What does lean startup mean and how can we apply it ?

asked Mar 05 '10 at 20:47

Uber3eek%201's gravatar image

Uber3eek 1

In short "Lean" is to reduce slack waste of time.

Lean Startup is coined be Eric Ries http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/

It combines customer development strategy by Steve Blank http://steveblank.com/ which is more for enterprise customers and detailed in a book The Four Steps to the Epiphany and Toyota lean manufacturing. Steve Blank is a mentor and lectured Eric Ries. That's the history of it.

In essence from customer development it uses customer discover, validation and development and other phases and from lean manufacturing it uses the concept of reducing consumption of valuable resources which is time in case of startups.

The lean startup has the following practices and concepts all geared towards reducing the time required for developing a successful product

  1. Minimum Viable Product. Which you can say it is the minimal form of a product or a set of feature a customer is willing to pay for (paying in terms of money, time using the product or support)
  2. Validated Learning : Where you systematically learn about your customer/product. Validated means you can track back certain metrics of interest (say increased signup) to changes made to your product.
  3. Actionable Metrics : These not simple vanity metrics like page views, but actual metrics that tells success from failure (signup, paying customers etc). These are used to validate your learning about customer and product.
  4. Continuous Deployment : Where you deploy your code changes to customers when you check it in and having some monitoring facilities to watch for any hiccups and track actionable metrics and their changes due to code check ins.
  5. Agile development.

This is a new move in the industry that is very promising and based on successful product management strategies and evangelized by successful young entrepreneur Eric Ries and old veteran entrepreneur Steve Blank.

If you want to apply it you need to head to Eric's blog, watch twitter stream for #leanstartup, read Steve Blank's book, read case studies in the lean startup wiki http://leanstartup.pbworks.com/.

Hmmm ... have I missed something?

answered Mar 08 '10 at 02:47

Nader%20Soliman's gravatar image

Nader Soliman

edited Mar 08 '10 at 14:56

Pretty comprehensive answer by Nader... I can't really add much more. I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Eric Ries last week (in Sydney) and he focused on all the aspects raised.

In layman's terms and in summary, the main concept I took home was the agility and cyclical approach required to manage a business in a 'lean' way... it's all about checking back on your product, web development and strategy in short regular periods and feeding back anything learned during that time into your plans and process.

A very basic example is when programming for a project, rather than going off for a month writing code to develop as per the project plan... you should be checking back with the rest of the team in shorter cycles of 3 - 5 days and adjusting plans or code appropriately in easier bitesize chunks... it's very evolutionary in process.

These are slides from the same the presentation he gave a week earlier in New Zealand: http://bit.ly/bUdwwX

Hope it helps..

answered Mar 09 '10 at 06:47

Hiconomics's gravatar image


Hi Uber3eek,

Thanks for asking this question. I was going to post asking about it when I found your question. Anyhow, here are some extra links I stumbled upon while searching:

1- New York Times Article dated April 23rd, 2010 that talks about lean startups

2- Blog fued between two VC's one for "lean startup" while the second argued for "fat startups"

Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz Ventures argued the case for the Fat Startup/Company

Ben's major investment was in skype

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures argued the case for the lean startup/companies Fred's major recent investments were in Twitter, Zynga

Ben eventually responded with this

Hope that was of value.

answered Apr 25 '10 at 10:06

rami's gravatar image


I am not posting here to give any answer but to thank for raising the question. The answers posted here comprise ever detail I needed about lean. I was curious about it from so long but was unable to get the satisfactory answer for it. I am visiting this site for the first time but searched on this topic a lot on social media sites. The answers are really interesting and the references and links provided in the answers are very useful. I visited the sites almost all of them and found a good in depth information about it. I will like to get more updates on this here.

answered Mar 04 '11 at 09:20

honey123's gravatar image


On top of a lean manufacturing process, it is important that marketing strategies are done in a ‘lean’ manner too, so as not to waste the precious resources of the company. Whether marketing takes place through advertisements on display stands or exhibition stands, or through commercials or product placements, it has to be positioned well to attract the target audience. Without making sure of who your target audience is and whether the product satisfies their needs and wants, marketing would not be very effective.

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answered Jul 09 '11 at 01:54

TimBA's gravatar image


here is the download link for a full presentation given bi Eric explaining the concept from A to Z (size 1GB)


answered Jul 09 '11 at 02:28

Abdallah%20benaouali's gravatar image

Abdallah benaouali

edited Jul 09 '11 at 02:29

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