Friday, July 21, 2017

Lean Startup Week Call for Proposals is Open Until July 31

Guest post by Jennifer Maerz, Program Chair of Lean Startup Co. 

Some exciting news about this year’s Lean Startup Week (Oct. 30-Nov. 5) for all you potential speakers out there: we’re shaking things up in 2017. The flagship conference is directly tied to Eric Ries’s upcoming book, The Startup Way, and we’re hosting the event at two locations in downtown San Francisco (The Warfield and The Village). We’re bringing to life new case studies, advanced strategies, and inspiring areas where Lean Startup is making an impact around the globe, with an emphasis on how to put the practice into place for the long haul at large organizations—from the tiny startup that ballooned to the government or corporate team that’s only known extra large operations. If you’ve ever considered applying to speak at our conferences, now’s the time to go for it. This year will be a biggie for the Lean Startup community.

What We’re Looking For 

This part hasn’t changed. We’re passionate about bringing in fresh stories about how Lean Startup methods are being practiced in startups and established companies, nonprofits and civic organizations, and other areas we’ve yet to explore from the stage.

Our goal is to bring the most interesting, relevant, and impactful stories to the conference. We’re looking for practitioners who are doing the real work, particularly women and people of color, and specifically Lean Startup practitioners working at the intermediate and advanced levels. That’s where you come in—especially if you haven’t spoken at our conferences before. As a speaker, you’ll have the opportunity to share your advice, insight, failures, and successes in order to help and benefit from the Lean Startup community.

What is Your Lean Startup Story? 

If you have Lean Startup experience to share, we encourage you to propose a talk via our Call For Proposals form regardless of whether you have public speaking experience. Submit your idea as a short video, ideally under three minutes. iPhone videos are totally acceptable, just make sure the sound quality is high enough that we can hear you. Here’s an example of a speaker application that we loved.

There are a limited number of spots available to speak. Below, you’ll find a few helpful tips on how to submit a proposal:

  • You don’t have to be a Lean Startup all-star to apply. You just need a good story, useful tips for intermediate/advanced practitioners, compelling advice, or practical applications to share. 
  • The core of your proposal should be simple. Focus on answering one of the questions posed in the Call For Proposals form (you’ll find them on page 2). 
  • Deliver the pitch in your application as though you’re speaking from a stage. Although there’s still time to practice, stage presence matters. 

Would You Rather Attend? 

Lean Startup Week is the best way to connect with 2000+ other experts in the Lean Startup community. You’ll receive practical ways to immediately implement the Lean Startup methodology into your daily business. We’ve got a package for every budget (and options to bring your entire team at an affordable rate). Join us.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Evolution of THE STARTUP WAY Cover

Guest post by Marcus Gosling, VP of Product, Long-Term Stock Exchange.


I’m excited to reveal the final cover for Eric’s next book, THE STARTUP WAY, coming October 17. I’ve been working with Eric since the IMVU days and designed the cover for The Lean Startup… I was excited to help with the new cover and, after months of testing different iterations, we’ve decided on a design that checks all the boxes that Eric, the Crown Business publishing team at Penguin Random House, and I wanted to hit going into this process:

  • It’s eye catching, whether on a bookshelf or online storefront
  • It demonstrates a clear evolution from The Lean Startup
  • It captures the book’s message of entrepreneurial management
  • And, of course, it tests well with buyers





The first drafts I showed to Eric and the team played with two graphics: an infinity symbol and a chevron. The infinity symbol represents the continuous innovation that’s possible within any organization, regardless of size. The chevron represented a clear path into the future through entrepreneurial management. While both are essential concepts to the book, the chevron was a clearer departure from The Lean Startup circle. We looked at a number of color treatments for both graphics and knew we wanted to test several options.


We also looked at the cover options in a field among other business books. It was important to know that our jacket would stand out to readers looking for the next great business book.

Once we decided to focus on the chevron shape, I started playing with the color scheme -- some variations on The Lean Startup scheme and some total departures. While anyone who caught a glimpse of the options had an opinion, I knew we wanted to test buyer decisions rather than simply survey friends and family.

We ran ads targeted toward business readers on Facebook with the four different cover variations shown above. Clickthrough was strongest on the red cover with silver in second. We tested the actual purchase decision on our testing site, thestartupway.co. The blue covers led the way, followed by red, then silver a distant fourth.


