Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What Top Performers at Startups and Large Organizations Have in Common…More Than You Would Think


While doing research for his extraordinary new book, Great at Work, Morten Hansen studied more than 5,000 managers and employees in corporate America to identify the key practices that explain why some perform better than others. What he and his research team discovered is that seven key practices explain a whopping 66% of the difference in performance among people in the sample. 

I was really curious to learn more about his research and findings, but also how these practices apply to working in startups. Both kinds of organizations are experiencing high degrees of uncertainty, and I’ve found they can be more similar than people expect (though there are clear differences when it comes to scale and building new things vs transforming existing structures or processes). We talked about what being “great at work” means in both contexts.

Q: Startups are inherently unstable. Can you explain how the principles that make people successful in more traditional, less volatile work environments can also work for startups? Are there common factors?

A: Startups are clearly different from established companies, yet there are also similarities. Many established companies today are experiencing unprecedented levels of instability in their business models, brought on by technological disruption and, yes, those startups chasing their markets. We found that the best performing people in established companies are constantly innovating in their work. They look for ways to redesign their jobs to add more value, and they keep on learning new things. That means that they experiment and pivot from time to time, just like startups. For example, there’s a high school principal in my book who was leading a severely under-performing school in Detroit where 80% of students were on food stamps. He started experimenting with new ways of teaching which led his school to be the first in the entire United States to flip the classroom for the entire school—homework at school, lectures at home via video clips. Essentially, he applied the “startup way” inside a school. He had a very tight budget, not unlike a startup, and started out by using A/B testing his hypothesis around flipping with a minimal viable approach (using some basic videos and teaching plans) to see how it would work in two social studies courses. The rest is chronicled in the book, but we find these kinds of innovators and learners throughout the corporate world. We just need to give them tools, frameworks, and right encouragement.

Q: In your research, you found that top performers at big companies had two critical skills: they knew how to set a short list of priorities and also how to protect them by being really good at saying no to anything that didn’t align with those priorities—including their bosses. What happens when people at both large organizations, and startups, don’t follow your principle: “Do less, then obsess”?

A: In my experience, startup teams do obsess—they go all in on their startup and fully commit to their work. Their problem maybe the opposite which is too much hyper focus. I recently spoke with a founder of an online education marketplace. He had a laser-like focus on his key for-profit segment, but then some high-profile people approached him to extend this to a non-profit area. Flattered by their attention, he re-allocated resources to that new effort, only to encounter problems in the core area. After a while, he realized that he had prematurely branched out and had to re-focus the effort. It’s a real concern given startups have very, very limited resources. Doing less—and sticking to that narrow scope—is key, yet the temptations to prematurely expand to new customer groups, new features, new products and services, and new geographies is very strong. It requires real discipline to master this principle in a startup environment when little is known and resources are scarce.

In larger, established companies my data show the situation is the opposite and often worse. A lot of people working in innovation encounter the problems of both lack of focus and lack of obsession. Many people in our data reported work environments where people “do more, then stress”. They take on many priorities—for example, working on 3 product development projects simultaneously—and then work hard to accomplish all of them, which means they cannot go all in and obsess over a few things.

“Do more” types fall into two traps: they spread themselves too thin, which leads to them to miss deadlines and deliver lower-quality work. They also fall into the complexity traps: they spend time coordinating and juggling multiple activities. Things get dropped, and error rates go up. Many cope by working long hours and stressing to just keep all these activities afloat. It can work to some extent, but it doesn’t produce excellent work. It certainly isn’t being great at work.

Q: We tend to think of people who succeed at their jobs or in launching a startup as people who are passionate about what they do. Is passion a prerequisite to being a top performer?

A: I initially thought that people who do very well did so because they “followed their passion.” That idea has become cliched, it’s repeated so often. The problem is this: What it really implies is that passion should dictate what you choose to do, regardless of other considerations (the assumption being that it will all work out in the end). Ignoring your passion, doesn’t sound like such good advice, either, as it may just lead to a life of drudgery.

