Monday, March 19, 2012

Doing > Talking

I had an incredible couple of days at SXSW. The Lean Startup track was successful beyond my wildest imaginations (we'll have video up soon). My personal highlight was watching newly-appointed United States CTO Todd Park receive a standing ovation from a crowd that is decidedly skeptical about government. What inspired the crowd that day was not just his personal charisma or what he said, but rather, what he had done. He told us stories of specific examples of "lean government" in action, ranging from to a new approval process for medical devices at the FDA. And many in the audience took away a simple message: if they can do Lean Startup in government, what's my excuse?

Here are Todd's slides: (You can also sign up to see the video when it's available.)

For the past three years, I have worked to bring the Lean Startup message to SXSW by showcasing our community, presenting real-life case studies, and trying to connect the tactics and advice into a coherent whole. I am proud of all that we have accomplished together. 

And yet, each year, I also try and get beyond talking. My number one goal, after all, is to change real-world entrepreneurial practice. If all we do is talk, pontificate, and speculate together, this will have been a gigantic waste of time. I continue to experiment with ways to get us all into action. And today I want to share another attempt. For last year's experiment, I teamed up with my friends at Appsumo to create a contest with epic prizes, including angel investment, spots in Silicon Valley incubators, and tons of mentorship. Some of last year's winners, such as Tout, continue to impress. But overall, the contest was only a mixed success. Launching it into the maelstrom of SXSW didn't work - there was simply too much noise. And the contest and bundle were far too complex. We had fallen into that classic trap of "more = better." (And how many startups have I advised not to do that over the years?)

This year, we're trying again. But instead of launching at SXSW, we used those few days to experiment and test a few different concepts. And today's post represents the results: The 2012 AppSumo Lean SX Bundle. I hope you'll find a way to use these tools to build something truly awesome:

But wait, there's more! Many of us are able to easily afford tools like these to experiment with. But we all know promising potential entrepreneurs who cannot. So the first 100 people to buy the bundle through this special link will receive two additional copies of the bundle that they can gift to whomever they want.

Want to save an additional $25? I always want to include books in these bundles, but we've had a lot of difficulty in years past delivering all the physical copies. So this year we're trying something new: anyone who buys a copy (during this promotion) of my book The Lean Startup or Ash Maurya's new book Running Lean can submit their receipt and save $25. Details here.

So what are you going to do with all that awesome stuff? Join the Lean Challenge: Kill the Wantrapreneur, aimed at those who are ready to take action and win over $50,000 in prizes. Use the tools from your AppSumo Lean SX Bundle to create a killer idea and put it out on Kickstarter. Then submit your idea here. Winner will be selected by community vote. Did I mention the prizes? Use these tools to build a simple prototype and then win a $50,000 production-ready Minimum Viable Product built by the experts at New Context, one-on-one time with me and other startup mentors, PLUS lifetime personal hosting plan from WPEngine AND up to $1,000 in AppSumo credit.

The AppSumo Lean SX Bundle and the Lean Challenge are open to everyone, so don't worry if you didn't make it to SXSW this year.

Friday, March 9, 2012

SXSW Update

Greetings from Austin, TX! For those of you on your way to SXSW, I wanted to give a few updates of opportunities to say hello. All of these events are free with a SXSW badge, none will be livestreamed (that I'm aware of), and a few are open to those without a badge. See you soon...

Friday March 9
3pm: I'll be signing books at 3pm at the SXSW Bookstore (Ballroom G Foyer in the Convention Center). Come say hi.

5pm: My Featured Session talk is in the big room, Ballroom D at the convention Center. I'm especially honored that Steve Blank will be introducing me!

In the evening, come join me at the Startup America "A Celebration of American Startups" party at ACL.

Saturday March 10
Dave McClure and I will kick off the official Lean Startup track at the Hilton. If you haven't seen our updated agenda, you're missing out. We've added a raft of new amazing speakers and case studies, including startups like AirBnB, Hipmunk, Etsy, and more. We also have a ton of new mentors who will be there for one-on-one meetings, including Aneesh Chopra, Mary & Tom Poppendieck, and Robert Scoble.