We realized we ran the Facebook ad with the cover on a dark backdrop while the testing site had a white background. Given most buyers are shopping online, we had to see how the covers would look in an online retailer’s storefront. As you can see on the CEOreads page above, the silver was quickly lost on the white background. I tweaked the color schemes to find a blue chevron we all liked and we moved forward with testing one red and one blue design.


Down to these two color schemes, I extended the chevron to the edges of the page, adding to the boldness and drama of the design. With that change in place, Eric had a new test in mind, one we had run while designing The Lean Startup cover.


Using a website called fivesecondtest.com, we showed participants one of the two bookshops above for five seconds. When the image disappeared, we asked which books they recalled seeing. 2/3 of all respondents named The Startup Way as one of the first three books they remembered, with participants shown the red cover slightly more apt to name the title.

Anecdotally, but interestingly, a few participants mentioned the “red book” or the “orange business book” while there were no comparable mentions for the blue cover.


We continued testing clickthrough on Facebook, where there wasn’t a discernible difference between the red and blue covers.

 

At the same time, we tested purchase decisions on the book landing site, where the red cover held a slight edge over the blue. Given the buying preference for the red cover (and my and Eric’s personal inclination for it, assuming testing didn’t show it to be a terrible option), we decided to move forward with the red design.


Once we were settled on color, I spent a Sunday afternoon, paintbrush in hand, modifying the brushstroke of the chevron.


The outcome of the paint party was an evolution in chevron design, from smooth to more energetic. Eric liked the options with more streakiness to the chevron; we both felt the streakiness indicated a work in progress. The busier the streaks became, though, the more the title became lost in the design.


While the silver title, much like the silver cover, would look great on a bookshelf we decided to see what it looked like in an online storefront vs. a white title. It was immediately evident that the white title popped off the page regardless of how streaky I made the chevron. While Eric and I continued to tweak, we stuck to a white title from then on.


We played with chevron angle, thickness, size, streakiness, and splatter. The above shows how far we’ve come from the first draft. We tweaked accent colors, font style, font size, and font spacing. Three and a half months after our first conversation about chevrons and infinity symbols, we’re excited to reveal the final cover for THE STARTUP WAY:



Thank you to the Crown Business team who managed the Facebook and five second testing, to anyone who preordered through the landing site (whether you knew you were part of the testing or not!), and of course to Eric for helping balance art and science in the design process. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the physical product when it hits shelves October 17!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lean Startup Conference Comes to New York & London

Guest post by Melissa Moore & Jennifer Maerz of Lean Startup Co. 

Over the last eight years, we’ve learned that our Lean Startup community members are constantly searching for better ways to build and scale products. Whether you need advice on how to design a good experiment, how to get buy-in from your boss, or what key metrics to track to hold your team accountable, we’re here to help.

We’ve got two learning opportunities for you this spring: 

Join us at Lean Startup Conference New York (May 10-11) in Brooklyn for an intensive two days of specialized corporate innovator education and networking. You won’t just hear inspirational and motivational talks (though we’ll have plenty of that!). More importantly, you’ll get effective how-to’s on the next steps for applying Lean Startup within your organizations. Our workshops and keynotes cover:
  • Connecting Lean Startup strategy to execution to avoid siloed efforts that fail to shift the organizational culture, with Lean Startup Co. senior faculty member Jonathan Bertfield 
  • The importance of creating islands of freedom, with Lean Startup Co. senior faculty member Marilyn Gorman 
  • Planning, tracking, and running experiments & framing teams’ work around innovation, with Sense & Respond authors Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden 
  • Exploring the key components of and strategies behind robust customer discovery, with The Startup Owner’s Manual co-author Bob Dorf 
  • How Microsoft is making the change from traditional to Lean, with Cindy Alvarez 
  • Unlocking your company's innovation capital, with Launchpad Co-founder and Executive Chairman Jim Hornthal 
  • How Lean design systems allow teams to move fast and scale design, with GE Digital Design Director Ken Skistimas and Carbon Five’s Courtney Hemphill 
  • Lean concepts that helped the design transformation at Nordstrom, with Jyoti Shukla 
Check out our initial New York program details here.

