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Q&A with “Blitzscaling” Co-Author Chris Yeh on Entrepreneurs’ Mistakes, Amazon’s Hypergrowth and More

June 7, 2021

Chris Yeh is an investor, mentor, advisor and co-author of the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies” with Reid Hoffman. “Blitzscaling” is one of the favorite books among the Lohika team.

We’re excited to host an online event featuring Chris titled “Blitzscaling for Engineering Leaders: How to Lead Teams During Lightning-Fast Growth.”

The event is free to attend and is hosted by our good friend Raman Frey. Register here:

https://www.lohika.com/blitzscaling-for-engineering-leaders-event

Chris was kind enough to answer a few questions about the event via email.

Hi, Chris! What are you up to these days?

Like most people, it’s a lot of Zoom. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that it’s become easier than ever to connect with people in far-off places. I’ve spoken for audiences on every continent other than Antarctica (call me, McMurdo Station!).  

But now I’m getting ready to re-enter the in-person world. Before the pandemic, I was visiting a different continent every month. But in the past 16 months, I haven’t even boarded a plane. Now I’m trying to re-learn how to wear long pants!

Tell us about Blitzscaling Academy?

The Blitzscaling Academy teaches individuals and organizations how to plan for and execute on hypergrowth. Our online community offers online classes and live events, and helps blitzscalers connect with peers who share similar challenges. It’s a great way for me to work with individual entrepreneurs and companies on their specific blitzscaling journeys.

Tell us about your upcoming talk?

One of the misconceptions that people have about blitzscaling is that it’s all about raising a lot of money and spending it on advertising. In fact, blitzscaling presents challenges and opportunities to every part of an organization, including and especially Engineering.  

I’ll be discussing the importance of building a scalable infrastructure, but I’ll also explain how to know when it’s the right time to hack together a solution instead of doing things “the right way.” I also hope to provide a better perspective on when blitzscaling does and doesn’t make sense.

What’s the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when implementing the blitzscaling methodology?

Far too many entrepreneurs act as though blitzscaling is a simple, linear journey. The truth is far messier. When companies grow at incredible rates, every aspect of those companies undergoes incredible strain.  

What works today probably won’t in three months. And yet I still see people clinging to the things that helped them in the past. The game is constantly changing, and part of your job is to figure out the new rules of the game, over and over and over again. It’s exhausting, but nobody said building a world-changing company was going to be easy.

Name a few companies that do blitzscaling well?

The iconic blitzscaler is Amazon. Jeff Bezos pioneered hypergrowth—would you believe that Amazon increased its revenues 322x in just three years? It has created and dominated multiple markets, from ebooks to cloud computing.  

Amazon is so good at blitzscaling that it has been able to take its greatest challenges, like building out a logistics system to deliver billions of packages, and the computing infrastructure to serve a billion customers, and turned them into competitive advantages and ways to make even more money.

One of the OG blitzscalers that is still showing that it can learn new tricks is Microsoft.  

Microsoft practically invented the platform business model, and despite being nearly 50 years old, is continuing to pioneer new business models. Satya Nadella’s success shows that even the world’s largest companies can use blitzscaling to reinvent themselves.

Note: Learn more about Chris on his website.