Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"The Startup Way" is Headed to London

“A remarkably useful playbook that every business, government, and nonprofit needs to ignite the spark of innovation and fuel the fire of change.”
-Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and OPTION B with Sheryl Sandberg

Since The Startup Way came out on October 17th, I’ve had a great time traveling with the book, speaking to audiences, and meeting amazing people creating change in all types of organizations. From New York, Philadelphia, and Boston to Los Angeles and San Francisco, entrepreneurs came out to share their enthusiasm -- you really are everywhere. Some great new reviews and interviews from smart, generous readers since my last post:

  • Don’t let your hot startup grow into a sluggish, old-fashioned company (LinkedIn Weekend Essay)
  • Digital Magic: How Eric Ries Brought The Startup Way to GE (GE Reports)
  • The Startup Guru Who Wants Everyone to Think Like a Founder (Wired)
  • How Creating An Entrepreneurship Function Can Help Sustain Corporate Innovation (Forbes)
  • How to Turn Your Lumbering Dinosaur of a Business Into a Nimble Butterfly (Inc.)
  • The missing function of entrepreneurship in most companies, creating a new accountability paradigm, and how to structure promotions and compensation in the new structure (Twenty Minute VC Podcast)

In addition to all the great press, I was honored to see the book make the Wall Street Journal bestseller list in its first week on shelves.

Next stop on the book tour: London. My UK publisher has put together a packed schedule and I can’t wait to talk about The Startup Way across the pond. You can learn more about each event and access tickets at the links below:

Nov 13 | Tech City Nations | 6:00pm | Cass Business School
    In conversation with Ingrid Lunden
Nov 14 | TechHub | 5:00pm | TechHub London
    Live coaching hosted by Elizabeth Varley, Founder & CEO TechHub
Nov 14 | Campus | 7:30pm | Google Campus London
   In conversation with Sarah Drinkwater, Head of Campus
Nov 15 | Bookomi / How To Academy | 9:00am | Emmanuel Centre
   Digital read-along and book discussion
Nov 15 | Business of Software | 6:00pm | Emmanuel Centre
Nov 16 | London School of Economics | 6:30pm | Old Theatre
   In conversation with Dr. Lourdes Sosa

Back in the US, the first printing of the hardcover edition is selling fast, but if you buy one now you can still get all the bonus content we’ve created, accessible only with a unique code printed inside the first edition US print run.

Bonus content includes:
  • A five-part video series introducing the key concepts and methods of The Startup Way
  • A case study on hiring and onboarding at hypergrowth startup Gusto, not included in the book
  • Bonus MVP examples courtesy of Intuit
  • A downloadable visualization of The Startup Way
  • A workbook to generate and analyze MVPs in your own organization
  • A primer on innovation accounting and its key metrics and questions
  • Access to The Leader’s Guide online community, a network of new and experienced lean practitioners

We’ll be adding more content over time as well, so be sure to pick up your hardcover copy while supplies last. Don’t forget to tweet a photo of your book to see it on

Thank you, as always, for your support. I can’t wait to hear more about how you use the #StartupWay in your work.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What's Next for "The Startup Way"

We’ve had an amazing first week following publication of The Startup Way. I’ve loved traveling to talk about the book and hearing what readers and supporters have to say and what their most pressing questions are. Launch week was busy to say the least, with lots of interviews, Quora and Reddit AMAs, and events across three states. A heartfelt thank you to everyone for turning out, reading, and offering support! 

A few thing as we move into Week 2 of my book tour: 

I'm now in Los Angeles and San Francisco to promote The Startup Way. If this week is anything like the last, attendees are in for great events. 