We discovered a solution to this conundrum. Top performers found a third way: they matched their passion with purpose. Passion is do what you love; purpose is do what contributes. Passion asks, what can the world give me (a hedonistic view). Purpose asks, what can you give to the world (an other-orientation). I call this “P-squared”: People who infused their work with both passion and purpose performed much better in our data set than people who had just passion, or just purpose, or neither. They placed in the 80th percentile in the performance ranking on average, while people with only passion (but no purpose) placed in the 20th percentile, and people with purpose (but not passion) placed in the 64th percentile (note that purpose more than passion correlated with high performance).



Having passion and purpose in one’s job is important because when you inspire yourself first, it’s easier to inspire others. In today’s workplaces, whether in large companies or startups, you need to get others excited about your initiatives and projects—you can’t just rely on the old style “command and control.” We found that the top performers were really good at inspiring others, surprisingly not through charisma but through other easily adopted techniques to evoke emotions in others (both positive and negative). For example, by “showing and not telling.” One purchasing supervisor we spoke to was charged with the thankless tasks of converting paper to electronic forms in the company, and no one was excited to support him. Then he learned that the CEO would be visiting his office building for a meeting, and he arranged to use the adjacent conference room. He grabbed the CEO in a break and guided him into his room, where he had displayed a mountain of paper on a giant conference table. “Holy cow, what is this?”, the CEO asked excitedly (and not in a good way!) to which he responded, “this is all the paper forms we use in this company.” His project got the support it needed.

If you’re a founder or working in a startup or thinking about forming or joining one, think about this. Don’t just follow your passion in deciding which startup and which role. Try to formulate how you can take your unique strengths and find ways to contribute to the world. What’s your personal purpose statement? We found that a very strong purpose orientation has three components: what value do you create for others—customers, co-workers, company? Is that value meaningful to you personally? And does that value provide societal benefits beyond sales and profits? Then apply this to the startup itself: What value does the company create—and for whom—and is this formidable value creation? How many of the employees find that value proposition personally meaningful? What societal benefits does the company bring, beyond generating its sales and profits and selling stuff to customers (selling advertising or selling an app to a corporate customer does not necessarily provide societal benefits).

Q: So how can people working in both startups and corporate jobs determine if they’re creating that kind of value and those benefits for the people who they work with?

A: They need to pursue different, better metrics. We discovered in our research that people in established companies oftentimes pursue the wrong metrics. They emphasize volumes of activities or internal goals, over value-creating metrics. For example, one logistics manager in a high-tech industrial company tracked the extent to which their industrial products left the warehouse on time, achieving an impressive 99% on-time shipment rate. The problem was, the customers complained that only 65% of the shipments arrived when they needed them. The 99% metric was an internal goal, whereas the 65% metric measured customer value. You need to measure value-metrics and not internal “volume” metrics.

I suspect that many startups also don’t do this. A few months ago, I spoke to the CIO of a large company that is one of the largest paying customers of Slack software. She reported that they tracked very high usage of the software. When I asked whether they had seen higher productivity as a result of Slack or tracked that, she said they had no idea and that it wasn’t clear. Then I asked them to ask Slack whether they tracked such measures of their clients, and so they did and got a negative response. That’s no surprise. When I read about Slack in the news, I come across two typical metrics: the number of users and user engagement (hours of use per day). But those are volume metrics: the fact that a group of engineers in a client company uses Slack extensively during the day doesn’t mean that they are doing better work (that’s like saying that meetings using video-conference tools are good meetings). This is not to single out Slack, which is a terrific company, but to make a general point. Startups also need value-creating metrics: what value do we create for our customers, really? And how can we modify our work and offerings to increase value?

For that logistic person shipping goods, that meant re-organizing the schedule to get better delivery time for customers (value metric: % of shipments arriving when customers needed them). For Slack and many others like that, the real measure of value is the improved results by the customers like the one I interacted with (higher engineering productivity, speed of product development etc). Yes, those are harder to measure, but they are the real measure of value.

