Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best. Birthday. Ever.

Last week I turned 33, while on the road. I received an incredible amount of good news all at once. First off, I received the big news that you'll get to read if you open up the paper this coming Sunday: The Lean Startup has debuted at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Look closely, and you'll see The Lean Startup right below televangelist Joel Osteen and right above The Guinness Book of World Records.

The Wall Street Journal also maintains a bestseller list specifically for business books. The Lean Startup debuted there at #2 as well:

On the very same day, my friend Hiten Shah was the first to spot this strange sight on a local newsstand:

If you click through, you'll get to read a significant excerpt from the book in the current issue of Inc Magazine.

But by far the best part of my birthday was getting to spend it with so many of you. (OK, the Chicago Lean Startup Circle's minimum viable birthday cake was pretty awesome, too). I have spent the past two years working on this book. I have believed all along that - with your help - we could take these ideas to a mainstream audience. You've done your part. By supporting the book in such large numbers, you've put it on the map for thousands of new people: entrepreneurs, managers, investors, and policy makers.

As those people actually get a chance to read the book, we'll find out if I've managed to live up to my part of the bargain. I hope the book is worthy of the faith you all have placed in it.

In any event, thank you. It's been an amazing ride - and the ultimate birthday present.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Updates from the road

Greetings from Toronto, stop four on my book tour. I thought I'd share a few updates; for a firehose of detailed updates, follow me on Twitter or Plancast.

Bundle Deadline Extended
First things first: remember the Last Lean Startup Bundle, the one that I said was only going to run for 48 hours? Well, I keep getting talked into extending the deadline. I'm glad I did, since some folks have put the extra time to good use. For example, One of my favorite venture firms (who believed early in IMVU), Menlo Ventures, bought a Super Mentor Bundle for their portfolio companies. How cool is that?

However, today is really truly the last day to order the bundle. Monday, September 20, 11pm EST.

The early reviews are in
I've been waiting months to find out how the world at large would react to the book itself, and it's such a relief that the moment is finally here.

I'm extremely honored by this review in the Financial Times:

Every so often a business book comes along that changes how we think about innovation and entrepreneurship. Clay Christensen’s theories on disruptive innovation and Geoffrey Moore’s potent metaphors of “crossing the chasm” from small to mass markets, and going “inside the tornado” of starting a business, have loomed large over entrepreneurial theory for years. Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup has the chops to join this exalted company.

I'm equally proud of the comments and reviews from actual entrepreneurs and practitioners. And I even appreciate the constructive criticisms and other feedback. (And see how I'm resisting the urge to feed the trolls?)

David ForrestCongratulations to  on his new book Lean Startup - - a MUST READ for any entrepreneur

Craig Rutkunasericries I was a bit sceptical because of all the hype, but I'm reading the  and it's awesome. Time well spent Eric.

Sukumar RajagopalJust finished reading by  in one sitting ~ ****ing brilliant. Groundbreaking stuff. Must read.
And then there's the nearly 100 reviews on Amazon. Go check them out and, I hope, leave your own contribution.

Photos from the tour
Thanks to the folks at Montabe, there's a realtime image gallery of photos related to the book launch. I appreciate everyone who's taken the time to upload a photo of the book in the wild or a snapshot at one of our launch events. Here's a few of my favorites:

That's it from the road. Having an amazing time. Thank you all so much.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Lean Startup Book Tour

Today, September 13, 2011 is launch day! And, for me, it's literally a launch into a crazy amount of travel. For the next two weeks, I'm going to do as many events, interviews, and talks as I physically can. I hope you'll join me, either in person or virtually.

A complete list of book tour stops for the first leg of my journey is below. To stay up-to-date, you can get the firehose of updates by following me on Twitter or for "just the facts" follow me on Plancast.

However BEFORE WE CONTINUE with the list of events, can I ask just one favor? Many of you who pre-ordered the book -especially those of you on Kindle- have already received your copy. The reviews page for the book has just opened to the general public (up until now it's been limited to Amazon Vine reviewers). The first 24 hours are critical in establishing that all-important "average star rating" that tends to settle in. Would you take just a few minutes to post your honest impressions of the book on Amazon? I'd really appreciate it.

Now, on with our regularly scheduled launch...