If you're in those cities, I hope you'll join me:

10/24 | Los Angeles, CA | 8:00pm | Ann and Jerry Moss Theater
     In conversation with Mark Suster, Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures
10/25 | Los Angeles, CA | 7:45am | Cross Campus Downtown LA
     In conversation with Krisztina Holly, Founder of MAKE IT IN LA
10/25 | San Francisco, CA | 4:30pm | Bunker Labs Muster @ Slack HQ
     In conversation with Todd Connor, Founder and CEO, Bunker Labs
10/25 | 
San Francisco, CA | 6:30pm | Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
     In conversation with Todd Park, former US CTO

Speaking of events! An important reminder: Lean Startup Week is in San Francisco October 30 - November 5

The Lean Startup Week team has been working around the clock to put together a program that will suit the needs of any entrepreneur in any organization, all themed around The Startup Way. Whether you're a student or the head of a division at a large company, we have a package to help you get the most out of the conference. You can see the full program agenda here and register for the package that suits your needs here. See you there!

Here’s a round up of early media for The Startup Way

Teaching GE to Think Like a Startup (Fortune)

Eric Ries: Why Companies Need To Create An Entrepreneurial Culture (Forbes)

In Eric Ries’ new book, he tells companies to turn every unit into a cash-strapped ‘startup’ (TechCrunch)

How companies can keep their 'start-up DNA': Eric Ries (CNBC Squawk Box)

Why big companies need to innovate like entrepreneurs (Wired UK)

EDITOR'S CHOICE: The Startup Way (800CEOread) (a terrific in depth review) 

Silicon Valley Vs. Wall Street: Can the New Long-Term Stock Exchange Disrupt Capitalism? (WSJ) (nice piece about our efforts with The Long Term Stock Exchange)

One final reminder!  

Each copy of the first printing of the hardcover edition of The Startup Way in the US and Canada contains a unique code that grants you access to bonus features at Register with the code in your copy to get access to a five-part video series, a visualization of The Startup Way, bonus MVP examples courtesy of Intuit, and more.

If you're outside the US or purchased via Kindle or Audible, sign up on the site without a bonus code and you'll receive some bonus materials as well.

As always, thank you for your support, and I look forward to hearing what you think as you delve into the book.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Publication Day for "The Startup Way"

Today, my new book, The Startup Way, finally hits bookshelves! It's a huge day for any author, but I also hope it can be a huge day for the future and growth of the startup movement and for the future of our country.

I want people to use my book as a way to start conversations about the critical roles of innovation and sustainable growth everywhere from startups to large corporations to public policy. Together, these institutions can help transform the United States into a thriving entrepreneurial nation that supports and values all of its citizens. The success of the startup movement is about so much more than making cool new products; it's about adapting our country for an uncertain future that holds as many opportunities as it does challenges.

In order to start those discussions, though, people need to read the book. I've always found that the best book recommendations come from the very same source that has powered the startup movement so far: smart, creative, busy people. People like you. We have so many ways of getting information today, and I would really appreciate you using any channel you feel comfortable with to tell your friends and colleagues about The Startup Way. Here are a few suggestions for spreading the word:

1. Share the book socially. Conversations at cocktail parties or over the dinner table are welcome, as, of course, is social media. If you do post online, it would be great if you tag your enthusiasm with #StartupWay. I've included some ideas below and encourage you to create your own based on your experience with the book.
Insights on how continuous innovation leads to continuous transformation in @ericries new book The #StartupWay.
The #LeanStartup has grown up to become The #StartupWay, w/innovation framework for orgs of every size. Out now!
Entrepreneurial mgmt is difference btwn modern & old fashioned co’s. @ericries new book #StartupWay shows why.

2. Write a review on Amazon. The book got some amazing blurbs in advance of publication, but reader reviews also have a huge effect on the buying decision. If you enjoy the book it would mean a lot if you could take a few minutes to write a positive review. Thank you!

3. Pick up a copy. Or five! Every sale makes a difference, even more so if it's from a local retailer, and the first week's sales can make or break a book's trajectory. I encourage you to grab copies for you and your colleagues. We’ve created resources on the Startup Way website for people who buy the US hardcover edition -- there’s a code in each book -- that I hope will help facilitate group discussions.

