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Steve Blank
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Steve Blank has had a 33-year career as a successful businessman, conservationist and teacher. As a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Steve was part of or founded eight venture-backed companies. Four of his eight startup companies went public. After he retired, he started new careers in conservation, public service, and teaching.

After retiring, Steve moved from being an entrepreneur to teaching entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and graduate students at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University and the Columbia University/Berkeley Joint Executive MBA program. Steve wrote a book about building early stage companies called Four Steps to the Epiphany. The “Customer Development” model that he developed in his book is one of the core themes for his classes at Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, Columbia University and the National Science Foundation. In March 2012, he published The Startup Owner's Manual, a step-by-step guide to building a successful company.

In 2010, he was awarded the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. In 2009 Steve was awarded the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in the department of Management Science and Engineering. In 2007 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Steve to serve on the California Coastal Commission, the public body which regulates land use and public access on the California coast.

Entries by Steve Blank

NYU School of Engineering Commencement Speech 2016

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 8:47 AM

Thank you for the opportunity to address you on your graduation from this esteemed engineering school. I'm honored to help you celebrate this important milestone.

2016-05-24-1464093990-1233501-nyucommencementspeech.jpg

Your life is already full of milestones: Your first steps, your first kiss, passing a driving test, this...

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Hacking for Defense @ Stanford - Week 7

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 12:25 PM

We just held our seventh week of the Hacking for Defense class. Now with over 750 interviews of beneficiaries (users, program managers, stakeholders, etc.) almost all the teams are beginning to pivot from their original understanding of their sponsor's problem and their hypotheses about how to solve them....

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Hacking for Defense @ Stanford - Week 6

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 11:28 AM

We just held our sixth week of the Hacking for Defense class. Now with over 660 interviews of beneficiaries (users, program managers, stakeholders, etc.) the teams are getting deep into problem understanding and their minimal viable products are getting sophisticated enough to generate detailed customer feedback; we gave...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 30: Guido Kovalskys and Doris Korda

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2016 | 12:50 PM

There was a time when having the information gave you the power. That's no longer the key. The problem isn't getting information or data; it's knowing what to do with it.

Founders will always encounter naysayers, shut out the voices and listen to the customers instead. It gets you to...

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Hacking for Defense @ Stanford - Week 5

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2016 | 12:28 PM

We just held our fifth week of the Hacking for Defense class. This week the teams passed the half way mark in the class. They've collectively talked to over 550 beneficiaries (users, program managers, stakeholders, etc.) Their focus for this week was to figure out how to get...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 29: Ajay Kshatriya and Steven Cohn

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2016 | 1:01 PM

Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see obstacles and why hubris is an entrepreneur's worst enemy, were two topics of discussion on my SiriusXM radio show, Entrepreneurs are Everywhere.

The show airs on SiriusXM Channel 111 (weekly Thursdays at 1 pm Pacific, 4 pm Eastern). It follows the journeys...

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Hacking for Defense at Stanford - Week 4

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 1:18 PM

We just held our fourth week of the Hacking for Defense class. This week the teams turned the corner on understanding beneficiaries and finding product/market fit. The 8 teams spoke to 115 beneficiaries (users, program managers, etc.); we sent each team a critique of their mission model canvas;...

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Hacking for Defense (H4D) @ Stanford - Week 3

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 10:40 AM

We just held our third week of the Hacking for Defense class. This week the 8 teams spoke to 108 beneficiaries (users, program mangers, etc.), we held a Customer Discovery workshop, we started streaming the class live to DOD/IC sponsors and other educators, our advanced lecture was on...

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Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere Show No. 28: Magdalena Yesil and Michael Mondavi

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 11:38 AM

If I had spent less time on the business and more time with the family, we'd have been better off as a business and as a family.

Family must come first in a family business.

And if others don't get your startup idea, it won't matter how hard your team...

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Hacking for Defense (H4D) @ Stanford - Week 2

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 12:53 AM

We just held our second week of the Hacking for Defense class. This week the 8 teams spoke to 106 beneficiaries (users, program mangers, etc.), we held a DOD/IC 101 workshop, our advanced lecture was on the Value Proposition Canvas, and we watched as the students...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 27: Brandon Bruce and Jack Sundell

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2016 | 11:31 AM

When your customers are grabbing your Minimal Viable Product out of your hands, it's time to launch the product.

The latest guests on Entrepreneurs are Everywhere explained why.

The radio show airs on SiriusXM Channel 111 (weekly Thursdays at 1 pm Pacific, 4 pm Eastern). It follows the...

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Hacking for Defense (H4D) @ Stanford - Week 1

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 12:14 PM

We just had our first Hacking for Defense class and the 8 teams have hit the ground running.

They talked to 86 customers/stakeholders before the class started.

Hacking for Defense is a new class in Stanford's School Engineering, where students learn about the...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 26: Javier Saade and Hillary Hartley

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 10:34 AM

The U.S. government is discovering that Lean innovation can help them serve the country better and faster.

The Small Business Administration and the digital services agency 18F are trying to help entrepreneurs build successful companies and the 21st century digital government.

The guests on today's

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Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere Show No. 25: Nigel and Vaughn Caldon and Kerry Frank

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 1:22 PM

Tenacity and resilience. Getting people to buy in to your startup vision takes a thick skin, perseverance and willingness to learn. You'll probably be laughed out of several boardrooms along the way.

Entrepreneurs refuse to take no for an answer.

The latest guests on Entrepreneurs are Everywhere shared...

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What Founders Need to Know: You Were Funded for a Liquidity Event -- Start Looking

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 12:49 PM

There are many reasons to found a startup.

There are many reasons to work at a startup.

But there's only one reason your company got funded. Liquidity.
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The Good News
To most founders a startup is not a job, but a calling.

But startups require money...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 24: Drew Silverstein and Craig Kanarick

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2016 | 10:32 AM

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact...print the legend"

The Hollywoodization of Silicon Valley startup stories "prints legends," but for most startups those stories are pure fiction. They don't tell the awful, painful, and exhausting job it is to build a business.

The two guests on today's...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 23: Nina Tandon and Brandon McNaughton

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2016 | 9:37 AM

In a startup cheap may be expensive.

And just having cool technology doesn't make a successful business.

What it was like to get out of the research lab to build a startup was the focus of interviews with two of the latest guests on Entrepreneurs are Everywhere, my...

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The Mission Model Canvas: An Adapted Business Model Canvas for Mission-Driven Organizations

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2016 | 9:49 AM

As we prepared for the new Hacking for Defense class at Stanford, we had to stop and ask ourselves: How do we use the Business Model Canvas if the primary goal is not to earn money, but to fulfill a mission? In other words, how can we adapt the Business...

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Entrepreneurs are Everywhere Show No. 21: Grant Warner

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2016 | 11:13 AM

While finding product-market fit is important, getting the rest of the business model right is the difference between a great demo and a great business.

And embracing risk-taking or failure is hard when you go to college and have to be the example for your family.

Lessons learned from starting...

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Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere Show No. 21, Part 1: Kathy Ku and Orin Herskowitz

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 10:20 AM

Research done by professors and their grad students in U.S. universities labs are being turned into commercial products and life saving drugs and devices thanks to an act of Congress - and the efforts of technology transfer offices in schools like Stanford and Columbia.

How this research is transferred outside...

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