Steve Blank

Serial entrepreneur, and creator of the customer development method that launched the renowned lean startup movement.


Ranked #23 in 2019.

Previous positions:

#14 (2017).


Once hitch-hiked to Miami and got a job at Miami International loading racehorses onto cargo planes.


Volunteered to travel to Thailand during the Vietnam War, as an electronics technician.


Blank revolutionized the practice and teaching of entrepreneurship and innovation. By advocating customer development and agile engineering to be the key criteria in the search for a successful business model, he redefined how to build successful startups, He identified that startups are not small versions of large companies. While large companies execute business models, startups search for them. This led him to realize that startups need their own tools, different from those used to manage existing companies.


An adjunct professor at Stanford University, a senior fellow Columbia University and lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Blank has been part of or co-founded eight startups, including E.piphany, Ardent and SuperMac. He helped start the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps, and the Hacking for Defense and Hacking for Diplomacy Programs.


Holding a Cat by the Tail: Lessons from Entrepreneurial Life (K&S Ranch, 2014); The Four Steps to the Epiphany (K&S Ranch, 2013); Why The Lean Startup Changes Everything (Harvard Business Review, May 2013 issue);  The Startup Owner’s Manual (with Bob Dorf, K&S Ranch, 2012). 


Media picks


“An educational and entrepreneurial force of nature.“

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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