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The Lean Startup

Continuous Innovation To Create Successful Businesses

Eric Ries

Build-measure-learn loop. Learn what people want as early as possible rather than spend huge amount of time building what you think they want.

Lean defines value as providing benefits that the customer values. Everything else is waste. Doesn't care how it's put together, only that it works properly.

Question shouldn't be "Can this be built?" but "Should this be built?" and "Can we build a sustainable business around this product?"

"1) Do customers recognize they have a problem they want solved. 2)If there was a solution, would they pay for it? 3) Would they buy it from us? 4) Can we build it?" Problem is that most companies skip straight to 4) and build before testing demand.

Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve a customer's problem.

Need to build the minimum necessary to start learning; everything else is waste, because usually becomes obsolete. Makers get worried about quality because don't want to get a rep for poor product. But until you know who your customers are, you don't know how they define 'quality'.

Author had business (IMVU) which used avatars for personal interaction. Customers wanted to be able to move their avatars around. This was a problem because programming all the moving of arms and legs without hitting obstacles, was time-consuming and expensive. So as a QAD fix, they enabled teleporting. And turned out the customers loved it - they didn't want the hassle of manoevring their avatars, they just wanted them in another place asap.

Farbood Nivi started Grockit to replace traditional lecture-style one-to-many education model. He used a combination of lectures, individual study and peer-to-peer instruction/learning.

Used split testing to uncover features that engineers and designers thought improvements but had no impact on customer behaviour.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop started as an antique shop in 1977, then started to sell sandwiches as a way of driving traffic. Pretty soon they dropped the antiques.

School of One customises lessons to each student's readiness and learning style.

Hospital pharmacies often have one daily delivery of pills etc to each ward, in name of efficiency - just one trip. But turned out this actually meant extra work because ward situation changed between time ordered and when delivered - patients moved or discharged or doctor altered regimen - and so medicine had to be returned and reintegrated into supply chain. Worked much better to have several small deliveries each day.

The Five Whys sometimes goes wrong because turns into the Five Blames. Instead of identifying the root process that is going wrong, someone gets blamed. Invariably someone who isn't there. Hence the need to make sure that everyone affected by the problem is in the room during the analysis.

The mantra: "If a mistake happens, shame on us for making it so easy to make that mistake."

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