The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses Paperback – 6 October 2011
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Mandatory reading for entrepreneurs... loaded with fascinating stories and practical principles ― Dan Heath, coauthor of Switch and Made to Stick
If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book ― Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo
The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship ― Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
Eric Ries has created a science where previously there was only art. A must-read for every serious entrepreneur - and every manager interested in innovation ― Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz, Opsware, and Netscape
I know of no better guide to improve the odds of a startup's success ― Mitchell Kapor, Founder, Lotus Development Corp
This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business ― Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman, Intuit
The Lean Startup changes everything ― Harvard Business Review
You should think like a lean startup even if you're not a lean startup ― Forbes
About the Author
The Lean Startup
How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses
Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.
The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It's about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late.
Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and the author of The Lean Startup, which has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over thirty languages. He has founded a number of startups including IMVU, where he served as CTO, and he has advised on business and product strategy for startups, venture capital firms, and large companies, including General Electric, where he partnered to create the FastWorks program. Eric has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, IDEO, and Pivotal and he is the founder and CEO of the Long-Term Stock Exchange.
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Second, the focus of the book is on "what" a lean start-up is and doesn't provide actionable information. Diarrhea of the word processor resulted in a 365 page definition of a lean start-up, where it could have been boiled down to less than 100 pages (minus 1-star for waste...Distill it down to an A3 using Lean Thinking). So let me save you some time.
1. An entrepreneur is a person who creates a business around a product or service under conditions of "extreme uncertainty", and should ascend the vision-strategy-product pyramid. (Google: Start with Why TEDx - Ries redefines that concept)
2. A start-up is a phase of the entrepreneur's organization, tasked with the goal of reducing the condition of "extreme uncertainty", and finding a sustainable business model (Google: Lean Business Model Canvas).
3. Use customer discovery (class) and validated learning (method) to find a sustainable business model around your product or service idea. The validated learning method of Build-Measure-Learn is synonymous with Plan-Do (Build), Check (Measure), and Act (Learn) cycle, which as most people know is derived from the scientific method.
a. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
b. Measure using Actionable Metrics instead of Vanity Metrics.
c. Learn from your MVP and Actionable metrics and Pivot to improve problem/solution and product/market fit or Persevere.
4. Finally, use lean principles (i.e. small batch sizes, 5 whys root cause analysis, chief engineer, blah, blah, blah) to stream-line your operation once you've found a viable business model and are ready to leave the start-up phase and enter the growth phase. (Minus 1-star: As a hardware guy and having extensive experience in lean it's blatantly obvious Ries is just starting his lean journey and his last section (Accelerate) is superficial, survey, regurgitation of some of the lean tools and ideas).
Reference More Actionable Books:
Running Lean - Ash Maurya
Art of the Start (Ch.1) - Guy Kawasaki
Reference Free Material:
Steve Blank's Website & Blog
Simon Sinek - Start with Why
These methods are applicable outside of startups. One of the best takeaways was the "5 Whys" technique when you encounter a problem. Basically, when something goes wrong at your company, you ask "why did that happen?" to the person most responsible and follow the chain of causality at least 5 steps down. The apparent problem is only the surface symptom; you have to drill down to how it was even possible for that to happen to truly fix it and grow as an organization.
For example, imagine your company website went down during the holiday season, costing thousands in lost sales:
1. Web admin: It got hit by hackers.
2. Security team: The hackers succeeded because the server wasn't patched.
3. IT Manager: The server wasn't patched because the change-management procedures only allow for patching once a year.
4. IT Director: Patching is so infrequent because a critical vendor product on the server breaks from updating any sooner.
5. CTO: The company chose that vendor because it was the only one that could solve our problems at the time.
At first you might blame the server admin or your security team for not securing the server, but digging deeper reveals that a strategic business decision led to the server going down, and it's time to reconsider it.
This technique is highly effective, but takes time and effort to execute well, especially outside of startups. You have to do this with the goal of learning and process improvement or else it turns into a fruitless finger-pointing blame-fest. There's a lot more detail so I recommend checking out the book for yourself just for that technique.
For more in-depth methods for *how* to implement other parts of the Lean strategy, the best books I've found so far are Running Lean and Will It Fly? These offer more step-by-step guides on implementation.
This book could've easily been a 2 page essay but instead it is a 300 page college-esque (and very boring) essay. It also feels like an ad for Eric Ries' unheard-of internet businesses. There is nothing Lean about the Lean Startup, it should be called the Learn Startup instead. The Lean Startup approach to business creation kills disruption and true innovation, it is a guide for building a catered (incrementally improved at best) business. If Henry Ford followed this we would indeed have faster horses. Read Thiel's From Zero to One instead. This is garbage.