Chris Yeh | Blitzscaling, Scaling in a Pandemic, and How to Friend a Billionaire

Chris Yeh is the Co-founder of the Global Scaling Academy which teaches individuals and organizations how to plan for and execute hyper growth in their business. He is also the co-founder of Blitzscaling Ventures which invests in the world’s fastest growing startups. He has founded, advised, and invested in over 100 high tech startups since 1995, including nine-figure companies like Ustream and UserTesting. 

Chris also co-authored the books Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies which he wrote with Reid Hoffman, and the New York Bestseller, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age which he wrote with Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman. He has degrees from Stanford University with distinction and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Chris Yeh, the Co-founder of the Global Scaling Academy, about building key relationships and scaling a business during a pandemic. Chris also shares his experience studying at Stanford and the relationships he built there, how he met and got to co-author a book with Reid Hoffman, and what they do at Global Scaling Academy.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Chris Yeh shares how got into entrepreneurship and what it was like to graduate from Stanford University in 1994 in the cusp of the early days of the internet.
  • Why the Blitzscaling framework is still relevant during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Which industries are thriving and which ones have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What led to the growth and success of LinkedIn compared to SocialNet, Friendster, and
  • How Chris met Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha, and how he got to co-author books with them.
  • Chris talks about running the alumni group of Harvard Business School for tech people in the Bay area and how it impacted his network in Silicon Valley.
  • The story behind Blitzscaling and the secret behind the success of Silicon Valley companies.
  • How The Global Scaling Academy came about and what it does.
  • The people Chris acknowledges for his achievements and success.
  • Where to learn more about Chris Yeh and the Global Scaling Academy.

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, where our mission is to connect you with your best referral partners, clients, and strategic partners. We do this through our done for you business podcast solution and content marketing. 

Along with my business partner Dr. Jeremy Weisz, we have over 18 years of experience with B2B podcasting, which is one of the best things you can do for your business and you personally. 

If you do it right, a podcast is like a “Swiss Army Knife” – it is a tool that accomplishes many things at once. It can and will lead to great ROI, great clients, referrals, strategic partnerships, and more. It is networking and business development; and it is personal and professional development which doubles as content marketing

A podcast is the highest and best use of your time and will save you time by connecting you to higher caliber people to uplevel your network. 

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14  

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome, everyone. John Corcoran. Here. I’m the host of this show. And you probably heard my story before, but I’m a recovering political hack and recovering lawyer. I spent years working in politics, including as a speechwriter stints at the California Clinton White House, California Governor as well. I spent years practicing law in Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. 10 years ago, I discovered this medium of podcasting and I’ve been doing it ever since because I get to talk to smart people like my guest here today. And over 10 years of hosting this show, I’ve had the privilege to talk with top CEOs, founders, entrepreneurs of all kinds of different companies and organizations. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help b2b businesses with the strategy and the production that they need to create a podcast and content marketing that produces tremendous ROI and connects them with their ideal prospects and referral partners. And I’m excited because my guest today, Chris Yeh, is the co-founder of the Global Scaling Academy, which teaches individuals and organizations how to plan for and execute on hyper growth. He’s also the co-founder of Blitzscaling Ventures, which invests in the world’s fastest growing startups. He has founded, advised and invested in over 100 high tech startups since 1995, including nine figure companies like Ustream and UserTesting. He is also the co-author with someone you’ve probably heard of before, Reid Hoffman, of Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies and the co-author again, along with Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha. I think I said that right of the…

Chris Yeh 2:06  

Casnocha, but it’s a really hard one. It’s a very unusual name.

John Corcoran  2:09  

It is a tough one Casnicha, thank you. …of the New York Times bestseller The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age. He has a couple of degrees from Stanford University with distinction in both and also an MBA from Harvard Business School, which you may have heard of as well. First, before we get into this interview with Chris, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media, where we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. We specialize in helping b2b businesses with high client lifetime value. So if you want to learn more and get more inspiration ideas, you can go to, or email us at [email protected]. All right, Chris, I’m super excited to interview you here today. But I like to start sometimes and ask people about how they first got into entrepreneurship. Were you the kind of kid that was, you know, at age 10, you’re going out on the weekend, dragging your parents out to go do a lemonade stand or, you know, is this something that came kind of as you reach adulthood.

Chris Yeh 3:04  

Entrepreneurship was definitely something I came later towards, which is interesting, because I actually had a role model, my dad had started a couple of companies along the way. He has a degree and a PhD in electrical engineering and has started a couple of companies not always successful. That’s the nature of these things. But I saw him working hard on weekends, he would have a traditional job and also be starting up a new company building new technologies. But that never convinced me to be an entrepreneur. In fact, when I was growing up, I always imagined that someday I would be a writer. I’d be writing books and going around signing copies and giving speeches and things like that. So that was always what I imagined myself being. But I came to entrepreneurship, after I got to Stanford, because as you know, Stanford is a place which is really built around entrepreneurship, many of the great alumni like Hewlett and Packard and then shortly after I graduated, people like de phylo, Jerry Yang, and then of course, Larry and Sergey over at Google, all these incredible companies got started there. And so being at Stanford, I basically took in some of this information like, Huh, this internet thing seems like it’s gonna be big. And that’s how I ended up deviating from the path of authorship into the business world, although I did manage to make it back at the end.

John Corcoran  4:19  

And well, it’s kind of funny because it looked at your LinkedIn profile here, and your degrees in both product design and creative writing. So you kind of have the interest in both right from the get go and you graduate 94, which is right stepping into as the internet was really starting to come into the public consciousness. What was it like graduating from Stanford 94?

Chris Yeh 4:39  

Well, it was very interesting, because the early 1990s had been a time of great economic turmoil. There was a very deep and grinding recession. That’s one of the reasons why Bill Clinton won election in 1992. And as we got into 1994, things were starting to perk up. So during my early college years, people were just really concerned about having jobs but by the time I graduated, people were To get excited about this new internet thing now, it was still very early on at that point in time, I’m not even sure if Netscape that came out yet. So actually, I remember in 1994, shortly after graduation, playing around with something called gopher from the University of Minnesota that was the precursor to the internet, Netscape and everything like that. And I was already online looking at different resources. So I was very firmly convinced the internet was going to be huge. And that’s why instead of either pursuing an MFA, a masters of Fine Arts at a creative writing school, or doing a master’s in engineering, or even just working as an engineer, I ended up going into the startup business. So I ended up joining a company called D.E. Shaw and Co., probably most famous is the company Jeff Bezos worked for before he started Amazon. And before you ask, he left about 18 months before I got there. So I don’t actually know Jeff, unfortunately. But it was something where I said, you know what I wanted to get in on this internet startup stuff. I really want to understand this world. It’s brand new to me, but let me just dive on it.

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