Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean (O'Reilly)) Hardcover – 21 Mar 2013
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About the Author
Alistair Croll has been an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker for nearly 20 years. He’s worked on a variety of topics, from web performance, to big data, to cloud computing, to startups, in that time.
In 2001, he co-founded web performance startup Coradiant, and since that time has also launched Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, the Bitnorth conference, the International Startup Festival and several other early-stage companies.
Alistair is the author of three books on web performance, analytics, and IT operations, including "Lean Analytics" http://leananalyticsbook.com/, a book on using data to build a better business faster that's due out in March from O'Reilly Media. He lives in Montreal, Canada and tries to mitigate chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at "Solve For Interesting": http://www.solveforinteresting.com. Alistair chairs O'Reilly's Strata Conference.
Benjamin Yoskovitz is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in web businesses. The co-founder of Standout Jobs and Year One Labs, he is also an active mentor to numerous startups and startup accelerators. Ben is the author of "Instigator Blog" (instigatorblog.com), and regularly speaks at startup conferences. He's currently VP Product at GoInstant, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2012.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book divides into two halves. The first section guides you in working out what you should be doing - there's even a useful chapter on deciding what to do with your life and whether you'll actually enjoy doing what you're proposing. It encourages you to have clear goals, experiment, and move through build->measure->learn cycle as quickly and frequently as possible
The Lean Analytics part is about picking a number, setting it as the target, and having enough confidence that if you hit it then you consider it a success.
The second half of the book maps things into six (mainly) Internet-based business models and five stages of maturity within those models. It argues that a combination of the model and the stage of maturity determines which metric you should be focused on. This section is less successful than the first because it offers a fleeting, high-level overview which means that you'll need to get detailed information from somewhere else (however, if it had gone into detail then we'd have a 1000+ page tome, with most sections irrelevant to the majority of readers).
Most of us are not going to build a high growth start-up, let alone an Internet start-up. Maybe you'll be building-up a small service business? There are enough good ideas, structure and discipline, and collective wisdom to make reading this book well worth your while.
It lists the different types of (mainly software) companies: e-commerce; Software as a Service, free mobile app, media site, user-generated content, 2-sided marketplace.
A start-up company goes through 5 stages of growth: Empathy - listening to the customer to learn whether you've got a business or not; Stickiness - making sure you have a product that users will come back to, one that is "sticky", by iterating; Virality - once you've got a sticky product, and not before, think about getting more users. Virality can be inherent, artificial and/or word of mouth. Next, is Revenue, when you start to really concentrate on making money (before, you were getting the product and market fit right); Scale - growing the business.
What is also very useful, and most apt for the title of the book, is knowing what is a good metric. There are lines in the sand for all the business types, and the different growth stages. These can help you know when to move to the next stage, or even whether to pivot, and change company type.
I'm going to read it again, faster this time, and make notes. I think it's well worth a second read.
Running Lean by Ash Maurya is the first in the O'Reilly Lean Startup Series. It is brilliant. Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz is the second in the series. It is equally brilliant. It is comprehensive and it should change how you do business in your startup. Eric Ries writes a wonderful Foreword to Lean Analytics which he describes as moving beyond the Lean Startup bumper stickers and diving deep into the details of innovation accounting thereby avoiding the perils of vanity metrics. He concludes that the book is a `guide for all practitioners who seek new sources of growth'. I believe that `measuring what you do is critical to achieving success in a new business venture' - this book will help you to figure out what you should be measuring by helping you to ask the most important questions and get clear answers quickly. It is critically important that you can firstly measure your progress and communicate that with your internal and external team.
The Preface explains that Lean Startup helps you identify the riskiest parts of your business plan, then finds ways to reduce those risks in a quick, iterative cycle of learning. Most of its insights boil down to one sentence: Don't sell what you make; make what you can sell.Read more ›
Sections of the book are quite good... looking at some lightweight case studies of startups and the analytics they used to navigate muddy waters. As a result, although the core information can be quite interesting, I would have been a lot happier with the book if it reduced its scope and went more into depth just into analytics, with more information in the case studies, and more examples of actual data to look at and suggestions on how to avoid false metrics. In fact, these topics, discussed at the beginning of the book, were the best sections -- what the authors call vanity metrics.
Altogether, I'd read other books instead of this one: Web Analytics 2.0 does a much better job of covering analytics methodologies and techniques; Lean Startup gives a better overview of the Lean approach; Innovator's Dilemma is a much better look at how to think through startup issues.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Exceptionally good. Full of useful ideas and techniques.Published 1 month ago by Alexander Morrison
If you are serious in what users use your cloud services and apps, you need to read it.Published 2 months ago by aspublic
Very thoughtful, anchored and practical guide to the steps and the guidance needed to get a concept off the ground and into the market. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tobias Rooney
A fascinating business book with lots of useful tools. Fits in perfectly with other lean and agile ideas particularly the Value Proposition Canvas and Business Model CanvasPublished 15 months ago by Samir Shah
An excellent summary of the data that every business owner needs to be thinking about in the modern era. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ian H
Book was in better condition than expected and was exactly like new! Very happy with this!Published 21 months ago by K. Carlyle
Interesting insights into how data helps to grow startups. I am applying lessons learnt on the job.Published 21 months ago by Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe
This is a must-read for entrepreneurs.
Alistair and Ben have pioneered the idea that you should only track 'one metric that matters' at any given stage in your startup's... Read more