What prompted me to read The Lean Startup was this excellent post : https://medium.com/@michalbohanes/seven-lessons-i-learned-from-the-failure-of-my-first-startup-dinnr-c166d1cfb8b8. I encourage every wannabe entrepreneur to have a look at it as Michal explains very frankly and very clearly where his startup went wrong. As I am in the process of exploring my own venture idea I thought I should use my favorite activity, reading, as a way to learn more about entrepreneurship. My motivation is also reinforced by the numerous conferences I had the chance to attend at UPenn (Peter Thiel, Jack Dorsey...).
Eric Ries co-founded IMVU, a virtual world where people can create their own 3D avatar, after having experienced failure with his first venture. These experiences nurtured his vision of "lean management", a vision inspired by the Toyota lean manufacturing method.
I will not summarize the whole book which makes for a fascinating read if you are interested by entrepreneurship and innovation, but I will highlight a few concepts that are core to the Lean method:
1- Experiment instead of strategize too much- find some early adopters, enthusiastic, eager to share feedback and quick to forget the mistakes to test your minimum viable product and validate your hypothesis (does the product bring value? Will they recommend the product to their friends/colleagues?). The worst that can happen to a startup is to build a perfect product nobody wants.
2 - Complete the Build-Measure-Learn loop - turn your leap of faith (=your assumptions about the importance of the problem you see and does it need solving?) into a quantitative model using innovation accounting. Every development should improve one of the drivers of your growth model (the baseline metrics).
3 - Pivot the original strategy or persevere once you fail to reach or reach your leaning milestones.
4 - Practice just-in-time scalability and the small-batch approach to accelerate your growth (paid, viral or sticky)
Now you have all the buzzwords you should be able to build a successful company pretty soon!
Following this very instructive read I ordered the other book recommended by Michal, The Mom Test, which focuses on initial market research. I will try to review it this week and draw parallel with The Lean Startup.
On a final note: thanks for all your messages on Facebook, I appreciate the support, the skepticism and the book recommendations :)
Author: Eric Ries
Publisher: Crown Business