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Showing posts with label events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label events. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New York Lean Startup Week

SXSW was amazing and exhausting. We'll have slides and video from our Lean Startup track posted soon. Don't forget to vote to help choose a Lean Startup SXSW Challenge winner. (You can follow the slide presentation on Slideshare here.) Next week, I travel to New York, where I'm especially excited to see the entrepreneurial renaissance that is in progress, first hand.

I am declaring next week to be officially Lean Startup Week in New York City. Here's why:

NYU, Tues. 3/29 6-9pm - Demo Competition & Interview with Eric Ries
NYU's Himelberg Speaker Series brought to you by the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation with help from Tech@NYU
Columbia, Weds. 3/30 6-9pm - Discussion with Eric Ries, brought to you by the Columbia Venture Community
The Columbia Venture Community and the Columbia Journalism School are pleased to bring Eric Ries to campus on Wednesday, March 30th at 6pm for an evening of frank conversation.
 These events all have limited availability:
If you can't make it to one of those events, here are some upcoming opportunities on my speaking tour:
And you certainly will not want to miss the Startup Lessons Learned Conference 2011, which will take place on May 23 in San Francisco. That will be my last major public appearance for a while, as I'll need to take some time to recover before the book comes out. It will feature an amazing lineup, which we'll announce shortly.

Hope you can make it to one or more of these events. If so, be sure to come say hello.

(Special thanks to Trevor Owens for helping to organize my New York trip.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Lean Startup Intensive is tomorrow at Web 2.0 Expo

I'm extremely excited that tomorrow is the Lean Startup Intensive at Web 2.0 Expo. This is basically your last chance to sign up, and if you do so, the fine folks at TechWeb have offered me a last minute 25% discount code that you can use: websf10lean25.

The agenda for the day is below. As you can see, this is a new collection of speakers and case studies, in an intimate venue, which should allow maximum dialog between presenters and attendees.
Session 1 9:00-10:15
Eric Ries: Welcome & Introduction to Lean Startup 9:00-9:30
Steve Blank: Customer Development 9:30-10:15

AM Break 10:15 - 10:45

Session 2 10:45-12:00
Sean Ellis: Product/Market Fit & the Startup Pyramid 10:45-11:30
Matt Brezina: Xobni case study, "The 5 stages of Xobni's growth and 5 pivots along the way" 11:30-12:00

Lunch 12:00 - 1:00

Session 3 1:00-2:15
Dave McClure: Startup Metrics 1:00-1:35
Dan Martell & Ethan Bloch: Flowtown Case Study 1:35-1:55
David Binetti: Votizen Case Study 1:55-2:15

PM Break 2:15 - 2:45

Session 4 2:45-4:00
Panel: Investing in the era of the lean startup 2:45-3:45
- Moderator: Dave McClure
- Panelists: Ann Miura-Ko, Josh Kopelman, Jeff Clavier
Hiten Shah & KISSmetrics team: Case study 3:45-4:15

Joint session with the Applied Communilytics Intensive (including Q&A with Eric Ries, Sean Power, and Alistair Croll) 4:15-5:00
 I hope you'll join us. If you do, please come say hello.

PS. For those of you planning to attend the full Web 2.0 Expo, I'll also be presenting a keynote on the main stage on Tuesday at 4:45pm: "The Lean Startup: Innovation Through Experimentation. Not Just for Startups Anymore."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lean Enterprise Institute webinar, April 28

I can barely write, as I'm still recovering from the amazing but overwhelming Startup Lessons Learned conference last Friday (great summary here). I'll follow up with a more detailed post later, but for now let me just say: thank you to everyone who participated, spoke, sponsored or helped organize. It exceeded my expectations totally.

Want to learn more about lean startups? Want to talk about applying the lessons beyond software, internet, and small companies? The Lean Enterprise Institute, the official keepers of lean, are hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, April 28. Details are below. This will be a unique cross-cultural meeting between entrepreneurs and traditional lean experts. I believe we have much to learn from each other.

920 people from over sixty countries have already signed up to attend - help us break 1000 by registering here.
Lean Startups
Lean mindsets and methods for innovation in any company
a free webinar featuring:
Eric Ries
April 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM EDT

The "Lean Startup" is the application of lean thinking to the process of innovation in startup companies — defined as a type of business where both the problem (customer need) and the solution (product) are unknown. Traditional product development efforts often invest millions of dollars and years of time into one fixed product concept that is assumed to meet known customer needs — creating a high level of risk that the "waste of overproduction" occurs and creating a product that customers reject. The "Lean Startup" methodology, instead, tests new ideas early and cheaply, with early and frequent customer feedback. Critical to product success is creating a learning feedback loop that's company-wide, continuously testing new ideas so that idea failure doesn't have to equal company failure. Iterating more quickly is the key to success rather than having the one initial perfect concept.

