Lean Startups – I

July 28 2010 No Commented

Lean Startups – I

In all of my travels, I explain to audiences that there are only two places in the world for entrepreneurs starting companies and seeking capital – (1) Silicon Valley … and (2) everyplace else.  Except for those in the Bay Area, almost all the rest of us live and work in fly-over (or fly-around) states and countries.  The innovation in Silicon Valley is amazing and the sources of capital to support startup based on this innovation has been quite robust.  But, sometimes our friends in the Valley need to get out more…and see how the rest of us start and fund companies.

I was quite entertained by an April article posted by the New York Times suggesting that “lean startups” are a fresh new approach.  Attempting to draw an analogy between current startup entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing in Japan decades ago, Eric Ries and Steven Blank suggest that software development costs (using open source tools) are coming down rapidly and that those entrepreneurs who deal early and often with customer have a greater chance of success than their competitors.  Duh.  Open source software dates back to ARPA creation of the Internet in 1969 and Rob Adams has been urging entrepreneurs to talk to 100 customers before adding bells and whistles to their new software products in his book A Good Hard Kick in the Ass: Basic Training for Entrepreneurs since 2002. 

Those of us outside the Valley have never had venture capital readily available.  We have been using the likes of open-source software and Guerilla Marketing (J. C. Levinson, 1984) for a long time.  Funny…we always called it bootstrapping!  Welcome to our world, Mr. Ries and Mr. Blank!

It’s a GREAT time to be an angel.  Find a group and jump in!

Bill Payne is the 2010 BNZ University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneur In Residence. www.billpayne.com