Review: The Lean Startup

In the last decade we have seen many startups coming up. Examples are Facebook, WhatsApp, Mint … the list goes on and on. What started as a trend around Silicon Value spreads around the world. We will see more success stories in the future. With the rise of the scene more books are published about the topic. One of the most successful is the Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

The main idea of the book is to use fast feedback cycles to create products customers want. Traditional, a company would invest much money to create a product over months. Then it was released to the world. Either the customers like it or not. If not, an established company could afford a failure. But, for a startup this means the end. This scenario is the origin for the lean startup. Instead of a big release, the author argues, a startup should release a product as soon as possible. That product is what the author calls a Minimum viable product. It is just enough to get customer feedback. The feedback should be used to create a better product and go into the next cycle.

The described feedback cycle has following steps: Ideas → Build → Product → Measure → Data → Learn → Ideas → Build …

The first and the biggest part of the book Ries explains in-depth every step. He shows the origins and explains how to use scientific method to get the desirable results. Learning itself becomes a measurement for success. His own experience and successful startups are examples how it is done.

The second part deals with how to grow a business, how to be more effective and the biggest mistakes. One chapter explains how to use the method in an established company environment.

Ries had the idea for the book while he was working on his first startup. All the mistakes he made let to the lean startup method. This gives him and the book credibility.

By the title I expected to read how to start a successful startup. Instead, it explained how to create products that customers want. Still, I was not disappointed. Because, the product is the crux of a successful business.

I liked the writing style of the author. He illustrates the plain information with examples from real life. Those stories are entertaining and informative. They also motivate the reader to imitate the protagonists. The stories also make the content more specific. I can’t remember any part being abstract. You get specific advice, founded on the scientific method. This is the real strength of the book. The feedback cycle is based on the scientific method.

I tried hard but couldn’t find something to criticize. The book is great for what it is. I recommend it to aspiring entrepreneurs. People who want to initiate and innovate in established companies can also profit reading it. Is it worth your money? YES!

Deo volente,

Gaius Wolf


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