Since successful startups grow into larger mature companies, how do the lessons from "Lean Startups" apply? How can businesses of all shapes and sizes use lean methods to be innovative and disruptive? Where a startup is a high uncertain opportunity in a highly uncertain business, how can more stable businesses use these methods for their new uncertain products or ideas? How do familiar lean manufacturing mind sets and philosophies for quality management, training, and problem solving contribute to innovation?

Specifically, you will learn:
  • How to define "value" in an innovation setting
  • What is a "minimum viable product" and why is that preferable to big batch
  • How to create a blame-free development culture that encourages learning, root
    cause problem identification, and improvement
  • How a process focus can lead to discipline, not bureaucracy
  • How to apply the right learnings from "Lean Startups" to a non-startup environment
Who Should Attend:
This webinar is designed for a broad audience: everyone who is interested in learning how companies with unknown problems and solutions can use rapid P-D-C-A cycles to better understand and meet customer needs. This is intended for anybody who is working on new innovations, whether that means continuous improvement at the front lines, or new product development in a mature manufacturing company.
I hope you'll join us. More information is available here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Startup Lessons Learned - the Conference (April 23, 2010 in SF)

Today we are opening up registration for the first ever Startup Lessons Learned Conference on April 23, 2010 in San Francisco. I'm incredibly excited. The event is being produced in partnership with Charles Hudson, who puts on many of Silicon Valley's top events, including the forthcoming Freemium Summit.

The Startup Lessons Learned Conference is by-and-for entrepreneurs, and only entrepreneurs. We have a lineup of speakers who are primarily active practitioners of the lean startup methodology. They'll be speaking about their real-life experiences trying to put these ideas into practice. You'll also have a chance to hear from the leading lights of the lean startup movement, including Steve Blank, Sean Ellis, Dave McClure, and many more.

I have spent a lot of time over the past few years experimenting with what helps startup teams adopt new practices. One pattern has been overwhelmingly clear: it works best when a cross-functional team hears about new ideas all at the same time. As a result, we've built this event to be best experienced by teams, not just individuals. We have special team tickets; these teams will have special seating at the event and special access to mentors, who can answer questions and suggest ways to incorporate ideas from the speakers into each team's company.

This event is for present and future entrepreneurs only - not service vendors or investors. If you are working on new product development in any sized company, you are welcome to attend. Remember, a startup is "a human institution designed to create something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty." If that describes your job, you're welcome to attend. (We will reserve a limited number of spots for sponsors to attend; if you'd like to become a sponsor, please get in touch.)

For those that are able to make the trip to San Francisco, I hope you'll make the effort. I think this is going to be a one of a kind event, and you'll be glad you came. That said, for those who cannot make the trip, we're working to provide simulcast venues in cities around the world. We'll have more details shortly. In the meantime, if you'd like to attend remotely, or volunteer to host a viewing, please sign up as part of this survey. And for those of you who have already volunteered, please stay tuned for details.

A partial list of speakers and mentors is posted on the registration page. More will be posted as we're able to confirm them. If you'd like to nominate someone to be a speaker or mentor, please feel free to leave a comment on this post. We'll consider all nominees; when possible, please include a link to a video of them speaking or to a relevant blog post.

Last, I always try to have a scholarship program for paid events, and this one is no exception. If you'd like to sponsor a scholarship for a deserving startup that can't afford to make the trip, please let me know. At past events, the generosity of these scholarships has been amazing, and has meant a whole host of interesting people were able to benefit who would not have been able to otherwise. To those who can make a donation, you have my thanks. We'll post details of how to apply for scholarships after we get a sense for how many we will be able to award.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kiwi lean startup + Australia next

Wrapping up a fabulous few weeks in New Zealand, where I had the privilege of attending some great events, like Kiwi Foo and Webstock; met some amazing entrepreneurs and inventors (yes, including a jet pack); and generally enjoyed a supportive and enthusiastic reception. I want to especially thank the dozens of Kiwis who acted as my guardians and escorts from place to place, even driving me around on the wrong side of the road

Every tourist will tell you that New Zealand is a beautiful country, and they are not kidding.

I would add that the people I met were extraordinarily welcoming, friendly, and humble. In fact, you have to learn to adjust to the humility. Quite a few Kiwis told me that they "didn't count" as entrepreneurs, even though they own their own business. Their supposed lack of ambition was belied by the many cool demos and startups I got to meet. If you're in Europe, for example, keep an eye out for the innovative YikeBike, a new kind of personal transport device. It was described to me as "what the Segway should have been." Overall, I came away from the experience optimistic about the potential of New Zealand to cultivate a significant startup hub. I look forward to seeing it happen. If anyone is interested, the Wellington Lean Startup Meetup is a good place to start.

Up next is an extremely brief stop in Australia. I'm particularly looking forward to inaugurating the Sydney Lean Startup meetup. We'll be kicking it off with an event featuring yours truly Monday March 1 at 6pm. If you're a Sydney entrepreneur, I hope you'll stop by. Last time I checked, there were still a few half-price tickets left. You can register here.

Most of the events I did here were private, so there aren't as many videos and slides available. For now, you'll have to make do with the slides from my keynote at Webstock:

Hopefully, video of that talk will be available soon. For a preview, you can check out this "backstage pass" interview, which was recorded at Kiwi Foo a few days before.

I also did a radio interview on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon program. You can hear me attempt to explain the ideas behind the lean startup to the general public in MP3 or Ogg.

Webstock generated a lot of follow-on commentary, including a number of reviews. For a good synopsis of my talk (and the other keynotes), check out . I also recorded an interview with them, which should be in the next issue of their extremely cool-looking print magazine. Other write-ups: NZ Herald, gianouts, Te Ara, Public Address, Bibliophile, BIB. Also, if you're an event organizer, check out some of the innovative ways the Webstock team encouraged attendees to interact with each other and with the speakers. Highlights for me were the Webstock Game and Webstock Bingo.

Last, if you didn't get a chance to see it, be sure to check out this video of the closing performance for Webstock (which was also an award show called the ONYAs). It was mind-expanding:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Speaking 2010: Webstock, GDC, Web 2.0, and more

I've been trying hard to cut back on travel in 2010 so as to have more time for writing. I started to feel like my blog became too much of a travel diary last year - and I still have many videos and presentations from last fall that I haven't shared yet. If you'd like to see me speak this year, there are only a few opportunities scheduled.

Next week, I'll be in New Zealand for Webstock 2010. I'll be giving a day-long workshop as well as a keynote address.They've got a great programme; my workshop will be on Monday, February 15 and my keynote will be Friday, February 19. I'll also be stopping by Kiwi Foo. If you're at either event, please do come say hello.

In March, I'll be speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Since we'll have a game-oriented crowd, I'll be talking more about my "virtual worlds" background than I normally do. I often get asked how lean startup ideas can work for the video game industry - which is, of course, where I originally started working on them. The talk itself will be Tuesday, March 9 at 11:15am.

In April, stay tuned for word on the Startup Lessons Learned Conference, which will also be held in San Francisco. Rather than make a premature announcement, I'll invite you to take the survey and help us make the event better.

In May, I'll be giving a keynote address at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. I'm especially excited about this, because last year's Expo was the very first time I'd given the lean startup presentation to a large audience. The enthusiastic reception that day was part of what gave me the confidence to leap into this job full-time. I'm quite grateful to everyone who attended, and to the organizers who made it possible.

This year, lean startups will be a big part of the Web 2.0 Expo. In addition to my keynote, Steve Blank will be speaking. There's also a one-day Lean Startup Intensive on the first day of the conference (May 3). This will be a kind of "lean startup all-stars" event featuring a number of speakers and panels. Watch this blog for details. You can register for the intensive here. Thanks to the support of TechWeb, we'll be organizing a scholarship program for this event (stay tuned). Last, there are five large-scale sponsorship spots open for the event. If you've ever wanted to be a sponsor of a big event like the Web 2.0 Expo, but don't want to have your logo lost in the sea of sponsors, perhaps this would be a good choice. To get more info about sponsorship, you can contact Susan Young.

And, if you can't make it to any events this year, you can still catch the video. For example, here's the video of my talk last month at Twiistup in Los Angeles (slides are posted here):

I try to post event-related updates to Twitter, but if you want to subscribe to my event-specific plans directly, I'm trying Plancast (a new startup founded by a friend). You can subscribe to my plans here. Last, for those who are following the Startup Visa movement, we're planning a trip to DC in early March. If you'd like to participate, you can subscribe for updates on our Plancast page.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New York: three straight days of Lean Startup (two of which are free)

Greetings from Europe, where I'm just wrapping up an incredible (and exhausting) speaking tour. I've been so busy with talks and travel that I haven't had much chance to post updates to the blog, but many of the events here have had video, and I will try and post details soon. Before I get to go home, I am doing a full week of events on the east coast in New York and Boston: five events in five days - if I survive.

For those who want to come see me at Web 2.0 Expo in New York, there's good news. Thanks to web2open, there are two Lean Startup sessions that are completely free and open to the public. We did similar events at the Expo in San Francisco, and had a lot of fun. (To get a preview, you can read my write up of that event here.) Here are details on the three New York events; registration details follow:
  • Monday, November 16 at 9:00am, we'll kick off the week with a Lean Startup Workshop. This will be an abbreviated three-hour version of the Master Class I've been doing with O'Reilly. (For those that want the full thing, there is one scheduled in New York on December 10.)
  • Tuesday, November 17 at 4:20pm, you can come get a 50-minute introduction to the lean startup theory and practice. This is a designated web2open hybrid session - which means you can attend for free even if you're not attending the rest of the conference. It's the only hybrid session happening on Tuesday. Unlike in San Francisco, the open Q&A session won't happen until the next day.
  • Wednesday, November 18 at 3:30pm you can come have all of your lean startup-related questions answered at a web2open session. Again, this is free and open to the public. I'm hoping this will also be an opportunity to organize a meeting of the New York Lean Startup Meetup. Stay tuned to their mailing list for details.
So, if you'd like to attend, please do as follows. Sign up at the Expo registration form here using the code webny09opn by Nov 15. You'll be offered a $100 discount on a full conference registration, but that is strictly optional. If you just want to come to the web2open unconference, you can register for free.

The Boston event at MIT on the 19th is already sold-out. On the 20th, I'm doing a lunchtime recap at Dog Patch Labs for Polaris Ventures (who are also a generous sponsor of the MIT talk); they have a few extra tickets to accommodate some additional people. Click here for details.

As always, if you're a reader, come say hello and introduce yourself after the event. And do keep the feedback coming - that's what makes these events worthwhile. And for those that can't make it, you can always follow along at the #leanstartup hashtag on Twitter.

And for those of you in San Francisco - the Lean Startup Cohort program is going to begin on December 17. Thanks to the many of you who have supported the idea, and especially to our brave early adopters!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A large batch of videos, slides, and audio

I've been trying very hard to avoid turning this blog into a travelogue. Normally, I try to make my post-event writeups more than just a transcript, by including reactions and comments. On this speaking tour, that's been simply impossible, so I've decided to let the following collection of videos, podcasts, and slides batch up for a little while. If you're interested in more real-time updates during my speaking tour, please tune into my twitter feed.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy all this multimedia content. In addition to some of my recent talks, you can learn more about the Startup Visa movement and enjoy two really interesting lean startup case studies.

My Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Seminar courtesy of Stanford Ecorner (audio podcast only for now, video coming soon):

if you'd like to follow along with slides, they are here:

From high atop the BT Tower in London, this brief BT Tradespace interview:

Why do we need a Startup Visa? A Tale of 2 Erics:

Also in London, I took up a lot of airtime during day two of Seedcamp. You can read highlights on their blog, or watch this short video:

Seedcamp - Day 2 Highlights from Seedcamp on Vimeo.

Or watch my full #leanstartup presentation at Seedcamp in London:

And two bonus videos that are well worth watching (weally):

Timothy Fitz, who worked for me at IMVU, giving an in-depth presentation on the details of the continuous deployment system that we built there.

With accompanying slides:

pbWorks (formerly pbWiki) was one of the first companies that ever invited me to join their advisory board. I like to think that had some small part in causing their subsequent success. Judge for yourself by watching David Weekly's #leanstartup case study (pbWorks):

Thanks to everyone who has helped plan, organize, record and attend these many events!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (and a request for help)

There are only two opportunities left this year to see a Lean Startup presentation in the US - for free. In order to make those events the best they can be, I'd like to ask for your help.

This Wednesday, I've been invited to give a lecture as part of Stanford University's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar. I'm really honored to be included in this program, as it's one I've admired and enjoyed for many years. They produce fantastic video podcasts, which you can explore here. And in mid-November, I'll be speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. Once again, this will be a web2open hybrid session; I'll post details for how to register as soon as I get them.

I'd like to incorporate feedback into these presentations, and so here's my request for help. If you've seen me present in any format (online or in-person), would you take a few minutes to fill out the following short survey?

Click Here to take survey

If you haven't seen any of my presentations before, feel free to take a moment and peruse the video, audio, or slides available on this blog. As always, if you can come to one of these events, please come say hello and let me know that you're a reader. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gov 2.0 Summit wrap-up

I had an incredible time at the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington DC last week. I've never seen such a mixed crowd of entrepreneurs, vendors, and policy makers all in one place. There was quite an exchange of ideas. I was thrilled to be included.

I promised to post the slides for my highly abbreviated version of the lean startup presentation, so here they are. As usual, I'll include some of the real-time comments and some of my thoughts below.

Given the time constraints, I organized my presentation around two simple ideas:



I tried to make clear my usual definition of a startup, one that has nothing to do with size of company or sector of the economy. But judging from the twitter comments, it's not clear if I was able to make that case. It may be that it will prove a lot harder to make this point in DC than elsewhere:
aptuscollab: Too bad all you #g2s folks got up and left when Eric Ries took the stage. Dude is smart, his lessons apply to internal projects as well.
That's the nice thing about Twitter. You get the straight scoop, no sugar-coating. Any public speaker that doesn't take advantage of it is really missing out.

On to what seems to have stuck:
kwooleyy: #g2s Showed startup OODA loop developed by USAF pilot John Boyd
I included two Boyd-inspired books in the recommended reading list on the right-hand side of this blog: Certain to Win and Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. With a number of military men and women in the audience, I couldn't resist a plug. Boyd's ideas have inspired a lot of the principles underlying my work.
whorunsgov: Eric Ries: Startups fail not because the technology works, but because no one wants the tech. once it launches. #g2s
The very abbreviated version of Customer Development (channeling Steve Blank).

nickvitalari: Lean startups mean more experiments for dollars and human capital invested #ngenera #g2s
I'm trying to keep hitting on the theme of the human capital waste when we invest our smartest and most creative people into a venture that builds something that nobody wants. Every bit as true for government as for enterprise - and even the two guys in a garage.
dhinchcliffe: Lean startups go faster. Do course correction called a "pivot". - @ericries "Most exciting time in history be an entrepreneur." #g2s
For more on the pivot, see Pivot, don't jump to a new vision. I don't see how it could more a more exiting time to be an entrepreneur, and certainly can't imagine another time when entrepreneurship was more important to our country's future economic prosperity.

marciamarcia: The L word (learning) onstage at #g2s from @ericries. Finally. Startup=Experiment. http://startuplessonslearned.com
Amen! It's natural at a gathering like this to focus on new technology and applications. A lot of conversation was about what "the federal government" should do. But it's all too easy to lose sight of the fact that any government, even one as large as the US, is made up entirely of people. And so the right questions to ask, when we're talking about fostering innovation in any human institution, are: how can we foster a culture of learning and discovery? And it's my hope that the lean startup can provide some guidance in that direction.

Thanks to everyone who made the summit such a great event!

Monday, September 14, 2009

International tour about to begin

For my international readers: are you in Washington DC, Paris, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, Malmo, or even Oulu, Finland? Then you'll have a chance to come discuss the lean startup live and in-person. (What's that you say? DC is actually not a separate country? Fascinating...)

The trip will happen in two separate trips. The first (DC, London for Seedcamp, Amsterdam for PICNIC) is first, with the Geeks on a Plane tour, September 18-25. Each event will feature a cool mix of Bay Area and local speakers (and me, too). Come join us if you can.

I then head back to the USA for a free and open-to-the-public lecture at Stanford University for their Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar on September 30.

Next up is a second swing through Europe. Exact dates for all events aren't yet pinned down, but here's what I'm working on so far: October 28 for a TBA event in Paris, November 2-7 for a series of events in Malmo, Sweden including ?redev, and ending with a workshop at the Martti Ahtisaari Institute of Global Business and Economics at the University of Oulu.

I'll keep you all posted as more details get added. As always, if you're a reader and can make it to one of these events, please come say hello. Continually love hearing your feedback!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Building a new startup hub

Last week, I had a unique opportunity to spend some time in Boulder at the behest of TechStars. It was a great experience to see a relatively new startup hub in action - and thriving. It's easy to take Silicon Valley for granted. The startup scene here can be ostentatious and serve as an echo chamber, amplifying the cool trend of the week into a deafening roar. But there's no denying the level of support for entrepreneurs that we enjoy. I've written a little bit about the origins of Silicon Valley because I think it's important for us to understand how we got here in order to make sure we preserve what is best about our community.

Traveling to Boulder I had the feeling of stepping back in time. It felt like I was watching a new startup hub in the process of being created. The companies I spoke to all agreed that the community there was extremely supportive, especially in the critical ulta-early-stage. That community is, by all accounts, relatively new - less than five years old according to several folks I asked. Even more impressive is that the culture there seems to have been the conscious creation of just a few people.

On my brief visit, the results were impressively on display. If you watch the video/audio below, you'll get to see some of the questions I was asked after my presentation. On the whole, I found them unusually sophisticated - and mostly rooted in the actual practice of entrepreneurship. I also did quite a bit of asking questions myself. I spent most of my time with TechStars, who were my hosts for the trip. Their model looks like a key ingredient in the startup brew there. Every summer, they bring approximately 10 companies to Boulder for an intense "accelerator" experience (don't call it an incubator, or you'll get dirty looks). They don't invest a lot of money; just enough to keep them going through the summer. They take common stock, not preferred, a fact that the entrepreneurs mentioned to me many times. And they expose the startups to a vast network of mentors, none of whom get paid for their involvement.

Some of the mentors are based in Boulder, but many are not. As a result, the companies get a lot of exposure to VC's, investors, and partners in larger, more traditional startup hubs. And, as one entrepreneur put it to me, "we understood that a big part of our responsibility in the program was to make sure the mentors have a good experience, by taking their advice to heart and giving them a feeling of being part of our evolution as a company." As a result, for a lot of these companies, Boulder is just a gateway to San Francisco. TechStars encourages them to go wherever opportunities take them. But even the companies that move on have had a taste of life in Boulder (it looks awfully nice). And every year, it looks as if one or two entrepreneurs from the program decide to stay.

That strikes me as a really smart formula for building a startup hub. First, pick a place that entrepreneurs (and other creative class-types) would love to live. Great weather, a strong university, outdoor sports, cafe culture, good restaurants - you get the idea. Then, create an encouraging environment for early-stage companies. You don't need massive amounts of capital available for VC investment - modest amounts will do. Accept that many successful companies are going to want to be backed by big-name firms in other cities. Instead, focus on getting them ready for that stage. Provide early seed capital, and be the ones to make those introductions. Make your city a gateway to other opportunities, so that entrepreneurs can increase their access by starting there. And do your customer development. If you talk to early-stage entrepreneurs who randomly landed in Silicon Valley, you'll hear just how hard it is to break into the scene here. Because you're not asking entrepreneurs to forsake those bigger cities, it's a no-brainer to give your city a shot.

Anyway, those are my thoughts after having spent only a few days in Boulder. You can see that it stimulated a lot of ideas; you'll have to evaluate the veracity of those ideas on your own. In the meantime, let me keep my promise of some multimedia. I did my best to capture video and audio; a YouTube playlist and Slideshare slidecast are below:

Slides (with audio):

And, as usual, I wanted to share some of the audience reaction with my commentary. These quotes are, as is my custom, straight from twitter.

My biggest thanks goes to the people who generously sponsored scholarships for others to attend the dinner and workshop, Thank you so much!
ericries: special thanks once again to @fancy_free and @KISSmetrics for sponsoring scholarships for the #leanstartup workshop in Boulder.
I'm also excited to share two long-form reviews from actual attendees. I'm always excited to see how these ideas are expressed by entrepreneurs in their own words:
petewarden: Another blog post, this one on the @ericries Lean Startup Workshop I attended: http://bit.ly/4UWuf #leanstartup

tmarkiewicz: Notes from the Lean Startup Dinner with @ericries http://bit.ly/80kKW #leanstartup
And I can never resist sharing some positive feedback. I hope you'll indulge me - I need to have a copy of these testimonials for the record:
neilsimon: Thanks @ericries for the #leanstartup tips last night. Articulate, inspirational.

jdegoes: Great talk from @ericries last night. Inspiring ideas: real-time biz metrics; safe continuous deployment; A/B split testing. #leanstartup

feverishaaron: @ericries thanks for droppin' facts at the #leanstartup dinner. Learned a lot and enjoyed the discourse.

KevinMSmith: Excellent discussion on #leanstartup w/@ericries. If you get a chance go see him. If you don't get a chance , MAKE ONE. He's that good.

lmckeogh: Best $50 I've spent in last yr as unempl. prod mgr. #leanstartup dinner Boulder full of useful info that I want to apply [echo @roger_tee]

ultimateboy: #leanstartup was the most invigorating event I've ever attended. Thank you @ericries for drastically altering my perception of agile startup

Thank you all so much for your kind words. I was really overwhelmed this time. Now for some actual content:
jeantabaka: Really liked @ericries answer to adding in quality while still a startup #leanstartup
If you want to hear the exact question and answer, check the video. This was a question about how we convinced our investors to "allow" us to invest in quality after we'd shipped the initial buggy version of IMVU. That's always a tricky relationship to navigate, but we found a way to get our investors on board with that program by practicing a form of radical transparency. When they could hear the customers' complaints in their own voice, it became clear when it was time to up the quality level. We also had the benefit of many lean practices that break out of the "time, quality, money - pick two" paradox. (You can learn more about that by reading The engineering manager's lament.)

Here are two more questions that I really enjoyed answering:

roger_tee: At #leanstartup dinner w/ Eric Reis. Asked where I find visionary early adopters who pay 4 buggy beta SW. Killer answer.Ask me. #bdnt

nbauman: When to split test? Anytime anyone on the team thinks it could make a macroscopic change. Define macroscopic change! #leanstartup
I could recap these - but just go watch the video already!

And one last specific practice that came up at this session:
feverishaaron: UI, design and programmers are all in the same department, all have the same title, and all are evaluated the same. #leanstartup
We organized our engineering team at IMVU to try and maximize cross-functional collaboration. That meant getting designers, programmers, and QA folks to cross-train and work together as peers. By expressing these values as part of the formal structure of our department as well as the formal evaluation system, I think we went a long way towards reducing the usual internecine conflict between these groups.

Let me close with one last thought. I think it speaks for itself:
peterhoskins: At least have the courage to make new mistakes. #leanstartup
Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make these great events!
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Techstars brings The Lean Startup to Boulder

I'm very excited to announce a pair of events that will kick off a very busy fall speaking tour. I'll be in Boulder for two days. I'll let David Cohen of Techstars, who organized the trip, describe the plan:
On August 19th, Eric will be speaking at a dinner in Boulder. The event will include a talk from Eric on The Lean Startup over dinner, followed by moderated table discussion and then final Q&A with Eric. Tickets are available now and include dinner. A discounted price is available for early stage entrepreneurs and students.

On August 20th, Eric is leading a half day in-depth workshop on the Lean Startup. This is a great chance to really go deep on some of the concepts behind building Lean Startups. A very limited number of tickets are also available for this workshop. Early bird pricing expires on August 6th, so register early.

Traveling to new startup hubs is one of my favorite things about being able to do this full-time. I want to thank Techstars for putting this event together and giving me a chance to experience the scene, even if it lacks a name. For what it's worth, I like Silicon Mountain.

Brad Feld also had some thoughts on this event on his blog. I thought I'd share a little bit of that, too:

I’ve been interested in different approaches to software development going back to 1987 when – in my first company Feld Technologies – my partner Dave Jilk and I started talking about “semi-custom software development” (way ahead of its time). During the same period (1987 – 1990) and I did some work at MIT under Eric von Hippel on “user driven innovation with regard to software development” which today would probably fall under the heading of “open source software development approaches.”

In 2002 I became exposed to the idea of “agile software development” and subsequently was a first round investor in Rally Software which is now the market leader in Agile application lifecycle management software. Building on this, I’ve recently become fascinated with the notion of continuous deployment, a concept that has been popularized by Eric Ries and others.

Read the rest...

And for those of you who are in Colorado but don't know what my speaking events are like, please take a look at some previous posts. We've got slides, video, audio and twitter commentary. That way, you can know what you're in for in advance.

As usual, if you're a reader and can attend, please come say hello. Thanks!

(Speaking of the fall tour, if you're interested in hosting or organizing a lean startup event near you, feel free to drop me a line. So far, I'm going to be on the east coast at least three times, and in Europe twice. Stay tuned for more details.)
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Lean Startup fbFund slides and video

As a follow-up to my previous post on my talk for fbFund at Facebook, there was enough interest in watching video of the talk that I have finally uploaded it using . There are three sizes of video available here; I've embedded the medium quality below. Because the Flip was set at a bad angle, you can't see the slides too well. I've embedded them via slideshare below the video, so you can follow along at home, if you'd like.

Edit: I finally got YouTube upload working, which has better embedding options than MobileMe. If you want to see the original video, use the link above.

Slides are below:

Before I close, let me quote just one additional bit of twitter feedback from one of the video beta-testers:
bmeschke: @ericries This is such GREAT information. A lot of it i have heard before, but your presentation is so clear. http://bit.ly/IMorB

bmeschke: @ericries @KhuramMalik has been trying to convince me of ur pov and i saw the value, but ur 2 startups example really gives in perspective.
I really value feedback like this; it keeps me going when I have doubts. I worry sometimes about making this blog too much into a travelogue or journal of my public events. My goal is to make everything I post here a substantive contribution to the larger entrepreneurship discussion; I hope to live up to that more often than not. As always, I welcome your feedback. If you have thoughts about the right balance of news, events, and commentary, feel free to leave it as a comment or drop me an email. I truly appreciate your support.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Lean Startup fbFund wrap-up

Last week I had a real blast meeting with the companies at the fbFund incubator at Palo Alto. They were kind enough to open the event up to the public, which meant we were seriously stressing the building's HVAC - and I have pictures to prove it:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Thank you all so much!

As usual, I'd like to post the slides and then offer some additional commentary. Since I tried out some new material in this talk, it was especially educational to see the reaction. (Note: there is video from this event, but it's not online yet. I had a flip cam with me, and the organizers captured their own video with a tripod and everything. If you're interested in seeing it, leave a comment and I'll see if I can get it online.)

Without further ado...

Now for the feedback. Always have to start with a little praise; thank you all so much!

edzschau: Just returned from great prez by @ericries, don't miss him, great presenter, #leanstartup

mashagenzel: Eric Ries live blows the Eric Ries webcast out of the water, a delightful presence #leanstartup

davemcclure: wow: SRO full house @fbFund REV incubator for @EricRies talk on #LeanStartup (164 Hamilton, Palo Alto) http://yfrog.com/11of5mj
Next, here are the key concepts that people seem to have taken away:
manukumar: A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty @ericries #leanstartup
It sometimes feels strange to talk to a group of startup founders and try to tell them what a startup is. Yet, I think this definition is too important to leave out. I think it makes explicable why so-called "best practices" that people bring to startups from other contexts fail so miserably. If your practice is not designed to cope with uncertainty, it has no place in a startup - even if your startup is located in government or enterprise.
alasaarela: Eric Ries: the most profitable business you can build is a Ponzi scheme :) LOL #leanstartup
This was a new meme that I'm trying out. We tend to equate startup success with making money, but that is a poor choice. I think we have to raise our sights a little higher; after all, Ponzi schemes make a lot of money, at least until they blow. They don't really create value. The same has been true of an unfortunate number of startups, they manage to generate a lot of hype, raise a lot of money, and sometimes make some of their investors, employees, or founders rich. But did they leave the world a better place than before they existed? Now, I don't think even most dot-com era founders were bad people, I just think traditional startup methods make it too easy to become confused about whether we're creating real progress or not.

bigs: @ericries says Stealth dev is a (undesirable, failure-presaging) customer-free zone. #LeanStartup
Of course, a big enabler of those kinds of mistakes is stealth-mode. Another recent meme that I hope more and more startups will take to heart: "stealth is a customer-free zone." There are rare times when stealth is a good strategy, but it amplifies risks without necessarily improving rewards. Danger, Will Robinson.

davemcclure: amazing concepts on Continuous Development => "Cluster Immune System" @EricRies #LeanStartup @fbFund http://yfrog.com/bf50cj

dalelarson: Because most features take longer to argue and prioritize than to build. -@ericries #leanstartup
Another new idea in the section on continuous deployment and the cluster immune system. Although there is cost and overhead associated with continuous deployment, the benefits are immense. One such benefit is that, when combined with A/B testing, you can try out small features in less than the amount of time it takes to argue or prioritize them. Nothing is more demoralizing to an engineering team. Prioritizing in a vacuum is a leading source of waste.

jellytheory: Ask WHY? 5X when something unexpected happens: behind every tech problem is a human one. #leanstartup

bmorrow: Not just for engineers: ask why 5x every time something unexpected happens. Find and fix the cause, not just symptoms #leanstartup #fbFund
There seemed to be a lot of resonance about Five Whys this time around, and I'm glad to see it becoming part of the discussion, hence yesterday's "How to conduct a Five Whys root cause analysis."
mashagenzel: Absolutely true, "Startups' competitive advantage is being able to go through customer validation loop faster" via @ericries #leanstartup

dalelarson: Progress == validated customer learning. Iterating at whiteboard != progress. #leanstartup
With so many startups in the room, I could see the stricken faces when I started to talk about the fact that most of us founders are pretty good at keeping people busy - but aren't necessarily sure if we're making progress. Getting clear about what constitutes progress is probably the biggest shift in mindset required to build a lean startup. See Validated learning about customers for more info.

biganderson: Visionary (paying) customers: more visionary than founders, bc they live with the problem that fdrs are trying to solve #leanstartup #fbfund

manukumar: Difference between a vision and a delusion is that a vision is grounded in reality/facts. :@ericries #leanstartup

jordym: "3 types of people have reality distortion fields: good startup founders, bad startup founders, and crazy people." - @ericries #leanstartup

jellytheory: At fbFund REV, listening to @ericries: Is your startup based on a delusion or vision? They often get blurred by entrepreneurs! #leanstartup

OK, let's talk about the vision thing. It's so important, and also so dangerous. Being able to convince other people around you (those within the "reality distortion field") is necessary to sustain the passion and energy that a startup needs. But it can also be used for evil - to convince people to abandon their senses and work on something that nobody will ever want. How can we tell the difference? I saw a lot of people stealing glances at someone else in the room while I was talking about this. I've been there: is it me or my cofounder that's crazy? What if it's both of you? Use some customer development to find out.
daphnecarmeli: "if you don't A/B test, features get PRETTIER over time; if u do A/B test they get more EFFECTIVE over time" @ericries #leanstartup @fbfund
And last but certainly not least, I wanted to try out a line that I haven't used in a long time. The power of A/B testing is so under-exploited in product development, that I'm trying new ways to explain its benefits. Remember that we can use split-testing for both the problem team and solution team, and that causes a lot of confusion. Split-testing is great for linear optimization; making our landing pages, conversion rates, and retention metrics incrementally better day-in day-out. But it's also amazing for testing big hypotheses, like what our customers really want to get out of our product. If you're not doing both, you're missing out.

Last, I was really struck by one section of the talk that seems to have been completely ignored: a new section on the power of Small Batches. Given that this is one of the most powerful concepts for building and iterating faster, I'm surprised that it didn't register. So, here's a request: how can I make this punchier, clearer, or just generally better? Any ideas?

Anyway, thanks so much to everyone who came out. I had an incredible time. See you next time.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Join the lean startup discussion at Facebook on Thursday

I recently agreed to join Facebook's fbFund incubator as a mentor. Part of that includes giving a presentation for the fbFund companies on the lean startup methodology. I just got word that this is going to be happening this coming Thursday, June 25 in Palo Alto (in the former Facebook HQ). Best of all, I got word they are specially opening this event up to you, dear readers. Priority will be given to employees of companies participating in the fbFund REV program, but I am confident that there will be room for members of the general public who want to attend. If you'd like to reserve a spot, please RSVP.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
1:30pm - 3:30pm
fbFund REV Garage
164 Hamilton
Palo Alto, CA
So, if you are in the Bay Area and want to swing by Palo Alto on Thursday afternoon, come join the conversation. As always, if you're a reader, please do say hello.
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