Tuesday, September 13 - San Francisco

TechCrunch Disrupt
It all begins at TechCrunch Disrupt. At 11:45am I'll be honored to share the stage with two great entrepreneurs:
Introducing The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries with case studies, Intuit’s Scott Cook and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom
And in the evening, the book launch party is also part of Disrupt. We'll be in the concourse from 5:30-7:30pm. Please come celebrate. If you like to support local independent bookstores, Book Passage, one of my favorite SF bookstores will be on hand selling copies, which I'm happy to sign.

Wednesday, September 16 - On your TV

Update: Just got word that I'll be appearing on Bloomberg West at 3pm PST. Be sure to tune in!

Thursday, September 15 - Los Angeles

Drucker Business Forum
It starts bright and early at the Drucker Business Forum, with a breakfast event at 7:45am (talk starts at 8:15). Tickets are $35, which includes a copy of the book (I know you already have one - but give it to a friend?). I have a limited number of free tickets to give away, first-come first-served. You can grab one here. Details:
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful BusinessesTickets $20, $35 includes Ries’ book The City Club on Bunker Hill
333. S. Grand Avenue, 54th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Lean LA + This Week in Startups
Twice on this trip, I'm sitting down with an over-the-top free-wheeling no-holds-barred interviewer that is guaranteed to be entertaining. How could I stop in LA without filming an episode of This Week in Startups with Jason Calacanis? Luckily, the amazing Lean LA meetup group has organized to do this in front of an audience, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Tickets are $30 and include a copy of the book. I'll be signing copies as well. Register here.
A Conversation with Eric Ries

Thursday, September 15, 2011, 7:30 PM

1855 Main StSanta MonicaCA (map)

Price: $30.00/per person
Eric not only created the term "Lean Startup", he has sparked a movement that is changing the way people think about startups.
In a very special Lean LA event, serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis from Mahalo and This Week in Startups will interview Eric Ries live on stage at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Friday,  September 16 - Seattle

On Friday, I fly to Seattle, where I'll be for two days. The first day kicks off with two corporate events, one at Amazon (in their Fishbowl series) and one at Microsoft. Employees only.

That evening, there will be a casual talk followed by a book signing at Town Hall Seattle (co-sponsored with Lean Startup Seattle).

Friday • September 16 • 6pmThe Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric RiesHappy Hour with Startup Guru Eric Ries
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (CROWN)
Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle (Enter on Seneca)
For Eric Ries, a "startup" is an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty, no matter what the size. So how is it best to deal with uncertainty? How does an organization like this thrive? By learning to be rapidly responsive and agile. Ries wants to show you how.
Please Note: Autographed copies of books are only available after the event.
Presented by the Town Hall Center for Civic Life. Series media sponsorship provided by PubliCola. Series supported by The Boeing Company Charitable Trust and the RealNetworks Foundation. Tickets are $5 at or 1.800.838.3006, and at the door beginning at 6pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating.
$26.00  Buy an Autographed Copy

 Saturday,  September 17 - Seattle

StartupDay 2011 by Startup Weekend & Seattle 2.0 

Startup Weekend and Seattle 2.0 are teaming up to put on an awesome all-day conference on Saturday. I'll be the closing keynote at 4:30, but you should really come for the whole day if you can. They've got an amazing line up of speakers, including Sean Ellis, Scott Porad, Rand Fishkin and many more. Register here.

Monday, September 19 - Toronto

My only Canadian stop on the tour is in Toronto at the Rotman School of Management. 
Startup Experts Speaker Series @ Rotman5:00 sharp to 6:00pm presentation and Q&ASPEAKER: Eric Ries, Author, Startup Lessons Learned Blog and The Lean Startup (Crown Business, September 13, 2011); Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Harvard Business School; Co-Founder and former Chief Technology Officer, IMVUTOPIC: “The Lean Startup: The Radical New Approach Savvy Entrepreneurs Use to Unleash Creativity, Work Smarter and Get Products to Market Sooner”PLACE: Fleck Atrium (ground floor), Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, 105 St. George Street, Toronto (ON)BOOKSALE: additional copies of The Lean Startup will be available for sale at the eventFEE: $30 per person (fee includes HST, the session and 1 copy of The Lean Startup)TO REGISTER: Click Here

Tuesday, September 20 - New York

Unfortunately, all of my events in New York on this trip are closed to the public. Mostly, I'll be doing media and interviews, followed by a reception at IDEO. Never fear, I'll be back in a big way in October, centered around the Web 2.0 Expo

Wednesday, September 21 - Boston

A big event at Harvard Business School, where I'm returning this year as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. This is event is free and open to the public. The talk itself will be in Burden Auditorium on the HBS campus, followed by a reception & book-signing in the brand-new Harvard i-lab:

