Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lean Startup book thoughts

Have you read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries yet? good summary.


Entrepreneurs are everywhere, he says, even in large, stolid, companies -- true even of IBM! I hope they exist, where you are now. Disruptive innovation might come from competitors.


Just now, in the Amazon preview, I read the book's introduction. I see the book's epilogue: 'Waste Not'. That is so key! (to me, also).

Paraphrasing Ries: startup success, thus changing the world, is exciting. Let's not waste vision, passion and energy.


'A new kind of accounting, designed for startups.' Like any accounting, it's good for measuring categories we want to watch, like how much is devoted to experimentation on customers.


Good to have '[c]ross-functional teams ... accountable to learning milestones ... instead of [specializing people in] ... functional departments.' Good to suggest things across functions. Good to set up a Lean Startup culture and systems.


Lean Startup circle
Lean Startup at Meetup.com
Lean Startup Wiki

Good to connect socially with the Lean Startup people.


The book's graphs show manufacturing trending downward greatly these last ten years. With much borrowed money, he says we have been throwing our excess effort into many failed products. Hm, a recent Ries post says we are in a software development 'summer', but sometime a 'winter' will come.


'Startups exist to *learn* how to build a sustainable business.'

With 'Build-Measure-Learn', steering to the 'destination[:] creating a thriving and world-changing business.' What a good idea!

Are we developing our own companies on Lean Startup principles?


Like 'Zappos' [experiment,] ... a clear, quantifiable outcome: either a sufficient number of customers would buy or they would not.'

We might 'put [ourselves] in a position to interact with real customers and learn[.]' Right now, we could put a question on a website (and publicize it): are you (anyone browsing) interested in an app (of any kind) to do this?


He says plausible-sounding management theories, even seemingly reasonable (including legacy ones derived from manufacturing), are only as good as how well their predictions work.

Legacy practices (of 'good market research', even 'solid strategy') don't work when there is extreme 'uncertainty'. '[C]haos ... doesn't work either.'

'[N]ew product development ... routinely [and obviously now] requires ... [that which from a manufacturing perspective is] failure to plan adequately[,] failure properly to execute [the plan and a temporary] failure to deliver results ... on the way to greatness.' In other words, people (who learned the manufacturing paradigm) do resist.

Ries, quoting Scott Cook, 'Moving leaders from playing Ceasar with their thumbs up and down on every idea to --instead --putting in the culture and systems so that teams can move and innovate at the speed of the innovation system.'

Emphasizes he does not (just) do whatever customers say, interestingly, but focuses 'on what customers want (without asking them)'. That jibes with (my) experience: customers usually aren't good (naturally) doing breakthrough, useful, product imagining and creating.


'Validated learning.' 'Scientific method.' It's great to see actual science entering into business management. BTW, science in general took a long time to overcome human nature and be adopted, just as (in particular) it did in business management.

'[O]ne ... lesson ... of the scientific method: if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.'


Ries highly recommends The Four Steps to the Epiphany, 'the original book about customer development': dog-eared in his IMVU days.

Copyright (c) 2011 Mark D. Blackwell.

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