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The “Lean Startup” concept, explained by its creator, Eric Ries

The concept of “The Lean Startup” is based in a business development method initially posed by Eric Ries, as a result of his experience and learned lessons after being involved in several startups. This method has been growing in popularity during these recent years (in many references it is already being labelled as “movement”), and nowadays it has become one of the main methodological references regarding IT entrepreneurship. In the lecture “The Lean Startup” held within the program “Authors@Google” in may of 2011, Eric Ries explains the origins and key principles of this method.

Here is the video containing the lecture (duration: 58:09):




- "I don’t have the time to watch it."
If you find this topic interesting but a 1-hour video is too much, just use 10 minutes of your time to watch the section between 23:08 and 32:50 time marks, where Eric Ries talks about his own experience as a cofounder of the instant mesagging startup IMVU in 2004 and the lessons he learned in the process. These 10 minutes are a great experience-based summary of the pillars that sustain the lean startup approach. If you’ve ever been involved somehow in the building process of a real IT product, you’ll feel quite identified :-)


- "Ok, I’ll give it a try."
Here is a time&content structure of the lecture, so you can organize your time better:
  • (00:00-02:27) Introducing his professional background (and the book he was editing at that time).
  • (02:27-03:50) The 5 main principles of the “lean startup” approach and how they are interconnected.
  • (03:50-11:51) Principle #1: "Entrepreneurs are everywhere". What is a startup? Were “Ghostbusters” a startup? :-) Where does entrepreneurs’ time go? Which are (and are not) a startup’s features?
  • (11:51-22:05) Principle #2: "Entrepreneurship is management". Evolution from the concept of management based on Taylor’s thesis to the kind of management really necessary for a startup. The “lean manufacturing” principles (Deming, Ohno) and the idea of pivoting. Using these ideas in software development (Agile Product Development).
  • (22:05-32:50) Principle #3: "Validated learning". The "Customer Development" principle developed by Steve Blank. Eric Ries’ personal experience during the process of launching the startup IMVU.
  • (32:50-35:54) Principle #4: "Build-Measure-Learn". The concept of the "Minimum Viable Product". The notion of pivoting as a cycle through the Build-Measure-Learn loop, trying to minimize total time through the loop.
  • (35:54-44:58) Principle #5: "Innovation Accounting". How to deploy accounting (as in “being accountable/responsible for some results”) in a startup’s context. 
  • (44:58-58:09) Final conclusions and Q&A's.


 - "Sounds cool, I'll bookmark it!"
There are several sources at hand if you want to explore the topic further, such as the book published in 2011, or the blog “Startup Lessons Learned” where Eric Ries has been publishing his thoughts about the subject since 2008, and there the idea that eventually led to the method started to grow. As a side note, the Lean Startup Conference 2013 to be held in San Francisco starts on Dec 9th (next Monday).

[Haz clic aquí para la versión en español de esta entrada]

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