I am deeply grateful for your support throughout this process. It was an honor to see the impact that The Lean Startup had on so many and to have the support of such terrific friends and readers. I’m hoping The Startup Way will continue that conversation and am so glad to have you along for the ride.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We’re Programming Around Your Needs: Highlights of Lean Startup Week 2017

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

For eight years, our flagship conference has focused on sharing stories and lessons of putting Lean Startup’s entrepreneurial methodology into practice. We’ve hosted talks, workshops, and interactive sessions on the challenges and successes of modern management techniques from a wide variety of business leaders around the world. Lean Startup Week (Oct. 30 - Nov. 5 in San Francisco) allows you to experience seven days of interactive innovation training from our experts and true Lean Startup practitioners—in a city that’s known for being the hotbed of high-growth startups and iconic tech companies (not to mention a great place to eat, drink, sightsee, and shop while you’re talking shop).

This year, we’re really honing in on the feedback from our past conferences, as well as our smaller, more focused conferences in New York and London this year. What we heard was that you want more opportunities to have your specific challenges answered—so to that end, we’ve added new sessions where you can ask our experts your questions directly, including Roundtable Discussions and Live Office Hours with Eric for all attendees, along with our regularly popular sessions such as Speed Mentoring, Networking Dinners, and our Women’s Breakfast. We’re also working very closely with all of our speakers to ensure that the expert knowledge they impart is not only in line with Eric’s new book, The Startup Way, but focuses on actionable takeaways.

We want you to leave Lean Startup Week feeling like you understand your next steps when you’re back at your office trying to put all the pieces together. Because while it’s great to feel inspired after a conference, we can have a bigger impact when we leave you feeling empowered to make entrepreneurship a core function of your organization. And that kind of empowerment only comes when you have 90+ speakers and mentors offering you practical, actionable knowledge, learned from their time in the trenches.


Here are some of the specific things we want to help you tackle:
  • Connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs and experts who share your challenges and concerns
  • Turning an old school-minded organization on to modern entrepreneurial management techniques
  • Starting and scaling an innovation practice in your organization
  • Connecting Lean methodology to hiring, team-creation, organizing boards, leading engineering teams, and more
  • Ensuring your organization remains committed to innovation practices as you grow

We’ll help you with these solutions by approaching them from a variety of formats:

Highlights include:
  • A rare workshop with Eric Ries (co-led by Lean Startup Labs senior faculty member Marilyn Gorman) on enterprise transformation using the Lean Startup way on Oct. 31 (limited to the first 200 Gold Passholders.) Side Note: Eric and Marilyn will be doing a webcast as a preview to their workshop on Oct 11. Sign up for free here.
  • Justin Rosenstein, co-founder of Asana, presents a new approach to thinking about your startup's culture from the ground up, mapping the idea of intentional culture design to the familiar tenets of product research, design, and management
  • Tim O’Reilly, founder & CEO of O’Reilly Media, discusses how to avoid getting sucked into the vortex of me-too thinking by ensuring all the parts of your business work together, a theme from his new book, WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us
  • Anil Dash, CEO of Fog Creek Software, on mindfully building modern companies in a more humane and ethical way
  • Chip Heath, best-selling author & Stanford Graduate School of Business professor, on The Power of Moments in creating organizational change
  • Zach Nies, VP of Education at Techstars & Marcus Gosling, VP of Product at Long-Term Stock Exchange, co-host Startup Office Hours, an interactive Q&A where  you can ask the experts your questions on sustainably implementing Lean Startup and other like-minded methodologies into your growing business
  • Vanessa Colella, Head Of Citi Ventures & Chief Innovation Officer, Citi, on how Citibank uses growth boards to provide seed funding to internal startups
  • Alex Osterwalder, co-founder of Strategyzer, on protecting your organization from disruption
  • Eric Ries & GE FastWorks Co-Founders Viv Goldstein & Janice Semper on GE’s Startup Way strategy
  • Bionic CEO David Kidder and Procter & Gamble CTO Kathy Fish on P&G’s innovation pathway
  • Making diversity & inclusion an actionable, trackable metric at your company with industry thought leaders, including eBay’s Helen Kim, CodePath’s Michael Ellison, Pivotal’s Michele Perras, and Intuit’s Cassie Divine
  • Innovation, Impact & Design Thinking for social good with


Sounds great! So how to attend?

