Startup Lessons From a Pro: Eric Ries on ‘The Lean Startup’

Entrepreneurs and fans of the popular blog "Startup Lessons Learned" packed a Santa Monica auditorium recently to hear Eric Ries impart his wisdom to the crowd.

The Lean StartupP
The Lean StartupP

His new book, "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses,"has been out on shelves only a week, and it's already considered a must-read for any entrepreneur hoping to start the next Facebook or Twitter.

Ries spent the better part of the night providing advice to young entrepreneurs based on his own experience.

Here are a few nuggets:

LESSON #1: "If the goal is to learn what customers want, then do it earlier."

Rather than spend millions of dollars in "stealth mode" protecting an idea, Ries suggests launching it earlier and seeing if customers will actually use it. By doing that, you learn what will and won't work.

LESSON #2: "The most fun times in a companies life is before you have any customers."

So, enjoy it. That "stealth mode" is really fun, Ries says.

LESSON #3: "We want your terrible ideas to fail fast, not your company."

According to Ries, any testing you do today is better than waiting. His advice: "Just get out there."

LESSON #4: "Every entrepreneur I've talked to who's pivoted, wishes they'd pivoted sooner."

Ries devotes an entire chapter of his book to this topic of pivoting. He describes a pivot as a change in strategy without a change in vision. (See Chapter 8)

LESSON #5: Entrepreneurship needs to get more boring..."

While it's "cool" right now to be an entrepreneur, it's not really cool, Ries told the audience. Every decision that fundamentally impacts the company you're building is not going to make the cut in a movie. Plus, it's hard work.

Click here to check out Ries's website here for more advice on the Lean Startup movement

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