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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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Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in companies of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
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From the Publisher
Build-measure-learn Feedback Loop
The Build-Measure-Learn Feedback loop is at the core of the Lean Startup model.
Classic Product Chart
Startups have a destination in mind: creating a thriving and world-changing business. I call that the startup's vision. To achieve that vision, startups employ a strategy, which includes a business model, a product road map, a point of view about partners and competitors, and ideas about who the customer will be. The product is the end result of this strategy.
The Revised Chart
Products change constantly through the process of optimization. Less frequently, the strategy may have to change (called a pivot). However, the overarching vision rarely changes. Entrepreneurs are committed to seeing the startup through to that destination. Every setback is an opportunity for learning how to get where they want to go.
"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.
- ASIN : 0307887898
- Publisher : Currency; 1st Edition (September 13, 2011)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780307887894
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307887894
- Item Weight : 1.09 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.9 x 1.15 x 8.45 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2021
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Several key aspects I liked:
- the author employed the strategies in real-world settings and shared both positive and negative outcomes
- the repetition of the key ideas in different contexts really helped to drive the main point home
- the customer-driven / client-driven nature of the entire process
- finally, perhaps most of all, the drive to streamline the entire entrepreneurial process with quick-to-market prototypes and measurement strategies designed to spark useful iterations.
I'm quite new to Lean approaches, and this was a great and useful primer.
The Lean Startup model focuses on creating a minimum viable product for the market and receiving customer feedback along the way to improve the product. Oftentimes a rough draft of a working product is enough to gain valuable feedback and ideas that would never have been thought of if the project had been refined to death by its developers. What if your team toiled away for years creating advanced software and the finished product doesn’t have the features the customer really wanted? Avoid this mistake. The Lean Startup methodology is a way to ensure the final product is as optimized as possible.
Eric also introduces pivots as a means to take a new approach, if necessary, instead of starting over from scratch. This is in contrast to the old way of doing business where a product is launched only when it is fully functional and high quality in the creator’s eyes. Oftentimes, perfectionism can be costly both in time and in money. Eric does a wonderful job outlining how a product (online or physical) can be built and refined from a customer feedback loop.
Not only does The Lean Startup serve as a methodical roadmap for creating your business efficiently and effectively, but also the book delves into startup metrics that will give a new meaning to how you measure your progress. Ries calls this “innovation accounting”. Innovation accounting is a way of looking past the headline numbers such as revenue growth and instead tracking changes in customer adoption, retention and usage patterns.
A successful startup does not just flourish because of a brilliant idea. Success in a condition of uncertainty (in this case innovation) requires managing people through all the challenges of innovation and growth. It means understanding your customer and keying in on statistics that tell the true story of progress. Whether you are a product developer for a company or an executive at a high-tech startup or even a fresh-faced college graduate, this book benefits positions from all perspectives in every industry.
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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
Top reviews from other countries
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
Most important is the idea that you must prove your product or service innovation out in the market quickly.
There is so much uncertainty involved with developing an original product idea that traditional management techniques evolved in established businesses are inadequate in start-ups.
Instead, develop a minimum viable product (MVP) to test key elements of your business idea and get it out to potential customers. See what their response rates are compared with your expectations. Keep learning and innovating until you have a product that is proven and a marketing method that works effectively.
While I've spent more than 30 years studying marketing, I'm an accountant by training. I found the section on innovation accounting and cohort analysis to be an eye-opener.
This is an outstanding book. While its origins lie in software application development, the concepts have been proven in a vast range of different industries. In some ways, it echoes ideas in Michael Masterson excellent book "Ready, Fire, Aim" that also emphases the vital importance of early validation of a business idea in the market.
This is very highly recommended.
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck.
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
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.