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Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean Series) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Length: 440 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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"The Industries of the Future"
Innovation expert Alec Ross explains what’s next for the world. Learn more.

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Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with Alistair Croll, coauthor of "Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster"

Q. Why is your book timely-- what makes it important right now?

A. There's been a flurry of startup activity made possible by the lowered barriers to entry of cloud computing, social media, and app platforms. But there's less accountability. If you look at the numbers, it's a bloodbath: you're almost certain to fail. One reason for this is that founders are delusional. But data doesn't lie, and the right data in the right place at the right time can change your business (to steal from Steward Brand.) That's what this book is about-- using data to build a better business faster.

Q. What information do you hope that readers of your book will walk away with?

A. We have a ton of concrete data-- ideas of what's normal; what metric to watch at what time; and so on. But more than any of this, we hope they'll come away with an experimental eye, realizing that they're not building a product. Instead, they're building a tool to figure out what product to build.

Q. What's the most exciting and/ or important thing happening in your space?

A. That nearly every mature industry is ripe for disruption. An entrepreneur, working within a host organization, can absolutely revitalize the business (as Procter & Gamble did when it introduced Swiffer, for example.) And a small business can tackle giants or entrenched competitors by being more agile (as Uber did to taxis, or Airbnb did to hotels.) Mops, taxis, and rentals aren't new. But they're hugely susceptible to change if it's applied in a measured, careful way.


"Your competition will use this book to outgrow you." -- Mike Volpe, Hubspot.

"Alistair and Ben have written a much-needed dose of reality, and entrepreneurs who ignore this data-driven approach do so at their own peril." -- Brad Feld, Foundry Group & Techstars

"This is applicable to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from small business to big government." -- Jennifer Pahlka, Code For America

"No innovator should be without this book." -- Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

"In Lean Analytics, Alistair and Ben have done a masterful job showing us how to use data and metrics to peer through the haze of uncertainty that surrounds creating new businesses and products. This book is a huge gift to our industry." -- Zach Nies, Rally Software

"As useful for today's multi-billion dollar companies as it is for entrepreneurs." -- John Stormer,

"Lean Analytics is the missing piece of Lean Startup, with practical and detailed research, advice and guidance that can help you succeed faster in a startup or large organization." -- Dan Martell, Clarity

Product Details

  • File Size: 17197 KB
  • Print Length: 440 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 8, 2013)
  • Publication Date: March 8, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AG66LTM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,953 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book suffers from first time author syndrome -- the author's attempt to boil the ocean rather than taking a lean startup approach and creating the minimum viable product. The goal of the book is to help you, as a startup, understand what types of analytics you should incorporate so as to run a more effective business, in keeping with the ideas of a Lean Startup. Sections of the book are quite good... looking at some lightweight case studies of startups and the analytics they used to navigate muddy waters. The problem is that the book tries to solve everything, ranging from how to categorize the growth phase of your company, what analytics are appropriate for various types of companies (mobile apps versus SaaS e.g.), and even how to operate within enterprises. To me, this takes the authors well out of their core area of expertise, rendering some of the chapters almost useless. As a result, although the core information can be quite interesting, I would have been a lot happier with the book if it reduced its scope and went more into depth just into analytics, with more information in the case studies, and more examples of actual data to look at and suggestions on how to avoid false metrics. In fact, these topics, discussed at the beginning of the book, were the best sections -- what the authors call vanity metrics. If the authors had focused on that core area and gone into more depth the book would have been great. But by spreading so thin and across so many areas, the book goes well away from the author's core strengths.

Altogether, I'd read other books instead of this one: Web Analytics 2.0 does a much better job of covering analytics methodologies and techniques; Lean Startup gives a better overview of the Lean approach; Innovator's Dilemma is a much better look at how to think through startup issues.
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Format: Hardcover
This book will certainly become the best reference to learn and understand metrics and analytics in relation to Lean Startup and Customer Development. Many books were written about Lean Startup, Agile Development and Customer Development. All of them deal a lot with the Build and Learn parts of the "Build-Measure-Learn" cycle of Lean but usually with few pages speaking about the Measure part. Now Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz solved the Measure link for us!

So now if you want to have more chances of success and also to fail fast in a startup or a new business inside a great corporation you have the tools and techniques available. I strongly recommend at least the following books (read in order):

1 - The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

2 - Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean (O'Reilly)) by Ash Maurya

3 - The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank

4 - Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Croll and Yoskovitz

José Papo, from Brazil

Twitter: @josepapo
Comment 55 of 63 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lean Analytics is a good introduction for budding entrepreneurs to Internet/eCommerce businesses. I do appreciate that the authors have kept the material lean to appeal to a wider audience.

As an entrepreneur who is an Agile and Lean practitioner I naturally gravitated to the chapter on "The Discipline of One Metric that Matters", but 8 pages (2% of the book) are just not sufficient to cover, in my opinion, such an important topic. A great segue into my issues with the weak bibliography - from being unable to trace additional relevant reading/reference materials to the stated metrics. For e.g., the Airbnb correlation to the addition of professional photographers to the increase in "nights booked" (pg. 7); or the stated metrics for "Circle of Friends (pg. 17) - Mike Greenfield might be a close and personal friend of Alistair's but I need some public reference for the published metrics to be credible.

Also, there are leaps without justification - On pg. 89 for Model Two, the authors state without any supporting evidence, "Because the incremental cost of adding another customer to a SaaS service is negligible - think of how little it costs Skype to add a new user...". On the surface this seems true. It leads one to make an extrapolation that every additional user is negligible in cost - but that is not true. For e.g., Netflix has to keep available capacity to keep up with the new subscribers and trial subscriptions. The additional available capacity is sunk cost. By adding another subscriber, Netflix is "potentially" recovering cost!

It is a good "first" step if you want to delve into the world of web entrepreneurship, or just want to increase your knowledge for an academic discussion...but I wouldn't run out to launch a business just on the learnings from this book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When Ash Maurya's Lean Startup was chosen as the first book in Eric Ries' Lean Series, I thought the bar was set way too high. There was no way any other book in the series could be even remotely as useful. After reading through Lean Analytics, I stand corrected.

This book is far more useful than any other business book I have seen or heard of, with the exception of Ash's book. It takes the science of data collection and analysis to a whole new level, showing exactly how to calculate ROI of any business idea, pricing strategy, or marketing campaign. One of the key points of this book is that mistakes and failures are not the enemy - information blindness is. This point alone, if applied correctly, could prevent thousands of great ideas from being tossed in the scrap heap of history. And this book will tell you everything you need to know to make that happen.

Save your MBA money, buy this book, and start now! And in six years when your friends are finally leaving university, with their embossed degrees and their last package of ramen, you can give them a lift home in your new Ferrari.
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