Q: Your concept of the “learning loop” draws on the build-measure-learn cycle that is one of the pillars of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way. What does it look like for people who set themselves apart from their colleagues?

A: One of the great virtues with The Lean Startup and The Startup Way methods is the focus on learning empirically, for example by doing A/B testing on MVPs, learning from those, and pivoting if necessary. We found in our research that the best performers apply a similar “learning loop.” They try out a new way of working (say leading a meeting), then get some measurements and feedback (say, feedback on meeting effectiveness), then modify their behaviors, and then repeat. It was also striking to discover how few people do this while working. Many people become competent at a professional skill, then they stop improving—good enough is good enough, it seems. This paucity means that startups and other companies pursuing the lean method in innovation have a huge advantage over others who are not learning at the same rate. Moreover, we discovered that the learning loop method really works not just for idea development but also for most “soft” professional skills, like running a meeting, prioritizing, doing a sales pitch, and so on. Everyone can apply this to managerial and professional skill development. For example, if you’re a sales person in a startup: do you apply such a learning loop to your sales pitch? Do you A/B test it and modify it constantly to become better? Those who did in our dataset improved faster and outperformed the rest. Continuous learning and growth are important in any work environment.

Morten Hansen’s new book GREAT AT WORK is on sale today and available at bookstores everywhere.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

7 Highlights from Lean Startup Week

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

Editor’s Note: We wrapped up the 2017 Lean Startup Week in San Francisco just a few weeks ago, and we’re excited to share with you some of the best lessons learned in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation. Expect to read a new story each week straight from our keynote and breakout stages.

In an interview with GE’s Culture Transformation Leader Janice Semper during Lean Startup Week, Eric Ries remarked, “Listen, that's our specialty here. We try to talk to real practitioners about actual, real issues.” And the effort was reflected by the 140 speakers and mentors who took the stage and ran workshops over the course of the seven-day conference. We'll share the lessons we learned from these inspired leaders over the next few months, and give you a taste with these seven highlights from Lean Startup Week.

LESSON #1: Equip your business with a portfolio map and a 21st century org chart.


With industries from banking to transportation being transformed and, in some instances, undermined by new business models and technology, executives are smart to wonder, “Are we next?” To confidently answer no, co-founder of Strategyzer Alex Osterwalder told our attendees, “What you really want to do is work more like Amazon. … The reason Amazon [is invincible] is because they've put a system in place that allows them to continuously innovate.”

To do the same, Alex recommends building two things: a business portfolio map that recognizes invention as necessary and an updated organization chart. “You need a pipeline of tested and validated ideas,” Alex said. The pipeline starts by dividing your business into two distinct functions: innovation and execution. The innovation motto is “Fail fast.” The execution motto: “Failure is not an option.” The innovation function is dedicated to iterative search through experimentation. The execution function is dedicated to the day-to-day business.



To successfully support experimentation, Alex explained you must also create an org chart that mirrors the roles overseeing execution. For example, if a chief executive officer manages the daily operation, a chief entrepreneur heads up innovation efforts. “And the chief entrepreneur has a staff of chief portfolio manager, chief venture capitalist, and chief risk officer, right? Because these Lean Startup people, they do crazy stuff,” Alex joked. “So that gives us two different management structures for these two different portfolios.” Two particularly important roles include the chief venture capitalist, because the investment philosophy for invention is different than traditional finance, and the chief internal ambassador “who connects the two [functions] and builds bridges.”

LESSON #2: Forget innovation. Remember your customers, culture, and connections.


ING Group is an exemplar of supporting continual improvement, so it may be surprising that their Chief Innovation Officer Ignacio Julia Vilar told the Lean Startup crowd that “innovation” is “a little bit [of] a buzzword.” So, ING has redefined the I word. “And to be honest,” Ignacio shared, “the first thing that we said is what it's not about. And innovation is really not about gadgets.” Instead, ING has adopted a company-wide focus on three Cs: customers, culture, and connection. It’s “creating something really useful for the customer that is solving the need of the customer.” And to do this, ING has had to create the right culture and sometimes connect with outside fintech companies.

