Every Friday our CMO Noémie Benoit and our CTO Daan Depaepe take turns here presenting their weekly reading and telling us what fascinated them about the book and what they took out of it for the company and their personal career.
Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business. In his book Ries gives a method to develop and manage startups, drawing from his own background as an entrepreneur. He grew his company IMVU, a social media game company, from a startup to a business with a $50 million annual turnover.Next to his own experiences, Ries uses real case studies from a wide array of different businesses to illustrate the principles he discusses. With the help of real use cases he prepares for different situations, which arise in the process of founding and leading a company. With a systematic approach a variety of scenarios is played through. The Lean Startup is fast, resource-friendly and radically success-oriented providing guidance to founders and managers.
QUESTIONS TO DAAN:
1. How did this book catch your attention? The Lean Startup is one of these books which is on everyone’s list. Everybody talks about “lean” and this is the book which basically started the movement.
Lean startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning. Central to the lean startup methodology is the assumption that when startup companies invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, the company can reduce market risks and sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches and failures. (Source)
2. Things we do it right at AM according to The Lean Startup principles? I think we are on the right path, when it comes to “being lean”. We experiment a lot, but at the same time we are trying to keep our scope as small as possible. That enables us to validate quickly what works and what doesn’t. We do a two-weekly release cycle, so that we can provide our customers as quick as possible with new features. We see what works and what customers like and use. Based on that we do improvements. That is a lot more efficient than let’s say six months development cycles for a product which in the end is not being used.
3. Which advice would Eric Ries give us at Around Media? What can we do better according to The Lean Startup principles? We need to become even more data driven than we are. Right now we are relying too much on assumptions – on our guts. To fully understand what we need to focus on we need to use more data analysis. If we add a new feature, we can track how many and which users are using it, as well as how are they using it. We can see where there are blockers and where we are loosing customers. If we thoroughly validate these data, we can react quickly and improve our product.
4. How does this book make you reflect upon your work at AM? This book put me in the right mindset for working in a startup. I think everybody should read it 🙂 But as that is not going to happen, we should put effort in educating people at Around Media what “lean” means in regards to startups or businesses in general. We could take more time to explain to the team what the goal of the company is and how we intend to get there. Get everybody on board and realise our vision together.