Blitzscaling: How to Win or Lose … Spectacularly

We all can learn from great companies that have grown “really, really fast” because they had to.

From start-ups to scale-ups to market leaders, the secret to their success, according to Reid Hoffman, is scaling up at warp speed.

Hoffman, a prolific and successful angel investor, was interviewed by Tim Sullivan for the Harvard Business Review.

His point is that companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and others grew their customer bases, revenues, infrastructures, and organizational scales at a dizzying pace. They practiced extreme entrepreneurism, or “blitzscaling.”

“Blitzscaling,” a term coined by Hoffman, literally means “lightning-scaling.” It’s what you do “when you need to grow really, really quickly” by building out a company rapidly with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale. Blitzscaling enables a firm to capture a large global market quickly and to outmaneuver potential competition.

Blitzscaling is both science and art, and it requires an all-out effort, as much of the impact and value creation occur during the scale-up phase. And once an entrepreneur has decided to make a move, there’s really no turning back. You win or you lose. Spectacularly.

At the heart of blitzscaling are the three levels of scale. Generally, says Hoffman, people focus on the first two: growing revenue and growing customer base. But this doesn’t happen without also scaling your organization at the same time, it’s your size and your ability to achieve your goals that make the difference.

For an extreme entrepreneur with a solid vision (and perhaps nerves of steel), blitzscaling may be just right for you.

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