth a read.

Innovation at Speed – when you have 2 million employees

Steve Blank

Success no longer goes to the country that develops a new fighting technology first, but rather to the one that better integrates it and adapts its way of fighting… Our response will be to prioritize speed of delivery, continuous adaptation, and frequent modular upgrades.

What Startups Need to Know About Regulated Markets

Steve Blank

Often the opposite of disruption is the status quo. If you’re a startup trying to disrupt an existing business you need to read The Fixer by Bradley Tusk and Regulatory Hacking by Evan Burfield. These two books, one by a practitioner, the other by an investor, are must-reads.

Is the Lean Startup Dead?

Steve Blank

A version of this article first appeared in the Harvard Business Review. Reading the NY Times article “ Jeffrey Katzenberg Raises $1 Billion for Short-Form Video Venture, ” I realized it was time for a new startup heuristic: the amount of customer discovery and product-market fit you need to find is inversely proportional to the amount and availability of risk capital.

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Don’t Get Left Behind As Your Company Grows

Steve Blank

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.

The Innovation Stack: How to make innovation programs deliver more than coffee cups

Steve Blank

Is your organization full of Hackathons, Shark Tanks, Incubators and other innovation programs, but none have changed the trajectory of your company/agency? Over the last few years Pete Newell and I have helped build innovation programs inside large companies, across the U.S.

Driven to Distraction – the future of car safety

Steve Blank

If you haven’t gotten a new car in a while you may not have noticed that the future of the dashboard looks like this: That’s it. A single screen replacing all the dashboard gauges, knobs and switches. But behind that screen is an increasing level of automation that hides a ton of complexity.

Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple

Steve Blank

What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why.

Azure 343

Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple

Steve Blank

What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why.

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How to Keep Your Job As Your Company Grows

Steve Blank

I know a change is going to come. 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. I’ve seen these transitions as an investor, board member and CEO.

Hacking for Defense @ Stanford 2019

Steve Blank

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.

How do you apply Lean to Digital Health and Life Sciences?

Steve Blank

Five years ago we brought evidence-based entrepreneurship to Life Sciences – teaching the first Lean Lean Launchpad class at UCSF, then the NIH and Imperial College. But it’s been awhile since I was in a room made up entirely of Life Science entrepreneurs.

Lean 215

The No Excuses Culture

Steve Blank

Getting ready for our next semester’s class, I asked my Teaching Assistant why I hadn’t seen the posters for our new class around campus. Hearing the litany of excuses that followed –“It was raining.” (The The posters go inside the building.) “We We still have time.” (We

Leadership is More Than a Memo

Steve Blank

I just read Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley. It was both eye-opening and cringe-worthy. The book explores the role of gender in the tech industry – at startups and venture capital firms – and the interaction between men and women in the two.

The 11 Bad Habits Killing Innovation in Your Company

Steve Blank

Alexander Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas , co-founded strategyzer.com and was the lead author of Business Model Generation which sold a million copies in 30 languages. Alexander and I often collaborate on new ideas for corporate innovation.

Agile 293

The 11 Bad Habits Killing Innovation in Your Company

Steve Blank

Alexander Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas , co-founded strategyzer.com and was the lead author of Business Model Generation which sold a million copies in 30 languages. Alexander and I often collaborate on new ideas for corporate innovation.

Agile 293

There are 145 Entrepreneurship Courses at Stanford

Steve Blank

Stanford is an incubator with dorms. Download the full text file with links to the courses here. Filed under: Hacking For Defense , Hacking for Diplomacy , Lean LaunchPad , Teaching. Hacking For Defense Hacking for Diplomacy Lean LaunchPad Teaching

There are 145 Entrepreneurship Courses at Stanford

Steve Blank

Stanford is an incubator with dorms. Download the full text file with links to the courses here. link]. Filed under: Hacking For Defense , Hacking for Diplomacy , Lean LaunchPad , Teaching. Hacking For Defense Hacking for Diplomacy Lean LaunchPad Teaching

This 1 Piece of Advice Could Make Or Break Your Career

Steve Blank

There’s no handbook on how to evaluate and process “suggestions” and “advice” from a boss or a mentor. But how you choose to act on these recommendations can speed up your learning and make or break your career. Here’s what to keep in mind: I had a team of students working on an arcane customer problem. While they were quickly coming up to speed, I suggested that they talk to someone who I knew was an expert in the area and could help them learn much faster.

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Organizational Debt is like Technical debt – but worse

Steve Blank

Startups focus on speed since they are burning cash every day as they search for product/market fit. But over time code/hardware written/built to validate hypotheses and find early customers can become unwieldy, difficult to maintain and incapable of scaling.

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How to Survive in a World of Disruption – Innovation in Large Organizations

Steve Blank

The team at Innovation Leader had me over to share some observations on how to survive in a world of disruption in large organizations. It’s worth a listen – here. 5:30: The cultural differences between startups and big companies. 8:30: Not everyone is an innovator. 9:10: Being an ambidextrous organization is the key to survival for a big company. 9:42: Apple stopped changing the world; here’s why. 10:55: The most disruptive companies are driven by founders.