Blitzscaling: A Free Stanford Course on Scaling a Startup, Led by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman

A quick postscript to yesterday's mention of Reid Hoffman's new podcast, Masters of Scale. Many of the concepts discussed in Masters of Scale expand on a 2015 course taught at Stanford by Hoffman and his colleagues-- John Lilly from Greylock Partners, LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue, and author Chris Yeh. The course focuses on Blitzscaling--or what Hoffman described in the Harvard Business Review as "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." And to help demystify that process, Hoffman invited guest speakers to class to break things down. Eric Schmidt on Structuring Teams and Scaling GoogleNetflix's Reed Hastings on Building a Streaming EmpireAirbnb's Brian Chesky on Launching Airbnb and the Challenges of Scale--they're among the experts featured in the course.

You can stream the 20 lectures from start to finish above, or find the playlist on Greylock Partner's YouTube channel. You can also find class notes for the course on Medium.

Blitzscaling will be added to our list of Free Online Business Courses, a subset of our collection, 1,250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

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LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman Creates a New Podcast Offering Wisdom on Nurturing & Scaling New Businesses

How do you create and eventually scale a successful business? It's a complicated question. And you can do worse than get answers from Reid Hoffman. He's currently a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. But you probably know him best as the co-founder of LinkedIn, the professional social network site recently acquired by Microsoft for $26 billion dollars. In his new podcast, Masters of Scale, Hoffman looks at how companies grow from zero users to a gazillion by interviewing fellow Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who have crossed that bridge. Guests include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg & Sheryl Sandberg, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, and Google’s Eric Schmidt, among others.

Even if you work in a business with more modest aspirations, there's some wisdom you can take away from these wide-ranging conversations. Hoffman's conversation with Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky (above) about hand-crafting customer experiences would help you run almost any business. You can find the Masters of Scale podcast on iTunes, StitcherEntrepreneur.com, Spotify, and Google Play. Also find courses from other seasoned entrepreneurs right below.

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Seth Godin’s Startup School: A Free Mini-Course for New Entrepreneurs

godin startup school

Image by Joi Ito, via Wikimedia Commons

Briefly noted: If you're interested in entrepreneurship and marketing, you've likely encountered Seth Godin and his ever popular blog. Or perhaps you've read some of his bestselling books? But maybe you've never come across this: the "Startup School" where Godin guides 30 entrepreneurs through "how to build and run their dream business." On his blog, Godin wrote back in 2012:

I love startups. Not only do they bring the promise of rapid growth and real change, but everything is up for grabs. Organizations that start with a clean sheet of paper have the difficult task of paying the bills, but they also have the luxury of ignoring yesterday in order to focus exclusively on tomorrow.

Through the years, I've started a bunch of companies and enjoyed brainstorming with the people who have launched companies big and small, from AOL when they only had a dozen employees to some of the very cool organizations that come through the doors of NY Techstars.

Next month, I'm going to be running a small school--a few days for a few dozen startup founders... For those that won't be able to make it, I'll be recording the session and editing it down into something I can share here on the blog for free a few months later.

Below, you can stream those 15 free recordings, each of which runs 18-25 minutes. We've embedded the first segment, "Freelancer or Entrepreneur?." Further down you'll find links to the remaining ones, or you can get them on SoundCloud and iTunes. Godin's "Startup School" will be added to our collection of Free Online Business Courses, where you'll also find the useful YCombinator course, How to Start a Startup.

1) Freelancer or Entrepreneur?

2) Adjusting the Course

3) Creating Scarcity

4) Appealing to Consumers

5) Permission and Trust

6) Raising Money

7) Advertising and Competitors

8) Making Ideas Travel

9) Compromising

10) Tactics

11) Cash Flow

12) The Dip 

13) Building The Truth

14) The ShipIt Journal

15) Distinct and Direct

h/t Eli

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Download Marc Andreessen’s Influential Blog (“Pmarca”) as a Free eBook

Marc_Andreessen_(1)

Image by Joi, via Wikimedia Commons

For years Marc Andreessen--the entrepreneur best known for launching Mosaic and later Netscape--ran a popular blog called "Pmarca" (apparently short for "Private Marc Andreessen”) where he dispensed wisdom on startups, business, investing and beyond. If you've worked in startups, especially in Silicon Valley, you probably followed "Pmarca" fairly religiously.

Like so many others, Andreessen eventually took down his blog and began "tweetstorming" on Twitter--all while serving on the boards of Facebook, eBay, and HP, and running his now influential VC firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Before "Pmarca" could fade completely into oblivion, fans asked Andreessen to preserve the blog for posterity. And that he did. You can now download an archive of "Pmarca" as a free ebook. Available in three formats (ePub, Mobi, and PDF), the archived version can be read in pretty much the blog's original format. Start your downloads here.

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Peter Thiel’s Stanford Course on Startups: Read the Lecture Notes Free Online

peter thiel

Peter Thiel has many claims to fame in Silicon Valley. He co-founded PayPal in 1998, before selling it to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002. He later launched various hedge funds, and made early investments in Facebook. He's an unabashed libertarian, a proponent of Seasteading and Singularity, a critic of the American university system, and the creator of the annual Thiel Fellowship, which pays promising college-age students to “stop out” of school for two years and launch business ventures instead.

