Simplify: The Lean Startup — Eric Ries

“Startups don’t starve; they drown” in ideas. Make sure you pick the ideas that affect growth and are right.

I go into detail below, but my 20 takeaways are:

  • Focus on validating learning through proving hypotheses
  • Build-Measure-Learn as quickly as possible with MVPs
  • Go see the issues for yourself — see customers and use the product
  • MVPs are meant to be shit
  • Concierge MVPs seem bad but aren’t
  • Vanity metrics will kill you suddenly; establish and measure key metrics
  • Cohort analysis on key behaviours can save you
  • Pivots require courage and are tricky
  • Periodically have pivot or persevere meetings
  • There are loads of pivots
  • Small batches (of work) work best
  • Stop everything for errors — it can reduce errors
  • Engines (methods) of growth
  • Sticky growth — the minimum amount of growth
  • Viral growth — why 1 customer referring 1 friend isn’t good enough
  • The “5 whys” help you find issues that you can fix
  • Cross functional teams are the best
  • How to win with cross functional teams
  • Productivity can stop success
  • Vanity is lying to yourself

Point 1: Validated Learning

  • People want to create sharable galleries
  • People’s friends would want to interact with them and upload photos

Point 2: Minimise the loop

Credit: Eric Ries — SlideShare

Point 3: Go see for yourself — Genchi Gembutsu

Point 4: MVPs should be shit

Point 5: Concierge can be king

Point 6: Vanity Metrics will kill you

Point 7: Cohort Analysis

Point 8: To pivot is to have courage

Most people will say they wish they did it sooner.

Point 9: Pivot or Persevere

Point 10: Catalogue of Pivots

  • Zoom in — 1 feature becomes the product
  • Zoom out — product becomes a feature
  • Customer Segment — change who you serve
  • Customer Need — solve a different problem
  • Platform — allow 3rd parties to jump onboard you service
  • Business Architecture — switch between high margin/low volume or low margin/high volume
  • Value Capture — typically how do you get paid (subscription, one off, etc.)
  • Engine of Growth — explained later
  • Channel — how you deliver your product/service
  • Technology — would it be better with new technology?

Point 11: Small batches win

Point 12: Andon cords

Point 13: Engines of Growth

  • Word of mouth — Your customers are your advertisers
  • Side effect of product usage — Customers involve other future customers
  • Advertising (* so long as it is sustainable — ie. cost of acquisition doesn’t outweigh revenue)
  • Repeated purchase

Point 14: Is your growth sticky?

Point 15: Is your growth Viral?

Point 16: Root cause analysis with 5 whys

Point 17: Cross Functional Team

Point 18: Sandboxes

  1. Allow any team to run an experiment but they must complete it
  2. No experiment can be longer than a few weeks
  3. You can only affect a small portion of customers
  4. 5–10 metrics must be defined and evaluated
  5. Any project within the experiment must be measure with the same metrics
  6. Monitor the metrics constantly. If something bad happens kill and undo the experiment.

Point 19: Productivity isn’t excellence

Point 20: Don’t lie to yourself




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