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Episode 132: The Alliance and Blitzscaling with Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh from Wasabi Ventures joined us for a conversation on the future of employee & employer management and technology enabled blitzscaling. We discussed the book “The Alliance” which he co-authored with Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha and how the concepts are adapted to a new world where long term employment looked like a relic of the past and the displacement of labour by automated and smart technology. Chris also introduced the concept of blitz-scaling and how the ideas from this Stanford course together with Reid Hoffman, John Lilly and Allen Blue can be applied to Asia & the rest of the world and we pondered whether the competitive advantage of Silicon Valley with blitzscaling is no longer true with the rise of China.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Chris Yeh (@chrisyeh, LinkedIn) from Wasabi Ventures. Author and Entrepreneur
    • How did he start in his career? [1:11]
    • How did he eventually end up in starting Wasabi Ventures? [3:00]
    • From your different roles as an investor, writer, mentor & entrepreneur, what are the interesting career lessons you can share? [4:49]
    • What’s your current role and coverage with Wasabi Ventures? [6:14]
  • The Alliance by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh [7:02]
    • What is the motivation behind writing this book? [7:34]
    • Can you briefly discuss the main thesis of the book? [8:26]
    • In the book, the concept of “tour of duty” is introduced analogous to how someone would move in their military career, can you explain how this came about? [9:28]
    • How should one approach their career using the concept of “tour of duty” when it is mapped to the real world? [10:25]
    • With technology displacing labour, is there a potential impact based the ideas proposed in “The Alliance”? [11:28]
    • Will the workforce become more creative with the automation and smartness are now incorporated into technology to displace traditional labour? [13:07]
    • How does the business organisation approach their employees given that the concept of “iron-rice bowl” is no longer in existent? [14:14] 
    • How does human resources balance between growing and making talent that can be poached by other organisations or retaining them? [15:48]
  • Blitz-Scaling [16:45]
    • The concept came about from a course which Reid Hoffman, John Lilly, Allen Blue and you taught in Stanford last summer. (You can find the twenty lecture videos via Medium and Youtube)
    • To start, what is the concept of blitz-scaling? [17:05]
    • How does this differ from basic startup wisdom? [19:36]
    • In the lectures, Reid Hoffman mentioned that the ability to scale startups is what distinguished Silicon Valley against the rest of the world. With the rise of China’s startup ecosystem, does that thesis change? [20:58]
    • There are different stages associated with blitz-scaling, for example: Family, Tribe, Village, City and Nation, how do you describe these different scales? [22:47]
    • What are the things that an entrepreneur should watch out when they are blitz-scaling in each stage?  [25:38]
    • What are the best practices for the company when they are blitzscaling and do they need organisational structure change in each stage? [28:51]
    • In the whole course, you brought entrepreneurs and executives to discuss the different stages, what are the interesting lessons that have been shared? [30:05]
    • Can the ideas from blitz-scaling be spread to the other parts of the world: Asia, Europe, LATAM and MENAS? [31:28]

Author’s Note: BL thank Pascal Finette from Singularity University Labs for the introduction that make this interview possible during his stay in Silicon Valley from mid June to August 2016.

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Altizen and sign up for their mailing list. Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack. 

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By | 2016-08-29T22:13:18+00:00 August 29th, 2016|Analyse Asia Podcast, Podcast Shows|

About the Author:

A pragmatic idealist in technology, media & entrepreneurship.