Reid Hoffman is one of Silicon Valley’s grown-ups. After helping to found PayPal, he moved on to found LinkedIn, in 2002, which has turned him into a billionaire. He was an early investor in Facebook and now serves as a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock. He’s written two books, The Start-Up of You (with Ben Casnocha) and The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age (with Casnocha and Chris Yeh).
里德.霍夫曼是在硅谷长大的。在帮助创立PayPal之后，2002年他创立了LinkedIn，这个公司使他成为一名亿万富翁。他还是Facebook的早期投资者，现在是风险投资公司Greylock的合伙人。他写了两本书：“你的创业“ 和 “联盟：网络时代的人才管理”。
In the fall of 2015, Hoffman began teaching a computer science class called Technology-Enabled Blitzscaling at Stanford University, his alma mater, with John Lilly (a partner at Greylock and formerly the CEO of Mozilla), Allen Blue (cofounder of LinkedIn), and Chris Yeh (cofounder of Allied Talent). In this edited interview with Tim Sullivan, the editorial director of HBR Press, Hoffman talks about the challenges, risks, and payoffs of blitzscaling.
2015年秋天，霍夫曼联合约翰（Greylock的合伙人，以前是Mozilla的首席执行官）、艾伦（LinkedIn的联合创始人）和克里斯（Allied Talent联合创始人）开始在他的母校斯坦福大学教授一门计算机课程：技术驱动的闪电扩张。在接受哈佛商业评论编辑Tim Sullivan的这篇采访中，霍夫曼讨论了闪电扩张的挑战、风险和回报。
HBR: Let’s start with the basics. What is blitzscaling?
Hoffman: Blitzscaling is what you do when you need to grow really, really quickly. It’s the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale.
This is high-impact entrepreneurship. These kinds of companies always create a lot of the jobs and industries of the future. For example, Amazon essentially invented e-commerce. Today, it has over 150,000 employees and has created countless jobs at Amazon sellers and partners. Google revolutionized how we find information—it has over 60,000 employees and has created many more jobs at its AdWords and AdSense partners.
这种创业具有极大的影响力。这些公司创造了许多未来的工作和行业。例如，亚马逊本质上是发明了电子商务。今天，它有超过15万名员工，并为卖家和合作伙伴创造了无数工作。 Google彻底改变了我们如何找到信息 — 它有超过6万名员工，并为其AdWords和AdSense合作伙伴创造了更多的工作。
HBR：Why this focus on fast growth?
We’re in a networked age. And I don’t mean only the internet. Globalization is a form of network. It adds networks of transport, commerce, payment, and information flows around the world. In such an environment, you have to move faster, because competition from anywhere on the globe may beat you to scale.
Software has a natural affinity with blitzscaling, because the marginal costs of serving any size market are virtually zero. The more that software becomes integral to all industries, the faster things will move. Throw in AI machine learning, and the loops get even faster. So we’re going to see more blitzscaling. Not just a little more, but a lot more.
HBR：How did you settle on the term “blitzscaling”?
It has some interesting associations. I have obvious hesitations about the World War II association with the term “blitzkrieg.” However, the intellectual parallels are so close that it is very informative. Before blitzkrieg emerged as a military tactic, armies didn’t advance beyond their supply lines, which limited their speed. The theory of the blitzkrieg was that if you carried only what you absolutely needed, you could move very, very fast, surprise your enemies, and win. Once you got halfway to your destination, you had to decide whether to turn back or to abandon the lines and go on. Once you made the decision to move forward, you were all in. You won big or lost big. Blitzscaling adopts a similar perspective. If a start-up determines that it needs to move very fast, it will take on far more risk than a company going through the normal, rational process of scaling up. This kind of speed is necessary for offensive and defensive reasons. Offensively, your business may require a certain scale to be valuable. LinkedIn wasn’t valuable until millions of people joined our network. Marketplaces like eBay must have both buyers and sellers at scale. Payment businesses like PayPal and e-commerce businesses like Amazon have low margins, so they require very high volumes. Defensively, you want to scale faster than your competitors because the first to reach customers may own them, and the advantages of scale may lead you to a winner-takes-most position. And in a global environment, you may not necessarily be aware of who your competition really is.