Steve Blank is considered by many to be the godfather of Silicon Valley and is credited with spearheading the customer development model which birthed the lean startup, popularised by his former pupil Eric Ries' book of the same name. He is one of the most prominent and widely respected thought leaders in the world on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Over the last 35 years, Steve has been part of, or co-founded eight Silicon Valley startups. These have run the gamut from semiconductors, video games, personal computers, and supercomputers. (MIPS, Zilog, Rocket Science, SuperMac, Convergent Technologies, Ardent, ESL) Steve's last company was E.piphany, an enterprise software company.
Steve currently teaches entrepreneurship at U.C. Berkeley- Haas Business School, Columbia University, NYU, Stanford University Engineering School and UCSF. In 2009 he was awarded the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in the department of Management Science and Engineering.
In 2011 the National Science Foundation adopted his Lean Launchpad class as the U.S. standard for commercializing basic and applied research via the Innovation Corps. All his course material is open-sourced at
Topics we discussed:- the corporate innovation outpost- the evolution of corporate R&D- getting to "yes" for corporate innovation- why entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs are not the same- why horizon 1 systems don't support horizon 3 innovation- why horizon 3 or disruptive innovation requires a little bit of crazy- innovation in the public sector- how important it is to get the culture right- acquisitions and innovation- if he could work for any company in the world at any stage of their lifecycle, which would it be and why
There were definitely some nerves in the lead up to this interview given that Steve is somebody who I have the upmost admiration for in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship and some of those nerves might have shone through during moments in this podcast so feel free to have a laugh at my expense! :)