Here's a brief summary of the agenda:
9:30am – 10:30am
Dave McClure & Eric Ries Uncensored

10:30am – 11:00am
MENTOR MEETUPS: 1 on 1 sessions with leading entrepreneurs + advisers

11:00am – 12:00pm
Ash Maurya, Running Lean
Chad Dickerson, Etsy
Mary & Tom Poppendieck, Poppendieck.LLC

12:30pm – 12:45pm
Steve Blank, Stanford University
Patrick Vlaskovits, Drumbi
Ash Maurya, USERcycle
Jeff Gothelf, Proof
Janice Fraser, LUXr

12:45pm – 1:30pm
STEVE BLANK: Advice for Today's Startup Entrepreneurs

1:30pm – 2:00pm
MENTOR MEETUPS: 1 on 1 sessions with leading entrepreneurs + advisers

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Aaron Batalion, LivingSocial
Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot
Joe Zadeh, Airbnb
Zach Nies, Rally Software
Moderator: Thomas Korte, AngelPad

3:00pm – 3:30pm
MENTOR MEETUPS: 1 on 1 sessions with leading entrepreneurs + advisers

3:30pm – 4:00pm
Macon Phillips, U.S. White House
Todd Park, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

4:00pm – 4:30pm
Scott Cook, Intuit

4:30pm – 5:00pm

5:00pm – 6:00pm
Andy Rachleff, Wealthfront
Janice Fraser, Luxr
Adam Goldstein, Hipmunk
Victor Echevarria, TaskRabbit
6pm: And we've just added an amazing Minimum Viable Party sponsored by New Context. See you there!

Sunday March 11
9:15am: Join me bright and early for Startup America Live.

11am: Do you host or run a Lean Startup community event, such as a Lean Startup Meetup? Come join our meetup-of-meetups meetup. We did this last year and it was amazing. (real community leaders only)

5:30pm: I'll be teaching a brief class at the Skillshare & AMEX party.

7pm: I'll be doing a brief Q&A with Jeff Gothelf at the DeLUX Lean UX event at Adaptive Path.

Monday March 12
This will be my last day in Austin, sadly. I'm working with Startup America to arrange office hours at the Startup Village for those who've been asking for one-on-one meetings. I'll announce details on twitter if we get that figured out.

Phew! I'm getting exhausted just typing out this list. Hope to see you here. Happy SXSW!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Lean Startup at SXSW 2012

SXSW is less than a week away. Lean Startup ideas will be a big part of the festival this year. Last year SXSW invited me to produce an official Lean Startup track for the conference, which I did in partnership with 500 Startups. For those that were able to join us, you'll recall that we were in a pretty small venue far from the center of town. Apparently, they liked what they saw, as we've been seriously upgraded this year. And so I've once again partnered with 500 Startups in an effort to bring you the most comprehensive Lean Startup event ever.

First off, SXSW has asked me to introduce the Lean Startup to the broader conference, which I'll be doing on the big keynote stage. They've been at pains to remind me that room holds more than 2000 people - so please tell your friends to stop by. Mark your calendars for Friday, March 9 at 5pm, when I take the stage. Details:

The Lean Startup: The Science of Entrepreneurship Friday, March 9, 2012 5:00pm - 6:00pm Austin Convention Center Ballroom D

Then, on Saturday, March 10, The Lean Startup return for a second year with an official track at SXSW Interactive at the Hilton Austin Downtown. Along with 500 Startups, I've put together a full day of case studies, panel discussions, and mentoring sessions with an all-star lineup.

As usual, our day will be structured around three big keynote speakers: Dave McClure, Steve Blank, and Scott Cook (founder of Intuit). Our case studies span a wide range of company sizes and contexts (including the White House) and will explore some of the roots of lean thinking that have been a big influence on my own thinking. In 2012 there are at least five new books coming out that explore some aspect of Lean Startup. As a special treat, we'll have all of these authors present for a special "meet the authors" session where you'll be able to learn more and - we hope - get a sneak preview of some of them.

Our complete agenda is here

Throughout the day, we'll have a line-up of amazing speakers, including Aaron Batalion, Chad Dickerson, Victor Echevarria, Brad Feld, Janice Fraser, Adam Goldstein, Thomas Korte, Ash Maurya, Zach Nies, Todd Park, Macon Philips, Mary & Tom Poppendieck, Andy Rachleff, Dharmesh Shah, Joe Zedah, and many more

Check out the full list of speakers here.

More details on The Lean Startup at SXSW here and below.

The Lean Startup at SXSW Saturday, March 10
9:30am - 6:00pm Hilton Austin Downtown
(across the street from the Convention Center)
Sadly, due to SXSW restrictions, this event will not be simulcast. 

Thank you for your continued support. If you happen to be at SXSW Interactive, do come say hello.

See you in Austin!

March 9, 2012
The Lean Startup: The Science of Entrepreneurship

March 10, 2012
The Lean Startup at SXSW Interactive, an official SXSW Track

(For the past two years, I've put on the Startup Lessons Learned conference in the spring. It's a chance for the Lean Startup community to come together and share case studies of what's working and what's not from all corners of the startup ecosystem. Both years, I also agreed to do a Lean Startup track at another conference (first Web 2.0 Expo and then SXSW), also in the spring. This has led to a lot of confusion and duplicated effort, so I decided to focus my energy this spring on SXSW. I hope to have news about SLLCONF soon - thanks to all of you who've been asking about it.)