So what is behind the words “Lean Startup”? Structured approach? Set of principles? Entrepreneur’s cult?
It sure is a good marketing buzzword. And from reading the book its quite difficult to actually take action inside your startup.
The actionable tools start appearing once you go into the different communities.
Lean Startup Machine: Get Out of The Building
Most important principle of all: Get out of the building and learn from a customer. Don’t sit inside and come up with the perfect approach.
Lean Startup Machine has perfected this – over a weekend they push over 50 people out of the building and interact with customers on the street, in clubs and over the phone. The process is messy and imperfect, but people always come back having made their first validated learning from customers.
Learning: Getting out of your comfort zone (= your learning bias) is more important than strictly following methodology.
UX & Designers: Visual Thinking & User Research Methods
When you talk with customers don’t forget the insights of the UX and design community. They’ve spent decades perfecting user research, before it was glorified. Learn from them how to run customer interviews, how to see patterns in your customers, and how to integrate learnings into your team.
Especially when integrating customer learnings, grab a copy of Dave Gray’s Gamestorming. It contains an wealth of information on visual tools that enable you to make better decisions as a team – instead of endless discussions and talking.
Paul Graham, the mastermind behind Y Combinator (YC), would not publicly endorse Lean Startup – but I still took one key message away for all entrepreneurs who try to be rigorous and structured.
Teams going through YC get one really important push: One team member focuses on product (= build), one team member focuses on users (= get ouf of the building).
Until demo day there is no time wasted on investors – all is spent on trying to come up with something people want.
Learning: It’s important to keep fundraising out of the entrepreneur’s mind when starting out. Fundraising pushes us towards our comfort zones and vanity metrics – we start believing in our own reality distortion field.
Some people feel that Lean Startup is some fad cult that pushes Eric Ries’ personality.
Lean Startup is a space that enables us to collaborate and think up new approaches – no one ever said its the road to success, but it should make us think and reflect on what we’re actually trying to do, and what methods we use to get there.
In the end goal is to inspire many more entrepreneurs to take a closer look – and not lead them to think Lean Startup is a cookie cutter approach to success.