Categories: Thought & Innovation

Blitzscaling: Why Startups Reject Efficiency & Embrace Speed

What happens when a company gets more customers than it can serve? Does it turn away customers? Or does it grow?

Naturally, that company wants to grow. But how? In the past, companies had two options for scaling:

  • Scale efficiently
  • Scale fast

There’s just one problem. Both of these strategies assume a stable environment (costs remain predictable, the competition’s known, etc.). Of course, rarely does the world tend to be stable just the way we thought it would. (Hello Bitcoin, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, etc.)

That’s Where Blitzscaling Comes In.

The word “blitz,” which we know from “blitzkrieg” and football plays, actually means “lightning” in German. Lightning-fast scaling. Blitzscaling prioritizes speed over efficiency. When blitzscaling, the standard rules of business do not apply:

  • Careful planning
  • Cautious investing
  • Diligently solving all problems

Instead, blitzscale companies do the following:

  • Make rapid guesstimates
  • Make inefficient investments
  • Let small fires burn

Build It Now. Fix It Later.

According to Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh, authors of Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies, a common analogy for starting a business is this:

It’s like jumping off a cliff and assembling a plane on the way down.

With blitzscaling…

It’s like jumping off a cliff and assembling a plane FASTER, then strapping on and igniting a set of engine jets while still building the wings.

Why Blitzscale?

It sounds, crazy, right? So, why would anyone apply a blitzscaling strategy to their business? Hoffman and Yeh argue that if the prize is big enough and the competition is intense enough, blitzscaling becomes the optimal strategy.

If Uber can beat out Lyft, Ola, Careem, Didi, Taxify and Yandex – so thoroughly cornering the market that no other company dares even try – then Uber can completely own the personal transportation market. This gives them added leverage to establish dominance in other sectors of the transportation market: freight, last-mile delivery, personal mobility, etc.

Google is another great example. When was the last time you heard of a new startup search engine? You don’t. Google has established such dominance, that you’d have to be crazy to even try to compete.

Takl, an Anthem Republic client, is another great example of blitzscaling. The startup, which provides a platform for home services on demand, used blitzscaling to attain market share dominance in just a few short years. The company now operates in 130 metro areas across 42 states. Learn more by reading the Takl Case Study.

Anthem Republic created a national 360 advertising campaign for TAKL featuring Kathie Lee Gifford

Speed & Uncertainty Are the New Normal?

Blitzscale startups prioritize speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty. As Hoffman and Yeh would argue, speed and uncertainty are the new normal of today’s world. The greatest risk is not moving too fast; it’s moving too slowly.

The world is changing at an increasingly rapid rate, and the only way to thrive is to accept the inevitability of change. The winners of tomorrow are the businesses that can accept the risks that others can’t, navigate them responsibly, and move faster than their competition. Blitzscale companies:

  • Ignite and Manage Growth
  • Create the Most Value
  • Prioritize Speed Over Efficiency

“Take it slow. Manage your risk. Test it out first.”

Is the traditional advice outdated or irrelevant? Certainly not. Though it offers advantages for certain companies, blitzscaling isn’t the only way to grow. Nor is it replacing more conventional growth practices.

Those who win through blitzscaling will reap unfathomable fortunes. But those who lose will be left holding the bag.

Brad Ayres

Share
Published by
Brad Ayres

Recent Posts

Why Your Ecommerce Brand Deserves Data-Backed Strategy

In many agencies, the prevailing ecommerce philosophy is to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. The problem…

9 months ago

3 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Techniques You Can Implement In Your Marketing Strategy

Artificial intelligence (AI) is embedded into nearly every aspect of modern life. It’s what allows your credit card company to…

1 year ago

Driving Into the Future of In-Vehicle Services and Marketing

As automobiles become increasingly intelligent and move toward autonomy, the car becomes less a “mode of transportation” and more of…

1 year ago

A Beginner’s Guide to Amping Up Your Company’s Instagram

Instagram has quickly become everyone’s favorite social media platform.

2 years ago

Lovepop and The Power of Surprise

One day, as my fingers glided across my iPhone screen in their ritual Instagram dance, I saw a sponsored post…

2 years ago

An Investigation of Instagrammability

How can companies utilize people’s psychological need for attention and belonging to make online word-of-mouth magic happen for their product…

2 years ago