- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Viking (2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670921602
- ISBN-13: 978-0670921607
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,259 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Paperback – 2001
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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.
The useful parts of this book could have been laid out in a few pages. Spoiler: frequent re-evaluation can save you from wasted effort.
I will say this though:
o Eric tells a lot of stories to make his points, and focuses as much on convincing us to buy into the Lean Startup principles as he does teaching them. I like the stories though, and I bet I would really like this guy if I were to meet him.
o Eric sometimes gushes a bit about startups which are so young that I wonder if it is too early to call them a success. For example, Ries spends over 3 pages talking about Obama and Dodd-Frank, and praises the fledgling (at that time) Consumer Federal Protection Bureau for CONSIDERING his suggestion of starting their agency (with its $500 million budget) like it is a lean startup.
Again, these are 3 pages talking about how the CFPB *could* use lean startup methodologies, not about how they have actually used them.
Given the extremely limited usefulness of anecdotes such as these, you can't help but wonder if Eric in those moments more focused on trying to put people's names in a book than he is at giving readers something solid to benefit from.
At any rate, it's still a great book and definitely worth the money.
That said, if you want more of the HOW TOs of Lean Startup, I'm currently reading both Steve Blank's The Startup Owners Manual and Ash Maurya's Running Lean, and while I'm not finished with either of them yet, I can definitely tell you they take Eric's teachings to the next level -- and then some.