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As is frequently happens, I’m not the only one documenting the event live. Check out the hard work and excellent writing of others!
Sunlight Labs (http://sunlightlabs.com/) is a group that works to translate the often not-machine readable data into formats that can be read and used by machines (and hence entrepreneurs).
See RFPEZ to get through government RFPs faster (find on GitHub)
Getting your health records from the US government without pain.
US Government runs 24,000 websites. How are they all done? How much replication happens?
US government spends $80 billion on IT per year. Needs to be cheaper! Use open source and better IT companies!
This is why OpenStack (http://www.openstack.org) was started at NASA by Chris Kemp. It was to reduce cost of single server setup from tens of thousands of dollars (mostly labor costs for meetings to discuss setting up single machines) to the same cloud costs paid for Amazon AWS. I can tell you as an ex-NASA employee that server provisioning was overly expensive as of 2010.
Idea: Market your tech startup by sitting in a coffee shop and showing people.
Were not sure if it would work, so began prototyping.
Building a car is hard.
Building a car and mass producing a car is crazy hard.
If you are creating a car company, you should know how to build a car, not just be a car executive.
Trying to build the Model-T of the 21st century. Getting it right means positive income for 90-100 years.
Different approach from segway
- Spent a lot of money doing research if there was a need for a small, sustainable vehicle market.
- Did building of product after doing market research
- Built by hand, rather via expensive machinery.
- Didn’t worry to much about meeting prototype deadlines
- Did a small production round to demonstrate that people would buy it. This impressed investors
- Got lots of feedback from users and drivers
Sketch out your ideas as a team
- Lowest response fidelity
- Cross functional pairing is important
When designers and developers work together, they need to understand each other’s tools.
Lean startup is great for design
Use workflow sketches to determine the flow of a product
- Don’t worry if it’s ugly, use paper
- Don’t use fancy tools
- If you use fancy tools, you risk locking up your product in whoever controls the fancy tools.
- balsamiq is great
- So is paper
Kind-of-lean startup talk
Founder of Knodes
build/measure/learn for everything... or else
- Build: If you don’t build it you don’t know if it can be done
- Measure: Find out how it’s used, by people or whatever
- Learn from what you observe.
Telling your team to BE lean is like a crash diet
- Don’t say: Hey I just read this awesome book and we’re going to start doing these 15 things differently.
- Changing habits is HARD.
Beeing lean isn’t your goal
- The real goal is to have fun creating a product your customers love.
- GitHub is a GREAT example.
- Works at Meetup.com as Head of Insights & Strategy
RSVPs are going up? Here is why:
No one wants to switch gears
No one wants to buy a process
Instead of convincing, just start doing it.
Avoid Malkovich Bias
- The tendency that everyone uses technology the same way that you do.
- Example: iPhone/iPad users often don’t realize that the Android market is larger than the iPhone/iPad market.
People actually like to build things
Because of this issue, try to test easy things.
As you improve your system thanks to easy test results, testing becomes more exciting
- Don’t try to avoid failure, embrace it.
- Learn from each mistake via metrics and tests and improve ever since.
Go after the things that will cause us to fail as fast and often as we can.
Reality: People want to build and test things.
How to get developers/engineers to switch from Agile to Lean.
Read the ‘Danger: MVPs often not disposable’ section below.
Throw away code after the MVP is done? That only works for established companies.
Anyone who thinks you can throw away MVP code hasn’t talked to anyone at Twitter, GitHub, or 95% of other companies. They still run off the original MVP code. The only companies who can get away with throwing away MVP code are pre-existing companies with multi-million dollar budgets who use MVP efforts in tiny segments of their system architecture.
Using words that help people find you and choose you
You want people to choose you.
But words describing superlative are overused. Everyone is ‘the best’.
Try using ‘Lean content’ to describe your product to someone who isn’t you.
Look for the ah-ha body language
- See the questions they respond to you with before the ah-ha moment
Use the mom test. If you feel uncomfortable explaining it to your mom, then you need to find a better way.
Growth goal: Get found
- Test your messages in AdWords. Test for clicks, not conversions.
- Embrace the unsexy words in organic searches
- Look for Entry Points and Top Content in GA
What we used to believe: Entrepreneurship can’t be taught.
What we know now: Entrepreneurship can be taught to anyone who volunteers to try.
What we used to believe: Learn Entrepreneurship requires a lot of education
What we know now: Learning Entrepreneurship some theory and a lot of practice
Learning entrepreneurship from an educator is risky. Their experiences may not translate to today’s conditions.
“Enterprise in the lean startup”
Part of Return Path: http://www.returnpath.com/
- new product: Anti-phishing system
Built with small team inside of their large 400 person company
Read all the lean books
“Bonfire of the Vanity Metrics”
They switched back to the speaker after 2 seconds. :P
“Getting the ultimate metrics dashboard”
“If you had only $1, where should you spend it?”
Really understand your customer so you can target your acquisition techniques
- test everything
- not just channels
- not just funnels
Geo-targeting is critically important.