To support the three Cs, ING has also developed their own iterative practice named PACE. Describing the development of this methodology, Ignacio explained, “We just sat down together and said, ‘Well, let's look at what we're doing. … Let's see what works well, what doesn't work well for us, for our organization, for our culture.’ We tried to define the best for us, and then we started practicing.” The result is a combination of design thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile Scrum, and Ignacio’s innovation team includes 25 coaches who train employees in PACE best practices. To “embed this in the organization,” the company has created PACE Everyday, “a simplified version…to force our organization to always start with what is a problem that we are trying to solve and to test it and to test it in a real way.”

LESSON #3: Avoid these three hiring mistakes.


When it comes time to grow your team, Jeff Jordan and Eric pointed out three hiring mistakes to avoid.

First, do not hire someone just because they have the domain expertise. You want to be sure that they can work with the resources you can provide in terms of staff size and budgets. In other words, be sure they are ready to work at a startup. Jeff elaborated, “You want to tee [your hires] to the state of the company.” For example, don’t court public-ready CFOs when your financials aren’t even on QuickBooks yet.

Second, don’t simply hire your buddies. “You’re kind of looking for founders,” not friends, remarked Jeff. “If you know the true story of any [startup], the early employees are every bit as entrepreneurial, every bit as dedicated … as the true founder,” Eric seconded.

Lastly, question any hiring decision based on “culture fit” alone. While Jeff and Eric agreed that company culture can be powerful and effective, it can also result in a homogeneous company with unexplored opportunities and weaknesses. Eric recounted, “I was just in an interview where someone was saying, ‘I don’t want to hire this person. They’re qualified. I liked all their answers, but my Spidey-sense is tingling. I didn’t feel like they’re a fit around here.’ The human brain is really good at producing intuitive leaps, but we know from the research that those leaps can be biased by irrelevant characteristics. Whenever you hear, ‘They’re not a fit,’ you have to look really carefully.”

LESSON #4: Get creative with your MVPs.


In an interview with Eric reflecting on their work together at GE, Viv Goldstein and Janice Semper, co-founders of GE’s FastWorks, demonstrated that even a hundred billion dollar company can learn from creative, low-cost MVPs. When the CEO of GE’s Sustainable Healthcare Solutions business in India called Viv one day and said, “We've got a problem selling our neonatal incubator,” Viv explained: “We started by asking what is the customer problem we're trying to solve for? What is the impact that our customers need? And what are some of the challenges they're facing with the product right now? Not, ‘what's the technology?’ In GE, technology used to be our lead, and instead we reframed that and started with the customer.” The team discovered that medical professionals in rural clinics in India needed a more suitable and convenient way to place the babies in the incubator, and needed incubators that could hold multiple babies while still providing the right amount of heat and light to each baby and withstand the one type of disinfectant clinics could afford. The first MVP was “a shoebox and a doll.”
When confronted with a “safety valve hydraulic thing,” Eric remembered that “all the conversation in the room was about the technology of hydraulics.” But, “the ultimate MVP they had involved sending a team member to go sit on the rig … to find out what the actual safety problems were.” What did the rig-sitter find? The problem “had nothing to do with hydraulics and everything to do with 29 kinds of human error.”
And, in response to employees’ desire for more continuous feedback from their manager and peers, a GE team had built a simple MVP for enabling real time 360 feedback; but when they tested the tool, they found that absolutely nobody used it. “What we discovered is that it had absolutely nothing to do with the tool,” Janice shared. Instead, employees “were like, ‘Well, I don't know how to give my peer feedback. I've never done that before. I can't really give my manager feedback. How is he or she going to take that?’” The team learned that they didn’t need to build a better product. It “was much more [about] training around the behavior.”

LESSON #5: Build-measure-learn with an innovation thesis.


According to Tendayi Viki, 54 percent of companies struggle to bridge the gap between innovation strategy and business strategy. He suggested starting by adopting a build-measure-learn loop for your innovation strategy. Here is the step-by step process that he outlined in his presentation:

First, sit down with your team and develop a point of view on where the world is going. Ask “what are the trends that are impacting our business? And what are the things that are coming up in the future that we think we need to respond to? What products in our portfolio are declining that we need to fix?”

