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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Hardcover – September 13, 2011
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"The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right. It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads. It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources, when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious." —Wired
“I make all our managers read The Lean Startup.” —Jeffery Immelt, CEO, General Electric
"Eric has created a science where previously there was only art. A must read for every serious entrepreneur—and every manager interested in innovation."
—Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Opsware Inc. and Netscape
“This book should be mandatory reading for entrepreneurs, and the same goes for managers who want better entrepreneurial instincts. Ries’s book is loaded with fascinating stories—not to mention countless practical principles you’ll dearly wish you’d known five years ago.” —Dan Heath, co-author of Switch and Made to Stick
“Ries shows us how to cut through the fog of uncertainty that surrounds startups. His approach is rigorous; his prescriptions are practical and proven in the field. The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship. As startup success rates improve, it could do more to boost global economic growth than any management book written in years.” —Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
“The Lean Startup is the book whose lessons I want every entrepreneur to absorb and apply. I know of no better guide to improve the odds of a startup's success."
—Mitchell Kapor, Founder, Lotus Development Corp.
"At Asana, we've been lucky to benefit from Eric's advice firsthand; this book will enable him to help many more entrepreneurs answer the tough questions about their business."
—Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook and Asana
“Ries' splendid book is the essential template to understand the crucial leadership challenge of our time: initiating and managing growth!” —Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of the recently published, Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.
"The Lean Startup isn't just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business, it's about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world's great problems. It's ultimately an answer to the question 'How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn't?'"
— Tim O'Reilly, CEO O'Reilly Media
“Eric Ries unravels the mysteries of entrepreneurship and reveals that magic and genius are not the necessary ingredients for success but instead proposes a scientific process that can be learnt and replicated. Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or corporate entrepreneur there are important lessons here for you on your quest toward the new and unknown.” —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
“The roadmap for innovation for the 21st century. The ideas in The Lean Startup will help create the next industrial revolution.” —Steve Blank, lecturer, Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School
"The key lesson of this book is that start-ups happen in the present—that messy place between the past and the future where nothing happens according to PowerPoint. Ries's ‘read and react’ approach to this sport, his relentless focus on validated learning, the never-ending anxiety of hovering between ‘persevere’ and ‘pivot’, all bear witness to his appreciation for the dynamics of entrepreneurship." —Geoffrey Moore, Author, Crossing the Chasm
"If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book. Starting Lean is today's best practice for innovators. Do yourself a favor and read this book." —Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo and author of the bestselling The Monk and the Riddle
“How do you apply the 50 year old ideas of Lean to the fast-paced, high uncertainty world of Startups? This book provides a brilliant, well-documented, and practical answer. It is sure to become a management classic.” —Don Reinertsen, author of The Principles of Product Development Flow
“The Lean Startup is a foundational must-read for founders, enabling them to reduce product failures by bringing structure and science to what is usually informal and an art. It provides actionable ways to avoid product-learning mistakes, rigorously evaluate early signals from the market through validated learning, and decide whether to persevere or to pivot, all challenges that heighten the chance of entrepreneurial failure.” —Professor Noam Wasserman, Harvard Business School
“One of the best and most insightful new books on entrepreneurship and management I’ve ever read. Should be required reading not only for the entrepreneurs that I work with, but for my friends and colleagues in various industries who have inevitably grappled with many of the challenges that The Lean Startup addresses.” —Eugene J. Huang, Partner, True North Venture Partners
"What would happen if businesses were built from the ground up to learn what their customers really wanted? The Lean Startup is the foundation for reimagining almost everything about how work works. Don't let the word startup in the title confuse you. This is a cookbook for entrepreneurs in organizations of all sizes." —Roy Bahat, President, IGN Entertainment
“Every founding team should stop for 48 hours and read Lean Startup. Seriously stop and read this book now.” —Scott Case, CEO Startup America Partnership
“In business, a ‘lean’ enterprise is sustainable efficiency in action. Eric Ries’ revolutionary Lean Startup method will help bring your new business idea to an end result that is successful and sustainable. You’ll find innovative steps and strategies for creating and managing your own startup while learning from the real-life successes and collapses of others. This book is a must read for entrepreneurs who are truly ready to start something great!” —Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute Entrepreneur
“Every entrepreneur responsible for innovation within their organization should read this book. It entertainingly and meticulously develops a rigorous science for the innovation process through the methodology of “lean thinking”. This methodology provides novel and powerful tools for companies to improve the speed and efficiency of their innovation processes through minimum viable products, validated learning, innovation accounting, and actionable metrics. These tools will help organizations large and small to sustain innovation by effectively leveraging the time, passion, and skill of their talent pools.” —Andrea Goldsmith, professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and cofounder of several startups
“Business is too important to be left to luck. Eric reveals the rigorous process that trumps luck in the invention of new products and new businesses. We've made this a centerpiece of how teams work in my company . . . it works! This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business.” —Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit
About the Author
Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned. He co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup, and has had plenty of startup failures along the way. He is a frequent speaker at business events, has advised a number of startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy, and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, the Huffington Post, and many blogs. He lives in San Francisco.
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Second, the focus of the book is on "what" a lean start-up is and doesn't provide actionable information. Diarrhea of the word processor resulted in a 365 page definition of a lean start-up, where it could have been boiled down to less than 100 pages (minus 1-star for waste...Distill it down to an A3 using Lean Thinking). So let me save you some time.
1. An entrepreneur is a person who creates a business around a product or service under conditions of "extreme uncertainty", and should ascend the vision-strategy-product pyramid. (Google: Start with Why TEDx - Ries redefines that concept)
2. A start-up is a phase of the entrepreneur's organization, tasked with the goal of reducing the condition of "extreme uncertainty", and finding a sustainable business model (Google: Lean Business Model Canvas).