- What works in one place will not work somewhere else
- Test and measure the results
- leaders need to change and lead this change into the business
- Change things to create success after new success
- Large companies typically get stuck and become stifling
- Companies lean on politics and slide desk to stop changes:
- Leaders need to stop deciding on opinion, but to work on actionable metrics
In 2008 he was told to change the lives of India. All the lives
Given budget for just 3 people to do it.
Decided to focus on the lives of Indian farmers.
- 150m+ of them
- Contribute 25% of India’s GDP
- Most live in poverty
Decided to solve the narrow problem:
- Problem: To whom can they sell their produce to get the best price?
- Solution: Send farmer’s SMS text messages with the latest known data
- Quick Implementation: Faked it with hand-texted SMS messages to farmers.
- HUGE success
They got 20+ projects done this way
- Team fought management death threats to stay alive
- Only survived because they were so small
- Yet increased the income of millions of farmers by 20%
“Lawyers often are the barrier to success, they need to be instead considering how to make success more possible”
Change Mindset, which will change Behavior.
How do you shift a group from saying no (leaders, lawyers) to saying yes?
Create a clear set of guidelines in non-legalese that makes it easy for people to understand when they can move forward.
How is a set of guidelines ‘democratization‘?!? I think he needs a dictionary. :P
Becomes the power of success
Enable easily understandable rewards so you can demonstrate success. Payment can be financial or simple numbers.
In 2009 created a start-to-finish app for Intuit that lets you take pictures of your tax documents and it files for you.
But this wasn’t how it started:
Started with a photo capture app that would upload to your computer and that would file to the government
But when they created the app prototype, testers made it clear they wanted to just finish it on their phone
Stepped back and looked at the feedback from prototype users and listened carefully
- Mobile fans raved in long discussions
- Web fans said one word answers like, “nice” and “neat”
Started with launch in California and took lessons from there
Q&A from questions given from the audience:
Question: What do you look at in regards to metrics?
- Answer: We look primarily for: “How many active users do we have?”
Question: What tools do you use for gathering metrics?
- Answer: The simplest tools possible to gather metrics
- Answer: Store them in google docs and other simple tools
Question: How do you find people?
- Answer: Personal network
- Answer: Connect with the developer/business communities
Question: What are your goals and how are you accomplishing it?
- Answer: Build something that makes me happy
- Answer: Build something that makes others happy
- Answer: Have fun making it work
- Answer: Figure out how many users you need to get in order to do the startup full time.
“Being a VC does not protect you from making boneheaded mistakes as founder.”
Saw that none of the games for Android were any good
Decided to become the ‘android guys’
Platform decisions matter
- Distribution Channels
- Can they go between systems?
You need to have a vision to make a decision based off of hard metrics.
- Often people make a pivot based not on hard metrics but emotion
- Pivoting doesn’t mean changing your vision, it means changing your path
Did Lean Startup Machine and won it. Ran 10 experiments and pivoted 5 times during the conference
Experiment - Tax paying
- Discovered that restaurants over 25 employees have to pay an extra tax
- They all send it accountants and pay serious money.
- No pain. Not worth doing.
Experiment - Happy Hour Marketing
- No one has problems here. Not worth doing.
Experiment - Getting people into food places
- Fierce competition everywhere. Not worth doing.
Experiment - Wine club for restaurants
6 bi-monthly events in 2013 for the serious wino with exclusive chefs
$1500 for 2 people for an annual membership
People will pay for this service!
- They’ve made $4500 in days
- They could have sold out if not presenting
Interviewed by Eric Ries. Notable quotes:
- Worried that people who lived through the crash are suffering psychological damage from the event.
- Many of the ideas of the time were valid, but were just too early.
- You can take the ideas of the time and with a twist, apply them to great success
- The bubble itself was only 18 months. From 3rd quarter of 1998 to the 1st quarter of 2000.
Not every startup can startup can be lean. Sometimes you need to just be audacious. Think Apple, Intel, or anything Elon Musk does these days.
- You can’t put a rocket into space on a lean program.
- Don’t let the lean startup methodology destroy other ways of doing things.
Lean startup methodology used to avoid sales marketing strategy seriously.
- Sales and marketing doesn’t happen magically.
- No matter how good your product might be, people won’t come to it without sales and marketing.
- Critical examples: Google, SalesForce, Facebook, and Twitter have thousands of sales rep.
- Business applications do not sell themselves
- Don’t rely on anything going viral
Entrepreneurs give up too quickly
- Are you going to do the heavy lifting over a long period of time?
- keep at it!
- By taking the stigma out of pivoting, entrepreneurs have an excuse to not try hard enough. Don’t be gleeful about failure.
- People who claim to be “serial entrepreneurs” without success are giving themselves a fancy title for being a failure.
- Preserve the good of failing, learn from it and succeed next time.
History is weird
- Winners are portrayed perfectly, losers are portrayed like idiots
- He contends that winners often are just lucky enough to start at the right time.
Do not go public until your company has built a fortress. If you don’t have all the positions filled, brand established, predictability in the market, then you are at great risk.
Going public today is an extreme sport. It’s very dangerous.
Lean Startup is like the Theory of Relativity for Business.
- We now have a process and science for getting things done.
- BUT you still need old fashioned sales and marketing.