Steve Blank on small startups, big execution & Steve Jobs


When Steve Blank talks about entrepreneurship, people listen. When he writes a book on the subject, like his latest effort with co-author Bob Dorf titled The Startup Owner’s Manual, it’s a good bet it will be on many founders’ bookshelves.

Blank co-founded the CRM software company E.piphany and the video game business Rocket Science. His current gigs as an entrepreneurship professor at Stanford, UC Berkeley and Columbia give him a unique insight that combines a historical perspective with a look at the next generation of entrepreneurs.

I sat down with Blank at his ranch in Pescadero, where we talked about his book and his take on the state of startups and entrepreneurship. Some key takeaways:

  • Startups are not smaller versions of big companies, so don’t try to be like them
  • Startups are about searching for a business model, not executing a business plan
  • Contrary to the myth, Steve Jobs interacted with consumers more than you think
  • Amazon has been hugely important to the boom in startups
  • Today’s students have a “wonderful entrepreneurial arrogance”

Watch the videos below or listen to the audio only of the entire interview.

PART 1: Startups are not small versions of big companies

PART 2: Forget a “business plan”

PART 3: The myth of Steve Jobs and customer interaction

PART 4: The overlooked importance of Amazon

PART 5: A sneak-peek at the next generation of entrepreneurs

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