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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
Build-measure-learn Feedback Loop
The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback loop is at the core of the Lean Startup model.
Classic Product Chart
Startups have a destination in mind: creating a thriving and world-changing business. I call that the startup's vision. To achieve that vision, startups employ a strategy, which includes a business model, a product road map, a point of view about partners and competitors, and ideas about who the customer will be. The product is the end result of this strategy.
The Revised Chart
Products change constantly through the process of optimization. Less frequently, the strategy may have to change (called a pivot). However, the overarching vision rarely changes. Entrepreneurs are committed to seeing the startup through to that destination. Every setback is an opportunity for learning how to get where they want to go.
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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
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.
The Lean Startup model focuses on creating a minimum viable product for the market and receiving customer feedback along the way to improve the product. Oftentimes a rough draft of a working product is enough to gain valuable feedback and ideas that would never have been thought of if the project had been refined to death by its developers. What if your team toiled away for years creating advanced software and the finished product doesn’t have the features the customer really wanted? Avoid this mistake. The Lean Startup methodology is a way to ensure the final product is as optimized as possible.
Eric also introduces pivots as a means to take a new approach, if necessary, instead of starting over from scratch. This is in contrast to the old way of doing business where a product is launched only when it is fully functional and high quality in the creator’s eyes. Oftentimes, perfectionism can be costly both in time and in money. Eric does a wonderful job outlining how a product (online or physical) can be built and refined from a customer feedback loop.
Not only does The Lean Startup serve as a methodical roadmap for creating your business efficiently and effectively, but also the book delves into startup metrics that will give a new meaning to how you measure your progress. Ries calls this “innovation accounting”. Innovation accounting is a way of looking past the headline numbers such as revenue growth and instead tracking changes in customer adoption, retention and usage patterns.
A successful startup does not just flourish because of a brilliant idea. Success in a condition of uncertainty (in this case innovation) requires managing people through all the challenges of innovation and growth. It means understanding your customer and keying in on statistics that tell the true story of progress. Whether you are a product developer for a company or an executive at a high-tech startup or even a fresh-faced college graduate, this book benefits positions from all perspectives in every industry.
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