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Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in companies of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
Even though most startups and new products fail, we're still entranced as a culture with the rags-to-riches romance of entrepreneurial stories of solitary striving, perseverance, and creative genius. The 30-something founder and CTO of the startup IMVU, Ries developed the strategy he calls the Lean Startup: the application of lean thinking to the process of innovation. His theory of the Lean Startup works according to five principles: entrepreneurs are everywhere; entrepreneurship is management; validated learning; build-measure-learn; and innovation accounting. He recounts his successes and failures, analyzes the success of startups Groupon and Dropbox, and suggests ways to help people develop techniques that allow startups to grow without sacrificing the speed and agility that are their lifeblood. Ultimately, his goal is to both reduce waste in innovation and to keep the startup industry independent and not merely a feeder system for giant media companies and investment banks. While his ideas are solid, the topic long overdue, the writing is almost prohibitively dry and pedantic.