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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and essential but the title sucks., 13 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: The Lean Startup (Hardcover)
Eric Ries is an extraordinary entrepreneur. The innovative way in which he has launched The Lean Startup itself is testament to his incredible creativity and energy.

Anyone, whether they are in technology or any other sector, who is involved in product development, should read this book, make sure that everyone in their team has read this book and then argued over a beer about whether it applies to them. Not everyone will agree with everything he says, no doubt some people will think they know better, good luck to them.

Some people will rail against the use of terms like, 'Pivot', that Eric uses to describe the (entirely rational) process of discovering the market for a startup. Pivot runs the risk of being the most misunderstood and overused term in startup land as it has become a euphemisim for all sorts of things including, 'failed', 'given up' or 'lost interest'. It is hardly Eric's fault however that he has created and popularised a concept that powerful.

Having been involved in successful and unsuccessful startups, and unsuccessful projects in large corporations, Eric has invested an obscene amount of his time and effort into working out why there is so much wasted effort in product development. More importantly, he has come up with a very plausible hypothesis for a better way of doing things better. Measurably better.

I do have a big problem with this book and some of the language in it.

To quote Eric Ries, "So here's my definition of a startup. A human institution designed to create something new under conditions of extreme uncertainity. And, of course, the importance of disruptive innovation in creating something that is truly different than what came before."

For my money, that is not the definition of a startup. That is the definition of an inventor, an innovator, a startup, any business unit, product management team or organisation in the world.

Why not apply that definition to another entity?

"So here's my definition of Apple. A human institution designed to create something new under conditions of extreme uncertainity. And, of course, the importance of disruptive innovation in creating something that is truly different than what came before."

Apple is the largest corporation in the world. Doesn't the definition apply equally well?

And that is the essence of my problem with this book. It is keeping some extraordinary insights into how you can make things that people love in the world of startups. Grownups need to read this. They might sneer at the concept of a pivot, it is an overused term. I can't think of a single organisation that wouldn't benefit from the concept of minimum viable product though. The world would be a better place if big corporations understood this. They will waste less money making stuff people don't want.

Kindle version: The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Hard cover version: The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jan 2012 14:10:27 GMT
jnwilde says:
Can't help but think you missed the point with why you disagree, He suggests that the definition of a "start-up" could and does apply to companies like apple. Every time Apple (or any other big company) brings something new and innovative product to market with little concept of how successful or not they may be, it could be considered a startup.

Just my understanding, I have not yet finished the book so this is my attempt at validated learning through the use of a minimum viable product

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2012 14:35:05 GMT
For once, I may be coming at this with some inside info! I loved this book so much that when I heard Eric Ries might be coming to London, I got in touch and offered to host an event for my network. I was expecting maybe 40 or so people to be interested but we ended up with over 520!! (I don't think you can do external links in Amazon but if you search on Eric Ries, London and TheBLN you will see some more info. (The video of the session will go up in the next few days). I spent a fair amount of time with Eric when he was over and ended up talking about just this.

He said that when he set out to research the problem, he was coming at it from the perspective of a startup though it became pretty clear, pretty quickly that the ideas were much more universally applicable. By that time however, the 'startup' word was associated with the ideas and while this has been a good thing - there is a lot of interest in startups and de-risking them so the ideas have spread virally - it has also meant that people make a lot of assumptions about who the book is targeted at which was the thrust of my review.
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