Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Lean Startup - Review
The Lean Startup is a book proposing that the way businesses have traditionally started is wasteful, time-consuming, and relies on a lucky turn of the dice more often than not. Eric Ries presents a new way to think about business and a new way to start them in this book. Eric defines a startup as "an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty". In today's world, that applies to all businesses both old and new.
The key to the Lean Startup method is to use the Build-Measure-Learn cycle and to tighten the feedback loop as much as possible. The author start with 5 principles that the entire book is built on:
1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere.
2. Entrepreneurship is management. Your business is a business . . . not just a product.
3. Validated learning. A startup's most vital function. (39)
5. Innovation accounting, or how to measure your progress.
This book has a lot of great examples and provides real methods to improve your business and your creativity while protecting the bottom line. The information that the author gives on testing products before launch, when to launch, and how to launch is easily worth ten times the cost of the book by itself. Testing is something that quite a few business books are pushing these days, but this is the first I have read that gives real world ways to do it other than using Google AdWords.
It would be easy to assume that a book written by an internet entrepreneur might not have much to say about other businesses, but you would be wrong. The fact is, every business is an internet business these days in some way. Whether it is actually run online, uses a website, or you test your business with some of these methods, you will learn how to create lean start-ups for any type of business. In fact, one of the examples that Eric uses is an on the ground laundry service based in India! You can't get much more low-tech than that, and they followed principles of a lean start-up.
The information in this book is valuable, accessible, and most importantly actionable. Buy it, use it - you will greatly increase your chances of creating a business that people are actually interested in. Highly Recommended.
Also: this book is just as valuable for authors as businesses. If you are writing a book that you expect to sell, the principles of testing and examining the market can be applied to writing a book. Would be especially helpful in narrowing down how you want to frame your book.