Adam Torres and Chris Yeh discuss Blitzscaling.
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Mission Matters covered the 2023 Korea Conference in Marina Del Rey, California. In this episode, Adam Torres and Chris Yeh, Founding Partner at Blitzscaling Ventures, explore his best selling book, Blitzscaling, and the 2023 Korea Conference.
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About Blitzscaling Ventures
Blitzscaling Ventures invests alongside the world’s top VCs to help rapidly-scaling companies in winner-take-most markets become global leaders by providing in-depth scaling advice and capital.
The Blitzscaling Ventures team supports growth stage companies attacking winner-take-most markets. Chris Yeh literally co-wrote the book on Blitzscaling, and works hands-on with our portfolio companies as they grow to help them dominate their markets.
Full Unedited Transcript
Hey, I’d like to welcome you to another episode of Mission Matters. My name is Adam Torres and I’m so thrilled to announce that we’re at the Korea Conference over in Marina Del Rey. We’re in beautiful Marina Del Rey. And we’re on this big old boat slash yacht and we’re going to have some fun today. My first guest on the show is Chris Yeh.
First off, Chris, hey, just want to say welcome to the show. Thank you so much, Adam. It is a pleasure and an honor to be on. Fantastic. So first off just to get us kicked off, maybe tell us a little bit more about your business and what you do. Absolutely. So I am one of the general partners at Blitz Scaling Ventures.
Blitz Scaling Ventures is a venture capital firm based on the ideas of my best selling book, Blitz Scaling, which I co authored with my very famous friend, Reid Hoffman. And what we do is we invest in high growth companies that we believe are going after winner take most markets. We have one fund that invests just in general, just any company.
And we have another fund that we’re just spinning up that is focused on AI. Hmm, wonderful. And so the Korea conference. So this is my first year. I believe this is the, the big kickoff. I know there was an event last year. Why come, why should corporate partners be thinking about it? Well, the key thing is the Korean market is such an important one on several levels.
First of all, it’s a significantly sized market based out of Asia. There are many unicorns, centicorns, enormously valuable companies being built in Korea. The second reason is South Korea is one of the leaders in technology. Of all kinds. Obviously, we have the giant Chablis, but then we have many, many software companies as well.
The Cacao’s of the world, for example. And then the third reason is that Korea is surprisingly close to the west coast of the United States. There’s actually a lot of non stop flights either from Los Angeles or San Francisco. And so that’s why when they offered me the chance to come to the Korea conference down here in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance.
So, on our show we got a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs, a lot of executives that watch, and I always like to ask this kind of pay it forward question. So, we know now, obviously, what you’re doing, your books, your company, a lot of things going on, but nobody ever started there. Absolutely. Like, like, how did you get started?
Where did it all begin for you? Well, it all began here in Southern California. I was actually born in Santa Monica, not that far away from Marina Del Ray. Oh, lucky one, lucky one. Thank you. It’s a great place to grow up. And I had no idea what I would do when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, I always wanted to be an author, as a matter of fact.
But probably more like a J. R. R. Tolkien, an author of fantasy novels. Yeah. Didn’t quite turn out that way, but I went to school, studied both creative writing as well as product design engineering. But where my life took a turn was when I graduated, that was right when the internet was taking off. So I jumped into the startup world in 1995.
I’ve been there ever since. Wow. So taking us a little bit more present day blitzscaling you told us a little bit about the company But tell us a little bit more like what what’s the vision? Absolutely. So in 2018, my friend Reid Hoffman and I published the book blitzscaling It was our take on what the secret of Silicon Valley was how have companies like Apple and Amazon become so enormously successful so quickly Yeah, and since the book came out things have just gotten crazier So, what Blitzscaling Ventures does, it tries to distill the ideas of the book down and use them to identify the Apples and Amazons of tomorrow.
And then we go to the entrepreneurs who run those companies and say, would you like to have help scaling your company up? Well, you can get help from the guy who wrote the book. Wow. That’s awesome. And so when you’re thinking about companies and you’re evaluating them now, obviously so much we can get done in a, you know, 20 minute, 15 minute podcast, but like give us some attributes of maybe what makes a good founder from your experience.
So the number one thing that makes someone a great founder again, it goes without saying I want them to be intelligent and hardworking and honest and all those things. But once you get beyond the things that everyone would agree on, the number one thing is the ability to learn and unlearn. Now, the reason is.
We’re dealing with new technologies. Oftentimes, there’s no playbook. And so you have to adapt and adjust along the way, learn the rules before you can figure out how to win. And people who are adept at learning those new rules, those are people who we like to call infinite learners. Those are the best entrepreneurs.
