The Lean Startup - Eric Ries

That executive MBA I've been quietly working on has become accredited, which means I've accidentally started doing a real MBA. Ooops. Anyway, one of the courses is on entrepreneurship, and I wanted to read up a little more on it (I don't exactly expect to create a start-up, but the ideology permeates tech, so it seems worth understanding). The course was mostly aligned around Steve Blank's model, but it's hard to get a cheap copy of The Startup Owner's Manual, and this book is a lot cheaper and more well-known so I thought I'd read it instead.

This book is written by someone who really knows how to break an idea down to simple components, and possibly beyond. It's split into three main sections with single-word titles ("Vision", "Steer", "Accelerate"), each containing four single-word-titled chapters, each of which is short, focused and accessible, if potentially over-simplified. It is as if the book has been written by someone who really, really lives by the principles they're espousing in it.

And what are those principles? The main one is to not waste work. Don't do things that your customers don't want. To do that, do science: have a hypothesis, do what you need to test it, learn and adapt, and accelerate that learning cycle as quickly as possible. The book feels like it's built using those principles, as it contains nothing superfluous and is honed to deliver its message unambiguously, as if it's been test-read and edited a thousand times. It's a product that demonstrates itself.

It's a compelling vision of how to do a thing I don't really have much stomach for. I don't feel the need to try a thing that has a 10% chance of getting me 10x what I'm earning now. It's fun to be a spectator, though!

Posted 2020-04-11.