Startup Lessons: The Lean Startup

I’m not going to claim to be an expert on lean startup methodology. However, I’ve seen a lot of misconceptions about what a lean startup is and how to run one.

I recently saw a post that summarized some of the most important concepts around the lean startup. It was put together by Jeff Bussgang, a general partner at the VC firm Flybridge Capital, for a panel on product-market fit and customer acquisition. It’s a presentation/panel I would have loved to have seen in person. I’m sure there was a lot more substance to the talk than what comes through in the slides.

In any case here’s the link to Jeff’s post with the presentation:

Here are six key lean startup concepts that I took from the presentation:

  1. Startups fail because they create a product/service that no one wants (slide 3)
  2. Being lean does NOT mean being cheap – it means optimizing expenditures by avoiding waste (slide 3)
  3. Being lean does NOT mean avoiding strategic or analytic thinking (slide 3)
  4. The lean startup does not scale until product-market fit is established (slide 4)
  5. The lean startup values actionable metrics over vanity metrics (slide 6, I strongly recommend reading Running Lean and Lean Analytics for an in-depth study of setting up metrics and measuring progress in a startup)
  6. Validate your product-market fit before raising money (slide 11)

There’s a lot more that goes into operating a lean startup, but these are six key concepts that I pulled from the presentation that embody some of the most important concepts. I’d strongly recommend investigating the reading list that Jeff put on slide 12 if you’re interested in a deep dive on lean startup concepts and methodologies.

By the way, if you have a serious interest in startup methodology, I strongly recommend following Jeff’s blog – Seeing Both Sides. He doesn’t post often, but when he does, the topics are timely and contain directly applicable information to building and growing a company.


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