The Lean Startup Book Summary - The Lean Startup Book explained in key points
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The Lean Startup summary

Eric Ries

How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses

4.6 (1290 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries offers a fresh approach to entrepreneurship, emphasizing on experimentation, constant improvement, and adapting to customer needs to increase chances of success.

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    The Lean Startup
    Summary of 11 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 11

    Start-ups need to be managed differently from established companies.

    In the first three blinks, you'll discover what the main goal is that a start-up should pursue.

    Traditional management consists of two components: developing plans and overseeing the people executing them.

    A manager creates a plan, sets milestones, and delegates tasks to her employees, guiding them to ensure they hit their milestones on time.

    This management strategy works in established companies that have been around long enough to know what worked in the past and therefore what could work in the future.

    Start-ups are different, though: they can’t predict their own future because they have no past, don’t know what their customers want, and don’t know which approaches are best for finding customers or creating a sustainable business. To find out what could work, they must stay flexible. To adopt fixed plans with set milestones or rely on long-term market forecasts would be to delude themselves.

    Nevertheless, many founders do use corporate-management tools such as milestone plans and long-term market forecasts. They act as if they are preparing a space rocket for liftoff, tinkering with it for years and only launching it when they think it’s perfect. In reality, managing a start-up is more like driving a jeep across unstable and shifting terrain, where the founders must constantly change direction and respond quickly to unexpected obstacles and dead-ends.

    However, start-ups shouldn’t abandon planning completely to adopt a chaotic “just do it” mindset either. Driving chaotically is not going to get you anywhere; someone has to be at the wheel to make intelligent decisions about which way to go.

    A start-up’s management team should try to maintain an overview of their situation and keep their company steered toward its overall goal. Hence, they need to find the right metrics to measure whether their journey is leading them in the right direction.

    Start-ups need to be managed differently from established companies.

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    What is The Lean Startup about?

    The Lean Startup (2011) helps start-ups and tech companies develop sustainable business models. It advocates continuous rapid prototyping and focusing on customer-feedback data.

    The method is based on the concepts of lean manufacturing and agile development, and its efficacy is backed up by case studies from the last few decades.

    The Lean Startup Review

    The Lean Startup (2011) is a practical guide to building and scaling a startup using the lean methodology. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with real-world examples and case studies, it provides actionable insights on how to test ideas, iterate quickly, and achieve sustainable growth.
    • By emphasizing the importance of customer feedback and continuous improvement, it offers a fresh perspective on entrepreneurship and encourages risk-taking.
    • With its engaging storytelling and transparent account of Eric Ries' own experiences, the book offers an immersive reading experience that keeps boredom at bay.

    Who should read The Lean Startup?

    • Anyone interested in entrepreneurship and/or in starting their own company
    • Anyone interested in quick product development and testing
    • Founders, managers and employees in tech companies

    About the Author

    Eric Ries is a successful entrepreneur. He co-founded IMVU, a social network that uses 3D avatars. Today he is a sought-after consultant and public speaker.

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    The Lean Startup FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Lean Startup?

    The main message of The Lean Startup is to build, measure, and learn to create successful startups.

    How long does it take to read The Lean Startup?

    The reading time for The Lean Startup varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Lean Startup a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Lean Startup is worth reading for entrepreneurs looking to build successful businesses. It offers valuable insights and practical strategies.

    Who is the author of The Lean Startup?

    The author of The Lean Startup is Eric Ries.

    What to read after The Lean Startup?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Lean Startup, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Zero to One (new version) by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters
    • ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
    • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
    • Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
    • The Startup Playbook by David S. Kidder
    • Running Lean by Ash Maurya
    • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
    • Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
    • The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
    • Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan