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Steve Blank on Why Accountants Don’t Run Startups

Thanks to my friend Philippe Lavie, President of KeyRoad Enterprises, who forwarded a great presentation by Stanford professor and 8-time entrepreneur Steve Blank, describing the techtonic shifts in entrepreneurship over the past decade:.

Here are some highlights, though his whole talk is worth listening to:

  • In fundraising, “$500K is the new $5 million.” Blank cites lots of reasons for this including the presence of angels as a much more powerful group for funding early stage and the shift in major VC funds to becoming much more like hedge funds and not so much early stage.
  • There is a difference between startup and small business. If it’s VC-oriented it has to be scalable to $100 million or more. Most startups are small businesses – and there’s nothing wrong with that!
  • Very few founders survive the transition in fast growth startups, from search for a business model to process and growth-orientation
  • The new “Lean Startup” is an ongoing effort at better customer and agile development
  • Agile Development is critical and means:

o   Continuous deployment
o   Continuous learning
o   Self organizing teams
o   Minimum feature set
o   Pivots

  • William Durant versus Alfred Sloan as founder vs accountant (CEO) respectively of GM. I won’t give you the gloomy take on entrepreneur vs accountant…listen for yourself but entrepreneur skills do not equate to later stage growth skills.
  • Entrepreneurial education will change radically, because “E-School” is not like B-school

And check out Steve’s blog at www.SteveBlank.com.



About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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