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Intro to Lean Startup

Page history last edited by Tristan Kromer 10 years ago Saved with comment

What is Lean Startup?


"Lean Startup" is a system for developing a business or product in the most efficient way possible to reduce the risk of failure.


It is an approach for launching businesses and products that treats all product and business ideas as assumptions (or hypotheses) that must be validated by rapid experimentation in the marketplace.  The approach relies on scientific experimentation, iterative product releases, and customers feedback to generate validated learning.


Similar to the precepts of lean management, lean startup philosophy seeks to eliminate wasteful practices and increase value producing practices during the product development phase so that startups can have better chances of success without requiring large amounts of outside funding, elaborate business plans, or the perfect product.


Perfection in product development, long term business plans in an uncertain or unknown market, or unvalidated assumptions are all shunned by lean startup practitioners.



In September 2008, Eric Ries first coined the term on his blog, Startup Lessons Learned, in a post called “The lean startup." With high-tech companies in mind, the lean startup philosophy has since been expanded to apply to any individual, team, or company looking to introduce new products or services into the market. Today, the lean startup’s popularity has grown outside of its Silicon Valley birthplace and has spread throughout the world, in large part due to the success of Ries' bestselling book, The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.


The lean startup philosophy is based on lean manufacturing, the streamlined production philosophy developed in the 1980s by Japanese auto manufacturers. The lean manufacturing system considers as waste the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer, and thus a target for elimination. In particular, the system focuses on strategically placing small stockpiles of inventory, known as kanban, throughout the assembly line as opposed to storing a full stock in a centralized warehouse. These kanban provide production workers with the necessary inputs to production as they need them, and in so doing, reduce waste while increasing productivity.Additionally, immediate quality control checkpoints can identify mistakes or imperfections during assembly as early as possible to ensure that the least amount of time is expended developing a faulty product. Another primary focus of the lean management system is to maintain close connections with suppliers in order to understand their customers’ desires.




The lean startup community has expanded rapidly since the first meetup group was started in 2009  by Rich Collins on June 26th, 2009. Today, the movement encompasses many different organizations and individuals around the world. The largest grassroots community organization is Lean Startup Circle which has meetups from Silicon Valley to Tokyo to Rio de Janiero to Palestine.



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