Jun
12
2012

Lean Startup Machine Workshop & what I learned there

Lean Startup Machine Workshop & what I learned there

Lean Startup Machine Workshop & what I learned there

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Lean Startup Machine Workshop in San Francisco.

Conceptually, the “lean startup” approach wants to ensure that you don’t waste your time when you have a new idea. The approach is simple – if you have an idea, do not stay shut in your room for months, before you launch your product in the market, just to realize that nobody wants it! The most important thing when you have a new idea is to “get out of the building” in order to understand if your customers really need your product.

Wow, cool … so?

Well, the idea of lean startup may not look too simple because it is not. However, I want to talk about the most important points I learned:

  1. Put your major assumptions on paper: who are your early adopters? The answer “whole world” is not the case. Who are the people, most affected by the problem, you want to solve? What is the problem (there is always a problem) that you are going to solve? What could be the solution?
  2. What is the riskiest assumption that you are doing? Decide which assumption is it, if invalidated, would collapse your awesome product.
  3. Get out of the building! Once you’ve found the riskiest assumption, get out of the building (do it really) and find your potential early adopters in order to invalidate your assumption. Please note, I wrote INVALIDATE it, not validate it! The risk here is that when you talk to people, you might try to make them say that your idea is fantastic.
  4. If the assumption is not invalidated, go ahead with your next riskiest assumption.
  5. Do you not have any other potentially risky assumptions? Very good, get real proof that your customers would buy your product. How? Get them to pay money as a proof that the person in front of you is really interested. Warning: it is useless to ask “Would you buy my product?” Many will say yes because maybe, they could be interested in a far future. They could say yes just to avoid giving you a negative feedback about the idea you love. Or just to get rid of you!

As I wrote before, the process is not trivial to implement. However, it is so powerful, just in that weekend, I saved hundreds of hours of development!

There are many points to lean startup approach that could be clarified. I loved the workshop because I’ve made sure that I practice the above points. There are many things I learned: how to define your early adopters, what kind of questions you may ask them, what are the metrics to understand on how to validate or invalidate an assumption, etc…

If you want to have more info about the lean startup approach I recommend (if you have not already read) the book by Eric Ries.

If you have any clarifications or wish to know more details, just ask in the comments section ;-)

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About the Author:

Maurizio Conventi is a software engineer with passion for travels, startup and usability. On his blog he writes about front-end technologies. Follow Maurizio on Twitter: @mconventi to connect with him.

  • http://twitter.com/seanspector Sean Spector

    great post! I too attended a Lean startup machine weekend in Toronto. What an eye-opening experience. Great learnings. Most important for me was customer development and product development. If you ask the questions you’ll always get the answers you need to target the right people and to develop the right solution. Too many people spend months, if not years in their basements working on the “next big thing”, but in actuality, all they need to do is “get out of the building” and find out if they are building what the people truly want (or in most cases need/can’t live without). MVP’s for product development is the single best way to test the waters. Would love to connect and hear your stories from the weekend. Our team won and I am currently consulting with startups (besides working on my own) to help them think lean and develop a customer base and product before launch.

  • http://twitter.com/bradcoughlin bradcoughlin

    Did you attend for a weekend or just a day? I’m headed to LSM L.A. this September. Would love to know more about your experience. I can shoot you an E-mail as well (if I can find it). Thanks!

    • Maurizio Conventi

       A full weekend! It is a really interesting experience because you can make practice with the Lean Startup approach. You can contact me also on twitter @mconventi:twitter

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