Is The Lean Startup Movement Here To Stay?

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The term “lean startup” was coined by entrepreneur Eric Ries in 2008 to describe low-burn and lean-thinking companies. Since then, it’s gained a lot of popularity among entrepreneurs.The concept has three main characteristics: the use of platforms enabled by open source and free software; the application of agile development methodologies, which dramatically reduce waste and unlock creativity in product development; and customer-centric rapid iteration, as exemplified by the Customer Development process.

Ries is quick to clarify that lean isn’t about being cheap — it’s about being less wasteful and still doing things that are big. It’s characterised by terms like agile development, MVP (minimum viable product) and constant iteration. But is the lean startup movement just a trend? Or is it here to stay? Entrepreneurs from around the world weigh in. 

What do you think of the lean startup movement?

Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean:

“I believe Lean Startup is based on ‘sound enough’ meta-principles that it will last.  Every movement goes through a typical hype cycle described here. I would characterise Lean Startup right now as approaching the ‘peak of inflated expectations’ point.”

What I think will help make it through the other end is the strong emphasis on hypothesis testing (continuous learning) which should not just be applied to the products we’re building but the Lean Startup methodology itself. Tactics can and should evolve and change but the meta-principles should stay intact. In a startup, you don’t get a gold star for following process but achieving results.”

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Jason Cohen, A Smart Bear blogger and entrepreneur:

“I’m glad Lean is here because it’s forcing people to think. Certain principles I like a lot, such as being humble about your assumptions and listing to customers.”

Some companies follow it to the letter, though it’s hard to say what “it” even is. I see some of them drown in conversion rates and dashboards instead of just creating something truly interesting and exciting. It’s hard to measure excitement.”

In general people are less introspective and less metrics-driven than they should be, so I’m glad it’s forcing people to shift a bit.  But in 5 years there’ll be another thing to follow. So the main thing is to decide for yourself what makes sense.”

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Daniel Debow, co-founder of Rypple (Eric Ries is an advisor):

“We iterate. We talk to real customers to discover what they want. We try to avoid any and all waste. I’d say — and Eric agrees, i think — that it important to remember Lean is not a religion (or a cargo cult). It’s a state of mind and an approach to solving problems. We hope we’re doing that.”

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Hiten Shah, founder of KISSmetrics:

“As an entrepreneur I want to succeed. Lean startup principles have helped me learn fast and build something people want.”

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Micah Baldwin, founder of Graphicly:

“It’s fantastic, but like any tool, if its not done right, then you are the tool. We are integrating its concepts across the board: marketing, product, engineering.”

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