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The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and My Thoughts

This is the thirteenth book in the series Learning Together and Leading Together where we are going through the Personal MBA plan curated by Josh Kaufman. Our goal is to get through 99 books this year. Do we read the whole book? Nope. We digest the summary(s) of the book and I give my thoughts and you give your thoughts. Feel free to follow along and comment if you would like.

The best summary I found on this book was found here by Tim Webster. The following excerpts from that summary.

Major point of this book are:

Vision: Start, Define, Learn and Experiment.
Steer: Leap, Test, Measure, and Pivot (or Persevere)
Accelerate: Batch, Grow, Adapt, Innovate.

Validated learning: it’s more than just a learning experience.

By making predictions ahead of time about your product or service and documenting them, you know when you’re off the mark and you can take that result to iterate your product and test a new assumption. This is validated learning.

The Build, Measure, Learn (quickly) loop

The Lean Startup is continuously engaged in building a product, getting it out there to see if it finds a fit, testing that product by adjusting aspects of it and comparing it to the unadjusted version, seeing if it worked better or worse, then doing it again. Quickly. And then again.

There are metrics that make you look good and metrics that actually make you good.

The metrics that actually make you good are actionable in the sense that they test an assumption by demonstrating a clear cause and effect. If it doesn’t, then it’s a vanity metric, and vanity metrics don’t give you the information that you need to make informed decisions about your company.

Get to pivots faster

When a startup pivots, it is aligning its efforts with a business and product that create value and drive growth. As a startup, money is finite, which means you only have a certain amount of time to find your product/market fit. If something isn’t working then you need to pivot, but that decision can only be made if you have the data to support that decision.

Get better at working in small batches quickly.

The biggest advantage of small batch sizes is that if something does become a problem, the problem can identified quickly and time, materials and money is not lost.

A jack of all trades, master of none, certainly better than a master of one.

Lean startups can’t afford to have lots of people with singular roles. They’re not big companies, they’re startups. In the lean startup, individual (or departmental) efficiency is not the goal, it’s to create cross functional teams that use actionable metrics to achieve validated learning.

When something breaks, ask why. Ask it again and again and again and again.

Essentially, you ask why five times. And you do this with everyone in at the same time, not just with the person who uncovered or caused the problem. By systematically moving through each causal layer, you are able to get past the individual problem and establish if something bigger is at fault.

My Thoughts:

I have started or help start many companies today. The ideas behind this book are foundational to all of those startups. I have not yet gone out and gotten millions of dollars to start a business. Is that an option in the future? Maybe but realistically I hope not. I want to start something that is lean and grow it.

Their is one principle that I believe is missing in this book. It has some to do with pivots and measuring or possibly asking why but the book doesn’t just come out and say it. The principle is make sure your company is answering the question, “What problem are we solving?” When you get the answer to this question then you can pivot around different solutions. You can ask the why question 5 times. You can measure the results of the answer. This is foundational to all startups not just lean ones.

If you need a copy of the book go here: [amazon_enhanced asin=”0307887898″ /]

What did you think of this book? Are you ready to start a lean startup?

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