5pm: The Rock Center & Harvard i-labpresent: Eric Ries
Hear from Rock Center Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Eric Ries. Eric is the creator of the Lean Startup methodology and the author of the popular entrepreneurship blogStartup Lessons Learned.
6pm: Harvard i-lab reception with Eric Ries
Following the talk with Eric Ries, join us for a reception - the inaugural event - at the Harvard i-lab. Co-sponsored by the Rock Center & the Harvard innovation lab.
Thursday, September 22 - Chicago + Around the World

The Chicago Lean Startup Circle and Northwestern University are hosting me on my birthday. As a birthday present, they've teamed up with Crown to organize a Virtual Book Tour version of this event. If you want to organize your own gathering anywhere in the world, and participate via live simulcast, you're welcome to do so. Just contact Paul Lamb at Random House. Details:

Join us on Thursday, September 22nd for a Conversation with Eric Ries.
Crown Books is releasing Eric Ries' book The Lean Startup in September, and Eric will be at the Chicago Lean Startup Circle on September 22nd for an "Actors Studio" style conversation with Bernhard Kappe.  The price of the ticket also includes a copy of Eric's book The Lean Startup.Thanks to Michael Marasco and the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, we'll be hosting this event at Northwestern University's Thorne Auditorium on Chicago Avenue by the lake. 
Register here. 

September 23-26 - TBA

I'll be in New York and then Washington DC for media on these days, but don't have anything public on the schedule to announce. 

Tuesday, September 27 - San Francisco

Home, home again. 


I'm honored to be hosted by the Commonwealth Club of California, who I've spent many hours listening to on public radio. They obviously have a lot of courage, because not only are they putting me on stage, they've invited Dave McClure to interview me. He's promised to keep it clean enough for radio. We'll see. At least his crazy fonts can't shine through an audio-only medium, so he won't blind anybody.

In all seriousness, I'm really excited about this event. If you can, please come out and join us. It'll be fun.

Eric Ries: The Principles of a Lean Startup

Sep 27 2011 - 6:30pmThe Principles of a Lean StartupEric Ries, Author, The Lean StartupIn conversation with Dave McClure, Founder, 500 Startups
Starting one, working for one, going public with one – startups seem to be the thing to do in SF. But how do you make your startup great? Ries, the guru behind the “Lean Startup” sensation, asks: Is your startup employee-centric and knowledge-obsessed? Is your company functioning at optimal efficiency? Is your office a fun place to work? Ries will reveal what he believes to be the necessary hard facts that lead to a successful startup.
Location: SF Club Office
Time:  6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. book signing/networking reception

Cost: $20 standard, $12 members, $7 students
Location  Blue Room, The Commonwealth Club  

As always when I'm on tour, if you're a reader of this blog, please do come say hello. Your support and enthusiasm mean a lot to me. Thanks.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The power of small batches

The following is an excerpt from The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses published by Crown Business. 

In the book Lean Thinking, James Womack and Daniel Jones recount a story of stuffing newsletters into envelopes with the assistance of one of the author’s two young children. Every envelope had to be addressed, stamped, filled with a letter, and sealed. The daughters, age six and nine, knew how they should go about completing the project: “Daddy, first you should fold all of the newsletters. Then you should attach the seal. Then you should put on the stamps.” Their father wanted to do it the counterintuitive way: complete each envelope one at a time. They told him “that wouldn’t be efficient!” So he and his daughters each took half the envelopes and competed to see who would finish first.

The father won the race, and not just because he is an adult.

The one envelope at a time approach is a faster way of getting the job done even though it seems inefficient. This has been confirmed in many studies, including this one (from LSS Academy):

Why does stuffing one envelope at a time get the job done faster even though it seems like it would be slower? Because our intuition doesn’t take into account the extra time required to sort, stack, and move around the large piles of half- complete envelopes when it’s done the other way. It seems more efficient to repeat the same task over and over, in part because we expect that we will get better at this simple task the more we do it. Unfortunately, in process-oriented work like this, individual  performance is not nearly as important as the overall performance of the system.

(If you're skeptical, you're in good company. For a frame-by-frame breakdown of where the time went in that video, see this post.)

But even if the amount of time that each process took was exactly the same, the small batch production approach still would be superior, and for even more counterintuitive reasons. For example, imagine that the letters didn’t fit in the envelopes. With the large- batch approach, we wouldn’t find that out until nearly the end. With small batches, we’d know almost immediately.

