The Democratization of Entrepreneurship

I gave a talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business as part of Entrepreneurship Week on the Democratization of Entrepreneurship. The first 11 minutes or so of the talk covers the post I wrote called “When It’s Darkest, Men See the Stars.”

In it I observed that the barriers to entrepreneurship are not just being removed. In each case they’re being replaced by innovations that are speeding up each step, some by a factor of ten.

My hypotheses is that we’ll look back to this decade as the beginning of our own revolution. We may remember this as the time when scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs were integrated into the fabric of society faster than they had ever been before. When the speed of how businesses operated changed forever. As the time when we reinvented the American economy and our Gross Domestic Product began to take off and the U.S. and the world reached a level of wealth never seen before.  It may be the dawn of a new era for a new American economy built on entrepreneurship and innovation.

If you can’t see the video above, click here.)

If you’ve seen my other talks, after the first 11 minutes you can skip to ~1:04 with the Sloan versus Durant story and some interesting student Q&A. You can follow the talk along with the slides I used, below.

(If you can’t see the slide presentation above, click here.)

You can listen to this post here: You can download the Podcast here

12 Responses

  1. […] Steve’s slides are below: Stanford Entrepreneurship Week 030211 For the full blog post, check out Steve Blank’s blog here. […]

  2. Here are some suggestions to establish the infrastructure for entrepreneurship & innovation. A National New Business & Job Creation Network is needed. Perhaps StartupAmerica will help bring it to fruition.

  3. I believe your vision of an entrepreneurial revolution will manifest. However, given the trend of tyranny, you may be overly optimistic on America’s role in the structure of such revolution.

    As you illustrate, the seeds are planted: the entrepreneurial revolution can and will take place. Only the timing is uncertain. The determinant of which, will ultimately be the rate of government dissolution. Which, ironically, will be caused by the very forces of your revolution: as entrepreneurs develop systems that decentralize macro economic and political functions. This I content, is necessary for a true entrepreneurial revolution – and one that will lead the way to our next great revolution: in space.

  4. I enjoy your posts and I am inspired by your optimism, but we will have to pay for the USD 14.3 trillion national debt at some point… and also, the concept of the GDP as a measure of wealth is not necessarily positively correlated to to a healthy state of personal wellbeing…

    All of that said I am the first to fight for entrepreneurship as the sole vehicle to get off and resolve the serious problems we will surely face… and your programs are key in training us to become more efficient entrepreneurs.

  5. I agree and yes there are other issues to contend with my fellow readers but what Steve is talking about is going to happen because that what our history shows us.

    I think only this time it happens to more citizens globally v a single country’s economy.

  6. Steve this is great thanks for posting the video and slides. I think that what you are sharing the world is really worthwhile and I hope you will take the time to produce some sort of full blown video course on customer development and post it online or sell it.

  7. The instant computing infrastructure of the past five years or so, has open the way for anyone with a reasonable idea to serve an application. That, in itself, is a revolution, but we need the next level of help to sweep the obstacles from the path of ideas. We need a way for the imagined product to get built without the current fraught birthing process, streamlined funding that is less like a talent show, and more like a competition, and finally, we need a way for anyone to get science education without gateway tests, life long debt, etc. Sure, keep the ivory tower and degrees, but make science and engineering know how open for all. We are starting to get there with the MIT open coursework/

  8. I think many of us grew up learning about business and entrepreneurship simply by watching kids shows on TV. Here is an example of a crazy entrepreneur testing out his business model in his latest startup and getting useful feedback from his customers.

  9. Thanks for an interesting talk.

    So I see that it’s important that the founders get out and talk to customers, it’s not enough to hear the hurting truth from a messenger (VP of sales). It’s also not possible to outsource customer development to consultants.

    How about large companies, where development projects, even very independently run corporate ventures, lack passionate founders with strong incentives to succeed? They’re just ideas assigned to some individual (perhaps a former VP of sales) whose job it is to be a passionate founder. How should the big firms solve that? They still need to renew themselves …

  10. […] — of a new bubble is disturbing. Even Steve Blank seems to be arguing that we are in a golden age of entrepreneurship and implying that entrepreneurs should shift to bubble-era behavior. Steve certainly made his […]

  11. Thank you Steve, another insightful presentation.

    I wish I could attend insightful classes like these. While running a start up I study part-time at a leading exec MBA school in Australia. Every time I raise one of your ideas they’re immeiately dismissed by the academic staff. “oh, the Change Management elective applies to start-ups”. “oh, the core Marketing Management unit covers discovering new markets”. It’s very disturbing we produce thousands of MBA graduates that have no idea when the techniques they learn can be destructive. Fortunately most are just trying to get a pay rise in their corporate job, but it’s disappointing the academics don’t know the scope of what they’re teaching.

    I wish I could get more people to follow your work. Great stuff.

  12. […] and mobile app startups that are founded to be sold to larger companies have become popular. The plummeting cost required to build a product, the radically reduced time to bring a product to market… willing to invest less than a traditional VCs– $100K – $1M versus $4M on up has allowed these […]

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