Then, decide how you will use innovation to respond to these challenges; this is your innovation thesis. Tendayi explained, “It's actually based on the venture capital notion of investment thesis. If you're a venture capitalist, the whole time you're getting pitched a lot of ideas by a thousand people. You can't invest in everything, so you have to make a decision about the kind of things you invest in and the kind of things you don't invest in.”

Once you have a thesis, every project you support becomes an experiment testing it, and you should review it on a quarterly or biannual basis and change it as needed. This approach also structures your budget decisions. “Not a single dollar moves from the company's bank account into some project except when it’s a specific expression of [your] strategic intentions. There's no let's-see-what-happens dollar. Every dollar moves as an expression of [your] strategic intentions.”

LESSON #6: Fall in love with your problems, not your solutions.


“I always thought, ‘How are we going to affect this organization whose heritage is world-class innovation?’ reflected David Kidder during his interview of Procter & Gamble CTO Kathy Fish. Reflecting on how Lean Startup methodologies have changed P&G, Kathy shared that “when you fall in love with the problem and not the solution it opens your mind up in a really different way. So we would typically fall in love with the solution, which would always be a product … As you fall in love with the problem, you start seeing business model opportunities; you start seeing marketing and education opportunities in addition to product opportunities, and it's just much, much richer.”

Focusing on the problem first has also proven cost-effective. Before working with Lean experimentation, the company was “spending a lot of money sometimes before we really should have,” Kathy said. “We've now shifted to a more metered funding approach . . . And we're finding on some of our biggest programs that we're learning faster; we're getting to the consumer a lot faster; and we're spending 25 to 50 percent less money along the journey. It's amazing.”

LESSON #7: Create peak moments.


While Kathy encouraged companies to embrace their problems, co-author of The Power of Moments Chip Heath asked the Lean Startup crowd to create peak moments, or moments that evoke an emotional response. To illustrate his point he told the story of the second highest rated hotel in Los Angeles on TripAdvisor, the Magic Castle. Number three is the Four Seasons. The Magic Castle’s secret is not their shoddy bathrooms, but their butler popsicle service, free candy at the front desk, and free laundry—peak moments.

In Chip’s “toolkit for creating a happy face” are four elements. The first one is elevation. “Elevated experiences are experiences that bring us up in sensory experience to something that rises above the day-to-day.” Chip’s examples included fireworks, sunsets, and cupcakes. The second element is insight. Chip shared the story of the executive who displayed the 424 kinds of gloves his company was buying to help his senior leadership team realize they had a procurement problem.

The third peak element is pride, and finally, there is connection. John Deere redesigned their employee orientation day to achieve both. The welcoming process starts with a personal text before your first day and includes a welcome email from the CEO letting you know that “on your desk is a model of the very first patented plow that John Deere manufactured" 175 years ago. “There is not better leverage than an employee orientation day at John Deere,” Chip said. He advised creating peak moments when you are bringing people onto a team, when you need alignment on direction, when you need people to get along, and when you need to show people how to act.

From startup hiring to enterprise alignment, Lean Startup Week offered learnings for a wide range of entrepreneurial thinkers, but as Eric noted in his opening remarks, one theme was clear: “We have to be thinking about how do we sustain our innovation into the next, and the next, and the next generation. In order to do that … we need to adopt the idea of the startup as an atomic unit of work.” We need to keep learning from the startup way.

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

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 thestartupway.com


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 thestartupway.com/bonus. 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. http://bit.ly/2y3lIeY
The #LeanStartup has grown up to become The #StartupWay, w/innovation framework for orgs of every size. Out now! http://bit.ly/2y3lIeY
Entrepreneurial mgmt is difference btwn modern & old fashioned co’s. @ericries new book #StartupWay shows why. http://bit.ly/2y3lIeY

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.


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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 IDEO.org

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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!