If you live closer to Big Ben than the Big Apple, we’ve got something else in store for you... 

We’re holding the Lean Startup Summit London (June 13 & 14) during London Tech Week to bring our innovation training across the Atlantic, featuring seasoned Lean experts from Silicon Valley and around Europe. This summit will focus on the practical ways UK organizations in areas like fintech, cleantech, Lean Impact, and Lean enterprise continuously adapt and innovate for the long term through techniques validated in environments of extreme uncertainty.

Get the initial London program details here, including:
  • How to implement Lean Startup (a foundational workshop for newbies and a refresher for the pros), led by Lean Startup Co.’s Phil Dillard 
  • Practical tools to set up, run, and measure innovation experiments, with the founder of the Business Model Canvas, Alex Osterwalder 
  • Build a transformation roadmap for large organizations, with former Pearson SVP Sonja Kresojevic
  • Fireside chat on GE’s FastWorks journey—including how the company has developed, measured, and scaled the program to 250,000+ employees—with FastWorks Skills Director SinĂ©ad Clarkin 
  • Fireside chat with Pernod Ricard’s Head of Employee Development on how the beverage company embarked on a 1,000-day, Lean Startup-driven business transformation journey called “Project Ingenuity” 
  • A practical guide to innovation accounting with The Corporate Startup co-author Tendayi Viki 

As an attendee of either event, you’ll get an extra bonus: a virtual keynote by Eric Ries, along with a pre-publication copy of his latest book, The Startup Way, which focuses on the implementation of Lean Startup techniques inside large companies. Bring your burning questions for this interactive talk, and Eric will do his best to get them answered.

The Startup Way won’t be available to the public until October, but as an attendee, you’ll receive a special early conference edition of the uncorrected paperback proof, being printed especially for you this summer. Attendees will also receive the hardcover book in the fall.

We’ll have even more to announce in the next few weeks leading up to the event. We hope you’ll join us in New York and/or London to get the latest skills sets and techniques necessary for building a modern company.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Announcing my next book, The Startup Way

In the five years since I published The Lean Startup, I've worked with organizations of varieties and sizes I never imagined would be interested in the ideas I wrote about in that book. And what I've learned is that lean isn't just for five-person startups: it's for everyone--especially everyone who wants to thrive in the quickly changing world we now live in, where the only guarantee is that we don't know what's coming next. As you know, I believe uncertainty is a challenge rather than a problem: It's all about how you manage it. That's the message I've been bringing to companies as big and established as GE, and as a new and rapidly expanding as Dropbox. I've talked about it with non-profits, local governments, and even the Federal Government (where they're now applying lean to everything from immigration benefits to the system that generates the nuclear codes!). The Startup Way is full of the stories of hard work we did together as these organizations changed not just their ways of working (in areas ranging from product development to internal processes like HR and legal) but their core cultures, to become more nimble and innovative. It's also full of stories of many other organizations that have begun to adopt these methods whether or not I was involved.

Across the board, all of them are engaged in one thing: entrepreneurship.

It may sound crazy to you to call the Federal Government entrepreneurial. Or that a company like GE, which was founded in 1892, is comparable to one like Airbnb, which was founded in 2008. But both of these things are not only true--they're the key to The Startup Way.

Regardless of size, mission, or sector, no organization can survive without the ability to adapt continuously. I believe that ability has to be a structural part of every organization--that companies need a standardized way to test ideas, run experiments, and follow through on the ones that will bring sustainable growth and long-term impact. If you've read The Lean Startup, those ideas will sound familiar. In that sense, The Startup Way is a book about how to use Lean Startup tools at scale. But it's also a book about leadership. No tool can bring change if it doesn't have the support of the people in charge, who, after all, inspire and direct others to new heights.

The book is a combination of real-life examples of how these leaders have done just that, and deep explanations of the methods and practices that together make up The Startup Way of working. It's been truly inspirational for me to see so many smart, passionate people make real change in these last years. My hope for the book is that it will give many, many more the tools they need to keep that change growing and spreading. I can't wait to see what happens.

You can pre-order the hardcover edition here. Your order will grant you access to The Leader's Guide community, an exclusive network of new and experienced Lean Startup practitioners, where I'll be sharing excerpts from the book and the results of the design and content testing I'm doing to shape the final product.