All these issues are visible in a process as simple as stuffing envelopes, but they are of real and much greater consequence in the work of every company, large or small. What if it turns out that the customers have decided they don’t want the product? Which process would allow a company to find this out sooner?

Lean manufacturers such as Toyota discovered the benefits of small batches decades ago. When I teach entrepreneurs this method, I often begin with stories about manufacturing. Before long, I can see the questioning looks: what does this have to do with my startup?

But the theory that is the foundation of Toyota’s success can be used to dramatically improve the speed at which startups find validated learning.

Toyota discovered that small batches made their factories more efficient. In contrast, in the Lean Startup the goal is not to produce more stuff efficiently. It is to— as quickly as possible— learn how to build a sustainable business. Think back to the example of envelope stuffing. What if it turns out that the customer doesn’t want the product we’re building? Although this is never good news for an entrepreneur, finding out sooner is much better than finding out later. Working in small batches ensures that a startup can minimize the expenditure of time, money, and effort that ultimately turns out to have been wasted.

Want to know more about how small batches can dramatically change the way you work? Click here to pick up your copy of The Lean Startup.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Last Lean Startup Bundle: claim $3,000,000 in prizes

The Lean Startup Book launches in just under a week.

[Forget the verbiage, just show me the deal! OK: do you want 5-100 copies or 100+ copies?]

How many copies will this book sell in its first week – real, hardcover, paper copies? If that number crosses some unknowable threshold, the book will debut as a bestseller, and then an awful lot of people are going to read it. People who would never bother with an entrepreneur’s blog, who may not even see themselves as entrepreneurs: shopkeepers and policy makers, CFO’s and private equity managers, and even future entrepreneurs. With your help, our movement can reach a truly mainstream audience, one that – at least in my humble opinion - truly needs to hear what we have to say.

But there’s no reason we can’t have a little fun along the way. I wanted to create an absolutely irresistible offer, one that would entice you to buy not just a single book – but to buy one for your entire team, entire company, or just for everyone you know. This bundle is 100% stuff I think you will really use. No phony discounts. No free trials. The more books you buy, the more valuable the rewards.

This blog post is going to be long, and below you will see every last detail of every last tier of prizes.

I chose Amazon Web Services to be our marquee reward, and not just for the obvious reason that so many of you are - right this very moment – already hosting on AWS EC2. Almost any startup - in any industry - can use AWS to find and serve customers. I chose AWS because it offers so many different services, from hosting to databases to payments (FPS) to content delivery (CloudFront) - even e-commerce fulfillment (FWS). The AWS team is excited about the book, too, and they’ve stepped up huge: the tiers below contain almost $100,000 in AWS credits. Some of the packages are almost worth buying for that value alone.

But only almost! Because at every level I have tried to give way more value than you’re paying. When you read the descriptions below, you’re going to think the “value” column is crazy. How could it possibly be that high? But I urge you to read the whole thing, check my math, and see if it’s real. Each and every package is worth what it says. Add them all up, and we're talking about $2,933,061.00 worth of prizes. No kidding around here.

Some of the prizes are practical, like Pivotal Tracker, KISSmetrics, Ask Your Target Market, Assistly, Hello Bar and Sauce Labs. I’ve only included services that I believe in and that I think you’re going to use.

Some of the prizes are just fun. My personal favorite (the prize I am secretly hoping won’t sell out so I can skim one for myself): a signed hardcover copy of one of my favorite new books, the crazy 80’s-video-game-themed sci-fi bestseller Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. (Yes, you will get one in the mail, courtesy of my publisher, and his, Crown/Random House). Trust me, when this book gets made into a movie and becomes the next WarGames, you’re going to feel pretty cool having this signed copy on your shelf.

You’ll get awesome video content, including the video Lean Startup course I created exclusively for Udemy. You’ll the complete video recording of the amazing Lean Startup track at SXSW 2011, every single presentation. And many of you will get seven awesome action videos courtesy of Appsumo.

And then there are the special bonus packages, for those who can make use of extremely large quantities of books. I asked some of the top Lean Startup super-mentors to volunteer to be prizes, and they are here. You can get time with me, too. And we’ve even got a spot in the extremely exclusive (and extremely cool) Lean User Experience Residency (LUXr) program, which normally costs $15,000. And, if you are disappointed that my book tour doesn’t take me to your city, you can instruct my publisher to change it.

Truly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dive in below and see what you think.