Benefits of Blitzscaling
The Winner-Takes-All Growth Strategy
2 min read
In the wake of his stunning 13-second victory at UFC 194 in December 2015, Conor McGregor was at the top of the mixed martial arts world. His rapid ascent to the throne was all about speed. McGregor -- a formidable self-promoter on the mic -- talked his way into a title shot quicker than many felt he deserved—skipping other contenders along the way. In under three years, the former plumber had become a multimillionaire world champion and was now the unstoppable force that everyone wanted to catch. There is a similar gung-ho strategy in the business world known as blitzscaling. When done successfully, blitzscaling is a catalyst for rapid growth that enables you to capture and dominate a massive global market. And, when you understand the benefits of blitzscaling, you can learn what you can gain when you throw the standard business roadmap out the window. Plus, explore why fast-growing startups take the risk and see if your business should risk it, too.
What is Blitzscaling?
Blitzscaling is an accelerated growth strategy that digital businesses in uncertain markets can use to rapidly expand and capture the market. By prioritizing speed over efficiency, blitzscaling gives companies the first-mover advantage, overwhelming all competitors before they can react. A perfect example of blitzscaling is the hospitality startup Airbnb. When a German copycat with a $90 million war chest and a 400-strong team sought to corner the European market, Airbnb had only 40 employees and $7 million. Everything was on the line, so Airbnb struck hard and fast. The American company opened 10 offices in Europe, hired hundreds of employees, and won the battle within three months.
What Are The Origins Of Blitzscaling?
The concept of blitzscaling was created by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. In the book he co-authored with Chris Yeh, Hoffman explains that “the objective of blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but to go from one to one billion—as quickly as possible.” The moniker has roots in the German war strategy, blitzkrieg, which literally means "lightning war." Despite the unfortunate connotation, the World War II military tactic was undeniably successful. The German army was able to take opponents by surprise because their soldiers only took the bare essentials. They could move quickly and make snap decisions without encumberment from excessive supplies and overplanning. Hoffman asserts the same mentality in business can help you blow competitors out of the water. When faced with fierce competition, the company that gets an early edge often takes control of the marketplace. As such, he believes that blitzscaling is the secret to building a massively valuable technology company.