Thoughts on Eric Ries’ Book — The Lean Startup

My first reaction to Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup was “Thank You … this is a very readable book” 🙂 So much more readable than Eric’s recommended must read on Customer Development “The Four Steps to the Epiphany”. ( which I use for my BAEN 502 course at UBC )

Eric’s strength is the addition of rigor to the “creative” process of early stage startups. He takes Steve Blanks concepts and drills down a layer or two. Very practical stuff.

I particularly liked the following

* Definition of a startup (page 27) — A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

* Definition of Quality (page 107 ) — If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is.

* Good descriptions of MVP ( Minimum Viable Product ) in action. A very good discussion of the benefits of small batch size.

* Catalog of Pivots on Page 172. This is a good list to help articulate specifically what one is pivoting on. This concept is often too vague to be practical. ( Zoom in, Zoom out, customer segment, customer need, platform, business architecture, value capture, engine of growth, channel, and technology)

* Engines of Growth metaphor and defines 3 types ( page 209 ). Sticky, Viral, and Paid as the fundamental three that an early venture should focus on. You can only do one at a time.