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The Lean Startup [Review]

Posted by on January 11th, 2012

The Lean Start Up - Eric Ries
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is the new hot method for starting business, developing products and revolutionising large companies that lack the ability to innovate. Based on the scientific study of constant innovating and the principles of Toyota’s lean manufacturing process, Ries aims to give the reader a practical and actionable set of methodologies for success.

Eric Ries is a veteran entrepreneur after he successfully created the company IMVU. It is Ries’ research, and findings at IMVU that form the basis of The Lean Startup. Ries talks about the company’s early failures to develop a successful product, and how their early features were completely different to what their users wanted. It was from that failure that Ries found the system of lean manufacturing, that had been developed at Toyota, and how he came to create the foundation principles of The Lean Startup.

Much of Ries’ work has been based on the findings of previous writers and successful business people. As mentioned, Toyota’s lean manufacturing process was a large inspiration, as well as the work of Clayton M. Christensen, Geoffrey A. Moore and Steve Blank.

The Lean Start up provides the reader with a clear methodology for taking a vision and scientifically proving if it could viably become a successful business. Ries shows how we must experiment and learn from what works and what does not, and dismisses certain “vanity metrics” that have lead to the failure of many successful companies. By showing how IMVU uses continuous deployment, short batch cycles and measuring the correct metrics, you can learn what works and what does not as quickly as possible.

One of the most profound aspects of the book is the way Ries talks about startup runway. In most circles, this means the amount of time the company has in months at the current burn rate. Ries however, states that this should in fact be thought of how many pivots the company has left to find a successful company. Ries gives a fresh outlook on many of these startup business fallacies and provides the reader with a clear and conscise way of maximising their chance of success.

The Lean Start up is a must read for anyone who either is looking to start their own company, or who is in charge of leading an innovative new product in a large existing company.

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Philip Brown

Hey, I'm Philip Brown, a designer and developer from Durham, England. I create websites and web based applications from the ground up. In 2011 I founded a company called Yellow Flag. If you want to find out more about me, you can follow me on Twitter or Google Plus.