If you haven’t been to one of our Lean Startup Conferences, this is the year you won’t want to miss. So get ready to take selfies with the Bay Bridge, snag a burrito in the Mission district, and step foot into some of the hottest tech companies up and down Market St. We have passes for all budgets:

Gold Pass - For those who are serious about diving deep into the Lean Startup methodology and getting hands-on experience, join us for the full seven days of innovation training at Lean Startup Week (Oct. 30 - Nov. 5). This is perfect for teams looking for their best off-site yet! Register here.

Silver Pass - For those who are tight on time but want to get highlights of what we offer, get access to the two-day main conference on Nov. 2 & 3 and a seat at our Ignite Opening Night on Nov. 1.

Bootstrapper Pass - Offers the same benefits as the Silver Pass, but brings the cost of the conference down to $350 for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend (think: fledgling solopreneurs, employees at very young startups, and small non-profits). Apply for a Bootstrapper Pass here.

Livestream - Because we’re all about community building, we invite you to host or join one of our free livestream meetups. Get details here. You get all the mainstage talks and the most popular breakouts, along with access to live Q&A and moderated chat.

Volunteer - If you’re a student, you can apply to volunteer here. Pitch in for a shift, and we’ll give you a Silver Pass.

We hope you’ll join us in San Francisco at the end of this month!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Two Weeks until "The Startup Way"

“Mission critical reading.”
    -- Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Alliance and The Startup of You 

In just a few weeks, my new book, The Startup Way, will be available in print, digital, and audio formats.

One of the most gratifying parts of writing a book is heading off on tour with it and finding out how it’s engaging actual readers. Some of the most inspiring conversations I’ve had about my work have happened at book events, and I’m looking forward to more of them. I can't wait to get out on the road with The Startup Way and talk to you about the methods and principles of modern management.

Here’s the current list of my planned stops. If your city is on the list, come by and say hello! More information and tickets available at the links below:

10/16 | Philadelphia, PA | 6:45pm | Prince Theater
     In conversation with Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B
10/17 | New York, NY | 12:00pm | Grand Central Tech
10/18 | New York, NY | 7:00pm | The Strand
     In conversation with Beth Comstock, Vice Chair of GE
10/19 | Cambridge, MA | 7:00pm | First Parish Church
     In conversation with Tom Eisenmann, Harvard Business School professor
10/24 | Los Angeles, CA | 8:00pm | Ann and Jerry Moss Theater
10/25 | Los Angeles, CA | 7:45am | Cross Campus Downtown LA
10/25 | San Francisco, CA | 6:30pm | Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
     In conversation with Todd Park, former US CTO

Meanwhile, I’m offering early access to a special 5-part video series on The Startup Way for those of you who pre-order. Enter your order confirmation information at to see the videos. I had a great time exploring another medium for sharing my ideas and hope you find the series beneficial in advance of the release of the book. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Join me on Twitter using #StartupWay to share your reactions.

“If The Startup Way can transform the federal governmentand it hasit can transform your company. For everyone who's thought 'there has to be a better way,' here's your proof and a playbook to make it happen.” 
    -- Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director, Code for America 

Finally, the 2017 Lean Startup Week is themed around The Startup Way. October 30 through November 5, we're gathering thousands of thought leaders in downtown San Francisco for a week of keynote talks, interactive workshops, speed mentoring, roundtable discussions, industry dinners, innovation bootcamps, and startup tours. You'll take in the book's concepts and learn from technology thought leaders like Tim O'Reilly and Anil Dash, seasoned enterprise leaders including Viv Goldstein and Janice Semper of GE, founders of high-growth startups like Justin Rosenstein of Asana, government innovators from the NSA and 18F, and non-profit practitioners deep in the trenches. Plus, every attendee will receive a copy of the book. I hope you'll join me there.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

7 Tips for Building Your Lean Team

Guest Post by Misti Yang, Writer for Lean Startup Co.