Finally, Thiel is also now the bestselling author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the FuturePublished in mid-September, the book received a pretty rave review in The Atlantic, where Derek Johnson calls it "a lucid treatise on capitalism and entrepreneurship" and perhaps "the best business book I've read."

The book itself is actually a distillation of thoughts Thiel presented in a course he taught at Stanford in 2012. And it just so happens that the notes from that course -- CS138 Startups -- are freely available online. They come courtesy of Blake Masters, a student in Thiel's class, who later helped the entrepreneur write Zero to One.

Below, you can find the lecture notes for 19 classes, which, when originally published on Masters' site, became pretty popular in the tech community.  Links to these lectures will be permanently housed in our collections of Free Online Business Courses and Free Online Computer Science Courses. Other Stanford courses on entrepreneurship can be found here: Start Your Startup with Free Stanford Courses and Lectures.

Lectures Notes: CS138 Startups

Class 1: The Challenge of the Future

Class 2: Party Like it’s 1999?

Class 3: Value Systems

Class 4: The Last Mover Advantage

Class 5: The Mechanics of Mafia

Class 6: Thiel’s Law

Class 7: Follow The Money

Class 8: The Pitch

Class 9: If You Build It, Will They Come?

Class 10: After Web 2.0

Class 11: Secrets

Class 12: War and Peace

Class 13: You Are Not A Lottery Ticket

Class 14: Seeing Green

Class 15: Back to the Future

Class 16: Decoding Ourselves

Class 17: Deep Thought

Class 18: Founder as Victim, Founder as God

Class 19: Stagnation or Singularity?

For a huge collection of free courses, please see our large and ever-expanding collection: 1,250 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Start Your Startup with Free Stanford Courses and Lectures

Last spring, Ken Auletta wrote a profile of Stanford University in the pages of The New Yorker, which started with the question: "There are no walls between Stanford and Silicon Valley. Should there be?" It's perhaps an unavoidable question when you consider a startling fact cited by the article. According the university itself, five thousand companies “trace their origins to Stanford ideas or to Stanford faculty and students.” The list includes tech giants like Google, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Intuit, Silicon Graphics, LinkedIn, and E*Trade. And stay tuned, there's more to come.




Stanford is one of America's leading incubators, and the rearing of young entrepreneurs doesn't take place by mere osmosis. No, Stanford students can take courses focused on entrepreneurship, which give them access to seasoned entrepreneurs and financiers. If you head over to eCorner, short for Entrepreneurship Corner (Web - iTunes - YouTube), you can watch "2000 free videos and podcasts featuring entrepreneurship and innovation thought leaders" who have paid visits to Stanford. Perhaps you'll recognize a few of the names: Mark ZuckerbergLarry PageMarissa Mayer? Reid Hoffman (above)?

Or, if you go to YouTube and iTunes, you'll gain access to entire courses dedicated to teaching students the modern art of starting startups. Two courses (both housed in our collection of 650 Free Online Courses and our collection of 150 Free Online Business Courses) warrant your attention. First, Chuck Eesley's course, Technology Entrepreneurship (YouTube - iTunes Video) introduces students to “the process used by technology entrepreneurs to start companies. It involves taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity, gathering resources such as talent and capital, figuring out how to sell and market the idea, and managing rapid growth." The course features 28 video lectures in total.

Once you have a broad overview, you can dial into an important part of getting a new venture going -- raising capital. Hence the course Entrepreneurship Through the Lens of Venture Capital (iTunes Video - YouTube), a course currently taking place at Stanford that "explores how successful startups navigate funding, managing, and scaling their new enterprise." It features guest speakers from the VC world that fuels Silicon Valley.

It goes without saying that Stanford offers many world-class courses across other disciplines, from philosophy and physics to history and literature. You can find 68 courses from Stanford in our ever-growing collection of Free Courses Online.

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Starting Startups: A Free Course (and More) for the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship and Business Planning is a free course available via podcast (iTunes  Feed  Mp3) that parallels a classroom course being offered at Carnegie Mellon within the Masters in Information Systems Management (MISM) program. Taught by Mark Juliano, an adjunct professor who otherwise works in the private sector, the course covers the ins-and-outs of starting a new venture. Following a very logical trajectory, it starts with the fundamentals -- developing ideas for new companies, writing business plans, and creating teams -- and then moves through more advanced materials that you'd typically find covered in b-school: marketing, competitive strategy, sales, pricing, funding and finance. Finally, when you dive into the podcasts, you'll realize that Juliano has clearly taken pains to present an accessible course for listeners. Along with clearly presented lectures, you get a host of supporting online materials, plus a course blog. A very nice touch.

Next, the business-minded folks among us will also want to pore over the stellar collection of entrepreneurship education resources assembled by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Their media content trove includes a solid collection of podcasts featuring talks with business thought leaders (iTunes  Feed  Web Site), not to mention a cache of videos highlighting presentations by the executives and VCs who make Silicon Valley tick. Just generally, you'll want to explore the many other resources in the Educators Corner.

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