3. Use customer discovery (class) and validated learning (method) to find a sustainable business model around your product or service idea. The validated learning method of Build-Measure-Learn is synonymous with Plan-Do (Build), Check (Measure), and Act (Learn) cycle, which as most people know is derived from the scientific method.
a. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
b. Measure using Actionable Metrics instead of Vanity Metrics.
c. Learn from your MVP and Actionable metrics and Pivot to improve problem/solution and product/market fit or Persevere.
4. Finally, use lean principles (i.e. small batch sizes, 5 whys root cause analysis, chief engineer, blah, blah, blah) to stream-line your operation once you've found a viable business model and are ready to leave the start-up phase and enter the growth phase. (Minus 1-star: As a hardware guy and having extensive experience in lean it's blatantly obvious Ries is just starting his lean journey and his last section (Accelerate) is superficial, survey, regurgitation of some of the lean tools and ideas).
Reference More Actionable Books:
Running Lean - Ash Maurya
Art of the Start (Ch.1) - Guy Kawasaki
Reference Free Material:
Steve Blank's Website & Blog
Simon Sinek - Start with Why
This book could've easily been a 2 page essay but instead it is a 300 page college-esque (and very boring) essay. It also feels like an ad for Eric Ries' unheard-of internet businesses. There is nothing Lean about the Lean Startup, it should be called the Learn Startup instead. The Lean Startup approach to business creation kills disruption and true innovation, it is a guide for building a catered (incrementally improved at best) business. If Henry Ford followed this we would indeed have faster horses. Read Thiel's From Zero to One instead. This is garbage.
These methods are applicable outside of startups. One of the best takeaways was the "5 Whys" technique when you encounter a problem. Basically, when something goes wrong at your company, you ask "why did that happen?" to the person most responsible and follow the chain of causality at least 5 steps down. The apparent problem is only the surface symptom; you have to drill down to how it was even possible for that to happen to truly fix it and grow as an organization.
For example, imagine your company website went down during the holiday season, costing thousands in lost sales:
1. Web admin: It got hit by hackers.
2. Security team: The hackers succeeded because the server wasn't patched.
3. IT Manager: The server wasn't patched because the change-management procedures only allow for patching once a year.
4. IT Director: Patching is so infrequent because a critical vendor product on the server breaks from updating any sooner.
5. CTO: The company chose that vendor because it was the only one that could solve our problems at the time.
At first you might blame the server admin or your security team for not securing the server, but digging deeper reveals that a strategic business decision led to the server going down, and it's time to reconsider it.
This technique is highly effective, but takes time and effort to execute well, especially outside of startups. You have to do this with the goal of learning and process improvement or else it turns into a fruitless finger-pointing blame-fest. There's a lot more detail so I recommend checking out the book for yourself just for that technique.
For more in-depth methods for *how* to implement other parts of the Lean strategy, the best books I've found so far are Running Lean and Will It Fly? These offer more step-by-step guides on implementation.
Top international reviews
I really appreciated the book’s celebration that you don’t have all the answers and you shouldn’t if you’re a startup with an innovative solution. The major point, however, is that you shouldn’t pretend or act like you do but embrace the uncertainty and develop an experimental approach to delivering a Minimum Viable Product – build, measure, learn.
I found The Lean Startup not only great for advice, techniques and the analogous stories to help reinforce the approach, but it is an inspirational book that dares you to challenge everything and rationalise with customer validation that your vision is viable and scalable. When a book affects me it starts a chain reaction in my thought process so that I either gain a better understanding of where I need to go or may enable me to articulate what has been sitting just out of reach in my mind. This is one of those books.
Other books that reinforce this new startup environment and are worth reading include:
• Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder
• Four Steps to the Epiphany – Steve Blank
• The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steve Blank
• Running Lean – Ash Maurya
It is slightly biased towards tech companies, partculalrly the product refinement and testing, but there are some nice non-tech case studies that he works through methodically to demonstrate how the lean principles can be applied to any type of startup.
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Im looking to eventually start my own business, and this was recommended to me by a friend who is a CEO of a big company as something that really helped him
Whilst it is slow to get started, its good because it used lots of contextual stories etc
Overall sso far a really interesting read but definitely a challenge to follow in its footsteps
I reckon it'll be 5 stars but seen as ive not yet got through it all yet which is why ive given it 4 at the moment
I firmly believe that if established companies practiced what this books discusses as well, that it would guarantee longevity, greater ROI, more lean and customer relevant products and a much higher efficiency and effectiveness of the development direction of the product and the utilisation of development resources.
I can only strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in startups or who would be keen to optimise current product development efforts in an established business.
even if you never want to run a startup, unit,project, etc., it will teach you some clever perspectives.
I'm in the business of making your customers fall in love with what you do, so would urge caution around some of the 'light product' focus. It's hard for customers to care about something that lacks depth. But we are big fans of the validated learning and build-measure-learn method. In a world of constant change, the advantage will go to those businesses who are open to change, can do so quickly (pivot!) and are passionate about not wasting peoples' time or money.
The real key here is validated learning and doing so as quick as possible. If you're not learning, you're not progressing. Definite must read for anyone starting a modern business
It really focuses on how do things more efficiently and in less time pushing you to validate your assumption before you invest a massive amount of efforts and resources on an untested plan.
Think of it as a "manual" more than a reading...I kept going back to check parts I had bookmarked.
Good time investment.
I have started three businesses and once you get your head around the Lean Startup approach you'll think "duh, why didn't I do that" or "damn, if this book had been around x years ago, I would have saved months / years / tens of thousands on that project"!
I've only given it 4 stars because you then need to read some other books around the subject, pretotype by Alberto Savoia is awesome as is Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden which gives a more 'hands on" approach