“Think big. Start small. Scale fast.” This is the mantra of Lean teams described by Eric Ries in his upcoming book, The Startup Way. Whether you’re struggling in an actual startup or trying to build an internal one at an established organization, a Lean team approach can maximize efficiency and results in uncertain times. But assembling a group that can execute on this vision comes with the routine challenges of team-building as well as questions unique to the methodology. Drawing on the advice of experts and recent research, here are seven insights on how to best build a Lean team.

Start small.
Eric often refers to Amazon’s “two-pizza team,” which means starting small when it comes to new innovation groups, aiming for a number that you could easily feed with just two pizzas. A tighter team provides several advantages. First, small groups typically bond faster, leading to better communication within the team. Second, with fewer decision-makers, experiments can happen faster. There is also greater accountability because it’s easy to know who’s doing what.

Make your team cross-functional.
Just because the team size is diminutive doesn’t mean its skillset should be. A hallmark of Lean teams is cross-functionality. Members should bring a diversity of skills and/or represent different departments within the company. In enterprise organizations, teams are often comprised of employees from the same department, and once their work is “completed,” the results are passed along to another department. This siloed approach is inefficient, and the lack of varied perspectives often results in subpar solutions.

To build a cross-functional team, Eric suggests starting by asking what departments are needed to make meaningful progress that won’t get roadblocked along the way. In The Startup Way, Eric provides the example of an industrial project that might require a product designer, someone with manufacturing expertise, and a salesperson who understands customers’ wants and needs. An IT project, on the other hand, might include an engineer, a designer, and a marketer. As Eric says in the book, “There are endless permutations, depending on what needs to get done.”

Every team leader should also know whether you’re planning to do something that could require approval from legal. If so, be sure to include a representative from that department to prevent delays. Another tip from Eric: If you lack the budget or influence to get someone from a necessary department assigned to your team, ask for volunteers.

Don’t over-rely on your natural team players.
Relying on the same employees to contribute to teams can create collaboration overload, which in turn negatively impacts work satisfaction and productivity. A study published in Harvard Business Review found that typically 3 to 5 percent of employees contribute 20 to 35 percent of effective collaborations, but “those seen as the best sources of information and in highest demand as collaborators in their companies—have the lowest engagement and career satisfaction scores.” According to the researchers, simple solutions for avoiding collaboration overload is to cancel unnecessary meetings and to let individuals who are most often tapped for teams know it’s okay to say no and to suggest another capable person to take their place.

Train people to be team smart.
To ensure that every employee can excel in workgroups, invest in team training. “[Companies] focus a lot on professional development at the individual level. They have robust programs for people, but they won't necessarily be focused on teams,” says Janet Brunckhorst, principal product manager at Carbon Five. Employees and managers are rarely educated in how to be an effective contributor or how to make a better team. In short, many companies are team dumb, which is a problem because there’s evidence supporting the idea that a team’s collective intelligence is independent of the intelligence of its individual members.

Even if a company has the smartest employees, its teams can fail. In research published in the journal Science in 2010, psychologists from Carnegie Mellon, M.I.T. and Union College found that what they label the “c factor” (another term for collective intelligence) is correlated with “the average social sensitivity of group members, the equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking, and the proportion of females in the group.” The same research suggested that a team that failed at one thing was likely to fail at every task it attempted. A simple way to increase your team’s c factor is to bring in someone versed in guiding groups through the best practices of teamwork and Lean methodologies, whether that’s an internal leader or an external coach.    

