Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lean startup

Recently, a project owner I know read with interest the new book, The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries. It just came out September, 2011; his blog is Startup Lessons Learned. Web searching for "lean startup" found:

From `Taking the guesswork out of startup success' (by Anne Fisher):

`“[S]tart...with a very basic, sloppy site, and...continually change it according to what users tell [you] they like and don’t like.” [E]very single week[,] invite customers in, plunk them down in front of computers, watch them use the site, and ask them questions about it. The (often surprising) answers then get built into the product.'

From Jeff Shuman's comment #40 in `Teaching a “Lean Startup” Strategy' (by Carmen Nobel):

`In Peter Drucker's 1985 book Innovation and Entrepreneurship, he noted that “When a new venture does succeed, (more often than not) it is in a market other than the one it was originally intended to serve, with products or services not (quite) those with which it had set out, bought in large part by customers it did not even think of (when started), and used for a host of purposes besides the ones for which the products were first designed.”'

From `Four myths about the Lean Startup' (by Eric Ries):

`Lean not blindly do what customers tell them, nor do they mechanically attempt to optimize numbers. They use...actionable analytics as vehicles for to make their vision successful.'

From `Top 5 myths about the lean startup' (by Eric Ries):

`Lean startups are driven by a compelling vision, and they are rigorous about testing each element of this vision against reality...with every tool available...They use customer development, split-testing, and in-depth analytics as vehicles for learning about how to make their vision successful. Along the way, they pivot away from the elements of the vision that are delusional [emphasis added].'

`Lean...refers to a process of building companies and products based on lean manufacturing principles, but applied to innovation. That process involves rapid hypothesis testing, learning about customers, and a disciplined approach to product development.'

`[A] startup is [any] human institution creating a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.'

From Brian Mcfarlane's comment:
`getting out from behind you[r] computer and talking to real people will reward you with unresolved problems you may not of thought of to help you get to a product-market fit sooner.'

From `The Promise of the Lean Startup' (by Eric Ries):

`In parallel to [the] work by the “solution team”...there is a new kind of “problem team”...that is asking the bigger questions, such as: Who will our customers be? What problem does our product solve for them? How many of them are there? And how will we reach them?'

`The promise of the lean startup is that instead of building our companies according to myths, we can guide them with facts and the knowledge required to use those facts well. Or put another way, that we won’t waste our time building products or services that nobody wants.'

`The ultimate goal of a lean startup is to identify where its vision intersects with what reality can accommodate...It tries out new ideas with a fraction of customers in order to prioritize using facts, not opinions. Its unit of progress is that of validated learning about its customers. [Thus] the practice of entrepreneurship can be put on solid, rigorous, footing.'

`Instead of seeing process as a synonym for bureaucracy, it sees it as a synonym for discipline. Focusing all of its energy on only those activities that matter, it frees up time and energy for true productivity.'

Other references:
Why Lean Startups are Hard Part 1 – Our Genes Aren’t Lean - Kevin Dewalt
Perfection By Subtraction – The Minimum Feature Set - Steve Blank

Copyright (c) 2011 Mark D. Blackwell.

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