Growing up in Africa I watched my father travelling different parts of the world for business purpose in a way or another it has kindled my fascination of being a business owner. As a college student following graduation from Penn State Harrisburg, I’m planning to work in accounting and finance where I’m hoping to gain skills and experience that are going to assist me in realizing my ambition of starting my business probably 10 years from now. It is part of that long-term goal and the desire of learning from other people businesses’ insights and endeavors I decide to search on Eric Ries.
Ranked 12th in 2015, and 16th in 2017 on Thinkers 50 list, Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and the author of Lean Startup and The Startup Way, New York times bestselling. Following his graduation from Yale University in 2001, he began working as a software engineer at Silicon Valley more precisely with THERE Inc. Two years later Ries, left THERE Inc.
and joined Will Harvey in 2004 to co found IMVU where he served as CTO until 2008. Eric does a lot of consulting for startups, big corporation, and venture capital firm, He guides companies on business and product strategy. In 2010 Eric was named an entrepreneur in residence at Harvard Business School. He is also constantly being invited at business events where he shares his business insights. Eric is a resident of San Francisco with his wife and two children. Now that I introduced Eric Ries, next let’s look in details his most influential work “Lean Startup methodology’’ that has been written about in different business journal such as the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and various blogs but, also has revolutionized the practice of business all over the world.
Eric Ries lean startup methodology encompasses three different parts Vision, Steer, Acceleration plus the experience he had while he was working with IMVU. In the book (Lean Startup) he focused his ideas around the notion of build-measure-learn feedback loop and the validated learning primarily to change the means of building startups and how their new products are distributed. He presented vision as a common mission both for startups and large companies that been in business for many years. To attain that vision, all businesses need to use a strategy that will enable to build a successful business model. For Mr. Ries a startup Vision should be built on learning and experiments. This is where the organization will figure out it validated learning. The startup will launch various experiments to determine what product does work and does not work by starting with low-quality prototype. Instead of not charging customers, charge them from day one and set low-volume revenue goals for measuring performance. However, it is important for the startup to select customers that are not reluctant to changes or test a product and more tolerable (early adopters) of the quality of the prototype.
The core of the lean startup model is the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop (see Exhibit1). After launching the prototype, the aim is to quickly learn and improve the product based on feedback from users. Eric displayed that it is at the Steer stage where after putting the product out for carefully selected customers (early adopters), tested the different assumptions starting from the riskiest one and collected the results that the startup will determine whether or not it should pivot or persevere. The number of pivots a startup can make is its runway. There are different types of pivots such as zoom-in pivot, zoom-out pivot, customer segment Pivot… all of them backed up with a definition or an example.
The final stage for a startup is Accelerate. Eric exposed approaches that empower lean startups to speed their business model through the Build- Measure- Learn feedback loop. He displayed lean manufacturing ideas that are applicable to startups such as, the small-batch approach even though it seems to be inefficient. Nevertheless, the small batch approach is efficient in detecting defection as well as receiving very useful feedback from customers. Eric discusses organizational design and how products grow. As a startup expands it is required to adapt the changing customer base. Early adopters are more tolerable of the quality; average customers are not. That’s something startups should keep mind when they are growing.
In summary, the Lean Startup strategy grows companies that constantly invest and innovate to be more productive in a very tight market where you have lot of competitions. The lean startup methodology counts on validated learning, build-measure-learn feedback loop through scientific experiments to measure the progress. The lean startup approach alert companies to change directions and shift their plans very quickly whenever the needs rise. Instead of wasting their time developing business The Lean Startup provides entrepreneurs means of conquering the market in an age when businesses need to be creative more than ever.