Create a pro-risk environment.  
Finding innovative solutions and creating breakthrough products requires bold ideas and often big missteps, so individuals on Lean teams must learn to welcome risk and failure. Creating this mindset can be challenging in a traditional failure-is-not-an-option environment, and the dynamics of a team can exacerbate the desire to play it safe. (Nobody wants to look foolish in front of their colleagues.) However, with some psychological insights and pragmatic tools, teams can be coached to feel good about taking risks and failing.  

“There are lots of things that carry through all teams. Mostly, that we are all human, and the psychological and behavioral patterns are the same,” says Carbon Five’s Janet Brunckhorst. While it may seem obvious, the insight is often overlooked. Companies often focus on expertise or personalities when selecting team members, but research suggests that any group of people can succeed if the right atmosphere is created.  

Google’s Aristotle Project, an effort launched by the company in 2012 that surveyed 180 of their teams to better understand what made them work, found that the key to a highly-functioning team was psychological safety. In a 2016 New York Times article discussing the Aristotle Project, Abeer Dubey, a manager in Google’s People Analytics division, said, “The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.’’ In other words, it wasn’t about the balance of skills or diversity of personalities. Instead, high performing teams shared two characteristics: 1. Members contributed to conversations equally, and 2. They were adept at interpreting how others were feeling based on nonverbal cues and addressing those feelings. Creating this type of environment does not come with a one-size-fits-all approach, but Google found that simply sharing the research findings inspired teams to work differently.   

People also need to know that their decisions will not result in the loss of millions of dollars or litigation. This is an idea that Courtney Hemphill, partner at Carbon Five, calls reversible risk. It means that teams understand what can be undone. “Teams need to have a reverse button,” she says. “Productive teams are able to say, ‘Well, that didn’t work. Let’s fix it, learn from it, and not do it again.’ But then continue to make decisions and move quickly.” If a team can define its reversible risks, people are less likely to get bogged down in a blame game.  

Understanding what your team needs means understanding their assumptions.
Everyone comes to a team with certain assumptions about how work gets done, how to communicate, and a million other things. To function as a cohesive unit, people need to understand what assumptions they are working with. “In a team, there may be someone interrupting and talking all the time, and your assumption might be that they’re a jerk,” says Christina Wodtke, principal of her firm, Wodtke Consulting, and professor at California College of the Arts and Stanford Continuing Education. “Everybody is walking around with an idea of how you are supposed to behave in business, and it is not the same idea, believe you me.”  

For this reason Christina recommends that every team create a charter of norms: “Norms are just, ‘How do we agree we are going to work together? What are we going to do when we disagree? Are we going to make proposals? Are we going to just fight it out? How do we make a decision?’” To help develop a team charter, she suggests starting with the eight scales outlined in Erin Meyer’s book The Culture Map. The scales address expectations surrounding communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing, and scheduling.
Measure to learn and improve your team.
Whether you’re starting a new team or trying to improve an existing team, “you can’t really take your first step without looking at the team and measuring,” Janet says. This could mean tabulating assumptions, as with The Culture Map scales, or assessing the current sentiment—in other words, how do people feel about the team spirit. “It could be something as simple as every time you have a team meeting, doing a team temperature gage—a one-to-five scale or thumbs up/thumbs down,” Janet says. From there, the important thing is acting on that information. For example, understanding why a team may be feeling closer to a one, and then working to remedy the problem. Fundamentally, it is applying the Lean Startup methodology of build-measure-learn to your team dynamics.

Although teams vary across companies, an effective Lean team should start small and be cross-functional. Creating clear ground rules, working to ensure everyone contributes, and checking in regularly to assess how individuals are feeling helps create a productive working environment, and from there, you can continually fine-tune based on feedback. Accept that you will have to iterate your team because effective teams are committed to continuous improvement. “It means never accepting your team as done,” says Christina.

To learn more about building Lean teams, join us at Lean Startup Week October 30th - November 5th in San Francisco. Christina Wodtke, Courtney Hemphill, and Janet Brunckhorst will be leading breakout sessions on crafting effective teams.

This post was originally published on Lean Startup Co.'s blog.