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Skydeck is the HBS alumni podcast series that features interviews with HBS alumni from across the world of business, sharing lessons learned and their own life experiences.

Jan 11, 2021

This is the third and final episode of “Out of the Valley,” a Skydeck mini-series that explores the past, present, and future of entrepreneurship. We started in the whaling capital of the world: New Bedford, Massachusetts in the 1800s, where we saw the roots of the venture capital industry. Then, of course, we found ourselves in Silicon Valley, where so many of the brands that shape our daily life got their start in humble garages.

 Silicon Valley has been the global hub of tech innovation since the 1960s—but its most influential product might just be its model of entrepreneurship: disruptive, asset-light and capital-intensive businesses with a scale-at-all-cost mentality and no fear of failure.

But now something is threatening to disrupt the disruptors. Alex Lazarow (MBA 2010), author of Out-Innovate, calls it the “frontier market model.” Founded in places with limited resources and nascent entrepreneurial ecosystems, these startups have to be scrappier and leaner. And these limitations, Alex says, make businesses more sustainable.

In this episode, we ask entrepreneurs from frontier markets around the globe: What can Silicon Valley learn from your experiences? And what happens if the startup capital of the world ignores these lessons?