Steve Blank

Entrepreneurship and Conservation

Latest articles

Rising out of the Crisis: Where to Find New Markets and Customers

The pandemic has upended the business models of most startups and existing companies. As the economy reopens companies are finding that customers may have disappeared or that their spending behavior has changed. Suppliers are going out of business or requiring cash-up-front terms. Accounts receivables are stretching way out. Revenue models and forecasts...

The Coming Chip Wars

A version of this article appeared in War on the Rocks.   Controlling advanced chip manufacturing in the 21st century may well prove to be like controlling the oil supply in the 20th. The country that controls this manufacturing can throttle the military and economic power of others. The United States just did this to China by limiting Huawei’s ability...

Hacking for Defense @ Stanford 2020 Lesson Learned Presentations

We just finished our 5th annual Hacking for Defense class at Stanford. What a year. At the end of the quarter each of the eight teams give a final “Lessons Learned” presentation. Unlike traditional demo days or Shark Tanks which are, “here’s how smart I am, please give me money,” a Lessons Learned presentation tells the teams’...

The Covid-19 virus is not politically correct

The Covid-19 virus is not politically correct. It discriminates against the old and the unhealthy. The biggest risk factor in dying from the virus is age. If you’re 60 to 70 years old, you’re 30 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than if you’re under 40. And if you’re over 80, you’re 180 times more likely. It’s not that the young don’t get sick...

Seven Steps to Small Business Recovery

What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.Friedrich Nietzsche The world is a different place than it was 90 days ago. Countries traded saving lives by shutting down most of their economy. Tens of millions who had jobs are now unemployed worrying about their future. Business owners large and small are struggling to find their footing, wondering what will...

Hacking 4 Recovery

We’re holding a series of 5-day online classes at Stanford where teams will learn how to develop new business models for an economy that’s getting back to work and on the road to recovery.   Sign up at http://h4r.stanford.edu The post-pandemic world will be a very different place. The Covid-19 virus has upended traditional ways of doing business,...

What’s Missing From Zoom Reminds Us What It Means to Be Human

Over the last month billions of people have been unwilling participants in the largest unintentional social experiment ever run – testing how video conferencing replaced face-to-face communication. While we’ve discovered that in many cases it can, more importantly we’ve discovered that, regardless of bandwidth and video resolution, these apps are missing...

In a Crisis – An Opportunity For A More Meaningful Life

Sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, my coffees with current and ex-students (entrepreneurs, as well as employees early in their careers) have gone virtual. Pre-pandemic these coffees were usually about what startup to join or how to find product/market fit. Though in the last month, even through Zoom I could sense they were struggling...

Customer Discovery In the Time Of the Covid-19 Virus

A version of this article appeared in TechCrunch. With in-person classes canceled, we’re about to start our online versions of Hacking for Defense and Hacking for Oceans (and here). The classes are built on the Lean Startup methodology: Customer Discovery, Agile Engineering and the Business/Mission Model Canvas. So how do our students get out of the...

How To Keep Your Company Alive – Observe, Orient, Decide and Act

This article previously appeared in the Harvard Business Review. It’s been updated with new information about the U.S. Paycheck Protection program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.   What cashflow-negative companies must do to survive We’re in uncharted territory with the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s increasingly looking grim. Companies...

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