As part of our Venture Talk series, organized jointly with SAP Bay Area, we had the pleasure of welcoming writer, investor, and entrepreneur Chris Yeh. Here are a few insights and takeaways from Chris on how to build world-changing companies like Amazon, Alibaba, and Airbnb in record time.
By Elizabeth Somerville from SAP Bay Area
On May 22, SAP.iO's Ryan Phillips sat down on our HanaHaus stage with Silicon Valley celebrity, Chris Yeh, tech investor and co-author with Reid Hoffman of Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies to talk about his book as well as his experience as an investor in the Silicon Valley.
He was also most recently a contestant on a new TV game show, Mental Samurai, that aired on FOX. The season is over, but I won't give any spoilers as to how he did in case you want to check it out. Let's just say that our questions at HanaHaus were not nearly as difficult as what he was asked on the show. And if you're more into podcasts, Chris recapped every episode of the first season on his podcast, The Chris Yeh Podcast.
In sharing his story about how he landed a coveted spot as a contestant on the first season of Mental Samurai, Chris explained why you should buy your own domain name and domain names for your kids. A few years ago, he interviewed for a failed game show that never received funding and, lo and behold, years later, he received an email from the casting director's uncle for another game show he was wanted for, Mental Samurai. Lesson learned: Buy your own domain name and never change your email.
Chris, a self-proclaimed extrovert, had an engaging conversation with Ryan and provided insightful stories, theories and lessons throughout the evening. You can access the full conversation here, but below I would like to share a few of the top takeaways.
What is Blitzscaling?
The secret to Silicon Valley is often said wrong. It's not about taking risks and failing, it's a difference in approach: Blitzscaling. The pursuit of rapid growth by prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty. In other words, commit all your resources to outrun your competitors to achieve market leadership, perhaps even before it's clear that market exists.
Myth: Raising funding in Silicon Valley is Easy.
It's easier to raise funding in Silicon Valley, but it's not easy.
To be an entrepreneur, you need to be OK with failure.
One company Chris started with a friend failed, and while Chris is comfortable with failure, it was extremely difficult for his friend who realized that entrepreneurship wasn't for them.
An advice he would give to his 19 year old self (he graduated from Stanford at 19).
1. Develop relationships, stay in touch and have patience.
2. Develop self-awareness and learn how to optimize your strengths and surround yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses.
If this short summary made you even more curious you can watch the whole interview here.