The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

A friend recommended this book to me and it did not disappoint. The Lean Startup provides a set of principles for how to achieve successful innovation.


Book notes

The function of entrepreneurship is to learn what customers want

Learn by running experiments to see how customers behave

Knowledge gained will suggest new experiments to run

Don’t just take what customers say they want at face value – customers may not know what they want or be able to imagine the solution.

Anything not providing benefit to the customer is waste. Systematically eliminate it.

“If you cannot fail, you cannot learn.”

Break down a plan into assumptions and then work out how to test them

Although we write the feedback loop as Build-Measure-Learn because the activities happen in that order, our planning really works in the reverse order: we figure out what we need to learn, use innovation accounting to figure out what we need to measure to know if we are gaining validated learning, and then figure out what product we need to build to run that experiment and get that measurement.

Minimise the time taken to get through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop

Genchi gembutsu – “go and see for yourself”

Get a good understanding of what customers want

First, sell to one person

Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) work well when they are designed to test specific questions

Reprioritise what to do next, but don’t stop doing tasks that you’ve started

Use actionable metrics that establish cause-and-effect relationships. Analyse cohorts of customers and conduct split-tests.

Make data from experiments easily available to everyone in an organisation

When experiments start to become less effective, and product development slows, consider a pivot. “A pivot is a special kind of change designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, business model, and engine of growth.”

When releasing new products, “check for defects immediately”

Our hypothesis about the customer governs how the product is developed

If revenue from a customer exceeds the cost of acquiring them, the business can grow

Make proportional investments to resolve problems

“Never allow the same mistake to be made twice.”

Working on the wrong things – being ineffective – is wasteful


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