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The Four Steps to the Epiphany Hardcover – July 17, 2013
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From the Inside Flap
The bestselling classic that launched 10,000 startups and new corporate ventures - The Four Steps to the Epiphany is one of the most influential and practical business books of all time.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany launched the Lean Startup approach to new ventures. It was the first book to offer that startups are not smaller versions of large companies and that new ventures are different than existing ones.
Startups search for business models while existing companies execute them. The book offers the practical and proven four-step Customer Development process for search and offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture.
Rather than blindly execute a plan, The Four Steps helps uncover flaws in product and business plans and correct them before they become costly. Rapid iteration, customer feedback, testing your assumptions are all explained in this book.
Packed with concrete examples of what to do, how to do it and when to do it, the book will leave you with new skills to organize sales, marketing and your business for success.
If your organization is starting a new venture, and you're thinking how to successfully organize sales, marketing and business development you need The Four Steps to the Epiphany.
Essential reading for anyone starting something new.
About the Author
A retired eight-time serial entrepreneur-turned-educator and author, Steve Blank has changed how startups are built and how entrepreneurship is taught around the globe. He is author of the bestselling The Startup Owner's Manual, and his earlier seminal work, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, credited with launching the Lean Startup movement. His May 2013 Harvard Business Review article on the Lean Startup defined the movement.Steve is widely recognized as a thought leader on startups and innovation. His books and blog have redefined how to build successful startups; his Lean LaunchPad class at Stanford, Berkeley and Columbia has redefined how entrepreneurship is taught; and his Innovation Corps class for the National Science Foundation forever changed how the U.S. commercializes science. His articles regularly appear in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic and Huffington Post. Blank's first book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany (2003), offered the insight that startups are not small versions of large companies large companies execute business models, but startups search for them and led him to realize that startups need their own tools, different from those used to manage existing companies. The book described a Customer Development methodology to guide a startup's search for a scalable business model, launching the Lean Startup movement in the process.His second book, The Startup Owner's Manual, published in March 2012, is a step--by--step guide to building a successful company that incorporates the best practices, lessons and tips that have swept the startup world since The Four Steps was published. His essays on his blog, www.steveblank.com, and his two books are considered required reading among entrepreneurs, investors and established companies throughout the world.In 2011, Blank developed the Lean LaunchPad, a hands--on class that integrates Business Model design and Customer Development into practice through rapid, real--world customer interaction and business model iteration. In 2011, the National Science Foundation adopted Blank's class for its Innovation Corps (I--Corps), training teams of the nation's top scientists and engineers to take their ideas out of the university lab and into the commercial marketplace. To date, more than 400 handpicked teams of scientists and engineers have participated in I-Corps. Blank also offers a free online version of Lean LaunchPad through Udacity.com; more than 100,000 people have signed up for the class, which is also the centerpiece of Startup Weekend NEXT, a global entrepreneurship training program launched in fall 2012. Steve is a prolific writer, speaker and teacher. In 2009, he earned the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in Management Science and Engineering. In 2010, he earned the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. The San Jose Mercury News listed him as one of the 10 Influencers in Silicon Valley. Harvard Business Review named him one of 12 Masters of Innovation. Despite these accolades and many others, Steve says he might well have been voted least likely to succeed in his New York City high school class. Eight startups in 21 years After repairing fighter plane electronics in Thailand during the Vietnam War, Steve arrived in Silicon Valley in 1978, as boom times began. He joined his first of eight startups including two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers; Convergent Technologies; a consulting stint for Pixar; a supercomputer firm, Ardent; peripheral supplier, SuperMac; a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL; Rocket Science Games. Steve co--founded startup No. 8, E.piphany, in his living room in 1996. In sum: two significant craters, one massive dot--com bubble home run, several base hits, and immense learning that resulted in The Four Steps to the Epiphany. An avid reader in history, technology, and entrepreneurship, Steve has followed his curiosity about why entrepreneurship blossomed in Silicon Valley while stillborn elsewhere. It has made him an unofficial expert and frequent speaker on The Secret History of Silicon Valley. In his spare time, Steve is a Commissioner of the California Coastal Commission, the public body that regulates land use and public access on the California coast. Steve is on the board of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV). He is a past board member of Audubon California, the Peninsula Open Space Land Trust (POST), and was a trustee of U.C. Santa Cruz.Steve's proudest startups are daughters Katie and Sarah, co--developed with wife Alison Elliott. They split their time between Pescadero and Silicon Valley.
Top customer reviews
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Despite these flaws the last chapter on company building is a valuable contribution to beginning entrepreneurs, if they are capable of absorbing change, taking advice and have the good fortune to have the right role models and coaches. As a serial entrepreneur in transition to mission oriented company in my fifth startup clearclinica.com I found the last chapter a well built and thoughtful roadmap for change.
The second half of the book felt more like a field-book, which in nice but without the actual context is a little bit harder to keep reading as a whole publication. Notice that this is the intent of the author.
I got to this book from "The Lean Startup", you can think about this two books as "complementary"
In this volume, Steven Gary Blank introduces and then explains in thorough detail the "Customer Development" model, one that he characterizes as "a paradox because it is followed by successful startups, yet has been articulated by no one [other than Blank, prior to its initial publication in 2005]. Its basic propositions are the antithesis of common wisdom yet they are followed by those who achieve success. It is the path that is hidden in plain sight." In fact, Blank insists that what he offers is a "better way to manage startups. Those that survive the first few tough years "do not follow the traditional product-centric launch model espoused by product managers of the venture capital community." And this is also true of product launches in new divisions inside larger corporations or in the "canonical" garages.
Moreover, "through trial and error, hiring and firing, successful [whatever their nature and origin] all invent a parallel process to Product Development. In particular, the winners invent and live by a process of customer learning and discovery. I call this process `Customer Development,' a sibling to `Product Development,' and each and every startup that succeeds recapitulates it, knowingly or not." Wow! This really is interesting stuff and I haven't even begun to read the first chapter.
Few start ups succeed, most don't, and Blank notes that each new company or new product startup involves (borrowing from Joseph Campbell) a "hero's journey" that begins with an almost "mythological vision - a hope of what could be, with a goal few others can see. It is this bright and burning vision that differentiates the entrepreneur from big company CEOs and startups from existing businesses." Although Blank suggests that the aforementioned "journey" involves a four-step process, it should be noted that not one but several epiphanies or at least revelations can and - hopefully - will occur during that process, one that is multi-dimensional rather than linear, from Point A to Point Z.
These are among the dozens of reader-friendly passages I found of greatest interest and value:
o Customer Discovery Step-by-Step (Page 30)
o The Customer Discovery Philosophy (33-37)
o Customer Discovery Summary (76)
o The Customer Validation Philosophy (82-83)
o Customer Validation Summary (118)
o Customer Creation Step-by-Step (120)
o Customer Creation Philosophy (123-124)
o The Four Building Blocks of Customer Creation (129-132)
o Customer Creation Summary (157)
o Company Building Step-by-Step (158)
o The Company Building Philosophy (162-163)
o Company Building Summary (205)
No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of material that Steven Gary Blank provides in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of him and his work. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read it and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and wisdom could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them and to their own organization.
Most recent customer reviews
Many examples, easy to read but not really easy to follow..