The Lean Startup – Book Review

Recently I went back and re-read ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries. It’s a hugely influential book that rightly had a big impact on technology startups. (I can be, but rarely is, applied outside of tech startups).
I made a video review, but below that are my notes.
Ries wrote ‘The Lean Startup’ to pop the ballon of this myth
The after the fact rationalisation makes us think that startups just need ‘the right stuff’.
He does so with his 5 lean principles
  1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere
  2. Entrepreneurship is everywhere
  3. Managed through a unit of progress called Validated Learning
    1. You think your idea is great. But you need to learn if the customer agrees.
    2. “the learning about how to build a sustainable business is the outcome of those experiments”
  4. You test each unit by going through the build measure learn feedback loop
    1. Each cycle gives you insight into what the customer wants
  5. You measure by using Innovation accounting
    1. You have to measure the right things
Lean Startup is really an extension and improvement on Drucker.
  1. Build a product
    1. Know who your customer is BEFORE
    2. Make an MVP
  2. Take a leap of faith and get started
    1. but know what you don’t know (like if people will pay for music in the case of the iPod)
  3. Test
    1. Attempt to attract the early adopters. They are used to bugs.
    2. Points to measure
      1. Registration
      2. Activation
      3. Retention
    3. When making improvements, the only way to know if it was successful is metrics. So test against baseline.
  4. Measure
    1. actionable
      1. has to have cause/effect so you can make improvements
      2. This is why ‘website visits’ is not a good measurement. You don’t know why (and you have a hard time even counting the hits).
    2. accessible
      1. everyone has to understand what the measurements really mean
      2. “What is a website hit? Nobody is really sure, but everyone knows what a person visiting the website is: one can practically picture those people sitting at their computers”
    3. auditable
      1. “We need to be able to test the data by hand, in the messy real world, by talking to customers. This is the only way to be able to check if the reports contain true facts. Managers need the ability to spot check the data with real customers. ”
  5. Pivot/Persevere
    1. Remember, you’re trying to build a business, not sell a specific product
    2. pivot
      1. Zoom in
        1. based on a single feature
      2. Zoom out
        1. make a broader product
      3. Customer Segment
        1. you’re solving for a different group of people
      4. Customer need
        1. you aren’t answering a need, but you found a new one
    3. A pivot needs to be tested
  6. Growth
    1. Check retention

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