Steve Blank – 5 of 5

“Founders are artists in the true sense of the word.” Steve is inspiring founders and challenging the establishment on how to approach launching startups.

Matthew: Before we close, I would love for you to give our audience your vision of how you hope your work in studying entrepreneurship will help entrepreneurs, and what your vision is and how you hope that it will continue to change the world.

Steve: The best thing I could hope for is that in ten years my work will be obsolete and that much better tools will come out around it, on top of it, etc. People might remember that there was some guy that had this crazy idea that people who found and execute early-stage ventures need different tools. I’m not under any illusion that these are the world’s most perfect tools. I’m praying for people to actually go invent better ones

I do want people to remember and maybe know that the 21st century for entrepreneurship is probably the most exciting time ever for accomplishment. There are some things happening here that I don’t think we quite understand. Maybe when we look at these tapes years from now we’ll go, “Duh.”

It used to be that having a million customers was considered extraordinary. Now we have companies going for hundreds of millions of customers. This is only possible because the total available market can now be measured in billions of people who, at least for mobile and web apps, now have access to applications measured in billions of people. That’s one.

Two is that these are not casual users who will maybe use these devices once a day or once a week. These devices are now becoming integrated more and more over time into the fabric of life. What that means for entrepreneurs is that you have the possibility in the next three to five years to affect hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people. That’s just never happened in the history of the world.

The classes of applications we’ll do are the two general ones we’ve been doing. For business, return on investment, profitability, efficiency, etc. For people, I have yet to hear people explain it this way, but it used to be that we had our interactions with other human beings physically. We had friends we physically went bowling with. In fact, there was a great book called “Bowling Alone” that kind of described this phenomenon. But as our culture accelerated, spending more time at the computer, we became more and more removed.

What people forget is that we are hard-wired up here for some basic human needs; companionship, communication, sex, entertainment. What’s really interesting is those basic needs are now being mediated or ad-provided. The very devices that first separated us are now connecting us again. So there’s a whole other class of needs. Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds, Zynga, etc. are just the first examples of the waves that are going to address those needs again. So I think it’s going to be very interesting rest of the century.

Matthew: Excellent. Steve, it’s been a great honor to have you as a guest on FounderLY. We appreciate you taking the time to share your story with our audience.

For those in the audience who would like to learn more about Steve’s work, you can visit This is Matthew Wise at FounderLY. Thanks so much, Steve.

Steve: Thank you.


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