At the forefront of the lean startup movement is Eric Ries, the creator of the Lean Startup methodology and the author of the popular entrepreneurship blog Startup Lessons Learned. At the San Francisco conference recently, Ries made a clarion call for wiping away our previous conceptions about startup businesses [Video below]:
“I think right now we are wasting peoples time on an industrial scale.. we are building companies that fundamentally have no customers. We are building products that get pulled off the shelves a few weeks after they are launched, after years of R&D… Even the companies that are supposed success stories, the ones that get bought — how many are really living up to their potential, the time talent … energy determination and creativity that was poured into them by their founders and employees.”
The lean startup concept, which has its roots in the software industry, is based on the lean manufacturing philosophy of producing value faster, better and cheaper through continuous, documented improvement. It also borrows from the principles of Agile software development, based on constant interaction with end-users as software is designed and built.
In a traditional startup company, a product is conceived and built, and maybe months or years later is rolled out the door. Lean startups work in tandem with customers to design and build products through a series of rapid prototypes and iterations… yes, very Agile indeed.
You can learn a lot from the startup world. My suggestion is to take a look at not only lean startups, but take a look at Eric’s blog on it as well.