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The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

August 5th, 2012

The Lean Startup is a guide book by Eric Ries for enterpreneurs on how to build a successful startup using lean methodology. In fact, The Lean Startup is a business approach coined by Eric Ries that aims to change the way that companies are built and new products are launched

The book cover has this statement: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.
It sounds so much like software development with continuous development or continuous deployment, and it actually is. Something similar to agile software development but to create a successful business.

About 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 which has today has over 40 million users and 2009 revenue over $22 million, and has had plenty of startup failures along the way.

Chapters
The chapters in this book are divided into three distinct parts, namely VISION, STEER and ACCELERATE.

The Lean Startup calls on building a minimum viable product instead of trying to achieve perfection with a product that could never be delivered or results in something that is not wanted by customers. He also encourages the usage of validated learning, learning from testing fundamental business hypotheses (or leap-of-faith assumptions), then take next actions based on the results of such experiments.

The second part of the book goes into the details of the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop which repeats the validated learning and lead the startup’s engine of growth into higher gears.
However, it is also good that the author warns about being happy with vanity metrics. Instead of looking at vanity metrics, a startup should look at actionable or auditable metrics.
While every startup strives for success, it is also common for startups to reach a junction where a decision need to be taken on to pivot or to persevere. This book has a chapter dedicated to pivoting.

The third part goes into details about startup acceleration or growth. However, the author also uses examples from Toyota lean production that stops its manufacturing line whenever a problem is encountered to avoid chain effects on the production. There are many instances where Toyota lean model is used in this book.
The book then ends with a chapter on Innovation, as typically for large organizations, they tend to lose in innovation, creativity and growth.

Marvin’s Take
I got to admit that Lean methodology is not new to me, so a book titled ‘Lean Startup’ rings a bell and I really do not expect to learn anything new other than how to bootstrap a startup, run it with the lowest costs and etc.
I actually bought the book because I thought the price was cheap. At $15, I bought it to see what else is in store.
I was totally wrong that there is nothing new to learn about lean startup. This book does not teach you how to bootstrap or run at lowest costs, but everything else that might have skip the eyes of most entrepreneurs.
Unless you are already a millionaire startup and have a few large organizations under your stable, this book might be useful for you.
Even if you own a couple of large enterprises, some tips in here might prove beneficial too.

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