But they also have to be able to unlearn things because the lessons they learned from the past may no longer apply. The lessons from one boom don’t necessarily apply to the next one. You’ve got to take those lessons and adapt them. Any particular industries or technologies that you’re kind of bullish on right now that you’re kind of looking at?
My audience wants to know. Well, obviously the number one thing we’re looking at is artificial intelligence. It is something where obviously it’s been hyped up a lot, but I believe that it is going to be enormously consequential, perhaps on a par with the industrial revolution, which is one of the biggest things that’s ever happened.
So I think it’s certainly the biggest thing in my career. Again, there is a lot of hype. Not every company is going to succeed. This is always true, but I think it’s going to fundamentally change how we do business and how we live our lives. So AI, big, big, you know, that’s a big, big, big buzzword, big wave not to get too niche, but is there anything within AI, whether it’s like application, utility, like what, what interests you go a little bit further for me?
So I think one of the things that’s most interesting about AI is how it is going to revolutionize education. I don’t know, Adam, do you have kids? Not yet. Someday you’ll have kids and you’ll, one of the things you’ll really be concerned is how are they going to get the best possible education? Well, the funny thing is we know how to give kids the best possible education.
It’s called one on one tutoring. Long, long ago, Philip of Macedon was this great conqueror. He wanted his son Alexander to grow up to be something. So he hires this guy named Aristotle to be his tutor. And so, of course, he goes on to be Alexander the Great. And, you know, who knows whether or not hiring Aristotle helped, but obviously it didn’t hurt.
That one on one tutoring has been demonstrated in study after study to improve learning. But we can’t afford to do it, right? Most of us are not conquerors. We’re not heads of state. We can’t just pay for a tutor for our kids. But with AI, we may be able to have that. So I believe that AI will revolutionize…
Education, it will make it possible for teachers to focus on one on one relationships and tutoring with their kids instead of grading papers and stuff They don’t really like they will fundamentally improve our rate of human capital formation so you mentioned you were an author and for my audience everybody knows we love books at mission matters We love promoting authors.
Tell us a little bit more about this book and what you hope your readers get out of it. Absolutely So the book in question is called Blitzscaling, B L I T Z S C A L I N G. And Blitzscaling is all about teaching you to think bigger. Many of us dream about someday starting a company, but oftentimes we dream too small.
We have a small company in mind. In fact, anyone can change the world. It’s not easy. But it’s so hard to build a successful company. If you’re going to build one, you might as well build one that’s truly transformative. Hmm, and so obviously there are many takeaways from this book. But if you had to kind of boil it down to one or two, like what do you hope when the when the reader walks away they’re like, they close that, they’re like, okay, I got it.
Like what’s what some of those takeaways you hope they have? So here’s a key question. Have you ever seen the movie Talladega Nights starring Will Ferrell? Absolutely. Yes. So, you didn’t know it, but when you were watching Talladega Nights, you were studying blitzscaling. What? Hold on. Absolutely. I’m in.
Ricky Bobby is the ultimate business philosopher. Ricky Bobby and his dad. His dad’s a little shaky, but he learned a lot from him. And when it comes to Ricky Bobby, besides Shake and Bake, which of course we all should follow in our lives. The number one thing is, if you ain’t first, you’re last. So that’s why blitzscaling’s important.
When you’re in a Ricky Bobby market, one where if you’re not first, you’re last, then you have to pursue blitzscaling. You have to be aggressive, you have to be the winner. As Ricky Bobby would say, you gotta go fast. Chris, man, I’m, I’m going on 6, 000 interviews and that’s the first Ricky Bobby reference I’ve had.
And oh my gosh, you made my day. Heck, you might’ve made my week. My pleasure. So first off, I just want to say, Chris, thanks for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure learning more about your company, your book. I want you to look into the camera, tell our audience if somebody wants to follow up, whether it’s about your company, whether it’s about your book how do they do that?
Absolutely. So the number one way if you like what you heard on this podcast to learn more is to go to chrisyeh. com That’s C H R I S Y E H dot com from there You’ll find links to Blitzscaling Ventures, the Blitzscaling Academy, which is my educational institution and all my social media links And I look forward to you following me there Fantastic and again Chris, thank you for coming on the show and to the audience as always Thank you for tuning in.
Hope you got a lot out of this. Hope you had a lot of fun if you did. Hey, don’t forget, hit that subscribe button. We have many more mission based individuals coming up on the line and we don’t want you to miss a thing. Thanks again for coming on, Chris. Thank you so much. And of course, Bon Voyage.