This episode in the Greymatter Blitzscaling capsule series, with Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh, focuses on the major threats that blitzscalers need to watch out for as they scale. Like a whack-a-mole game, new threats are constantly popping up to keep entrepreneurs busy! Fortunately, this episode offers practical tips on how to identify the true threats and address them before they derail your company.
You’ll learn about the central threat of blitzscaling, and what it has to do with Alec Baldwin movies from the early 1990s.
“The central threat that Blitzscaling addresses is the threat that another competitor gets the scale before you. As we say in the book, these are Glengarry Glen Ross markets. First prize, Cadillac, second prize, steak knives, third prize, you’re fired.”
To address this threat, you need to act with urgency, and commit to your strategy hard enough that it’ll hurt - often badly - if you’re wrong. hear how the story of Uber illustrates this lesson. Uber responded so aggressively to the threat of Lyft’s new alternative to black car service that many people erroneously believe that Lyft is the copycat, rather than vice versa. This was despite the new UberX service strongly upsetting Uber’s existing network of black car operators, who correctly viewed it as competition.
Yet Uber also illustrates just how dangerous internal threats can be to blitzscaling. Blitzscaling companies need a strong, resilient culture to effectively respond to existential threats to the business.
“Company culture is one of the things that if you get wrong, you just may never be able to go back and get right.”
Uber was ultimately able to fix its broken culture, but at great cost, especially in the wasted time that allowed others to establish a stronger foothold in the market.
Finally, you’ll hear why these lessons continue to be important, no matter what the size and age of your organization.
“All companies need to start thinking like startups in the sense that they need to understand that by default, every business will eventually come to an end. And instead of thinking to themselves as by default, we’re going to win and let’s just proceed majestically on our way, I think it’s that by default someone’s gonna take our lunch, how do we make sure we’re the ones who take the lunch?”
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