The New Lean


“We thought we knew how to predict the future and we were wrong.”

Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

Last night we enjoyed three hours of Eric Ries storming through the key ideas in his book The Lean Startup. The sustainability concept of Zero Waste (nothing to landfill) meets Lean Startup (anything that doesn’t deliver validated learning is waste). Wow.

Time flew. We all seemed to realize that the message, if applied, would revolutionize startup strategies, resource accountability, product development, and possibly our lives. Eric apologized for adding to the lexicon of buzzwords with: “pivot”. : -) Couples no longer breakup they pivot.

In Lean Methodology a pivot is a change in strategic hypothesis based on learning. Pivoting takes courage. Sometimes it contains the possibility of breakthrough success. According to Eric entrepreneurs are known to wait for the “death march” before pivoting. Who hasn’t?

The famous validated learning story of Drop Box was followed by the story of Food On The Table. Their big idea of creating menus, shopping lists, food preferences and linking this to what is available and featured at your local store started with the entrepreneurs interviewing people in one grocery and offering the service for $4.95 a week. Eventually someone signed up. The product didn’t exist so they met their first customer each week at the nearby Starbucks and personally delivered their “product” and collected the payment of $4.95. Their “concierge” MVP (mimimum viable product) approach validated the market: FoodOnTheTable

MVP design as a consulting niche must be on the horizon.

A rich dynamic presentation – with gems for every entrepreneur and startup – the standouts for my early stage product concept, a mobile application that improves self-image and wellness practices adherence, are these:
Systemized Validated Learning – more commonly we categorize by: what is done; what is in progress; what needs to be completed. Adding a column for “validated learning” connects it all.
Brainstorm and experiment with fast, creative ideas for MVP.
Make concrete predictions of customer behavior and test.
Calendar pivot or persevere meetings; know what information you want in the room for that meeting.

The event was filmed for publication.

Now back to MVP brainstorming…

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