The Lean Startup: 25 IdeaMenschers utilizing lean startup philosophy

[quote style=”boxed”]“Don’t be in a rush to get big. Be in a rush to have a great product.” – Eric Ries[/quote]

By now, the story of Eric Ries’ journey to the creation of the book, The Lean Startup is well-known:

Entrepreneur starts anonymous blog to document his lean startup philosophy. Blog becomes so popular, entrepreneur begins to devote all of his time to the Lean Startup project through speaking engagements, holding conferences, and writing blog posts. The blog eventually turns into the book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Ries is credited with being the pioneering the Lean Startup movement.

This got me wondering what kind of impact Ries’ words have had on interviewees at IdeaMensch, a site “where entrepreneurs share their stories.”

I pulled some data to start and found 25 unique interviews that mention “Eric Ries.”  Some of the mentions are brief, i.e. the book title is referenced, while some interviewees provide some narrative on how exactly this philosophy has affected their entrepreneurial efforts. Here’s a few of our favorites…

Ben Mappen – How do you bring ideas to life?

“Before I had ever heard of Steve Blank or The Lean Startup I would get new ideas and lock myself in a closet for 6 months building them, blinded by the excitement of just launching.  Believe me when I tell you that this didn’t work out so well.  I know a little better now.  These days, before we build anything, we try to validate it as much as possible by testing core assumptions in the market with experiments or by simply talking to customers.  Only after an idea is validated do we invest in the most expensive activity, which is development.”

Alex Glassey – What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?

“I started up a software company. I had a great idea, wrote the business plan, raised some money, developed the product and was reasonably happy with it. But when we took it to the market, we didn’t have the success we had hoped for. That wasn’t the failure; the failure was that I didn’t pause. I kept the product development team going, I pushed on with marketing initiatives. I knew deep down that it wasn’t working, but the company had a life of its own and I found it very difficult to press the pause button. What I should have done was stopped everything and dug down into the product. I should have gotten in front of our customers, asked them what they liked and they didn’t like, and tried to understand why we weren’t getting traction.

I was schooled in the old way of thinking where you tell funders what you want money for, you raise the money, and then you spend it like you said you would. You get the momentum going and keep it going. But when it’s not going well, it’s important to press pause, conserve the capital and figure out what to do differently, even if it means spending the money differently than you said you would. To use Eric Ries’ nomenclature of The Lean Startup, you take a three-month or six-month “burst”, work hard, pause and see what you’ve got. If it’s working as it is, keep going; if it’s not, it’s time to “pivot.””

Matt Connolly – How do you bring ideas to life?

“A while back, I enjoyed getting into the Eric Ries “Lean Startup” thinking. There’s some good stuff in it. I guess I mix some of that with my own experience of building businesses.

I’m obsessive about validating a business idea early. Failing fast, learning quickly and iterating until you’re confident you have a model you can scale.”

Raphael Paulin-Daigle – What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

“  I find that is an awesome tool for entrepreneurs because it gives you the chance to speak directly with successful entrepreneurs like Eric Ries, Sean Rad and Dan Martell, just to name a few. I used it several times and found it very useful when I needed some clarity when building Idealinput. It’s great!”

Elizabeth Yin – If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

“Before LaunchBit, I had a company called Parrotview that failed. It was a social shopping application and it failed because we spent too long (1.5 years, mostly nights and weekends) building and building something that ultimately no one wanted. This was before Eric Ries started hitting the pavement with his Lean Startup philosophy. If I could do it over again, I would take the poker approach we used with LaunchBit.”

And what about you?

Has The Lean Startup book and/or its philosophy affected your entrepreneurial endeavors? How has it done so? At IdeaMensch, we’d love to hear from you regarding what you do, what you’ve learned as an entrepreneur, and how you’re bringing ideas to life. Learn how to get featured on IdeaMensch. We’re waiting for you.

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Interviews that mention “The Lean Startup”: 35

Interviews that mention “Eric Ries”: 25

Interviews that mention “lean”: 75