Introduction to The Lean Startup

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This is a training I did for AOL employees in 2012 along w/ Adam Berk from the Lean Startup Machine

Text of Introduction to The Lean Startup

AOL UnUOctober 23, 2012INTRO TO LEAN

Danny BoiceCo-Founder & CTO, Speek / Resident, AOL Fishbowl LabsTwitter: @DannyBoiceDanny@speek.comAdam BerkDirector, Lean Startup Machine Twitter: @AdamBerk

Eliminate WasteBootstrappingProduct/Market FitPivotIterateAgile DevelopmentProblem/Solution FitCustomer Development??????UX Design


A set of processes used by entrepreneurs to develop products and markets, combining Agile Software Development, Customer Development and existing software platforms (usually FOSS).

Lean = What to buildAgile = How to build

What is a pivot?

A structured course correction designed to test a fundamental new hypothesis about the product.

Build -> Measure -> Learn -> Pivot or Repeat

What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

An MVP is the smallest thing you can build in order to start measuring and learning.

If you aren't ashamed of your product, you shipped too late- Reid Hoffman


Something is fundamentally wrong

Why do products fail?

Big Idea #1The vast majority of products fail NOT because it couldnt be built...

but because nobody wanted the product.

Steve Blank

No business plan survives first contact with customers.

- Steve Blank

Why do products succeed?

Big Idea #2The vast majority of [successful] startups abandoned their initial plans

and learned what would and would not work in the market.

-Clayton Christensen, The Innovators Dilemma


FAILUREThe Secret to Success




NOT Black & White

LEANs Mission:Entrepreneurship & Product is a Management Science that can be Learned

YOUR Mission:Dont Waste Time Building Something Before Learning Whether People Actually Want it

Get Out of the BuildingTALK TO PEOPLE

Customer Development

Who Are They?

Customer Hypothesis&Problem Hypothesis


Uncovers how users think and behaveValidates assumptions/removes biasShows difference between intent and realityProvides direction and data instead of opinion or speculationProvides the ability to inform designWhats the point?

It is NOT Surveys Focus Groups Your Head Friends & Family

Go in with 2 to 3 objectives and have a real conversation. Brant Cooper Know your goals and questions. Giff ConstableUse a script. Ash Maurya

3-POINT INTERVIEW Has [insert specific problem] been a problem for you? (context) Tell me about the last time you dealt with this problem? (story) Whats your ideal solution for this? (solution)

No Selling Allowed

Talking to CustomersWhat is the Problem?Who, What, When, Where, Why, HowAvoid Would & Future TenseThe more you ask someone to imagine something, the less you can trust their dataPeople SAY and DO completely different things.

Find Early AdoptersFOAMING AT THE MOUTH Have the problem Know they have the problem Searched for a solution Hacked their own solution Have budget for a solution

LEAN is ComplexBe Skeptical of Simple Solutions

3-POINT INTERVIEW Has [insert specific problem] been a problem for you? (context) Tell me about the last time you dealt with this problem? (story) Whats your ideal solution for this? (solution)


Use the Validation Board

Use the Manual

Use One Another


MVP MethodProblem Exploration: Exists? Who?Product Pitch: Collect currencyConcierge: Deliver customer experience

Stages increase in opportunity cost3 Stages...

Minimum Success CriterionMake a Prediction:

If we [do this], [numeric] of target customers will [behavior]

Validation BoardIts a valuable communication tool5-7 words in black sharpieWRITE IN ALL CAPSMentors will enforce strongly

Following guidelines = better experience

Validation BoardDemo

Read the fine print on the Canvas

Get Out of the BuildingTALK TO PEOPLE

Intensive 3-Day Workshops200 Workshops Globally in 2013

Danny and Adam - introduce themselvesDanny - here are some of the terms youll see and hear around lean. well briefly talk about them throughout this session.Danny - so to start off I suppose we should answer the most basic question: What is Lean. Ask if anyone in audience knows.Danny - its using the scientific method to determine what to build then using Agile and Free Open Source Software to build it.

Danny - A lot of people get confused about the delineation between Lean and Agile. Lean determines WHAT to build. Agile is HOW you build.

Danny - youll hear this a lot. ask if anyone knows what a pivot is in the audience.Danny - A core concept of Lean is to fail fast. Product dev projects typically have a finite amount of money and resources. The secret is to get it right before you run out of cash. building, measuring and learning is key to that. If you got something wrong then validate it objectively as early as possible and adjust before its too late.

Danny - MVP, ask if anyone knows what this is in audience.Danny - This is probably one of the hardest things to do. As product and tech people we tend to want to wait to let users see our app until its in a very high quality state. Building an MVP and getting it in front of people is the key to Lean. You have to have just the minimum thing to use to start measuring and learning. The sooner the better.

Hand off to Adam to take majority from here.AdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdamAdam - talk about LSM?Adam - talk about LSM?