The Lean Startup


The Lean Startup is a book by entrepreneur and investor Eric Ries. A must read for product managers and leaders in companies large and small!
  1. Successful entrepreneurship is about designing an organization to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.  Your most vital function is learning.
  2. You can only innovate at the speed of the experimentation system.
  3. Success is learning how to solve the customer's problem. You should constantly be identifying assumptions, then test them using a minimum viable product, then correct course and repeat with your next assumption.  Use the Build, Measure, Learn cycle.  Set learning milestones, and diligently tracking your learning.  Practice Innovation Accounting by rolling up your learning plan into innovations that have been validated.  Use methods such as Kanban to track your progress.  For Kanban, have a table with the following columns: "Backlog" "In Progress" "Built" "Validated" and cap the number of items per column at, say 3, projects.  Each project moves through the column stages but you must move them all the way through the validate stage before you can start new projects.  This keeps your team honest about validating assumptions.
  4. A startup's runway is the number of pivots it still has left, not the number of months.
  5. Four questions to ask about your product idea to make sure you can sell it once it is built.  Your new customers will come from the actions of past customers, so be sure you are solving a customer need.
    1. Do customers recognize that they have the problem you are trying to solve?
    2. If there was a solution, would they buy it?
    3. Would they buy it from you?
    4. Can you build a solution for that problem? 
  6. Bonus lesson, since this post is about learning: There are three types of growth and your company may be using a combination of these growth engines:
    1. Sticky (track attrition rate or churn rate, your new customer must be > churn rate)
    2. Viral (makes sure your viral coefficient is >1)
    3. Paid (your cost per conversion must be < profit per conversion)